Andrew McPheeSee other motorhome reviews written by Andrew McPhee
Read Practical Motorhome's review of the Eura Mobil Profila Alcove 580LS
Potential buyers of coachbuilt motorhomes, working to a budget, can choose between many fairly predictable models which, although offering great value for money, are nevertheless low on technology.
Those keen on both may have to search a little harder before they come across such potential gems as the Eura Mobil Profila Alcove. The Profila is based on the Ford Transit cab, so buyers get many of the high-tech goodies – such as double floors and a GRP body – seen only in Eura Mobil’s more expensive models, but at a remarkably low price. Our review model is the five-berth end-kitchen Alcove 580 LS sold by the importer Westcroft Motorhome Centre for £30,989, which puts it firmly into mainstream Swift Sundance and Compass Avantgarde territory. Even though the Alcove is a five-berth we decided to test it as a touring base for a couple as we believe most buyers would view it this way, using the overcab as the main bed and the dinette seats or bench sofa as occasional berths for grandchildren. We test here a 2006 model but Paul Innes at importer Westcroft tells us that the 2007 model will change little and he has already placed orders for some, so supply will be good. Changes are on the way for the Ford Transit but the model you see here will be available next year for quite a while. This is particularly important as the arrival of the new Ducato cab will delay orders of many new models until Fiat’s production lines crank up to produce right-hand drive models.
From the exterior, it is a reasonably standard-looking coachbuilt with a fairly big overcab, on the attractive Ford Transit base.
The 580 LS does without the lowered Al-Ko chassis which graces the Eura Mobil Profila Alcove, Activa and Contura models but the double floor which has been built into the Ford chassis means that you get all the benefits of space and insulation along with some unexpected bonuses in the form of how the internal layout works, and that pushes up our rating of the Profila.
The layout means that the driver’s side of the ‘van has only one window (in the lounge) which looks a little bare but it certainly does not give the ‘van an appearance of being ‘built-to-a-price’ in the way that some sub-£30,000 motorhomes can look.
The bodywork is made entirely from GRP, with foam insulation and is fully winterised. The benefits of the double floor mean that there is lots of extra storage space for gear such as chairs and water tanks that would not easily freeze. You also effectively get underfloor heating thanks to the double floor through which all the heating ducts are directed to different parts of the Profila.
We liked the fact that walls and roof are 35mm thick, which is also an aid to sound proofing. Also, the GRP bodywork is easier to maintain and repair than aluminium-clad vehicles.
The Profila’s clean Continental exterior lines are echoed inside. There’s plenty of light and space and that makes the Profila a bright, cheery place to be.
The layout has the kitchen placed across the rear and also squeezes in the clever washroom arrangement called the Duo Max which incorporates a neat pull-around shower door to separate the washing area when in use. The whole thing is simple, effective and well put together.
Despite its modest length of just under six metres, the Profila has the biggest overcab in its class with 78cm of headroom and a spacious lounge with comfortable seating for five.
One unexpected bonus of the Profila’s double floor is that the height you need to climb to get in and out of the overcab bed is reduced to a more manageable distance than in some other motorhomes. The only minor downside to this is that there’s a difference in floor height between the cab and the living area of about seven inches.
On the road
It’s a joy to drive and goes exactly where you point it on the road. The cab seats are covered in the same blue material as the lounge and are very comfortable.
The Ford’s winning ways also extend to the dashboard, which has a neat drop-down cup-holder and plenty of cubby holes. The power-assisted steering is the most precise we’ve come across in a motorhome.
The 2.0-litre TDCi direct-injection diesel engine produces 125bhp and you’ll only rarely have to shift down a gear when climbing hills, to maintain progress. The floor mounted five-speed gearbox is precise and as easy to use as one you’d find in a car. A six-stack CD-player, with detachable panel for extra security, comes as standard and is a much better unit than you’ll find in many motorhomes. Despite its size, the Profila Alcove is very manoeuvrable. It is, after all, a fairly compact, lightweight motorhome and has big wing mirrors and a rear window in the kitchen which allows you to see something of what’s behind you.
