03/02/2022 Share this review   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Motorhome review: Carado I338 Edition15 A-class

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Key Features

  • Model Year : 2022
  • Class : A-Class
  • Base Vehicle : Fiat Ducato
  • Engine Size : 2.2TD
  • Maximum Weight (Kg) : 3500
  • Berths : 4
  • Layout : Fixed Single Bed

The Verdict

If you like frills and fancy details, a Carado is not for you, but this latest Edition15 looks more upmarket, without losing the durable practicality for which the brand is renowned. The new A-class front is also much more contemporary, while value for money seems stronger than ever. This is a German A-class that’s priced to compete with conventional coachbuilts.

AT A GLANCE

Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £71,600 Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Length: 6.98m Width: 2.32m Height: 2.90m Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 481kg

Pros
  • Drop-down bed locks firmly in its lowered position
  • New-look A-class front banishes budget appearance
Cons
  • Fridge door hinged the wrong way
  • Position of kitchen mains socket

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION

Model Year
2022
Manufacturer
Carado
Class
A-Class
Range
No Range
Base Vehicle
Fiat Ducato
Engine Size
2.2TD
Payload (kg)
468
Belted Seats
4
Maximum weight (kg)
3500
Price from (£)
69600
Length (m)
6.98
Width (m)
2.32
Height (m)
2.93
Berths
4
Main Layout
Fixed Single Bed
Price from (€)
Campervan Test Date

DETAILED REVIEW

Words and photos: Peter Vaughan

The Carado I338 Edition15

Bingo callers might shout ‘young and keen’ for the number 15 but, for Carado (the budget brand of Hymer), it’s simply another birthday and it is celebrating, as motorhome brands are wont to do, with a special edition model. Aptly named the Edition15, the important point is not the lack of a gap in the title (designed, surely, to upset our proofreader), but the claimed saving of nearly £3,000 compared with a standard model that is spec’d up to the same level.

As you can get an Edition15 as a campervan, a Van (slimline coachbuilt), low-profile or A-class, it seems likely that just about every model rolling out of the Capron factory (also home to the Sunlight marque) this season will have the poorly punctuated name – and the extra kit. But there’s added interest for A-class customers as the 2022 season also brings with it a new design for the front of the motorhome. The previous look did nothing to hide the entry-level status of the Carado ‘I’ models, so the facelift is quite a transformation.

Its three A-classes are each offered in Edition15 form, this I338 being the most compact. Like its bigger brothers, it gets 16in alloy wheels and flush-fitting framed windows as part of the special spec, while a superior entrance door with a window is also added to complete an exterior that’s in a different league to its forebears.                

 

What’s included

Like most A-class models, the Carado has a cab door on the UK passenger side and a habitation door on our offside. The latter comes with a flyscreen and an internal step, so there’s no fumbling for a switch, nor the need for an annoying buzzer. Access is easy and, once inside, headroom is generous (2.07m), but you’ll note the step up into the lounge area, which adopts the higher floor of the cab. However, it seemed odd the Fiat remote locking secures only the cab door, not the main entrance.

Carado goes some way to making amends for that omission by including coat hooks and a mirror next to the door, as well as a hatch into the adjacent seat base – ideal for footwear.

Edition15 models also get an awning and a second door for the garage. Both hatches are large, but only the offside one goes down to floor level, while the dimensions inside are generous – 1.18m high and 1.00m wide. There are shelves backing onto the living area, adjustable tie downs, a 230V socket and a single small light.

Just forward of the garage is the gas locker, in which cylinders stow one behind the other, making Calor changeovers a tad more awkward. And it’s worth noting that there’s no spare wheel, although the reasonably generous payload (481kg) might allow you to keep one in the garage, depending on who and what else you carry on your travels.               

The cab

The test vehicle motored along in quite spritely fashion but it was carrying little more than me and my photographic gear. The 140bhp engine is standard, along with the six-speed manual gearbox – both new versions in this latest Series 8 Ducato. You’re more likely to be aware of the lighter steering and the new dials, but the Fiat still feels like a Fiat – it’s not a radical revision and the firm ride and surefooted road manners are retained.

