THE Italians do things differently. We’re accustomed to optional extras like barbecue points and spare wheels - but an additional berth on the extras list?
Our test example of the Rimor range is a three-berth with a fourth bed as an option. It has a U-shaped lounge at the rear and a 2.2 metre-long transverse bed at the front. Another big difference between Rimors and everything else is that the headroom is a full two metres – throughout the length of the caravan.
Rimors come into Britain via 3Counties Caravans in the Midlands. There are six models, all family layouts, ranging in price from £11,795 to £15,995; there’s no additional £495 dealer delivery cost because you’re buying directly from the importer.
Each of the six models is available in two levels of spec; Campagnolas have less kit than Veloces.
The price is not much above what is generally regarded as budget territory but the number of niceties would have you thinking the cost should be much higher.
Our Veloce test caravan has spotlights in the ceiling, four lights on long flexible stalks, two above the bed, and two in the lounge.
There’s a mains socket hidden beneath the base of a head-height cupboard in the washroom, a spice rack and kitchen roll holder, tambour doors to side lockers that curve towards the corners of the caravan… The list of small details is extensive.
But before you go through the door of a Polaris and take note of the finesse, the eye-catching exterior appearance will have convinced you that you’re about to explore a caravan that has a different character from those built in Britain.
The shape is square and chunky, with one-piece polyester sides (designed to withstand knocks) and bold metallic pale gold-coloured trim that defines the skirts and extends up into the front and rear corners.
The gas bottle compartment has a substantial door that’s almost the full width of the caravan, so access is easy and there’s plenty of space to store stuff.
Its robust lock hides behind a big circular Rimor emblem that swivels into place to cover the lock; a smart touch that makes you sit up and realise Rimors are so very different in lots of ways.
Not all of those ways are perfect, though, as we discovered during our two-night test. Its table and its hob ignition came in for a little bit of stick. But the 480 did pass its storage test with top marks. A big kitchen cupboard, with a spacious cupboard over fridge opposite the kitchen. Head-height lockers all round…
The kitchen is surprisingly large, considering that this caravan’s internal length is less than five metres. Only one thing missing, in true continental style, there is no piezzo ignition; that’s our brickbat aimed squarely at the hob.
Options are a key element of the Rimor range’s appeal – you can buy what you need and you aren’t getting kit that you don’t. For example, the standard circular dining table is too small for three place settings and even a squash for just a couple (brickbat number two) – but the optional larger table (£199) cures this, and gives you an extra table for your awning.
For that price you also get extra upholstery to create a double bed in the lounge; in its standard spec, it’s a three-berth, with a single bed running the width of the caravan and a double at the other end.
The Rimor Polaris range caters well for its caravanners by providing key options. Add in robust construction, lots of lighting and a sensible-sized gas compartment with exceptionally wide aperture and you have a very desirable package for a mid-range price-tag.
The heaters in the first, 2010 models, to arrive in Britain were gas-only, in typical continental style. The 2011 models will have UK-style mains power operation as well as gas. They’ll need hob electronic ignition to truly keep up with British demands, though.
Far more important to some, the Rimor range’s headroom is two metres, which is taller than any other caravan on the UK market. Rimors, thus, top the table in one way!
This review was first published in the December 2010 issue of Go Caravan magazine