Andrew McPheeSee other motorhome reviews written by Andrew McPhee
Read the Practical Motorhome review of the Spanish-built Benimar Perseo 500
Transverse fixed beds usually conceal a garage below, but the Perseo 500 is different. This Spanish-made ’van has a large rear locker instead.
You can’t store a bike here in the upright position but the advantage is that the fixed bed’s mattress is low, so it’s easier to climb into and there’s more room to sit up in bed.
Similar layouts are seen in Autocruise’s Starseeker and Hymer’s Van 522 and the Perseo, too, is below the ‘magic’ figure of 6m long (5.997m). This means it can fit into standard parking bays and double as a day vehicle.
With the top-spec 2.8-litre engine, speed will not be an issue for this 3.5-tonne chassis, which takes a generous payload (a 2.3-litre engine, which would be adequate here, is also available).
We like the fresh graphics and the rounded overcab. There’s easy access to all the services, including the battery, under a flap in the rear locker’s floor. This storage area will swallow chairs, a wind break and a barbecue but you will need to dismantle your cycles and store them flat in here, or use a rear bike rack.
The internal layout leaves little room for lounging, though with the driver’s seat swivelled, the half dinette makes a pleasant dining space, opposite the kitchen. The fridge is small by current low-profile ’van standards, where 100-litre-plus capacity has become the norm. We like the neat, one-piece hob and sink unit, which leaves a small but crucial area of worksurface available (just big enough for a pan or a chopping board). There’s an attractive, tall, chromed swan-neck mixer tap which adds a feel of quality, but the lack of Piezo ignition for the gas hob is a let-down and there’s no oven or grill.
The centre washroom is, typically, an all-in-one affair – in effect a ‘wet room’ whose floor/shower tray is made from one piece of moulded plastic. Each function works well. The sink is wide enough to wash in and there is a full-size sink-to-ceiling mirror. Both toilet and shower afford adequate room, thanks to the swivel bowl, but once the shower has been used, the room will need to be dried out.
In the fixed bed area, there is no window furniture, or lockers, to prevent occupants sitting up comfortably in bed. There is a slim window, on the rear wall, to prevent the space from becoming a dark corner during the day, and it works.
The price of the Perseo is key: although it’s low enough to be considered ‘budget level’, that is not reflected in its build quality. This freshly styled low-profile would be ideal for a couple who love summer touring and the great outdoors. It has a distinctly Spanish flavour, with Benimar’s mid-market quality at an entry-level price.
3-burner gas hob
Well-priced, smart low-profile that's perfect for a couple who like touring in summer.
- Compact size; appearance; kitchen; build quality
- Small fridge; small lounge