A dozen or so days ago I had the opportunity to test a Caravans International motorhome in the version with an alcove. The Elliot 98 model was made available for testing by Camper Planet from Bielsko Biała, which is a dealer of vehicles of this Italian brand. We described the entire Elliot series, more generally, in the article CI Elliot - Ford Transit for holidays .
Ever since the new Ford Transit was built and motorhome builders started using its chassis in the production of new models, I had only heard about the advantages of this solution, so I wanted to test it all the more. I must also add that I like the silhouette of the Ford Transit and its substantial grill much more than in the common Fiat Ducato. Below I described my impressions from a few days of using this vehicle.
Route, consumption and weight of the motorhome
Since we have not yet been a motorhome near our beautiful capital, we decided to go there and check the conditions at Camping 222 in Kaputy and Camping WOK in Warsaw. I can recommend both places to anyone who is looking for high-standard campsites.
During the entire route Bielsko-Biała -> Kaputy -> Siedlce -> Zegrze -> Warsaw -> Kluczbork -> Bielsko-Biała we made 1,250km, and we slept three nights in the motorhome. The average fuel consumption of the motorhome during the entire route, which included various types of roads, was 12.5 l/100 km. I consider this a very good result for a car with an alcove, the more so that this time my driving style could be considered rather energetic.
I weighed the motorhome before leaving on a digital scale and in full readiness to drive, with a full fuel tank (80 l) and a full tank with clean water (100 l). Without luggage, passengers and driver, it weighed 3,050 kg. It is worth noting that the motorhome was already equipped with a four-meter wide Omnistor awning and 130W solar panels, which also add weight.
Engine and driving characteristics
And then we get to the point where I can scream "wow!". The 2.0 EcoBlue engine that meets the EURO 6 emission standard with a sensational power of 170 HP and 405 Nm of torque works beautifully. This unit not only works very quietly, but also copes perfectly when climbing hills. Even when fully loaded with five passengers on board. The power reserve is large enough to allow for very flexible use of the gearbox.
The chassis is completely different from the common Fiat Ducato. Despite the large dimensions and considerable weight, the camper sticks to the road very well and corners perfectly (even at higher speeds).
I can say with full confidence that the Ford Transit with this engine is my current favorite when it comes to chassis used in motorhomes. It is also worth noting that thanks to the small engine capacity, we can save a lot when registering a vehicle in Poland. The excise duty in this case is only 3.1%, and not 18.6%, as is the case with engines with a capacity of more than two liters.
Interior layout, comfort and equipment
Like every motorhome with an alcove, this one is also characterized by a very large space in the living area. In the left part of the vehicle there are two rows of seats facing each other and separated by a table. Unfortunately, as in most other vehicles of this type, no drink holders were used here, which effectively disqualifies placing open drinks on the table while driving. It's a pity, because it's quite simple and very useful. Above the seats there are two very capacious, lockable cabinets for clothes, consisting of two shelves.
On the right side of the entrance door there is a large wardrobe for a hanging wardrobe and a smaller cabinet at the bottom. There is still a lot of space above the wardrobe, so you can easily transport other items there, and the rims above the wardrobe will safely protect the transported items from falling while driving.
A huge bed in an alcove with the possibility of lifting it was placed right above the driver's cab, which greatly facilitates communication between the driver's and passenger's seat and the living area.
Writing about the cab, I must add that Ford designed the dashboard and cockpit very nicely. The steering wheel is trimmed with leather as standard and is equipped with cruise control and radio controls. There are a lot of compartments - they are exactly where they should be and have the right size. And the greatest praise deserves the glove compartment in the dashboard, where the 12 V charging input is placed. If we want to connect the navigation, the charging cable no longer has to hang in front of the radio, but is beautifully hidden in the pit. During the same trip, I tested the Mio Drive 65 LM Truck navigation - the test description can be found here: MiVue Drive 65 LM navigation test: navigation and camera in one .
The handbrake lever, which is located on the left side of the driver's seat, has a very interesting solution. After pulling it, the stick returns to the horizontal position so as not to interfere when leaving the car.
On the left side of the entrance to the motorhome there is a kitchen area, above which there are two cabinets for clothes - the same size as those mounted above the table. And at the end of the motorhome, on the width of the entire car, there is a double bed, around which there are also a lot of lockers for clothes. On the left side of the vehicle, between the bed and the seats, there is a quite large bathroom.
The whole is arranged very nicely and in combination with the colors used (dark, brown furniture and light upholstery and cabinet fronts) it looks quite nice. However, I do not know if the bright upholstery will be practical.
When it comes to travel comfort, while there is nothing to complain about in the driver's cab, in the residential part (where there are seats with belts for passengers) it gets quite loud while driving. This is probably due to poor vehicle insulation. The seats themselves are not super comfortable, especially because of the mattresses coming out from under the ass, which is caused by a very weak system of locking them while driving. Sometimes I could hear the creaking from the alcove, especially annoying for the driver (and not at night J), but to this day I don't know why. The sound sometimes stopped and sometimes appeared, and it was regardless of the type of road being traveled.
