The GRP-clad Rapido has a busy external appearance, with lots of access doors, decals, mouldings, and even a smart pair of running boards to aid access to the cab. It’s a good-looking design, though, and its rugged, ‘Tonka toy’, design style is distinctive.
On the road
The Rapido does not have any wood-effect trim fitted to some other Fiats and achieves a beautifully simple look. It also boasts a pair of smart Aguti cab seats. These are not just for looks, though – they also lower the driver’s eye-line, which is no bad thing in a Fiat cab. The seats are also very comfortable and good for taller drivers. Their compact size also makes for easy rotation of the seat. Standard specification includes air conditioning, ABS and anti-skid control, cruise control, cab electrics and a CD player, as well as a 2.8-litre engine. Finally, it comes with an Al-Ko chassis conversion for a lower floor, wider rear track and greater stability.
Lounging & dining
The Rapido boasts a single side-facing seat behind the driver opposite the dinette. Pale upholstery really brightens the interior, but in practical terms, it may show grubby marks in use and look shabby over time. Where the lounge suffers a little is in respect of the seat height, exacerbated by its Aguti seats, which sit lower than the standard Fiat items. However, they flick around into the lounge position with minimal effort and slide into the table pretty well.
The table is something of a work of art, providing a flat surface, without the need for lumps of lumber having to be lifted and stored away while in transit. The spring-loaded table extension simply slides out from underneath and lifts up flush with the main table surface.
A minus point is the lack of leg room beneath the dinette table. The gas-locker eats into the space under the table, which means the seat nearest the wall is at best compromised and at worst downright uncomfortable.
The kitchen is behind the habitation door, on the offside. It has a large 150-litre fridge freezer at the foot of the offside bed, which leaves room for an oven under the worktop. However, this is placed directly opposite the washroom door, making it slightly tricky to access.
Despite this, though the detailing is thoughtful. For instance, a small pull-out work area under the sink serves as useful food preparation space, while the deep open-sided drawer beneath provides acres of storage space for food tins and eight wine bottles. There is also a drop-in fabric bin suitable for dry waste, or fruit and vegetables. Beneath the oven is another large locker, but there’s only one overhead locker as the other is for a TV set.
The Rapido offers good access to the bed area – at the expense of garage size – and it has the feel of a good quality hotel room. You can make the two single beds into a double by pulling the aluminium frames from beneath the mattresses and using the infill cushions to make up a double bed. Even though the wardrobe sits partially between the two singles, the made-up double is so big, it can be used transversely.
There is the option of an occasional single bed at the front of the ’van. It’s always useful to have an extra bed, but ultimately, the beds are not that great and the Rapido’s in particular is heavy and cumbersome to make up.
This area is a little short on floor space but the same criticism can be levelled at the Rapido. It is similarly well appointed, but the sliding shower door is not all that handy, and the stepped shower floor may be awkward for some.
The washroom feels small, too, because there are few mirrors and dark wood. The shower feels luxurious and the Thetford is usable without having to swivel the bowl, unlike the others on test here.
There’s ample storage space for all but the heaviest packers. There are many nice touches such as towel rails and coat hooks– the sort of details easily missed but which make a difference to day-to-day living in a motorhome. For overcab storage, there’s one corner cupboard and open shelves.
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Oven
Thetford C-200 toilet, Separate shower cubicle
Pricey, but great value and impressive. However, the cramped dinette floor may put off some buyers.