Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £55,379 Berths: 2/4 Travel seats: 4 Length: 7.40m Width: 2.32m Height: 2.90m Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 442kg
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Carados have long impressed with their sturdy build quality and practical design. Even the enhanced UK spec, though, has often left them looking a tad plain.
Now you can have a Carado with all the toys and all hints of ‘entry-level’ expunged. Welcome to the new Clever+ Edition, offered on three low-profile layouts (T prefix) and their A-class (I) equivalents.
The Clever+ T models all get a silver metallic Fiat cab, alloy wheels, an awning and bike rack, but it’s perhaps the flush-fit framed habitation windows that make the biggest difference. The spec also includes the Chassis Pack, Chassis Comfort Pack and Basic Pack as standard, along with useful details like an insulated waste water tank.
Inside, the upholstery is different (called Nebula) but it’s the new layout of the T459 that is more important. Here is Carado’s first entrant in the growing side settee lounge market.
That aside, this island bed model has no suprises but it does feel very open and spacious inside. The sofas have a comfortable shape to their backrests but the bases are a tad high. There’s an opening overcab sunroof and cab blinds are standard, net curtains cover the lounge windows and the duo-tone grey upholstery looks plush.
The dining table folds to be less dominant in the lounge but, when unfolded to 820mm by 920mm, it feels Teutonically solid, unlike most of its ilk.
The kitchen includes a sensibly located Duplex oven/grill as well as a three-burners-in-line hob. A cutlery drawer and waste bin are provided, while opposite is the king of fridges, a 167-litre giant with automatic energy selection.
The floor steps up 20cm from the galley area to the rear en suite bedroom with the usual opposing shower and toilet facilities. The shower has twin drains, plus a tray for your shampoo, while the toilet area has lots of storage but lacks worktop around the basin. Robe hooks, towel rails and a toilet roll holder are provided.
Open the door around to shut off the back of the motorhome and a sliding door separates off the en suite from the bedroom. Importantly, the mattress here is much less rounded at the foot than most.
It measures 1.79m by 1.47m with good access around the bed, or you can extend the length of the bed to 1.93m with an infill. Then you’ll need to keep the sliding door open, but in either position there’s plenty of room to sit up in bed.
This isn’t the only sleeping space as the T459 can be ordered with a very easy to use manual drop-down bed over the lounge. This 1.91m by 1.41m bed has Clima Plux plastic springs under the mattress for excellent comfort, 580mm headroom and a roof vent above. When lowered, the bed comes partially over the galley but it is shaped to leave the entrance unobstructed.
If you’re using this Carado as a four-berth, you’ll find the conversion of settees into travel seats to be quite straightforward, although the steel-framed backrests take up space in the garage.
That, however, is a generous space for your outdoor gear, complete with two wide loading doors, internal height of 0.97m, adjustable tie-downs, a light and a 230V socket. Note, though, that the gas locker intrudes on the nearside.