Beautifully crafted, with a cost-to-quality ratio that more than justifies its hefty price tag.
Panoramic windows on three sides of lounge; well placed gas locker; kitchen storage space.
Engine a little low on power; worrying design of seat-belt frame on rear travel seats; washbasin is oddly-shaped and poorly positioned.
The U-shaped rear lounge is perfect for relaxing or entertaining (up to eight or nine adults can be seated here), or simply gazing at the view through the three enormous windows. We were wowed by the sumptuous seating, pleasant Buckingham upholstery and elegantly moulded Acer cupboards and matching wallboards, but would change the leg-bruising handles on the under-seat storage doors.
A drinks cupboard is positioned above a corner unit of lockable drawers, atop which is space (and sockets) for a free-standing television.
By day, the interior is bathed in natural light thanks to the panoramic windows and large, rear, roof light. At dusk, a ‘rope’ of LED strip lights, plus directional spotlights, supported by dimmable mains lighting provide gentle, ambient illumination throughout.
Nocturnal bathroom visits are aided by a discreet LED strip below the washroom door. Flush-fit Seitz windows with pleated blinds and insect screens have fully fashioned curtains hanging from brushed-alloy rails, which complement the slim cupboard handles all round. A floor cupboard in the kitchen area houses a freestanding table for use in the rear-lounge or outside. We felt that the cupboard could have been a little closer to the lounge, for convenience’s sake.
Opposite the kitchen is the double dinette, with comfortable seating for four, and a dining table which clips easily onto a side bar. An extra folding leg here would allow it to be used externally, too. Any extra diners would have to eat in the rear lounge or outside, though, as the swivel cab seats do not contribute to the dining facilities. In fact, the driver’s seat swivels to squarely face the barrier between cab and dinette.
The kitchen is equipped with a glass-lidded Spinflo cooker, an electric hotplate and three gas burners with spark ignition, a grill and separate oven. The hob has a side splash-screen and accommodates four pans with ease, while the discreet extractor fan, combined with a three-speed roof ventilator, provides good air circulation. Access to the oven is slightly awkward, though, due to the limited space between its doors and the dinette seat opposite.
The AES 150-litre Trumatic fridge has a small freezer compartment and is easy to stock and clean. Above it, a tambour door reveals an eye-level cupboard equipped for a microwave, which raises the eternal question over the safety of removing hot food at head height.
The sink is stainless steel, with a single-lever tap and a small drainer with two neatly interlocking covers (but these are homeless when removed). The placement of the sink, by the caravan door, is ideal for handling the detritus of al fresco dining, and the mains socket located there is convenient for both indoor and outdoor use.
Storage is readily available, too. There are shelved aircraft-style lockers up above and a couple of lockable drawers for cutlery and the like. Cavernous floor cupboards ensure no-one will go hungry for lack of food storage space. Although the overhead lockers don’t lock, the strong hinge mechanisms keep them tightly shut while in transit.
A small step leads into this central space, which has an array of thoughtful touches such as LED light strips in both the washing and showering areas. The shower has a strong, removable hanging rail, plastic bi-fold door, easy-clean walls and adjustable shower head. However, the shower tap has no hot/cold indicator and the water temperature can be variable. A thermostatic mixer tap might be preferable.
Because the electric-flush, swivel Thetford loo hugs the wall, it prevents thorough cleaning around its base. But the washroom is good on the whole, thanks to the well-lit mirror, plentiful storage cupboards (with fitted baskets), door hooks, toilet roll holders, toothbrush mug, opening roof light and blown-air heating ducts.
However, the peculiarly shaped washbasin is a let-down. Its narrowness and proximity to the clear-glazed window mean that water splashes everywhere. The washroom door also lacks a lock – alright for two, but it might become an issue with six people on board.
The rear lounge bed is made up by sliding out the centre slats and re-arranging the cushions. It is a whopping 2.10 x 2.0m, and big enough for young teenage sleepovers. And the masses of lights and shelves make this a superb sleeping space. The dinette bed is also child’s play to make up, and very comfortable.
The Arapaho’s overcab bed would not be the first choice for some. Despite being the easiest of all to make up, its two spotlights are rather bright, there’s a lack of shelves and the igloo-like roof – with a maximum headroom of 65cm – makes getting in and out awkward, and sitting up quite uncomfortable.
A definite plus point is that, even with all the beds made up, occupants still have access to the bathroom and kitchen.
The 70cm-long, lidded, external plastic storage box is a good touch, suitable for muddy boots and wet weather gear, and it’s well placed close to the external shower point. The garage also wins approval for its LED lighting, but the space is quite shallow.
The full-length wardrobe, with its integral courtesy light, comes in for strong praise because its location above the Truma heater ensures clothes are kept well aired. The eight overhead cupboards and the under-seat storage in the rear lounge, meanwhile, offer an embarrassment of internal storage riches.
Lifting the dinette seats reveals yet more storage space, with only a little lost to seat-belt anchorage points. Both seat ends have a map pocket and, as if that were not enough, there are three more lockers above the panoramic window in the dinette area, one of which is dedicated to the ’van’s control panel, TV and Freeview box (part of the SE Pack).
|Shipping Length||8.73 m|