The recent arrival of our long-term Auto-Trail Imala 732 caused quite a stir in the Practical Motorhome office. Once it had been out on cover shoot duties (May 2018 issue) our Claudia and Peter returned it safely to our secure storage yard, and I grabbed the keys, determined to take it off for a long weekend somewhere.

But then it snowed.

Not much, admittedly, but just enough to scupper any plans of loading up my bike and getting away for some decent cycling.

So in the meantime, I paid a visit to the storage yard to give the ’van the once-over, check that it was faring well in the cold weather, and begin loading my stuff in preparation for a warmer weekend. We’d already made sure to empty any water out of the boiler and pipes, so everything was fine on that score. What’s more, the engine didn’t miss a beat when I turned it over.

Visiting the ’van also made me realise how much I was looking forward to spending time in it. I’m a fan of the island bed, and the one in the Auto-Trail is particularly comfortable; transversely situated, it can be pushed inwards to create more space at the foot.

I stuck the Truma Combi 4 blown-air heating on while I was looking around, and the ’van warmed up very quickly, despite the freezing temperatures outside.

In preparation for future weekends with finer weather, I brought over some camping chairs, a hook-up lead and more. Everything fitted in very comfortably through the side locker door, which gives access to the storage space beneath the bed.

Elsewhere, there’s a cavernous wardrobe and a large number of lockers. With a payload of 320kg, you’ve a fair bit of weight to play with, too.

While there, I unpacked my various bits of kitchen equipment – I love cooking, and there’s loads of room to prepare even a large meal.  The full-size oven/grill is a welcome addition, and the sink is simply enormous. 

The 96-litre fridge has a removable freezer compartment, and there’s a microwave as standard. So the ’van is ready for action, even if the weather isn’t. As I type this, the weather forecast looks more promising, so I’m confident I’ll be able to get away soon. Meantime, I’m holding on to the keys, in case my colleagues get the same idea…

More blogs about the Auto-Trail Imala 732

A new way to the New Forest

Imala shines in rain or sun