Peter BaberSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Motorhomes’ written by Peter Baber
Having focused for much of last year on remodelling exteriors, Rapido's main aim for 2019 has been to improve interiors, particularly lounge and bed sizes and kitchens.
Subsidiary Itineo is introducing two new low-profiles and three new A-class layouts, while Dreamer, the van conversion and campervan range, has four new models.
Rapido says the "big novelty" in its main range has been the introduction of the 86 layout, with an XL or 150cm-wide retractable island bed and face-to-face sofas in the lounge with travel seats underneath them.
This layout is available in three new models, all around 7.20m long: the 686F in the low-profile, Fiat Ducato-based 6F series (with Fiat/Al-Ko chassis and double floor), and the i86 in the high-end Distinction series, an A-class with Fiat/Al-Ko chassis, double floor and extra-wide rear track. Rapido went for a reverse L-shaped kitchen in these layouts, with the longer section towards the rear.
The only other entirely new models for 2019 are at the very top end of the Distinction range. The fixed-single-beds i1066 and rear-island-bed i1090 are both 8.79m-long twin-axles with 15cm more internal headroom than other Distinction models.
They come with external aluminium skirts and an exclusive-design rear panel; innovations inside include a heated coat cupboard and boot locker.
There have also been changes on existing models. Rapido has added an extra 10cm to the kitchen on the 880F so it now includes a 149-litre fridge. The 866F also gets face-to-face seats.
The low-profile 7065F and 665F revert to their 2017-season layout, with an L-shaped front dinette that frees up space in the rear bedrooms with their low fixed single beds.
The 80dF and Distinction ranges now come with black headlight surrounds, and armrests in the cab, which in the Distinction range includes Aguti seats.
The Rapido van conversion range enters 2019 relatively unchanged - still made up of three models - although the V43 has had its lounge extended by 20cm to make it more spacious. The vans do now have an improved rear bench seat with wooden surrounds, and storage compartments you can access by turning over the base cushion.
Itineo enters the low-profile market with two models, both 7.35m long and with drop-down beds over the dinette to make them four-berths.
The PM740 features a rear island double bed with face-to-face sofas in the lounge, and a central washroom across the 'van. The PJ740 has fixed single beds, an L-shaped dinette and an offside central washroom with separate shower cubicle. Both come with a three-burner hob and 150-litre fridge in the kitchen, and a rear garage big enough for a bike.
Options include a fifth travel seat, 16in alloy wheels and a 2.0-litre engine. The Life Pack includes an opening sunroof and captain's chairs.
Itineo's A-classes have not been forgotten. For 2019, there are two new 7.43m models, the transverse-bed TC740 and the fixed-single-beds JC740.
The TC740 keeps washroom facilities on the offside in the centre, so it can also include a large wardrobe with sliding doors on the nearside and a dressing area in front. The JC740 has a more conventional central washroom.
At the compact end of the range, the 6.55m-long FC650 is an adaptation of last season's FB650, with face-to-face seating instead of an L-shaped dinette.
The van conversion and campervan brand exported 270 vehicles in 2017 and Rapido wants to improve on that, so is looking to expand its UK dealer network. To strengthen its ties with the main firm, all Dreamers will have a new logo - 'Dreamer by Rapido'.
There is one new model in the Fun range, based on the Fiat Ducato, and three in the more upmarket Select range, based on Fiat and Ford.
The Fun D68 replaces last season's D58 and uses the Fiat extra-long-wheelbase vehicle base, at 6.36m long, to provide rear fixed single beds.
The Fiat-based D55+ Select is an adaptation of the 5.99m-long D55 with a higher standard spec level that includes a panoramic skyview roof, metallic paint, alloy rims, captain's cab seats and lithium battery prewiring.
Both it and the new 6.36m-long Camper Van XL model use Rapido's innovative fold-out shower room. The XL also has an L-shaped front dinette and a longitudinal drop-down bed, making it a four-berth with the transverse bed in the rear. This bed also comes with a removable double floor underneath, and plenty of storage.