la strada Nova 2002

 In 2005 we came across the “Nova” almost by accident and before we finalised the deal we had to do some serious contemplating.

The Negative Differences
First, an obvious change from previous vans – the fixed bed.
Second, the reduced lounging area, just enough for two in comfort, two extra at a squeeze.
Third, the toy cooker hob, not a full-sized one with oven.
Fourth, the upholstery was a terrible design.

The Positive Differences
First, obvious to me was the fair-sized engine and Mercedes base vehicle.
Second, a Monocoque Bodyshell, few joints and seals.
Third, the large boot.
Fourth, a lined shower and toilet.
Fifth, well designed storage space (except for the wardrobe).
Sixth, we thought general build quality was better than our Autosleeper’s.
Seventh, we could carry the motorbike.

The Discussion
Val, having tried the fixed bed, decided that it was an improvement over the daily chore of assembling beds, so that was justified.
We were now at a stage when we rarely took grandchildren away so we could live with the two plus two capacity.
I have never used any of the cookers inside our vans other than for storage.
I was sold on the engine size and Mercedes badge.
I always wanted a van with a one piece bodyshell
We could carry our small motorbike inside the boot.
We have had the van reupholstered

Owning the “Nova”
To date we have been pleased, satisfied and content with the van. I suppose like most of us we would like a nice shiny new one every year or so, but in our case it would be difficult to justify the current asking price.

When we took ownership the first thing we did was change the upholstery. I then spent the winter months tatting about changing and installing things I thought essential.

Since 2002 we have spent May, June and September abroad. We carry a drive away awning for longer stays. It’s where I cook and chill out.

The Nova has proved, for us, ideal. We have sufficient storage space for all essentials plus a lot more and even when fully laden with the awning, motorbike and all still weighs in at 3.25t leaving us a little room for cheese and wine.

When we took delivery the Salesman did boast we had a 100mph van. I did prove this on the Autoroute, but it is very quick and I now reserve such speeds for my motorbikes.

The fixed bed is fantastic, as good as the one indoors, and we always reckon we sleep better in the van.

We have Aircon fitted. This has proved very useful in the South of France and Italy, but it is noisy and it’s questionable whether at £1.6K it’s justifiable.

We have the van serviced and MOT’d every year at our pet garage; any other maintenance such as body work required I do myself. At 44,500 miles, apart from two broken windscreens and new tyres, the van has performed faultlessly.

Steve Latham