Also shared with the other Eura Mobil models is the excellent level of build quality. It has a very rigid body as well as furniture that is well screwed together. Rarely have we driven a motorhome that was so free of annoying noises; we’d give it full marks for comfort on the move.
The Profila also comes with anti-lock brakes and anti-slip traction control as standard, which are excellent safety features as well as being remarkable value at this level.
Lounging & dining
The table on the other side of the lounge detaches to form the base of the second double bed. The cushions are deep and firm and trimmed in an attractive blue fabric with a colourful central weaved-pattern section which helps to brighten the space.
The beige curtains are for show only and don’t extend across. The Seitz unit is the latest version where the blind comes up from the bottom and blocks out the light. There’s also a built in fly-screen with catches that are very easy to use.
Access to the cab is down a step, and although the armrest of the seat is in the way, our testers had no problem. However, the cab seats are fixed and therefore cannot be used as part of the lounge.
There is no oven. You get only a SMEV two-burner hob, so you’ll not be dining in style, but it’s practical nonetheless. There are plenty of cupboards, though, including three eye-level units, but no worktop space once the hob and sink lids are up. We had to put the unit behind the kitchen into action for food preparation, which is only possible if you haven’t already used it for your TV. One neat touch is that the drawers are on runners and work with a pleasing precision that reflects the quality of the rest of the Eura Mobil.
The 97-litre Dometic fridge will provide adequate capacity to store provisions for a couple, and should even cope with the needs of an additional three passengers.
To allow better access to the cab, the overcab base splits to allow it to be pushed up on gas struts. The bed therefore has two 3.5-in thick mattresses, the bigger of which sits towards the front of the overcab. This split makes no difference to the comfort, which is excellent.
The roof is insulated and has an attractive red-spotted stippled pattern. There’s also a handy wooden ladder and a net to prevent you from rolling out during the night, as well as a spotlight in the overcab and a control panel for lights and radio. It’s neat and effective, and ventilation is provided by the window which has the same blind system as those in the rest of the cab. Slightly annoyingly, there is no separate curtain for the overcab, so there’s no division to the lounge should one of you decide to stay up late.
Neatly moulded high quality plastic surrounds the cab roof, which contains the curtain for the windscreen and side windows.
The lounge has the option of becoming a double sleeping area, formed by putting the base of the table across the dinette, creating the two long beds, each running along the length of the lounge. Each bed uses the backrest and the bottom cushions from the sofas, which are very effective and fit well. However, you will have one spare long back cushion to find a home for, which may take some doing, because it is too big to be stored in the wardrobe.
There’s plenty of light and ventilation in the lounge and it’s a very spacious and comfortable place to be. The heating here is provided by blown air from the combination Truma C 4002 electric/gas unit.
The high-pressure pump works well and, with a fresh water tank of 100-litres, you can spend quite some time off site.
Some nice touches have been added such as a built-in toilet-roll holder, a moulded floor, mirrors on two sides and a row of down lighters, which all lends this space a very glamorous feel. There’s also a good amount of storage room, with space under the sink and an eye-level cupboard.
The Thetford toilet swivels so that larger motorcarvanners can get comfortable, and there’s plenty of room once the shower doors are folded back.
There’s a separate mixer tap for the washbasin, and several wastewater drainage valves so even if the ‘van is not level, the washroom floor will drain.
The space also contains both of the water tanks in addition to all the electric fuse boxes. Even so, it is a large enough space that you will be able to fit chairs and a table in there, as well as quite a bit of extra gear.
It’s a very secure storage space and is lockable, using the same key which locks all the exterior cupboards as well as the main door – a nice touch which will save you having to search for the right key all the time.
Dometic Fridge, 2-burner gas hob
Thetford C-250 toilet, Separate shower cubicle
Few motorhomes costing £31,000 have a full-sized shower in the washroom ABS, ASR, two airbags, a built-in awning, a six-stack CD player and radio. It’s even harder to find one that’s so well built and drives so well – rarely have we driven a motorhome that rattles so little.
- Transit base is excellent; built quality is terrific; spacious lounge
- Tiny kitchen has no worksurface; no oven