Niall Hampton
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Read the Practical Motorhome Auto-Trail Imala 715 review and discover why this affordable, French-bed, British-built four-berth is turning heads

Overview

Celebrated British manufacturer Auto-Trail caused a stir last summer, when it announced that a new affordable entry-level range would be joining the portfolio. Hitherto best known for its iconic coachbuilt motorhomes that are a fixture on Britain’s holiday routes all year round, the Imala represented something quite different.

As revealed at the launch, Auto-Trail told how it was under-represented in a key area of the market: the sub-£50,000 price point. It also wanted to offer more ’vans under 3500kg – its subsidiary brand Tribute has a presence in these areas.

Younger buyers are the target market for these new Auto-Trail-branded vehicles, so Imala interiors are styled accordingly, while offering the mod cons popular with this demographic.

Imala sits just under Tracker in the Auto-Trail portfolio and offers five floorplans. The 715 is the only fixed-bed option; its siblings offer a choice of parallel lounges, half dinettes and rear lounges. Though normally specified in low-line form, all can be upgraded to high-line versions with a double bed over the cab at no extra cost. Their pronounced GRP overcab mouldings and branding in silver lettering make the front end classic Auto-Trail.

Design

Cabs are graphite-grey with silver radiator grille inlays, with white sections at the bottom of the doors that match the habitation sidewalls. Red and grey stripes sweep upwards, complementing the palette and are picked up behind the ‘Imala’ lettering towards the rear.

Like the other Imala models, the 715 rides on the Fiat Ducato with a 2.3-litre 130bhp unit as standard. Engine upgrades to 147bhp or 177bhp are available as cost options, while chassis can be uprated to 3650kg – from 3500kg – for no extra cost. Fiat’s ComfortMatic automatic transmission is available on all engines.

Lounging & dining

The interiors feature mid-toned cabinet work with two-tone overhead locker doors. Rather than handles or positive catches, they have catches on the underside of the doors that fasten with a reassuring click. The soft furnishings are a neutral oatmeal that goes well with the woodwork; scatter cushions and curtains sport red details.

A panoramic sunroof above the cab, together with two large side windows, flood the front parallel lounge with light; this is augmented by ambient over-locker lighting and LED spotlights.

Kitchen

The offside kitchen is well specified, with a dual-fuel hob for maximum flexibility, a separate oven and grill, and a microwave oven at shoulder height with matching aluminium surround.

The amount of work surface is perfectly ample with the sink and cooker covers lowered, while a space-saving retractable vertical socket strip allows four devices to be run at once. An 80-litre dual-fuel fridge with removable freezer sits under the sink.

Space around the kitchen is generous, with a wide-open feel. The gangway is slightly pinched towards the offside washroom, but that’s to be expected with this layout.

Sleeping

Measuring 1.9m x 1.35m (6ft 3in x 4ft 5in), the rear French bed will be large enough for most couples. The cutaway on the inside, to permit access to the washroom, is pronounced so this is definitely where the shorter of the two occupants will sleep.

In the lounge, the parallel seating can be rearranged in no time, by pulling across slatted frames, to create a double bed that measures a very respectable 2.17 x 1.22m (7ft 1in x 4ft).

Washroom

The combined washroom has a basin and a swivel toilet near the door, with a well-sealed shower compartment in the rear corner. A hanging rail is provided for towels and wet clothes, and a blown-air inlet helps the space work well as a drying room.

Storage

Thanks to the large rear bed, there’s generous storage in the Auto-Trail Imala 715. Space underneath is only slightly restricted by electrical and plumbing equipment, and items can be loaded into the space from outside via a hatch in the nearside corner. Eleven overhead lockers are available, too, in addition to the lounge seat boxes and two wardrobes.

Equipment

Standard equipment in the Imala range includes a 3kW Truma S space heater and Ultrastore water heater, electric entrance step and a roof fan. Cassette blinds and flyscreens and removable carpets are fitted throughout.

The Media Pack (£649) offers a fold-down 18.5in flatscreen TV with DVD player, a radio with USB and Bluetooth hands-free smartphone connection, a colour reversing camera, steering wheel controls for radio and phone, and an aerial.

Technical specs

LayoutRear corner bed
Sleeps4
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload340kg
Length7.06m23′2″
Width2.35m7′9″
Height3.03m9′11″
Engine (power)130
Fresh/waste water100L / 85L
Leisure battery75 Ah
Gas tank size13kg
Number of gas tank compartments1
Gas bottle size7kg
Number of gas bottles1
External Options
Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
Oven, Separate grill, Microwave, Extractor fan

Verdict

Auto-Trail brings its own-brand French-bed floorplan to the masses with the affordable Imala 715. Focused on quality and specification, this is a very appealing package. And to see other Auto-Trail motorhomes for sale, click here.

Conclusion

Pros

  • The washroom has a sealed shower cubicle and a blown-air heat vent
  • Storage space is good
  • It's useful to have removable carpets

Cons

  • The French bed has a large cutaway
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