Andy Jenkinson

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Read Practical Motorhome's Autocruise Alto review and get the full story on this smart three-berth, with its offside fixed double bed and central washroom

Overview

Following its takeover by Swift Group in 2007, Autocruise ceased building coachbuilt motorhomes and instead focused on panel van conversions. The Alto is one such vehicle – in this case designed for three people, but in reality most likely to be used as a couple’s ’van.

Like all Swift motorhomes, the Alto is built at the Autocruise factory at Mexborough. Here the workforce has been kept busy as demand for Swift Group motorhomes has been growing. With six different Autocruise models available, the brand offers a good choice within Swift’s portfolio. The manufacturer has a reputation for building quality motorhomes, and the overall finish of all Autocruises is hard to fault.

We took a look at the improved fixed-bed Alto layout, which is based on the latest Peugeot Boxer cab with its smart daytime running LED lights. As with all Autocruise models, you can choose to have a Fiat cab instead of the Peugeot Boxer to have Comfortmatic transmission (not available on the Boxer).

Design

Finished in silver, with bold graphics and alloy wheels, the Alto is a smart-looking motorhome. The engine is a 2.2-litre, 130bhp unit, which is both economical and perky and, with its six-speed gearbox, makes for an easy drive.

The main service points are positioned on the offside of the Alto, although the waste-water drain outlet is located near the habitation door. The rear doors open up to allow good access for loading and unloading and to the storage space beneath the fixed bed, which can also be accessed from inside by lifting the bed base.

The Alto’s spec includes a Dometic 80-litre fridge, microwave, two-burner hob and a combination oven and grill. The Combi Truma 4 heating system keeps the Alto cosy with space and water heating.

The interior’s light-toned wood cabinets are finished with high-gloss facings and chrome handles, and complemented by contrasting black and light-grey upholstery: it all looks very upmarket. After-dark lighting is taken care of with integral LED lights above the roof lockers throughout the ’van. LED spotlights are deployed over the fixed bed and the side dinette.

Lounging & dining

In the living area, a front-facing bench seat is fitted with two seat belts. The dining table hooks onto the sidewall and is supported with one leg. An extension slides out so that the table can be more easily used by the occupant of the swivelled passenger cab seat. The table is easily assembled and disassembled.

A bracket for a TV, which is intended to be viewed from the swivelled cab seats, is located above the rear passenger seats (a further TV bracket is mounted on the outside of the washroom wall, at the end of the bed).

Kitchen

The offside kitchen offers limited storage and worktop, but a fold-up extension section to the worktop gives users extra work space.

Washroom

The Alto really proves its worth with its central washroom. It’s fitted out with a cassette toilet, which is set quite high, and a shower with curtain, plus a moulded handbasin and vanity unit and a mirror.

There’s no window but ventilation and natural light are taken care off with a Heki Mini roof vent. Most Alto owners will find the washroom ample when staying on low-facility sites or when wild camping.

Storage

The comfortable offside fixed double bed occupies the back of the Alto. Below the bed is the Truma Combi boiler and ample additional space for storing large items. The Truma controls, along with a duo of chrome-finished mains plug sockets, are on the nearside dresser unit alongside the bed.

Cupboards in the dresser unit offer superb storage. The wardrobe, located between the bedroom and the kitchen, is adequate for two people’s clothing but with a third person aboard, luggage may need paring down a little.

Technical specs

Sleeps3
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload390kg
Length6.36m20′10″
Width2.26m7′5″
Height2.72m8′11″
Engine (power)130
Fresh/waste water66L / 41L
Leisure battery75 Ah
Gas bottle size7kg
Number of gas bottles2
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 2-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill, Microwave
Heating
Truma Combi heater

Verdict

While fine for the occasional trip with three people, the fixed-bed Autocruise Alto is really a couple’s ’van. Upmarket, with decent kit levels and lots of storage, this motorhome drives well and is hard to fault.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Being less than 7m long makes it very manoeuvrable
  • It has a fixed offside double bed
  • The central washroom is good for a 'van of this size and type

Cons

  • Wardrobe space is lacking, especially if the 'van is being used by three
  • The kitchen is compact and basic
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