Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 850kg
With so many motorhome ranges offering lookalike layouts, often centred around twin single beds or an island double, it’s good to find a variation from the norm. Equally refreshing, here, is to find that overcab coachbuilts are not dead – the type still has its advantages and this maker from the Iberian peninsula offers them in both its established Mileo range and its new-for-2019 Primero line-up.
The quartet of Primeros, in fact, includes both low-profiles and overcabs, all based on a Fiat Ducato with 130bhp Multijet engine and all, crucially, measuring just 5.99m long. The overcab models are the 301 (with a transverse double bed at the back) and the 331 (with a French bed). Both layouts previously featured in the higher spec Mileo range.
You can easily tell the Primero from the Mileo by its unpainted, black front bumper and steel wheels with plastic trims (rather than alloys), as well as different graphics. Crucially, you still get a body that’s 99% wood-free in its construction and insulated to the Grade III standard, while the vehicles are approved by the National Caravan Council (NCC) and to a full UK specification (with the habitation door on our nearside). But, while a 2019 Mileo will set you back at least £50,995 (the same as last year), a brand-new Primero 331 starts at £44,995. And you don’t have to worry about expensive packs inflating that figure – the only extra cost option here is the Comfort-Matic gearbox (priced at £2,100 including an upgrade to the 150bhp engine). A 3,650kg chassis is also available – at no extra charge – but, as the standard model has a whopping 850kg payload, we can’t see the need. Even travelling four-up, this is one of those rare 3.5-tonne coachbuilts in which you’ll not be worrying about overloading.
And, despite this Primero’s diminutive length, you could consider using it as a four-berth on a regular basis. There are four travel seats, of course, thanks to the half-dinette-style lounge but it’s the overcab bed that really makes a difference. Here’s an instant, always-available double (which the brochure says is a mightily generous 2.05m by 1.55m) that comes with lighting, a roof vent and an opening window. And, when it’s occupied, you haven’t lost your lounge, so you can pop the kids up there – in their own ‘den’ – and still relax down below.
When it comes to mum and dad’s bedtime, the French bed (that’s a lengthways double alongside a wall) positioned here at the offside rear is a decent size and, again, requires no bed-making. Claimed measurements this time are a more modest 1.90m by 1.36m but neither the overhanging (second) wardrobe at the foot, nor the usual tapering bed width, look as if they will compromise comfort.
Obviously, the Primero cannot match the fullness of the Mileo’s specification, but neither is this a motorhome offering Soviet Gulag levels of luxury. There’s no sat-nav or fitted microwave here, but everything you really need is standard. On the base vehicle, that includes driver and passenger airbags, air-conditioning, cruise control, ESP, electric mirrors and the wider rear axle of the Camper-spec chassis. Then, in the living area, you benefit from generous water tank capacities (120 litres fresh, 105 litres waste), framed windows, a TV aerial, 4kW gas/electric heating, dual-fuel hob and a combined oven/grill. Only the fridge capacity – 80 litres – seems a bit ‘back to basics’. The glasses cabinet and concealed bottle rack behind the small inward-facing seat in the lounge are unexpected touches in an entry-level model.