Niall Hampton

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Detail improvements across the Carthago range plus several new models keep the upmarket brand's motorhomes fresh for the 2017 touring season

Upmarket German manufacturer Carthago operates in the rarefied €70,000-200,000 sector of the motorhome market, producing just under 4000 units in the 2016 season. Just over half its output is exported, and Britain accounts for a respectable chunk of this, with sales up by 21.1%

Carthago was founded in 1979, and started out manufacturing campervans, moving into motorhomes in 1991. Eight years later, the brand produced its first A-class. 

Originally based in Ravensburg, southern Germany, Carthago moved to its present Aulendorf location in 2013, and also has a production facility in Slovenia.

The portfolio is split between low-profiles (c-tourer T and chic c-line T), A-class (c-compactline I, c-tourer I, chic c-line I, chic e-line and chic s-plus), and liners (highliner).

And if you want to read about Carthago's sub-brand Malibu, click here.

What's changed

‘Evolution not revolution’ was a key phrase from the 2017 model year launch. A range of detail improvements were unveiled, to enhance the user experience for Carthago owners. One of the major ones was a new through-loading system that allows long items like skis to be fed into the double floor storage cavity from the sides of the vehicles. There’s also a ‘jumbo’ storage box next to the habitation door step, ideal for crates of bottles, which can then be loaded into the ’van. The water valves are located here, too, so there’s no need to go outside to perform these tasks. 

Alongside these developments, several new models were announced. In the lightweight premium class segment, c-tourer I gets a new model. The 144 QB is a 6.99m-long two-berth with an island bed. It’s joined by the 144 LE, a special edition from earlier this year, but now taking its place in the range. This is 6.99m long with fixed twin single beds. 

Moving up to comfort premium class, the chic c-line I 5.0 Suite was announced. This features a luxury washroom in front of the bedroom. The 5.8 XL is a new tag-axle model for this range. 

Fiat and Iveco engines have been upgraded to the latest Euro 6-compliant units. 

The headlines

Carthago’s c-tourer T is a low-profile version of the c-tourer I and is the most affordable route into ownership of the brand. Based on the Fiat Ducato with a flat frame chassis (a low-frame version is available as a cost option), the range covers lengths between 6.77m and 7.46m. All two-berth ’vans, six of the eight models can take a central drop-down bed if required. Standing height under these beds has been increased to 1.85m. Another improvement sees the provision of extra heating vents in the cabs. 

Fellow low-profile c-line T offers all the benefits of the A-class c-line. For the new season, the range gets a new ‘V-face’ design for the front grille, plus an independently formed front bumper. The 5.0 model, with island bed and luxury washroom, has been reintroduced, and was touted as a good model for the UK market. The c-line T is based on the Fiat Ducato with an Al-Ko low-frame chassis, and all models can be ordered with lounge drop-down bed. 

Moving into the lightweight premium class, where all models are sub-3500kg, the narrow-body Fiat/Al-Ko based c-compactline I also receives the double-floor storage compartment in the entrance area. Stablemate c-tourer I receives several improvements: 140-litre slimline fridges for the 138 and 143, which allows the side sofa to be lengthened, a new ‘bright ash tree’ furniture design, plus a new ‘epic’ option, which adds high-gloss ivory locker facings, and ‘shale’ surface to the lounge table. 

The new 6.99m 144 QB has an island bed that slides rearwards, plus a luxury washroom, a corner kitchen and a generous lounge seating group. The 144 LE now joins the range proper; like the QB it is 6.99m long, with fixed twin single beds. The nearside bed slides back when not in use, to free up space in the living area, allowing the ’van to be 0.5m shorter than a comparable model with the same sleeping configuration. 

The chic c-line I marks the start of Carthago’s comfort premium class, and is the best-seller across the portfolio. Vehicles ride on Fiat/Al-Ko chassis, and get modified ‘V-face’ front grilles for 2017. Other improvements include a pull-out box system for the ‘easy access’ storage, so regular touring kit can be left in crates and removed from the vehicles when not being used, plus a ‘Lounge’ option that offers overhead lockers in lieu of a drop-down bed. TVs have been upgraded to 24in sets. 

Two new models join the line-up: the 5.0 Suite, which has a luxury washroom in front of the bedroom, and the tag-axle 5.8 XL. A new trim level, ‘superior’, is available for the twin single beds 4.9 and island bed 5.0. This offers ‘Siena’ décor with summer chestnut cabinetwork and high-gloss cream locker facings, plus ‘Corian’ surfaces in the kitchen. 

Chic e-line goes forward with 11 Fiat/Al-Ko-based models. Detail improvements include ‘easy access’ storage with pull-out boxes, new habitation doors and door mechanisms, increased headroom (to 2.12m) and 32in TVs. Battery boxes have been moved under the double floor, rather than resting on it, to save space. Island beds are extended to 2m. Two Suite models (51 QB and 58 XL) feature a new double-door system for washroom privacy, as well as pull-across partitions to create a dressing room. The single-axle Yachting models (50, 51 and 51 QB) have their wheelbases increased by 200mm to offer better weight distribution and driving stability, as well as higher rear garage payloads. 

Iveco-based chic s-plus models also receive the same improvements: 2.12m headroom, 32in TVs and 2m-long island beds. Models can be specified as Lounge, with overhead lockers in lieu of the drop-down bed, and the Suite configuration is available for the 52 and 58 XL. A leather and wood swivelling steering wheel, to save space in the cab, is available as an option, and a new windscreen washer system has been also been fitted. 

In the liner premium class, highliner continues with two models (59 LE and 62 Q). Showers get glass doors, island beds grow to 2m, and there’s an extra externally accessible storage compartment. Options include ‘butterfly’ windscreen wipers. 

In other news

Improvements rolled out across the portfolio include compression locks fitted to rear garages, with single locks preferred to two on gas lockers. USB sockets offer continuous charging that doesn’t depend on whether the ignition is turned on or off, while additional TV sets – where fitted as options – will look more integrated into the décor. Split hob covers and splashguards are fitted in kitchens. Extendable-access twin single beds get pull-out stairways, while easy-to-use handles are fitted to drop-down beds. 

All Fiat-based models feature the latest version of the Ducato engine, which meets Euro 6 emissions standards. Iveco’s powerplants have also been upgraded to Euro 6, and automatic transmissions are available on the larger engines. Payloads are increased to 350kg, with models in e-line and above receiving 450kg. 

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