The Ariva range has been around since 1995 and is a super-compact, lightweight tourer for two. Andrew Jenkinson checks out the latest version.

Overview

In 1995, Lunar replaced its Meteorite range, a couple's tourer that had grown in size over the years.

The replacement, the compact Ariva, retained the popular end-kitchen, two-berth layout. It was also briefly joined by a four-berth version.

The Ariva has seen off its competitors from home and abroad, and continues to be one of Lunar's steady sellers. But this is no basic entry-level tourer: it comes fully equipped with Quasar spec and is classed as one of that family.

The Ariva may be looking a little long in the tooth in terms of styling, but it seems that many buyers' priorities don't include the latest fashions.

This is a lightweight van, too, so as with all Lunars, it is well suited to the new generation of tow cars, which these days also tend to be lighter.

The brand is heading for its 25th year (and Lunar celebrates its 50th birthday in September), and from its launch all those years ago, we've always been impressed by the line-up's practical design, stable towing and easy storage.

Pitching and setting up

This is indeed an easy tourer to tow, and its compact design means most owners should be able to store it on their drive.

Although many buyers clearly love the Ariva's very distinctive looks, is it starting to look as though it might be time for a revamp in the near future? We shall have to wait and see.

Whatever your preferences in terms of exterior appearance, the Ariva - built on an Al-Ko chassis with alloys, spare wheel and AKS hitch - is certainly on good foundations. The smooth aluminium panels are smartly highlighted by new graphics, while front and rear moulded panels are not full height.

All service points are on the offside. A Status TV aerial is fitted, along with a dedicated aerial for the radio/CD player. Grab handles, at just the right height, are easy to use. The gas locker is not huge, but you can fit odds and ends in here.

Lounge

Although the Ariva is just 2.30m wide, Lunar's designers have devised clever ways of making these tourers look larger inside than you might expect.

The lounge area, for example, feels surprisingly spacious, with excellent seating, complete with a selection of scatter cushions and bolsters for extra comfort. The central chest of drawers has a slide-out coffee table and there is a blown-air outlet placed in the base.

Access flaps under the seats mean no messing about with cushions to reach the bedding.

Storage is well catered for, with six overhead lockers, and night lighting is provided by locker-mounted lights and LED spotlights, which come with a handy USB point.

You also get a radio/CD player in the lounge, neatly hidden away in one of the overhead lockers.

There may not be a sun roof here, but Lunar does fit a large Heki in the Ariva, which allows light to flood in and provides excellent ventilation.

Overall, for two on tour, the Ariva's lounge is pretty much all you could require - very comfortable, especially with its stylish, high quality upholstery and finishes.

Kitchen

Based on the firm's well-proven end-kitchen layout, the Ariva manages to pack a lot into a relatively small space.

A full oven is fitted, along with a dual-fuel hob and a large stainless steel sink.

Generous cupboard storage is provided, and that's because the fridge has been relocated to the base of the wardrobe.

This is a Dometic fridge and is ample for the food of a couple on a long tour. Two overhead cupboards are also included, offering even more storage.

The Ariva has a microwave fitted in the side dresser; we thought it was situated at just the right height for most users.

There is more storage here, in a cupboard and drawer, plus a locker above the microwave.

There is also a well-placed mains/12V socket here, and a TV aerial socket for the Status. The kitchen in the Ariva really is impressive, especially in such a compact tourer.

Washroom

At first glance, the corner washroom may not seem very modern; but when you take a closer look, you realise this well-designed area provides perfectly practical facilities.

The large window lets in natural light and ventilation while the handbasin is fitted with a vanity unit, providing a little more storage space.

A Thetford electric-flush swivel-bowl toilet is also fitted.

Some buyers might find the washroom a bit dated, but we think it works and it's a good size in this compact layout.

Beds

The Ariva has two bed options: seating in the front lounge can be made up into two singles, although if you've over 6ft tall, they might prove a bit short.

If you prefer to make up the double bed, the Ariva provides metal frames that simply pull out from each side to bridge the gap and easily convert the settees into a 6ft 1" x 5ft 11" bed. The settee cushions are very deep, so either option should prove comfortable.

Storage

The Ariva scores well in terms of storage for two, providing a sizeable wardrobe (although hanging space is a bit restricted owing to the fridge in the base).

Overhead locker storage is excellent, as are the cupboard and chest of drawers - always a useful spot for smaller items.

The side dresser is also generously sized, and the kitchen can't be faulted in this area, either. Only the washroom lets the side down a bit, but we would overlook this, when taking into consideration the overall storage in the Ariva.

Technical specs

Berth2
MiRO836kg
Payload114kg
MTPLM950kg
Interior length5.54m
Shipping length6.88m
Width2.3m

Verdict

No wonder the well-planned Ariva has had such longevity. Its size makes it an easy tow, and if you want more living space, just add an awning. With that great spec and good storage, its continued popularity is understandable. Now, how about a four-berth?

Conclusion

Pros

  • Excellent kitchen
  • Great spec
  • Easy to tow and store

Cons

  • Looks a bit dated
  • Washroom storage is limited