Andrew McPhee

See other motorhome reviews written by Andrew McPhee

Find out what the experts make of the Eriba Car Emotion 693 only in the review from Practical Motorhome

Design

Eribas are essentially badge-engineered Hymers, with significant differences in colour schemes and interior treatment. At 7.1m this is the biggest model in the mid-priced, Ford-based, low-profile range.

Eriba’s aluminium-skinned, Isosafe bonded walls have steel rather than wooden frames, making for greater rigidity. The low-profile mould grafts seamlessly to the Ford Transit cab, and both cab and caravan body on our test ’van came with the silver paintwork option (part of the £2495 Plus pack). Its flat, caravan-like rear panel is offset with attractive light clusters in the bumper. The electric step cannot be retracted from the driver’s seat, though, which could prove frustrating over time.

Exterior access to the services is well planned. We liked the location of the gas locker, set low into the skirt on the UK offside, at the rear. A simple plastic flap folds downwards for ease of use when changing bottles; and the exterior locker door, which opens through 180º and is self-supporting, locks to this flap.

There’s a garage door on the driver's side, at the rear, but the storage space it opens onto doesn’t have the kind of clearance suitable for storing bikes and suchlike.

The fresh water tank is onboard, under the rear passenger seat. The rigid waste water pipe has a wide-bore drain valve, and there’s a neat clip in the gas locker for an extra drain hose attachment. The Thetford locker is not sealed (the bathroom floor is raised), and peering in we could see the habitation floor and 
its pipework underneath – that’s not great in the event 
of unexpected leaks.

On the road

All the ’vans in the Car Emotion range are powered by the Ford 2.2-litre TDCi 110bhp engine, with the option of an upgrade to the 2.4-litre 140bhp unit (£1495). Our test ’van was powered by the latter. The chassis is rated at 3500kg as standard, with the option of 
an upgrade to 3850kg.

In many ways the Ford cab is preferable to the popular Fiat. With its multiple drinks holders and improved safety levels – twin airbags come as standard – it caters well for couples covering long distances. Also, very few UK-specified Fiat ’vans come with the multimedia pack with radio controls on the steering wheel, whereas this is standard in the Ford. Its ride on the road is less hard than the Ducato’s, too.

There are neatly concealed seat-belts for rear passengers, and cab air-conditioning is part of the Plus pack; so too are wood-effect dashboard inserts, painted front bumper, electric windows and mirrors, and an entrance door security lock.

Lounging & dining

The big, island-bed layout at the rear naturally puts the squeeze on space elsewhere in this ’van. The washroom sits amidships, opposite the habitation entry door, and the small kitchen unit faces a half-dinette up front. All the habitation windows are fitted with flyscreens and blinds, and the cab has integral blinds.

The seating arrangement up front means that the swivel cab seats come into play at mealtimes. Unfortunately our test model had not got the swivel version of the passenger’s cab seat installed, but it will be available in standard production models. The table, which clips into a rail on the side wall, has a swing-out extension, and four people can eat comfortably here.

A TV bracket lowers through the underside of the overhead locker, above the dinette seats, and there are plenty of downlighters over the lounge area (in the rooflight surround and over the lockers) and colourful LED strip lights. Truma’s compact series Combi 6002EH boiler provides the space- and water-heating.

Kitchen

The kitchen in the 693 is well-equipped for a Continental ’van and comes with a large, 150-litre AES fridge. There’s a three-burner hob and a Smev oven and grill, all with spark ignition. A three-pin socket sits on the underside of the overhead locker, as do three downlighters, but there’s no extractor fan.

There’s not much in the way of workspace, but the sink cover doubles as a chopping board and the mixer taps would not look out of place in a show home. The large locker underneath houses two large, wire, storage baskets. All in all, it’s a functional kitchen.

Sleeping

A child-sized bed can be made up by removing the lower part of the two-piece table leg and clipping the table onto the lower of the two sidewall rails.

The rear island bed takes centre stage, though. A step up into the bedroom – underneath which is housed all the usual pipework – still affords 180cm of headroom. The overhead lockers are attractively shaped to make the area feel circular, and panoramic windows on both sidewalls flood the space with light.

The locker space above the bed on the rear wall allows just enough headroom for a six-footer to sit upright in bed and read the paper.

Washroom

The sink unit in the cleverly designed washroom rotates through 90°, then a rounded shower door slides to meet a second, fold-out partition door to create a large, self-contained shower space. A large, integral strip light illuminates the room, and a new C-250 Thetford toilet takes pride of place.

Blown-air heating is ducted to the bathroom, and large wooden lockers provide plenty of space for toiletries.

Storage

The main storage space is under the rear double bed, which lifts and self-supports on gas struts. There are wardrobes either side of the island bed, an overhead locker above the refrigerator stack, and plenty 
of overhead lockers above the lounge. A sliding tambour door in the base of the rear bed is suitable for a few smaller items.

Technical specs

Sleeps3
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload600kg
Length7.1m23′4″
Width2.35m7′9″
Height2.79m9′2″
Waste water110L
External Options
Aluminium sidewalls, Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Washroom
Thetford C-250 toilet, Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Truma Gas Blown air heater, Truma Gas water heater

Verdict

With all its quality, good looks and equipment, this is an impressive overall package.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Outstanding build quality; generously proportioned shower space in a quietly innovative washroom.

Cons

  • Electric step does not self-retract; Thetford toilet locker is not sealed.
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