Italian brand Rimor has launched a new coachbuilt range based on the latest Renault Master, with rear-wheel-drive and a choice of three engine outputs.
Three Koala Elite models will be available, all on right-hand drive chassis (or left-hand-drive if preferred), with generous specifications and ultra-competitive prices. Hull-based Motorhomes and Caravans is acting as UK importer, and talks are under way to sign up more retailers across Britain.
We saw the three new models in the metal at the recent launch event in Paris and they certainly looked impressive.
As standard, the Koala Elite's Renault Master base vehicles include a 2.3-litre turbodiesel engine producing 125bhp, ABS, double airbags, electric windows, electric mirrors, a radio with steering wheel controls and USB/MP3/Bluetooth connectivity, an adjustable driver’s seat, an on-board computer, cruise control and swivelling cab seats.
Highlights of the conversion include the use of space-saving Webasto compressor fridges to free up room for storage, energy-efficient electrical systems from Nordelettronica and completely new designs for washrooms, kitchens and bedrooms.
Autocaravans Rimor is based in Poggibonsi in Tuscany, Italy, and was an established presence in the UK before financial problems in 2013 led to it temporarily fading away from dealer forecourts. Thanks to new investment, the brand has been rebooted, with successful back-to-back NEC shows under its belt and ambitious plans for the future. Rimor says it will build 1600 motorhomes this year, 1200 of them on the Renault Master.
The new range replaces the Koala line-up and sits in the middle of a portfolio that includes Seal, Katamarano, Europeo and the memorably monikered Super Brig – names that will be familiar to many motorcaravanners in the UK and which will also be available in the UK in 2015.
Rimor joins compatriots Roller Team in bringing Italian design flair to the UK – at affordable prices. The construction quality of both brands, and their willingness to build large, multi-berth vehicles, sees them used in many a motorhome hire fleet.
The lead-in model is the Koala Elite four-berth 655, which has a rear French bed and offside corner washroom, plus a transverse drop-down double bed in the lounge, on a 6.55m-long body length.
Next up, the Koala Elite 698 sports twin beds over a large rear garage, as well as a spacious overcab double at the front. The rear single beds can also be used as a double. A nearside washroom with separate shower compartment, plus an offside kitchen and L-shaped front lounge, complete the layout. Overall length is just under 7m long.
The largest ’van in the range is the 7.22m-long Koala Elite 722, which has six berths: a transverse double at the rear, another double over the cab, plus a make-up double in the lounge. Like the 698, it has a nearside washroom with a walk-in shower compartment, opposite an offside midships kitchen. Storage space is generous, with a large wardrobe and a whopping rear garage – it would surely be hard to find a larger pair of garage doors.
Prices for all three Koala Elite models are an eye-catching £37,995. On-the-road charges (delivery and registration) of £1600 push these prices up to £39,595, but they will still come in under the £40,000 barrier, making them very competitive against UK-produced budget motorhomes. All Koala Elite models have MTPLMs of 3500kg.
Base vehicle upgrades include cab air con (£1200), a 135bhp engine upgrade (£1300), a 150bhp engine upgrade (£1500) and automatic transmission (£1100, available on the 125bhp and 150bhp engines only). All prices include VAT.
In a market dominated by conversions on the front-wheel-drive Fiat Ducato (accounting for 83% of all new European-manufactured motorhomes), the new Rimor Koala Elite offers something quite different – rear-wheel drive using double wheels on the rear axle. This will endear the range to motorcaravanners looking to tow vehicles or trailers behind their ’vans, or those requiring spacious rear garages with large loading capacities, for which the Koala Elite 722 in particular will surely be appealing.
The third-generation Renault Master is the best-selling light commercial vehicle in France and has been well received around the world. Like the Ford Transit, it can be specified in rear-wheel-drive or front-wheel-drive – good news for motorcaravanners looking for the handling characteristics and pulling power of rear-wheel-drive, whose alternative options in this base vehicle sector comprised the Iveco Daily and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.