Benimar's only totally new model in the UK for the new 2020 season pairs a well-loved layout with a Ford Transit base vehicle. With front and rear lounges and two drop-down double beds, this could quickly prove to be extremely popular
Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Base vehicle: Ford Transit Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 300kg
The Fiat-based Benimar Mileo 282 has been a mainstay of the range since its launch in 2016. Its combination of front and rear lounges provides family-friendly sprawling space, while drop-down double beds fore and aft make it a practical four-berth. Meanwhile, Benimar importer, Marquis Leisure, report that buyers of the Tessoro models are particularly impressed by the Ford Transit base vehicle.
Time then to marry the two winning elements – blue oval cab and Brit-friendly floorplan – together to create the Spanish company’s sole completely new model in the UK for the 2020 season. Along the way there have been some enhancements to the spec, which are common to all next year’s Tessoros. The fuel tank is increased from 65 to 70 litres and there’s an upgraded 9in touchscreen with DAB radio, MP3 player, USB port, Bluetooth, integrated rear view camera and sat-nav.
Externally, these low-profiles gain factory-fitted bike rack mountings, while the habitation area changes are purely cosmetic. Furniture is now Marel Ash and White Style with White Stone kitchen worktops. The previous Luxor upholstery is replaced by a new fabric called Cambridge (with the option of Skye at extra cost). The most important change, perhaps, is the latest facelifted Euro 6d Ford Transit base vehicle. With its restyled grille, it looks less aggressive, while inside the new fascia further distances the Ford from the increasingly dated Fiat. Power output stays at a more-than-generous 170bhp, with a six-speed torque converter automatic gearbox available as a highly desirable option.
This remains a high-spec motorhome, too, with alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers, ESP, cab air-conditioning, cab reading lights with USB ports, 145-litre fridge/freezer, fitted microwave, dual-fuel hob with oven/grill, overcab sunroof, 120-litre fresh water tank, external shower and barbecue points, Truma 6kW gas/electric heating and Grade 3 insulation.
Inside, the front part of the Tessoro 482 layout is much as you’ll see in other models in the range, with a half-dinette bench including the rear seatbelts and a side sofa for added seating capacity on site. Both front seats swivel, of course, and there’s a wall-mounted table with extension leaf. The electric drop-down bed above has claimed dimensions of 1.90m by 1.39m but it does narrow slightly at the foot (on the nearside).
The interesting aspect – and a welcome change from fixed beds to some eyes – is the second seating area in the stern. Here, it’s a classically British U-shape with scatter cushions, triple-aspect glazing and a removable central table, rather than the L-settee seen in the equivalent Mileo model. More brownie points for Tessoro, we think. And there’s another, similarly sized, drop-down bed above (so no cushion juggling at all is required in this ’van).
Backing onto the rear travel seats on the offside is the L-shaped kitchen, which incorporates that UK-style half-height cooker with extractor hood over, as well as a continental-style tall, two-door fridge/freezer (with the microwave mounted atop). There are useful drawers for storage as well as a full-height pull-out pantry unit. Opposite, the washroom has a proper separate shower with duckboard and bifold doors, as well as a swivel cassette loo, opening window, soap dispenser, towel rail, etc.
Could this newcomer quickly rise to the top of the Benimar sales league? We wouldn’t bet against it…