This is a high-class motorhome, with a price to match: £5 short of £50,000; or £4 if you take the £1 launch pack that includes awning, alarm, bike rack and TV aerial. Fifty grand is a psychological milestone that signifies A-class territory, yet we’re not a million miles away from the price of a Kon-Tiki, Cheyenne or Ecovip – and the Kimù 101 certainly looks built to last.
Attention to detail
The rear garage
The motorhome’s strong engine
Not much – it’s a pretty well-integrated package
2006 has been, without exaggeration, a landmark in motorhome design. We may look back in 20 years’ time and consider the likes of Bürstner’s Mega Van, Knaus’ C-Liner and the Hymer Van as ‘year dot’ – as were the Bedford Dormobile and Autohomes Highwayman of the time, in their own humble ways.
The Italian Mobilvetta Kimù 101 is not radical in the same way as the aforesaid German trio – neither is it angular, garish and gadget-driven. The Kimù is a living, breathing, motorhome – one that has been crafted with the kind of loving care that most of us would have put in if we had designed it ourselves.
Europe is a motorcaravanning nation divided: Britons like to sit in their motorhomes, because the weather permits little outdoor activity, while mainland Europeans bask in the sunshine or the evening glow, only returning inside to cook or eat. Yet, despite the garage and rear fixed bed, the large, centre L-shaped kitchen and full-sized washroom with separate shower, this Italian motorhome still manages to incorporate a four-seater lounge.
Step inside and you notice fresh design thinking all around: graphite-coloured removable carpets contrast with light woods, brushed aluminium trim, and simply embroidered navy upholstery. It’s a very practical colour scheme that is bright enough even for winter light conditions, thanks to all that pale woodwork, yet with tough fabrics in no-nonsense dark colours that won’t show their age.
The longer you spend in this Kimù, the more you appreciate the practical details and overall finish: for instance, the neatly trimmed edges on all the furniture and a fabric-lined, neatly buttoned bed base at the rear. It is no surprise that Mobilvetta started out as a furniture manufacturer back in the 1960s. They started with the basics and made sure they never forgot them.
Our favourite feature, the kitchen – the ‘SEA monoblock’ as it’s styled in the brochure – is just as smooth and durable as the body shell. It’s just as practical: twin sinks with hefty, flush-fitting chopping board covers and a full-sized oven with extractor fan and the now ubiquitous 150-litre fridge/freezer with automatic energy selection.
Ironically, Mobilvetta’s designers have vetoed white space in this traditionally white room. There is a large, light grey sink with tough, graphite surfacing around it and wooden lockers, cupboards and light mountings. The separate shower has grey panelling and a translucent silver sliding door – it’s a triumph of restraint, with the kind of muted feel that’s not going to hurt your eyes when you’ve just woken up. As a further example of Mobilvetta’s attention to detail, you even get a toilet brush – that’s just sheer class.
At the heart of the layout is the unseen garage, which pushes the rear bed up towards the ceiling. Silver, tambour door opens to reveal simple fold-down wooden steps, ensuring a dignified entrance from the bedroom in the morning.
Just like its rear counterpart, the overcab double bed has a substantial latex mattress and a lot of headroom, with microfibre pads providing insulation and buffering to protect your head if you sit up suddenly in bed. There are switches here for the inset spotlights and the landing light, should you need to get up in the night and don’t want to step on the dog. Ducting from the diesel-powered Webasto heating system circumvents both berths and is tastefully concealed.
Twin doors, lighting and heating optimise the terrific garage, which has a tambour door to allow full access from the living area. It’s even got drain plugs in case wet bikes, coats or other soggy paraphernalia are placed in there. There are similar plugs in the gas locker, too.
There’s plenty of storage space inside the van, too – beneath the kitchen, there’s a huge round-shaped cabinet as well as two large lockers above the kitchen. Two similarly sized lockers sit above the lounge, and an open shelf surrounds the rear bed.
|Shipping Length||6.95 m|