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Starrunner 18-1/2′

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

AMONG THE REASONS A POTENTIAL MOTORHOME OWNER may site for not purchasing a motorhome are
cost and practicality. Indeed, few can justify the expense of a vehicle that is used only a
few times a year — least of all one that gets between 6 and 9 mpg on the occasions that it
is used. If these are the reasons you have not yet purchased a motorhome, then Sportsmobile
may have the coach you have been waiting for. Based on the Mercedes-Benz-built Sprinter van
used in Europe, Sportsmobile’s Starrunner is the cure for the common motorhome. With a
standard 2.7-liter, five-cylinder Mercedes-Benz diesel and five-speed automatic
transmission, the Starrunner gets more than 20 mpg — and at around $49,000, it costs about
the same as a fully equipped luxury SUV. The chassis features standard independent front
suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS/ASR (traction
control) and driver/front passenger air bags, and a turning circle of only 44.6 feet. Once
you grow accustomed to its European-style controls, you start to notice the truly
well-conceived aspects of the cockpit, such as the almost infinitely adjustable seats,
highly visible instruments and adjustable headlights. Steering input is similar to that of
a European sedan, with excellent feedback and on-center feel. Likewise, the anti-lock
brakes are strong and predictable, and exhibit no signs of fade under hard braking. Our
floorplan was the popular 50S, which features a streetside galley and a rear couch/storage
area that folds down to make a comfortable double bed. The galley countertop features a
two-burner stove and sink, below which are a trash receptacle, an optional microwave oven,
a 12-volt DC 3-cubic-foot refrigerator, a large storage drawer and a cabinet for the
optional portable toilet. Certainly, the Starrunner isn’t for everyone. But if the idea of
an affordable, economical coach that can double as a second family car appeals to you, it
doesn’t get any better than this. For more information about the Starrunner, pick up the
May 2003 issue of MotorHome on the newsstand. Then subscribe to MotorHome
so you can stay informed on the latest motorhome tests and previews, technical information,
travel destinations and products.

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