The La Strada hardly allows itself any weaknesses, only when it comes to price does it overtake many of its competitors. Including accessories, 161,401 euros are due for the fully equipped Nova M. The coveted extras in customisation and comfort-giving extras such as a satellite TV system, solar panels or leather upholstery, especially with the most powerful diesel and all-wheel drive for the Sprinter, increase the basic price of the model by about half. The Nova M is allowed to weigh 4.1 tonnes, which means it is affected by the speed limit for motorhomes with a gross vehicle weight of more than 3.5 tonnes; it can travel at a maximum of 100 km/h and cannot overtake when this is prohibited for trucks.
The body shape attracts attention. The hinges of the doors and flaps are on the inside, so they are flush with the wall surfaces, as are the hinged windows. The awning is also integrated, the locks of the service hatches for emptying the toilet cassette and for the gas bottle box are unlocked by push-buttons and Bowden cables inside. An electrically extending step and another staircase lead up high into the interior through an exceedingly solid door.
The Nova grows another eight centimetres in height compared to the front-wheel drive base model due to the all-wheel drive chassis. The floor plan initially looks like the standard cut of a panel van, but it holds many pleasant surprises. In the rear there is a transverse bed measuring 205 by 97 centimetres, where one camper sleeps very comfortably or two who love each other very much. There is more space in the fold-down bed above the L-shaped seating group at the front, where the lying surface measures 205 by 140 centimetres. Folding down the quality mattress mounted on disc springs is as easy as can be, LED reading lamps with integrated USB connection provide adequate lighting above all beds.
The galley is located in the centre of the coach. Its two-burner gas cooker also accommodates large pans and pots, and the rectangular stainless steel sink next to it is also generously sized, but not as easy to clean as the usual round sinks. The refrigerator was not much fun. Those who choose the 100-litre compressor unit (450 euros extra) instead of the similarly sized absorber experience constant icing in the upper section because of the flap in front of the freezer compartment, which is not fitted sensibly. La Strada promises to change to another model. There is plenty of storage space in the galley; there is room for cookware and supplies in the overhead cupboards and the drawer unit to the right of the galley. One of the drawers has a cover so that it can be used as an additional surface when pulled out.
La Strada has installed a combined clothes and linen cupboard above it. The roller blind that closes it to save space is a little too stiff. The sliding door of the washroom, on the other hand, has to be meticulously locked. If you do this task carelessly, you will be startled by a heavy bang at the first hard braking when the door closes by itself. The wet room behind it, however, is a cream puff. The folding washbasin is fitted solidly and accurately, and when showering, folding Plexiglas elements protect the walls from wetness. The roof hatch with vent and an additional vent window ensure a pleasant indoor climate. La Strada does without the pressure pump that is common in this class, but the submersible pump is quite sufficient to produce a powerful jet of water from the shower head. This also functions as a tap above the washbasin. 100 litres of fresh water are enough for extensive body care.
The dinette with L-shaped bench seat and swivelling comfort seats for driver and front passenger with heating and ventilation complete the interior of the Nova M. All upholstery is covered in dark leather, which harmonises beautifully with the décor of the furniture. The carcass is in matt white, while the grey fronts of the flaps and doors create a strong contrast. The extensive choice of colours and decors is a La Strada speciality anyway: 23 wood grains or different shades for the furniture, 13 different upholstery covers and two variants for the headboard are available. Even exotic patterns such as "concrete" or the grey-blue "shark" full-leather version are on offer. The darkening of the driver's cabin is also unusual. Instead of the usual and often rattling cassette blinds, the cab is shaded with a soft curtain.
On the Sprinter chassis, the Nova M has good suspension and is acoustically unobtrusive. Even the standard reinforced front axle cannot completely prevent slight body roll due to the high centre of gravity and weight, but this does not make the ride unsafe.
La Strada also offers the M in a 3.5-tonne version, but that would reduce the payload to a pitiful 320 kilograms, which would not be a practical option. There is plenty of space for equipment and bicycles in the large rear garage, which is accessible from both sides. With a load capacity of 920 kilograms, even heavier e-bikes don't have to stay at home. Recessed compartments on the front wall of the rear garage are suitable for stowing a cable drum or drive-up wedges; only the central platform, under which the heated waste water tank is concealed, interferes with loading. The bicycle holder for the inner rear wall, which is available at extra cost, is therefore highly recommended. Free of charge, on the other hand, is the lighting of the shed, which switches on automatically via motion sensors.
The Nova M's gas supply is on board in two eleven-kilogram cylinders. However, since the interior is heated with a Truma Combi D diesel heater and the refrigerator is operated with electricity, the gas supply lasts for what feels like an eternity, since it is only used for cooking. One bottle can safely be left at home; despite excessive cooking, the supply of bottle one was still ample even after three weeks on tour.
The volume of the fuel tank, on the other hand, is only sufficient. 90 litres fit in, which is not much considering the powerful thirst that the Sprinter developed on our trip. The Mercedes consumed 13.8 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres, which is due to the weight and the above-average height. On the other hand, the four-cylinder engine handles the weight almost effortlessly, proving smoothness and pulling power with the standard nine-speed automatic transmission. On the motorway as well as on country roads, the journey is a pleasure.
Thus, the Nova M not only convinces on the pitch with a high level of comfort and well-thought-out equipment, but also makes the way to the destination time and again. Thanks to the multitude of driver assistance systems (including distance cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring), the journey is made in a very safe manner. (Michael Kirchberger, cen)