Sarah Wakely
Editor

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You can be sure of high quality in this Carthago offshoot, but does the 
German brand’s latest two-berth live up to its name? Sarah Wakely steps inside.

Overview

Heard of Malibu? This German brand may not be that well known here in the UK, but mention its parent company, Carthago, and things become that bit clearer.

Malibu is a sub-brand of the German manufacturer of luxury motorhomes, representing a more affordable (yet still beautifully built) route into the van conversion market.

Among its 2020 offering is the model tested here, the Charming Coupé 600 DB. It also has a sister model – the 640 LE - that features two single beds or a longitudinal double at the rear, instead of the 600 DB’s transverse double.

Design

Carthago’s regular ranges simply ooze luxury and quality, and there’s a good dose of both to be found in this van conversion, too. The standard-fit Barcelona/Antara cream and brown upholstery looks very elegant and hardwearing, while the softly striped flooring contrasts beautifully.

On the road

UK models get right-hand drive, and we think it’s worth upgrading to the £2560 Chassis Package, which gives you parking sensors, cruise control, cabin blackout system, a flyscreen on the habitation door, cab and lounge speakers, and a host of other kit.

The Style Package adds a leather steering wheel, 16-inch wheels, painted bumper and more for £630.

Either way, with no storage area above, the cab feels spacious – the wealth of storage in the rest of the ’van means you shouldn’t miss it, either.

Lounging & dining

Up front is a dinette with two belted seats; both of the cab chairs swivel, and an extension can be pulled out from the table between the two seating areas to allow four to dine in comfort.

The table feels sturdy and solid; while the dinette seats are a bit upright for an evening spent lounging, a couple should find the cab chairs very comfortable.

A Midi Heki skylight helps keep the area illuminated during the day, with indirect ambient lighting at night. The latter is part of the Main Cabin Package (£1035), which upgrades the heating to Truma Combi 6, and provides a lashing system in the rear storage area, improved ceiling lining, insulated waste-water tank and more.

Kitchen

The kitchen is located on the offside, by the wide entrance door. It’s small, but neat, with a two-burner gas hob with a glass cover, and a sizeable sink. Workspace is at a premium, although it is enhanced by a lift-up extension. A clever feature is the dustbin inside a drop-down-door locker below, thus helping to prevent spills from rubbish.

A generously sized absorption fridge, exclusively designed for Malibu, sits alongside the kitchen; there’s no oven fitted, though.

Sleeping

The 600 DB is a two-berth as standard, and the sleeping area is made up of a transverse double bed that stretches across the back of the ’van; at 1.95 x 1.58m (narrowing to 1.4m), it’s a good size and comfortable, too. Which brings us neatly to the windows at the head and foot of the bed – we love the porthole-style frames, which are a £430 option. Unfortunately they only open on one side of the ’van, but they are an unusual design touch.

Washroom

Washrooms are one area in van conversions that can suffer, because of the dearth of space – but not so here. This model (as well as the 640 LE) has Malibu’s '3-in-1' flexi-bathroom; this allows you to swing the toilet away when it’s not in use, creating a large space for a shower cubicle (featuring two plugholes). Malibu claims this is ‘the biggest bathroom in its class’, and it certainly feels very spacious.

Storage

Storage throughout the 600 DB is good: there’s plenty of space to stow bits and bobs below the double bed, and you can also choose the optional removable double floor here (for £105).

There’s a double floor compartment beneath the lounge seating area, and lots of lockers and drawers elsewhere.

Technical specs

LayoutVan conversion, transverse bed
Sleeps2
Travel seats1
MTPLM3300kg
Payload525kg
Length6m19′8″
Width2.05m6′9″
Height2.59m8′6″
Engine (capacity)2300
Fresh/waste water100L / 92L
Leisure battery80 Ah
Gas tank size11kg
Kitchen Equipment
2-burner gas hob

Verdict

There’s a lot to love here. For starters, this van conversion is built by one of Europe’s most respected manufacturers, and that quality shines through. 

There are compromises you’ll need to make – the kitchen isn’t huge, for example, and you could get your feet damp if you want to use the toilet after someone has showered. 

The options list is lengthy, and it would be easy to find the cost ramping up rather quickly. But you will at least know that you’re getting both style and substance.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Quaity build and stylish design

Cons

  • Kitchen is on the small side

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