Read the Practical Motorhome Mobilvetta Kimù 101 review to find out what the experts think of this carefully crafted, Italian motorhome

Overview

2006 has been, without exaggeration, a landmark in motorhome design. We may look back in 20 years’ time and consider the likes of Bürstner’s Mega Van, Knaus’ C-Liner and the Hymer Van as ‘year dot’ – as were the Bedford Dormobile and Autohomes Highwayman of the time, in their own humble ways.

The Italian Mobilvetta Kimù 101 is not radical in the same way as the aforesaid German trio – neither is it angular, garish and gadget-driven. The Kimù is a living, breathing, motorhome – one that has been crafted with the kind of loving care that most of us would have put in if we had designed it ourselves.

Design

There is no clever floorplan, no ‘gymnastic’ roof-bed, no concealed bike rack. Just miles and miles of curves. It’s the first thing you notice. The Renault Master cab’s bullish, yet rounded nose is the perfect match, with light grey skirts smoothly underlining the gleaming body shell. Here, the Italians have gone against the flow: in a year that grey, silver, red and blue are the new white, the Kimù is gloriously, unashamedly pure. Why? All the better to see every detail in the seamless edges, crescent-shaped roofline and muscular, sculpted, back panel. The graphics are as sparse as a doodle on a sketch pad, in a matt silver that subtly catches the light – more of that ‘less is more’ design approach.
It’s not all prettiness, though. Aside from the obvious properties of protection against leaks and delamination, that body shell hides a substantial level of insulation, with wall, roof and floor thicknesses of 38mm, 38mm and 70mm respectively.
Take the one small step into the living area and you won’t find that it’s a giant leap for motorcaravanning kind. The low-slung chassis and inset double step provide an easy entrance. The windowed door, with its substantial insulation and twin locking points, keeps out the cold and other unwanted intruders.

On the road

That low-riding chassis has some other useful traits, such as giving a 3.09m-long Luton ‘van a degree of road holding that compares favourably with many Ducato-based low-profiles, rather than the lumbering, articulated lorry-style feel of many coachbuilts of this stature. Then there’s the not inconsiderable matter of the three litres and six cylinders under the bonnet. Despite all that force, the dCi 140 engine is discrete: like a doorman at a posh nightclub; ask it to get a move on and it will, but it won’t make a noise to put an end to all conversation while it goes about its job.
A chunky steering wheel made from high-density rubberised foam and a six-speed, dashboard-mounted gear stick offer a surprisingly car-like driving experience considering this is such a hefty commercial chassis. Step out of the cab and you have the old-fashioned courtesy of a running board to ease you down to the ground.

Lounging & dining

Europe is a motorcaravanning nation divided: Britons like to sit in their motorhomes, because the weather permits little outdoor activity, while mainland Europeans bask in the sunshine or the evening glow, only returning inside to cook or eat. Yet, despite the garage and rear fixed bed, the large, centre L-shaped kitchen and full-sized washroom with separate shower, this Italian motorhome still manages to incorporate a four-seater lounge.
Step inside and you notice fresh design thinking all around: graphite-coloured removable carpets contrast with light woods, brushed aluminium trim, and simply embroidered navy upholstery. It’s a very practical colour scheme that is bright enough even for winter light conditions, thanks to all that pale woodwork, yet with tough fabrics in no-nonsense dark colours that won’t show their age.
The longer you spend in this Kimù, the more you appreciate the practical details and overall finish: for instance, the neatly trimmed edges on all the furniture and a fabric-lined, neatly buttoned bed base at the rear. It is no surprise that Mobilvetta started out as a furniture manufacturer back in the 1960s. They started with the basics and made sure they never forgot them.

Kitchen

Our favourite feature, the kitchen – the ‘SEA monoblock’ as it’s styled in the brochure – is just as smooth and durable as the body shell. It’s just as practical: twin sinks with hefty, flush-fitting chopping board covers and a full-sized oven with extractor fan and the now ubiquitous 150-litre fridge/freezer with automatic energy selection.

Sleeping

At the heart of the layout is the unseen garage, which pushes the rear bed up towards the ceiling. Silver, tambour door opens to reveal simple fold-down wooden steps, ensuring a dignified entrance from the bedroom in the morning.
Just like its rear counterpart, the overcab double bed has a substantial latex mattress and a lot of headroom, with microfibre pads providing insulation and buffering to protect your head if you sit up suddenly in bed. There are switches here for the inset spotlights and the landing light, should you need to get up in the night and don’t want to step on the dog. Ducting from the diesel-powered Webasto heating system circumvents both berths and is tastefully concealed.

Washroom

Ironically, Mobilvetta’s designers have vetoed white space in this traditionally white room. There is a large, light grey sink with tough, graphite surfacing around it and wooden lockers, cupboards and light mountings. The separate shower has grey panelling and a translucent silver sliding door – it’s a triumph of restraint, with the kind of muted feel that’s not going to hurt your eyes when you’ve just woken up. As a further example of Mobilvetta’s attention to detail, you even get a toilet brush – that’s just sheer class.

Storage

Twin doors, lighting and heating optimise the terrific garage, which has a tambour door to allow full access from the living area. It’s even got drain plugs in case wet bikes, coats or other soggy paraphernalia are placed in there. There are similar plugs in the gas locker, too.
There’s plenty of storage space inside the van, too – beneath the kitchen, there’s a huge round-shaped cabinet as well as two large lockers above the kitchen. Two similarly sized lockers sit above the lounge, and an open shelf surrounds the rear bed.

Technical specs

Sleeps4
Travel seats4
MTPLM3850kg
Length6.95m22′10″
Width2.27m7′5″
Height3.09m10′2″
Waste water100L
External Options
Awning light
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 4-burner gas hob, Oven, Separate grill
Washroom
Thetford C-250 toilet, Separate shower cubicle, Bi-fold shower door
Heating
Webasto space heater

Verdict

This is a high-class motorhome, with a price to match: £5 short of £50,000; or £4 if you take the £1 launch pack that includes awning, alarm, bike rack and TV aerial. Fifty grand is a psychological milestone that signifies A-class territory, yet we’re not a million miles away from the price of a Kon-Tiki, Cheyenne or Ecovip – and the Kimù 101 certainly looks built to last.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Style
  • Attention to detail
  • The rear garage
  • The motorhome's strong engine

Cons

  • Not much – it’s a pretty well-integrated package
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