Carado adds to the update with its own changes, the key one being a new moulding between the Fiat fascia and the A-class windscreen – this looks a lot neater without the previous row of screw fixings. There’s also a new cupboard alongside the driver and, below that, a new storage area for bottles and oddments.

Cab spec includes air-conditioning, cruise control, stop/start, a passenger airbag, leather steering wheel, ESP and Traction+. But, although the new dashboard design incorporates a pair of Visaton speakers, there’s no radio or sat-nav, and no reversing camera.

It’s always worth checking out the visibility in an A-class cab and the fact that the Carado immediately seemed easy to position on the road speaks volumes. The twin windscreen wipers are set up for right-hand drive but leave a reasonably large unswept area (especially for the passenger). On the plus side, the A pillars are relatively slim and the bus-style, twin-lens mirrors give an excellent view aft.

Of course, the panoramic forward view is a given and a very modest amount of habitation area noise was a further positive, making it more of a pity that the sound of the diesel motor wasn’t better suppressed.       

 

The layout

This sole 7m model amongst Carado’s trio of integrated motorhomes has a typically Teutonic fixed single bed layout squeezed into 430mm less bodywork than the I447. That loss of length makes it feel usefully compact when manoeuvring but, with the full-width A-class cab and huge glass area up front, it gets close to pulling off a Tardis-like feel.

You can’t help noticing the compact dimensions of the side-facing seat by the door, though – presumably Kate Moss’ derrière was measured for this one – but at least it makes a reasonable footrest for the swivelled driver’s pew. The cab seats rotate super-easily in this wide cab, of course, and, with their high backs, integral seatbelts and two-tone grey upholstery, they look very smart. This Nebula soft furnishing scheme – along with the matt white top locker doors – is another special feature of the Edition15 range.

The rear settee is a simple half-dinette, where you might have hoped for a more inviting L-shape, and, while the wall-mounted table can be removed, its leg is permanently attached, making it awkward to stow away for travel.

You can extend the tabletop from 1.04m to 1.24m long, however, with a simple slot-in panel that makes it practical to seat four diners here. Whether you’re eating or chilling, there’s plenty of room for a couple to get comfy and, if you’re a telly addict, there’s a slide-out bracket in the locker above the fridge – well-placed for viewing from the cab chairs but you’ll need to duck under the screen to pass from lounge to kitchen.

If you’re considering the I338 as a family motorhome, it’s worth noting the twin Isofix points on the bench seat – an all-too-rare feature.

As well as the daylight flooding into the cab, there’s a mid-sized rooflight above the lounge and a reasonable array of downlighters (including those set into the base of the cab’s drop-down bed), so artificial illumination is not found wanting.

Unusually, the inboard fresh water tank is mounted forward of the garage on the nearside, rather than under the dinette bench. In the latter position, instead, is the Truma Combi boiler (the more powerful 6kW gas and mains version), as well as some additional storage.   

 

The kitchen

As in so many continental motorhomes, it’s the tall fridge (with a whopping 156-litre capacity and separate freezer section) that’s likely to grab your attention first when assessing the cook’s quarters. It has the added convenience of automatic energy selection and is mounted over a cupboard big enough for cereal packets and the like. However, with its doors hinged from the right, it seems to favour grabbing another beer from the lounge, rather than serving the chef – if ever there was a layout that needed a fridge that opens from either side, this is it.

The main galley area is slightly further back on the opposite side, where you’ll find a decent amount of storage but only one soft-close drawer. A backlit surround to the kitchen window adds a touch of style but Carado motorhomes are more about keeping things simple, practical and durable – sans bling.

