Benjamin DaviesSee other motorhome reviews written by Benjamin Davies
The Murvi Piccolo review from the experts at Practical Motorhome – how does it perform?
The fuel filler is behind a nearside flap and does not look anything like the water filler on the offside, which limits the risk of mistaking the two. The fresh-water drain tap is easily accessible at the rear of the vehicle. The waste drain is on the offside and is operated by simply unclipping the hose and directing it to the disposal point. This is easier than having to manoeuvre the vehicle over the manhole as is more commonly the case.
The motorhome’s gas supply is held in a 9.5kg underfloor tank and the side-mounted filler is compatible with UK Autogas systems. The toilet cassette hatch and mains socket are on the offside and there is an outside barbecue gas point on the nearside. Only one of the twin rear doors opens – the other has the fridge behind it.
The mirrors are of sturdy, truck-like design and can be easily folded in, which is useful when driving on narrow roads.
On the road
Power is provided by Fiat’s trusty 120bhp MultiJet 2.3-litre engine (there’s also a 160bhp version available as a £1000 cost option). It coped admirably with everything we threw at it, including some 1 in 4 gradients, dual carriageways and a selection of wickedly narrow, twisty, hilly roads.
Visibility from the driving seat is excellent, but the distance to the front of the ’van is hard to judge when parking. All of the controls are sensibly placed, apart from the handbrake which is a real stretch to release and apply. A warning buzzer alerts you if you do fail to release it fully, which happened all too often during the test.
Lounging & dining
There are two table options provided. The table can attach to the wall and this option is a good one for those sitting in the rear seats. The second configuration brings the two cab seats into play via a clever additional table that fits into a slot on the front passenger seat and swivels as required.
A fabric cover is provided to fit over the excellent, built-in LCD television screen when not in use, which keeps it protected and hidden from potential thieves. The optional Teleco directional and height-adjustable aerial provided good digital reception in most locations. However, we didn't always remember to lower it before driving off!
The lighting is excellent throughout, with eight LED spotlights and two fluorescents. All the switches are sensibly positioned, too.
The dual-powered Webasto combined space and water heating system is very powerful and can be operated on the move, using the base vehicle’s diesel engine. However, we found the heater fan was rather noisy when starting up, although it did quieten down once the temperature had stabilised.
There are three 230V mains sockets in the living area. An additional three-pin socket in the wardrobe is powered by a 12V inverter (which is live when the TV is on) and it proved useful for charging a mobile phone in the evening. However, access to it is somewhat restricted by the shaft of the Teleco aerial.
The sink and drainer unit is small but practical, and the water drained quickly. The sink is fed with hot and cold water from the on-board 16-gallon fresh-water tank and drains into a 12-gallon waste tank.
Lots of equipment comes as standard in the kitchen, including melamine crockery, a cutlery drainer basket and a chopping board. The rear window lets in lots of light and has a venetian blind fitted. At night, the three 8W fluorescent lights illuminated all the worksurfaces and corners exceptionally well, and the omnivent 12V ventilator was fantastic at removing cooking smells and steam.
The base of the rear seat pulls out and the back rest folds down flat to complete the bed. It is a quick and simple system that has been well thought out. The resulting space underneath the bed proved to be an ideal ‘bedroom’ for our four-legged companion, but the space could also be used for additional storage.
For a made-up bed it is comfortable enough. At first, we did find it a little bit on the hard side but we didn't stir much either.
There are handy reading lights, which are adjustable, situated near the bed head. We were also extremely impressed by the excellent cab blinds, which made converting the cab into night-time mode an easy job.
The room can be accessed internally and externally. This could prove very handy if you have been on a muddy site, or for a country stroll, and wish to go straight to the washroom without having to pass through the living area in your muddy wellies. You can even extend the shower hose to use outside the ’van when sluicing down dirty boots and the like.
The half-height wardrobe is large enough to swallow a couple’s clothes for a weekend. The bathroom has a cupboard under the sink and two overhead lockers. The kitchen has two deep, low-level cupboards, one of which holds an integrated cutlery tray. We particularly liked the adjustable shelves in the other side cupboard, and there were two useful overhead lockers in the kitchen, too.
4-burner gas hob, Extractor fan
Thetford C-200 toilet
This is a sound, well-designed and thoughtfully constructed motorhome. It is quiet and comfortable and very well-equipped, and is easy to live in and use, both day and night.
- Smooth, quiet and comfortable to drive; superb build quality with excellent user-friendly instruction manual
- Payload allowance is low for this class; poor handbrake position