Benjamin Davies

See other motorhome reviews written by Benjamin Davies

The Murvi Piccolo review from the experts at Practical Motorhome – how does it perform?

Design

Although high-roofed ’vans can look a little top-heavy, the Piccolo has clean looks front and rear, and lots of windows at the sides. The wide-opening, sliding side door makes entry and exit easy – aided by an electrically retractable step. 
The step is controlled by 
a switch just inside the door and a buzzer sounds if you forget 
to retract it before driving off.

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

The Piccolo offers a really comfortable drive. There is minimal wind noise at 70mph, and the engine happily turns over at just 2500rpm in sixth gear at this speed, with 
a subdued and vibration-free engine note. There is also 
a lack of on-road rattles 
– a boon on long journeys.

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

Although this is a two-berth motorhome, Murvi has provided a forward-facing rear seat with two seat belts so you can legally and safely travel with four people on board. 
Forward vision from the rear seats is somewhat restricted but this is amply compensated for by the panoramic view available through the two wide side windows. Both of the cab seats swivel but the slider position needs to be adjusted first and the driver’s seat will not swivel if the handbrake is still on.

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.

Kitchen

Although small, the kitchen is very user-friendly, with good levels of workspace. This test vehicle was fitted with the £100 option pack comprising a 97-litre Dometic fridge, four-burner Smev hob and separate grill. An oven was not included on our test model but one can be fitted at a cost of £450. Instead, it came fitted with the optional (£395) microwave oven, but it is positioned above the Smev four-burner hob, which is not ideal.

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.

Sleeping

The rear seats quickly make up into a reasonably sized double bed (1.9 x 1.2m). It is possible to convert the seats into a bed single-handedly. However it did take a number of attempts before we properly got the hang of it.

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.

Washroom

The rear washroom has 
a good-sized sink and many thoughtful additions such as hooks, a towel ring and soap dispenser. The Thetford toilet has a swivel seat and electric flush, and there is enough leg room to sit down in comfort.

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.

Storage

There is a generous amount of storage space under the lounge seats and a useful place for bedding behind them. There are two good-sized, fabric-covered top lockers and a cavernous space above the cab for various odds and ends that would otherwise clutter up the lounge. Two cubby holes on the offside wall complete the lounge storage space.

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.

Technical specs

Sleeps2
Travel seats4
MTPLM3300kg
Payload400kg
Length5.41m17′9″
Width2.5m8′2″
Waste water54L
External Options
Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
4-burner gas hob, Extractor fan
Washroom
Thetford C-200 toilet
Heating
Webasto water/space heater

Verdict

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.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Smooth, quiet and comfortable to drive; superb build quality with excellent user-friendly instruction manual

Cons

  • Payload allowance is low for this class; poor handbrake position
Share with friends

Follow us on

Recently added motorhomes for sale

Most recent motorhome reviews

Swift Escape 604

£47,580OTR

The Practical Motorhome 2018 Swift Escape 604 review – 1 - The Fiat Ducato-based Swift Escape 604 has a licence-friendly MTPLM of 3500kg – it is £47,580 OTR, £49,275 as tested (© Peter Spinney/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Auto-Trail Imala 732 review – 1 - The 2018 Auto-Trail Imala 732 is a four-to-six-berth, with two-to-four travel seats, depending on options (© Peter Baber/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Adria Coral Supreme 670 SLT review – 1 - The silver 2018 Adria Coral Supreme 670 SLT is certainly a head-turner – and has a handy 3500kg MTPLM (© Peter Baber/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Wellhouse Terrier Lux-XL review – 1 - The Wellhouse Terrier Lux-XL is priced from £42,000 OTR – this example is £44,175 OTR (© Nick Harding/Practical Motorhome)

Devon Vitesse

£52,536OTR

The Practical Motorhome Devon Vitesse review – 1 - You get an unusually high pop-top in this Mercedes-Benz-based camper van from Devon Conversions (© Peter Baber/Practical Motorhome)

Auto Campers MRV

£47,500OTR

The Practical Motorhome Auto Campers MRV review – 1 - The Auto Campers MRV is priced from £47,500 – this example with its options comes to £53,836 (© Phil Russell/Practical Motorhome)