The fittings include a three-burner hob (with rattle-proofed cast-iron pan stand) and a combined oven/grill. There’s some worktop in the corner, between the cooker and sink, and more (at a higher level) above the wardrobe. A mains socket is set into the cupboard above here, so it’s the ideal place for your kettle (if its lead is long enough), but the second socket is awkwardly placed on the front of the kitchen unit, just below the hob. Better thought out are the twin USBs on the division between the dinette and the galley.

There’s a reasonable amount of floorspace in the kitchen area but it’s worth trying the aisle for size as it narrows aft of the fridge. This, of course, is where the furniture widens to accommodate the washroom.     

 

The washroom

Here you discover a key difference between the I338 and the longer I447, the latter having the popular separate toilet and shower areas on opposite sides of the layout. In the smaller motorhome it has been necessary to incorporate the ablutions into a single zone.

This creates a more open impression at the back of the motorhome, with a clear view from the cab to the back – and there’s not too much of a compromise in the washroom, which has generous headroom (1.94m) and super-sized shoulder and leg space ‘on the throne’ (swivel throne, naturally).

In fact, you twist the loo before rotating the plastic wall and washbasin to create a shower cubicle that’s completed by a hinged panel on the inside of the door. Although it feels rather plasticky in here, the detailing is good – even with a moulding to stop water escaping under the door, as well as twin shower drains.        

 

The bedroom

If a super king-size bed is 2.00m by 1.80m, this could be a super-duper king! Of course, that’s if you slide out the central support and drop in the infill cushion. You’ll need to access this vast bed by a ladder but it is huge and you can sleep lengthways or across the width of the motorhome.

Alternatively, the I338 is designed primarily for separate beds and these aren’t too modest either, the longer (nearside) mattress measuring 1.97m. Both beds are on slatted staves, there are two opening windows and a roof vent, the swivel reading lights have built-in USBs and there’s a backlit headboard upholstered to match the seating. But – you knew there was a ‘but’ didn’t you? – like so many of its ilk, there are top lockers over the bed head, so you can’t sit up with your morning cuppa.

Maybe then, you’ll put the kids at the back, and bag the drop-down bed for yourselves. Why not? It’s a good size and easy to manually deploy. The cab chairs’ backrests have handles on either side to fold them, so there’s no awkward stretching to reach, and you just slide a catch to release the bed before lowering.

Once down, the cab bed has a single light and a roof vent caters for summer nights. Best of all, the bed locks into its lowered position, so there’s no wobble when you fidget in your sleep. It even has Clima Plux plastic springs under the mattress for added comfort. And, when you wake up next day, there’s more than adequate headroom to sit up. Hurray!

The only issue we had with the cab bed was that it seemed reluctant to fasten correctly in the raised position and it didn’t seem possible to stow anything more than very slim bedding up there. Other than this, the I338 impressed with a sturdy, no-nonsense build quality that should give many years of trouble-free service.

 

Motorhome supplied by
Erwin Hymer Centre Travelworld

Tel: 01785 878787
motorhomes.co.uk


Insurance: £716
Tel: 0800 975 1307
shieldtotalinsurance.co.uk
For quote details: motorhome.ma/QuoteInfo

 

 

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Erwin Hymer Centre - Travelworld


Valley Drive
Stafford
Staffordshire
ST16 1NZ
https://www.motorhomes.co.uk
[email protected]
Erwin Hymer Centre Travelworld are proud to have firmly established ourselves as one of the UK’s leading motorhome dealerships with a stunning showroom based near Stafford just off junction 14 of the M6. With the largest array of premium German brand motorhomes in the UK market, they are perfectly placed to meet the current unprecedented demand for Carado, Dethleffs, HYMER and Niesmann + Bischoff vehicles. With more than 40 years and as a family-run business, our dedicated, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic team is ready to answer any questions to help unlock the perfect travelling companion for you and your family.

Heart of England Motorhomes


Watling Street
Northampton
Northamptonshire
NN74QQ
http://www.heartofenglandmotorhomes.co.uk
[email protected]
Burstner & Carado motorhomes. Also service centre down the road.