This new Primero is aimed at buyers with a budget - it's cheaper than Benimar's Mileo range - but still delivers a comfortable motorhoming life, with a well equipped kitchen and a habitation door on the UK nearside; an important feature
Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £45,995 Berths: 3 Travel seats: 4 Length: 5.99m Width: 2.30m Height: 2.89m Gross weight: 3,500kg (3,650kg option) Payload: 870kg
The Primero range is new to Benimar for the 2019 season and aimed at the value end of the market. Significantly cheaper than the existing Mileo, Primero should compete directly with similarly priced models from the likes of Elddis, Lunar and Swift.
Coming in at under the six-metre mark, the Primero 283 looks every centimetre the typical continental low-profile. But one important feature stands out – the habitation door on the UK nearside.
Step aboard and the first view of the front end appears typically European – swivelling cab seats and a half-dinette. Unusually, though, the table is a tiny circular job. Then, as you move towards the rear of the ’van, things become increasingly British in design. The kitchen is well equipped and, in the rear, a cosy twin-sofa lounge finishes off the layout. And it’s here that the main dining table resides.
The base vehicle is, of course, from Fiat, with the lowered, wide-track Camper chassis. And the good news continues with a DAB radio, air-conditioning, cruise control and passenger airbag.
With cab seats swivelled, the front seating area has an excellent feeling of light and space. The former is due to the large sunroof above the cab, the latter most likely a result, in part, of the lack of a full-sized dining table.
Décor is in the usual neutral colours found in most modern motorhomes. However, the most noticeable feature is the fact that the cab seats are not retrimmed – they retain the original Fiat upholstery. This is one of the first indicators of money being saved. The other is that cab blackout is provided by quite modest curtains, where most ’vans would have screens or even blinds.
At the opposite end of the ’van, a comfy sofa per resident and the possibility of some quality feet-up time continue to make the rear lounge design especially attractive to couples. The lounge here is described as cosy, so the short sofas are not long enough to allow stretched-out lounging or provide alternative single beds to the transverse double.
However, beds made from twin sofas are often some of the easiest to construct, using a simple system that sees sofa bases slide together and backrests dropped in behind to complete. The same is true here, but only the nearside base is equipped with sprung slats. And just one backrest is used to help make the bed, the other space filled by the supplied pair of soft armrests.
The front dinette also makes into a bed, but this bed is only 5ft 1in long and it could do with a mattress topper to level out the surface.
In the kitchen the influence of importer, Marquis, shows with plenty of kit. As is often the case, work surface is in short supply, but this is solved by a useful, strong panel that lifts up at the forward end of the unit. The three-burner hob is partnered with a circular sink that’s a good size and comes with removable drainer. Good levels of storage feature, too, and there’s a Thetford Duplex oven/grill.
An easy-sliding tambour door gives access to the washroom. Big mirrors, good lighting, a roof vent, an opening window and nice accessories partner the practical design here with a semi-integral shower. The latter features two drains and a semi-circular rigid screen which encloses a good area that includes the washbasin.
So, the new Primero is aimed at those on a budget. But, although the specification is less comprehensive than the Mileo’s that shouldn’t compromise a comfortable motorhoming life. The new layout (also now available as a Mileo) is spacious and appealing, too.