The Benimar Mileo 264 is very versatile and can successfully be a two-person tourer or a family motorhome
Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 280kg
For 2017, the UK Benimar selection has been revamped and extended, adding five new Ford-based Tessoros, as well as three new models (two of them overcabs) to Mileo’s previous tally of 10. Marquis’ influence had already seen the Spanish vehicles anglicised, chiefly by installing the habitation door on our nearside (not on the Tessoros) and upgrading the kitchens.
The Fiat base here comes with the Ducato’s lower, camper-specific chassis. Items featured on many other options lists are included under the bonnet and in the cab, starting with the 150bhp engine. As standard, it’s mated to a manual gearbox, but the Comfort-Matic robotised ’box is an option at £1,750.
In fact, it won’t take you long to go through the options list, as the only other extras on offer are two chassis upgrades (3,650kg or 4,400kg) and faux leather upholstery.
To the cockpit, and here there’s automatic lights and wipers, a touchscreen DAB stereo, traction control, chromed instrument surrounds, a leather steering wheel with radio controls and a rear view camera system. Also included are cab air-conditioning, passenger airbag and cruise control.
Four berths – in two fixed single beds in the rear and a drop-down double over the lounge – bestow the Mileo with plenty of versatility, including use for family holidays. If just two are on board the double can be left stowed and out of the way.
The overall layout is conventional, with the kitchen and en suite sandwiched in between the aforementioned lounge and bedroom.
External styling sees a fairly typical low-profile shape, albeit with some nice features that are extras on some other brands. The black front grille and skidplate and the alloy wheels add some style, while both the daytime running lights and the rear road lights are LEDs. Inside, the sea of brown and beige is relieved by white on doors, table and worktop. The overall effect is sharp and modern, rather than country cottage cosy.
The standard-fit overcab sunroof is welcome as the drop-down bed removes the ability to have a lounge-illuminating rooflight. The cab seats swivel to face a column-mounted table and an inward-facing side seat, plus the expected two-place travel seat. A short seat extends towards the cab on the offside, creating an L-shape with the travel seat but, like others, it’s a bit narrow and perch-like. Televisual entertainment can be had in reasonably easy fashion, thanks to the TV bracket mounted just inside the habitation door. This adjusts, but doesn’t extend very far out, so viewing from the lounge might be limited.
In the kitchen, you’ll find a Triplex half-height stove, two gas burners, a mains hotplate and a microwave. Storage of kitchen stuff starts with the 149-litre fridge. There’s a decent-sized slab conveniently located between the sink and stove. It is in the corner, but I found it worked reasonably well.
Storage does well, too. Because of the location of the drop-down bed, there’s only room for a quite narrow locker above the galley, but below there’s a range of useful drawers, as well as a tall, slide-out larder. There’s also a deep locker across the way and above the microwave. Last but not least, ventilation is ably taken care of by a powerful, multi-speed, suck-or-blow roof fan.
The bathing facilities are, traditionally for this layout, divided across the aisle and thus provide an en suite to the rear bedroom. The washroom is enclosed by a wide-opening tambour door, which makes the room very comfortable to use with the door open. There’s plenty of counter space, good storage and a swish new Thetford loo that’s claimed to have ‘the most comfortable seat on the market.’ Across the aisle, the separate shower is a good size, with twin rigid doors and a duckboard.
All is very straightforward in the rear. Both single beds are comfortable, nicely long, a good width and there’s plenty of headroom to get sat up to read the paper. There are no shelves for water or specs, though, and the very large, central wardrobe blocks any view of your partner. The drop-down double is manually operated, so there’ll be none of the problems that I’ve experienced recently with sometimes unreliable electrical systems. At 6ft 2in, this double bed is a good length and it’s wide at the head end (4ft 7in), but it does narrow towards the foot (down to 3ft 10in), so try before you buy. Thanks to the kitchen unit below, the bed also rests quite high and a ladder is needed for access. Headroom in bed is adequate.
Lift either single bed base and you discover a surprisingly large space that drops and extends right across the rear. On the nearside, there’s a spare wheel, tucked in cosily away from road dirt. The bed carcasses also house two very large drawers, so overall storage is good for everything apart from the carriage of full-sized bikes. But even that’s been thought about as, outside, the rear panel is pre-fitted with bike rack mounts.
This Mileo is well served by its life support systems. Tank sizes are generous, there’s a 100W solar panel and the heating system chucks out 6kW and runs on gas, mains electricity or a combination of the two. Only a lack of ceiling-mounted lighting in the kitchen loses marks. If you’re planning to use it as a four-berth, however, you’ll almost certainly need one of the chassis upgrade options (and a C1 category driving licence) as the standard payload is just 280kg.