Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £48,995 Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Length: 5.99m Width: 2.30m Height: 3.05m Gross weight: 3,500kg (3,650kg option) Payload: 640kg
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 its entry-level Primero line-up.
The five-model Primero range includes both low-profiles (2-Series) and overcabs (3-Series), all based on the Fiat Ducato with the latest 140bhp Euro 6d engine and all, crucially, measuring just 5.99m long. The overcab models are the 301 (with a transverse double bed at the back), the 331 (with a French bed) and new-for-2020, the 313 (with transverse rear bunk beds).
You can easily tell the Primero from the more expensive Mileo range by its unpainted, black front bumper but alloy wheels are a surprise addition to the 2020 spec. Crucially, you also get a body that’s 99% wood-free in its construction and insulated to the Grade III standard, while the vehicles are NCC approved and to a full UK specification (with the habitation door on our nearside).
But, while a 2020 Mileo will set you back at least £54,995, a brand-new Primero 331 starts at £48,995. In fact, all but one of the Primero range wears the same screen price – usefully under £50k.
Importantly, you don’t have to worry about expensive packs inflating the cost – the only extra cost options here are the new Fiat automatic gearbox (a hefty £3,000 extra) and a towbar (at £1,350). A 3,650kg chassis is also available – at no extra charge – but, as the standard model has a fairly generous payload of 640kg, most people will prefer to stay on a licence-friendly 3.5-tonne chassis.
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, will compromise comfort significantly.
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, 6kW 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.