Claudia Dowell
Features Editor

See other caravan reviews written by Claudia Dowell

Twin test, August 2009

Pitching and setting up

The folding Carousel is based on an Al-Ko chassis, with 13-pin electrics. It has alloys and a spare wheel slung under the van, but these are cost options. Steadies are flush to the walls and easy to reach and the locker is easy to load gas into from the top because the lid hinges back on itself. The waste water pipe is on the traditional UK side, at the offside front corner, with the fresh water inlet easily accessed on the offside behind the axle.

Erecting the van is easy. The front, rear and side panels lift on gas struts, which can be adjusted to suit your strength. Inside the wardrobe and kitchen units hinge into place, and the lockers hook into place on the walls.

Lounge

The sofas are enormous, measuring 0.44m x 1.85m. This makes them roomy enough for entertaining and long enough for lounging. There are two spot lights and a fluorescent light on the ceiling but no rooflight. More of a problem is that blinds and flyscreens are missing from the windows. The double-lined curtains are dark enough to cancel out light, though.

In between the sofas a storage box houses the electric heater. Mains provision is good with a socket by the storage box and another by the door. A TV aerial socket is located by the wardrobe, next to the kitchen. Other kit includes a smoke alarm and analogue clock.

The carpets are fixed, making cleaning tricky, but you get two scatter cushions. Changing any of the upholstery, carpet and curtain designs is a no-cost options. At the foot of the nearside sofa is an extra table, ideal for a TV or book. The lid lifts to ease passage to the door.
Unusually for a tiny two-berth, the lounge is at the back of the van. On many hedged pitches, you would need to pitch with the A-frame pointing inwards.

Kitchen

The front-kitchen feels bright, with a small rooflight supplementing the windows. Cooks get a two-burner hob with a grill below, but no oven. The small circular sink has a handy little drainer alongside, but there is no hot water for washing-up.

Work surface is adequate. It is hinged so that you can lift the worktop out of the way to access the hob and sink. But when cooking or washing food, you have to utilise the clip-on table to prepare dinner.

Storage is good on the shelves, in the cutlery drawer and in the big cupboard below the sink. The cupboard has a shelf to separate the space and is easily big enough for a couple's food, as is the Dometic fridge.

Washroom

You can specify a Porta Potti at the back of the van, in place of the storage box and clip-on table. With this option, buyers are provided with a freestanding table.

The Porta Potti conversion is a no-cost option and the toilet is sectioned by a curtain, providing a little privacy for night-time toilet trips. A more common choice it to store the Porta Potti in the awning, though.

Beds

The double bed is just about long enough for six footers. And considering the benefits of having such a narrow van, a double that measures 1.85m long is great. It is easy to assemble, too. The base is made from four boards instead of slats that drop into place on runners. The cushions then slot in, fitting together snugly. The boards must be stored, but they take up very little room even stacked up in a bed box.

Storage

Accessing the storage space in the bed boxes is easy, thanks to slats the slide back to reveal your kit. The offside one has a wheel arch intruding on it, but no other obstruction. The nearside one, though, houses the fuse box and battery box, as well as the wheel arch.
The wardrobe is full length, and has a rail that runs from front to back. As the Slimline van is narrow the wardrobe is shallow to avoid taking up too much room, and the rail maximises the hanging space inside.

In corners and crannies all over the van there are shelves built in where they fit. Lockers line the nearside and offside walls and there are shelves and cubby holes above the lounge. When travelling, these unhook from the walls and rest in the aisle without having to be emptied.

Technical specs

Berth2
MiRO650kg
Payload215kg
MTPLM865kg
Interior length3.46m
Shipping length3.56m
Width1.72m
Height2.35m
Awning size720cm

Verdict

Handy size and cleverly designed but a few oversights inside – 7/10

Conclusion

Pros

  • Storage is great inside the van and it’s a cinch to store the van at home
  • It’s easy to tow thanks to an aerodynamic shape and low height when folded down
  • Inside the sofas are huge and, as it is built to order, you can customise the interior.

Cons

  • Equipment levels could be higher at this price – missing flyscreens is a problem, as is the one-year warranty
  • The fixed carpets are hard to clean and some areas feel a little bare
  • Finally, the limited work surface in the kitchen will make meal preparation fiddly.
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