Peter BaberSee other caravan reviews written by Peter Baber
North Wales based Fifth Wheel doesn't just make fifth wheelers: public demand led it to produce the Inos caravan too, which is now in its third generation
North Wales-based the Fifth Wheel Company only started making caravans - as opposed to the fifth wheelers from which it takes its name - in 2011, and even then, only because their customers more or less asked them to.
Overall reaction has proved so positive, however, that earlier this year, the third generation of the Inos, as the caravan is known, came off the production line as a two-layout range.
That term 'production line' might be a bit of a misnomer. The company's production run is so small that each Inos model can afford to be heavily bespoke. Pretty much everything inside the caravan can be altered to suit the wishes of the customer, as some parts of our test model, the four-berth Inos 70, had been (which is why we can't list a price as tested).
There have been some basic changes to this new generation of Inos caravans, so what are they and, perhaps more importantly, do they work?
Pitching and setting up
This doesn't necessarily mean the caravan is more like a box, however, because the tailing-off decals down the side panels help to promote a sense of sleekness.
A more upright front end means more room inside as well but you would think it could also affect wind resistance on the road.
Pitching up is easy and not just because of the extra heavy-duty corner steadies you see on here. The Inos comes with a levelling system and a motor mover. Just for good measure, it also has a Tracker system and a panic alarm.
You still get a sense of space as you step in through the door near the front and enter the lounge. This is thanks to the slide-out that accommodates the settee on the offside and the bed in the rear.
An L-shaped sofa across the front provides more seating space. You even have a choice of two tables - there is a conventional table, which has its own storage space in the kitchen, and a coffee table for more relaxed entertaining. The latter can be turned into an extra stool with a fabric top (supplied with the van), so when the table is in position, you can have someone sitting on one of the empty sides.
A large rooflight and four ceiling LEDs make the interior bright. while underfloor heating keeps you warm. There is even colour-changing ambient lighting, using a remote control fob.
In our test model. the lounge included a DVD rack with space for a TV, although the standard option would be to place the TV on the wall next to the fridge.
Corner shelving and cubbyholes at the end of the settees are useful - and help to disguise the slide-out.
We were particularly impressed with the wine cabinet that drops down from beneath an overhead locker. This provides a place for drinks without you having to have one of those rather flashy cocktail cabinets. That said, this is a bespoke van, so if you wanted one, you could have it. The lockers are large, with soft-close hinges.
Fifth Wheel has extended the options for upholstery and furniture finishes. Our test model included high-gloss wood-effect locker doors, a paler but still warm wood for the furniture, pale grey upholstery and dark purple scatter cushions. You barely notice that there are no curtains, just cassette blinds and flyscreens.
Even with an upholstered finish to the boards surrounding the underseat areas, there was still room to include a boot locker.
Much of the equipment is down to personal choice, but our test model had a round sink with an elegant tap, a separate oven and grill, and a dual-fuel (gas and induction) three-burner hob above three pan drawers. Five overhead cupboards included one that housed a microwave.
There are bedside tables on both sides of the bed, each with mains and USB sockets, and some useful shelving.
AT the foot of the bed is a dresser unit with a lit 1960s-style round mirror, two drawers and an area below closed off by rather awkward plastic doors.
To the left, a Japanese-style sliding door opens out on to the largest wardrobe we have ever seen in a caravan. The hanging rail is partly obstructed by the aerial. but that is a minor issue.
The L-shaped settee at the front of the caravan sits on a platform that can be pulled out to make an average-sized double where you could put up guests.
There's not much accessible space under the lounge seats, apart from the boot locker. But because this caravan has a double floor. step outside and you'll find a large external locker stretching across the van. where you could easily house a surfboard.
It's so bespoke, the Inos is difficult to compare with other vans.
If you are after a seasonal tourer that lets you feel like you've really taken home with you, it is worth considering. But if you are prepared to compromise, so are many other vans with a much wider dealer network.
It might be worth looking at the Inos as a pre-owned option; many become available from Fifth Wheel's faithful customers.
- The slide-outs provide loads of extra space while being nicely disguised
- The caravan has a huge payload, with plenty of useful storage areas to make use of it
- The plastic covers to the bottom of the wardrobe are rather awkward to use