The Carado I 339's sturdy quality and practical design score points, as does a price tag that is considerably lower than many A-class motorhomes.
Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £59,699 Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Length: 6.98m Width: 2.32m Height: 2.93m Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 557kg
With a considerably lower price tag than most Teutonic A-classes, the Carado I 339 had to show some cost-saving somewhere and it’s most obvious in the rather boxy styling. If that worries you, add the Chassis Comfort Package (crucially, the stylish 16in alloy wheels, plus a leather steering wheel, chromed dials and Techno dash trim) for a reasonable £669 and the Emotion Pack (Champagne-coloured exterior) at £889. Both were fitted to this example, seen at Lincoln-based dealer, Camper UK.
Experienced motorhomers will soon see past the external aesthetics and be more attracted to the Carado’s sturdy quality and practical design. That starts with the entrance – the door might lack a window but access is easy via the internal step and there’s a flyscreen to keep the mossies at bay.
The I 339 also has a rear garage area with 0.97m internal height and a maximum internal width also of 0.97m, although the gas locker intrudes into storage capacity on the nearside. Nevertheless, this is a good-sized space for an island bed layout.
It’s not the first island bed A-class model to come from Carado; there’s also the 7.41m I 449, which was introduced a year ago. The I 339 offers a more compact option and takes the company’s A-class portfolio up to three. Like all Carado motorhomes, it’s based on a Fiat Ducato wide-track chassis with the 2.3-litre 130bhp engine as standard.
While Carado is an entry-level brand, equipment levels are much higher on UK-bound vehicles than those sold on the home market. The Basic Package (which adds everything from driver’s cab door to a panoramic rooflight over the lounge) and Chassis Package (cab air-conditioning, ESP, cruise control, passenger airbag, etc) are both fitted as standard to British market vehicles.
The swivel captain’s chairs are another feature that’s included and these come with tiltable squabs for added comfort. Driver visibility is excellent and the cab side windows are huge, while bus-style (single-lens) mirrors are fitted. The windscreen wipers leave quite a large area unswept, but touch-operated reading lights set into the base of the drop-down bed above are a plus.
That bed measures 1.96m by 1.49m and has generous headroom of 800mm. And here you see the positive side of that boxy bodywork – there’s no reduction in the bed’s headroom towards the windscreen. With a roof vent directly over the mattress and a neat positive latching system when the bed is raised, this is one area where the Carado beats many more expensive rivals.
The half-dinette lounge is not as spacious as some and the side seat is probably best seen as a child’s seat but there’s a useful locker for shoes in its base. Space here is one aspect that you have to compromise on to keep length under 7m.
You step down from the lounge (which has a raised floor to keep cab and rear seats at the same level) into the galley where another UK market addition is the Duplex oven/grill, mounted below the hob. The kitchen is the usual L-shape, while the huge 167-litre fridge/freezer is opposite – and comes with automatic energy selection. The galley also includes two large drawers and a built-in waste bin.
Another step in the floor leads to the bedroom, where the bed measures 1.48m wide and 1.76m long, or 1.88m with an infill slotted in at the head end. There’s just enough room to still get around the foot of the bed, except when the shower cubicle is in use. There are shelves as well as hanging rails in the bedside wardrobes and there’s enough room to sit up in bed.
The shower itself is a good size with over 2m headroom, while the toilet door shuts off the back of the motorhome as a separate en suite bedroom. There’s no divider between the bed and the ablutions but this is one of the few compromises of squeezing such a layout into under 7m. All in all, it’s a high-quality, practical motorhome for two or four.
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