Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £56,690 Berths: 4/6 Travel seats: 2/4 Length: 7.25m Width: 2.35m Height: 3.03m (Lo-Line), 3.10m (Hi-Line) Gross weight: 3,500kg (3,650kg option) Payload: 300kg
Imala is now Auto-Trail’s most expansive range. There are 10 models, some with options of up to six seatbelts and six berths. You can have overcab lutons with an ‘upstairs’ bed – called Hi-Line – or a Lo-Line with lockers instead. All are based on the Fiat Ducato, with a 120bhp Euro 6d engine as standard.
The Sevel cab is just one factor that now distances the Imala from the cheaper Tribute coachbuilts, which for 2020 have moved onto the Ford chassis. Previously, the two ranges were very closely related, with the Imalas getting extra spec and plusher interiors.
The example shown here has the optional, family-orientated, half-dinette (HD) seating arrangement which adds two rear travel seats for an extra £825 (but also reduces payload by 35kg). What it doesn’t show is how colourful the latest Auto-Trails can look, with a choice of six cab paint schemes – white, grey, silver, black, red or gold.
All models have been updated for the new season with a new habitation door. A new entrance step is illuminated and there’s an external step, too, as the floor level is quite high. The latest décor is Moyet Oak furniture with two-tone curved upper locker doors and new Imogen upholstery and accent cushions in a selection of five colours.
It’s the arrival of two HB – that’s High Bed – models that we’re focusing on here, though. This is the 730, with an island bed, but there’s also a new 734 HB with twin beds. Here it’s a slim rear garage – 0.69m wide – with almost a metre of internal height and tall, narrow loading doors on either side.
With a payload of just 265kg as reviewed, most buyers will need to carefully consider going for a gross vehicle weight upgrade.
Fortunately, a 3,650kg chassis will give you an additional 150kg capacity at no extra cost.
At the opposite end of the 730, the Hi-Line overcab includes a 1.90m by 1.20m double bed with half the bed base sliding back to ease the walk-through to the cab. Headroom for sleepers reduces towards the front but the sunroof above is unusually large for this type of motorhome.
Down below, the HD version’s travel seat has more shape to its backrest than most and the layout has a nearside settee, while the wall-mounted table has a swing-out extension leaf for mob-handed dining. The optional Media Pack (£1,299) adds a flip-down TV in the cab, plus Zenec Xzent touchscreen head unit with motorhome-specific sat-nav, DAB+ tuner, Bluetooth and colour reversing camera.
This Imala’s kitchen is centrally located on the offside and it’s the winning feature of the model. It comes with a full cooker with mains hotplate, three gas rings and a separate grill and oven.
Above is a Russell Hobbs microwave but it’s the acreage of worktop that really impresses. There’s good high and low-level storage, too, but just two small drawers. The fridge is a Dometic 8-Series with slightly underwhelming 96-litre capacity but the removable freezer section makes it more flexible.
Opposite, the washroom is light and bright with a large opening window and a separate shower. Then, the rear bedroom (with concertina privacy screen) completes the floorplan. The bed itself isn’t large, at 1.84m by 1.30m, and its radiused foot further reduces mattress size.
The bed slides back to create a comfortable reclined relaxation space but when flat it leaves access on the offside especially tight. A smart new headboard and reading lights are pluses, and a mirror and TV point are at the opposite end of the bedroom.