The T132’s classic layout provides spacious, comfortable and highly specified accommodation, including an excellent washroom and Brit-friendly kitchen, all in just under 6m.
Berths: Travel seats: Base vehicle: Gross weight: Payload:
Currently, Carado offers 18 models in the UK, including van conversions, low-profiles, overcabs and A-classes, and all of the mainstream layouts, from island beds to twin singles. At 5.98m, the popular T132, tested here, is the smallest and least expensive with a classic, practical layout incorporating a front Euro lounge, central kitchen and washroom to either side, and transverse rear bed over the garage.
Externally, the T132 is neat and classy looking, with attractive graphics, and optional black-and-silver alloy wheels. Roof and rear panel are hail-resistant GRP, whilst the sidewalls are aluminium and, although a limited amount of wood is used within the body, nonetheless Carado offers a five-year water ingress warranty. All Carados come on a Ducato base and it’s clear, immediately, from the high stance and double retracting step, that the T132 has the standard Fiat chassis rather than the wider-rear-axle, lower-frame Camper chassis. A small badge on the driver’s side indicated fitment of the 2.3-litre 130bhp motor, though the 150bhp version (also 2.3 litres) is optionally available – as is a Comfort-Matic robotised gearbox.
The front lounge will seat five, with a nearside half-dinette containing two forward-facing rear travel seats, which are noteworthy for their comfort, with well-shaped backrest cushions and adjustable headrests. A removable table clips to the nearside wall, pulling out to be reachable by the inward-facing offside seat and the swivelling cab seats.
In compact motorhomes, especially continental ones, you might expect compromises in the kitchen, but the Carado T132 does pretty well. It provides a reasonable amount of work surface and a good spec. The three-burner hob’s lid adds to your work space and, alongside, the large, round stainless-steel sink with external mixer tap also has a glass lid. Below the smooth glossy marble-effect surface, the Thetford three-way, fridge has a satisfactory 113-litre total capacity, as well as automatic energy selection. It stands alongside the Thetford Duplex oven/grill, which is fitted especially for the British market. Something has to give, though, in a small space and here it’s low-level storage – there’s a large, very deep pan cupboard, but that’s your lot.
Opposite the kitchen, the washroom is bijou but brilliant. It’s one of the high spots of this motorhome. To your right, as you enter, is the loo – a Thetford C263 with swivelling bowl, set at a perfect height – and facing you is a tall, narrow, shelved cupboard in the corner and a good-sized white acrylic washbasin with a large mirror above. This forms part of the clever swing-wall. Should you desire a shower, the toilet is swivelled, the swing-wall swung and a further screen extended to create a commodious, plastic-lined shower cubicle with no obstructions and no clammy, clutching curtain.
The Carado T132 has a rear transverse double with thick individual mattresses over sprung slatted bases. In order to provide a garage below, the bed is set high, with a mattress that’s 1.07m above the floor. It’s reached by a three-rung aluminium ladder, so, for night-time excursions, you’ll need to be reasonably nimble, though there’s a safety net to stop unintended exits! Once ensconced, it’s a comfortable bed. It’s very long, at 2.10m, and of good width, at 1.40m, tapering only slightly towards the foot. And, yes, it is possible to configure a third, very occasional, single bed for a child/teenager in the lounge, utilising the lowered tabletop plus various cushions. But, like others of its ilk, it’s not a serious contender.
One of the great features of this little motorhome is its payload. It can be driven on any licence as it has a maximum weight of 3,500kg, but it can carry up to 767kg of passengers and luggage. That’s for the standard UK model – the spec here will reduce that but still leave a generous payload. So, where would you store all that gear? For clothing, apart from the cupboards above the bed (reached by climbing on the bed), there’s a wardrobe with shelving under the bed behind the ladder. It’s usefully large but slightly awkward to access and, more importantly, if you like to carry loads of outdoor gear, it makes a big incursion into the garage. The garage is accessed externally via doors on either side.