Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Al-Ko Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 430kg
Extra length means extra space inside, but it also equals more weight, more cost and a vehicle that’s harder to manoeuvre. So, Rapido has introduced its new ‘86’ floorplan as a derivative of its super-successful ‘96’ layout. It has the same concept of side settees up front and an island bed at the rear but shaves 30cm off the overall length.
You’ll find the new design as a 686F low-profile and a prestigious Distinction i86, as well as this 8086dF. The 80-Series numbering indicates an A-class on an Al-Ko chassis and, as well as being more compact than an 8096dF, the newcomer will save you £4,500 and 45kg compared with the larger model (although the situation is complicated because the 8096dF only comes in Premium Edition spec).
A key fact is that, irrespective of the engine or gearbox, the ‘86’ models can be ordered on a 3,500kg chassis. Of course, with a large garage at the rear, you will need all the payload you can get and here there’s electric height adjustment for the bed/garage. In its lowest position there’s 0.90m headroom in the locker, but this can be increased to 1.20m and neat slatted panels on either side keep garage and bedroom entirely apart. That generous stowage space is limited to 150kg but comes with heating, lighting and a mains socket. Then there’s more storage in the double floor across the whole width of the ’van.
Inside, despite the reduced length, the lounge remains a comfortable space for four with a generous table that folds in half to stop it being obtrusive when you’re not dining like a gastronome. New armrests on the side sofas and a flat floor right through to the rear bedroom are big pluses.
And you’re not compromised by a small bed, either. This double measures 1.91m by 1.49m, extra width being made possible by the shape of the wardrobes alongside. More space around the bed is created via a twist handle at the foot which releases a mechanism that allows the mattress to slide back, with the head end rising as it goes. Now you can sit up very comfortably and read, with Art Deco lamps providing illumination. There are bedside cubbies and a radio speaker here, too.
If you need a family-friendly motorhome, the cab houses a drop-down double bed measuring 1.88m by 1.39m. And for travel the lounge can be converted into the essential forward-facing passenger seats.
There is no separation between the bedroom and the en suite and room to manoeuvre around the foot of the bed is quite tight – these are the restrictions of a shorter ’van – but there’s plenty of washroom storage and a sliding partition shuts off the rear of the vehicle from the lounge/kitchen.
Finally, there’s a new, more angular galley with soft-closing, centrally locked drawers, a low-level oven (UK spec, not seen here), a slot-in worktop extension and a 149-litre fridge/freezer. Furniture in our images is Castello but more traditional Elegance is also offered, along with a choice of eight upholsteries.