Above the cab, in the alcove, there is a very large bed (1960x1450mm), which is wide enough to comfortably sleep three people. Unfortunately, there is a small gap in the middle of the bed, which rather prevents a comfortable sleep in its middle, so only two can count on comfort. On one side of the bed there is an opening window with a roller blind and a mosquito net, thanks to which you can easily regulate the flow of fresh air.
The second fixed bed (2070x1330mm) is located in the rear part of the vehicle and it also comfortably accommodates two adults. An interesting solution is the ability to adjust the height, which allows you to increase or decrease the capacity of the large garage located under the bed. If you want to transport tall objects in it (such as a scooter or bicycle), just place the bed higher. But after such a maneuver, we will have to use the ladder to climb onto the mattress. At the highest point, the edge of the bed will be at a height of 130cm (which gives a garage height of 130cm) from the floor level, and if we lower it to the end, it will be placed at a height of only 95cm.
The third bed for two people is created by lowering the table located between the two rows of armchairs and repositioning the mattresses accordingly. After such a maneuver, a bed with dimensions of 1250x1886mm will be created.
A very good solution in both fixed beds is the safety net installed right away, thanks to which nothing that we put on the mattress will fall down while driving. In this way, you can also protect small children while sleeping.
An equally nice solution are the curtains in the alcove, which allow you to darken the bed if someone wants to go to sleep, while other travel companions still prefer to sit in the living area with the light on.
As for the additional equipment, I missed the roller blinds on the windows of the driver's cab, which would allow you to quickly cover the windows when the car is parked, and the parking air-conditioning system. However, if someone wants to install air conditioning, it will not be a problem, because there are as many as three windows in the roof. One of them can be replaced with a cooling device.
The motorhome was equipped with solar panels, which made us independent from access to the electricity network. When we connected to the mains, we immediately noticed that the external power supply was located in a not very convenient place, namely, more or less in the middle of the awning, i.e. in the vicinity of the place where you usually walk or where the table is set up. I think it would be better if the connection was on the other side of the motorhome.
External lighting from the side of the awning is available only as an accessory - it is also quite difficult for me to understand, since such lighting is used almost as often as headlights in a car.
A very big minus is the number of electrical outlets - I found only two. Unfortunately, I did not find any USB sockets that would allow charging phones while parked without a 230 V connection. The only solution was to use a USB adapter inserted into the 12 V input, which was located above the entrance door to the living area.
The kitchen is large and very comfortable to use, mainly due to the large countertop, which is located on the left side of the stove. Three burners can be closed with a glass cover, thanks to which the entire countertop, when nothing is cooking, can reach dimensions of 140x60cm.
Under the tabletop there are two very large drawers, in which we can easily fit all the necessary dishes and pots. In both drawers for dishes, there are very nice smaller drawers for smaller items, such as cutlery, cloths or, for example, garbage bags.
Well, garbage bags ... it's a pity that the manufacturer of Elliot did not immediately think about installing a garbage can. Some manufacturers place them immediately in the front door - unfortunately, there was no such facility here.
On the right side of the kitchen there is a very large and sensational fridge that works in three ranges (12 V, 230 V and gas). Excellent - mainly due to the bottom drawer, which can be easily pulled out and placed in it large bottles with drinks in a vertical position. I definitely recommend this solution.
The bathroom is also quite large and comfortable. It has a separate shower cubicle, a Tethford cassette toilet and a washbasin with a cabinet placed under it. The only downside I noticed was the poorly designed shower door. If they are pushed too far in the middle, then the water dripping from the door can get out of the shower tray, which in turn can lead to a small flood. You have to remember that.
Storage compartments and trunk
I consider the number of compartments in the motorhome to be sufficient to accommodate the luggage of all passengers. A very capacious garage with the possibility of adjusting its height is very practical and allows for any selection of large-size equipment needed for holidays. Unfortunately, as is often the case in a motorhome, our freedom in packing is significantly limited by the GVW of the vehicle, which is 3.5 t. Considering the weight of the vehicle in a ready-to-drive condition, there is only 450 kg left for luggage and passengers. The solution may be to travel without a supply of fresh water, which will save us an additional 100 kg.
Considering the fact that motorhomes produced by Caravans International do not belong to the premium segment, and therefore are available at relatively low prices, a lot can be forgiven for them. I think that the Elliot 98 model is a very good motorhome. Especially in combination with the Ford chassis and a sensational engine, it is a motorhome worth recommending to all those who want to start their adventure with caravanning and are looking for a new, large and affordable vehicle.
To all those willing to rent or buy motorhomes of this brand, I can equally strongly recommend the Camper Planet company, which is characterized by a very nice and professional staff, which guarantees successful purchases and after-sales service at the highest level.
- Ford Transit chassis
- engine 2.0 170 hp
- standard leather steering wheel
- glove box with 12V input
- nice storage compartments in the cab
- raised bed in the alcove
- safety nets by the beds
- large bathroom
- large garage with adjustable height
- refrigerator drawer.
I would like it better if:
- blinds were installed on the front windows
- the central lock also locked the door from the living area
- the alcove did not creak
- The shower door didn't let water leak out
- external lighting above the entrance was fitted as standard
- the power connection was on the other side of the motorhome,
- loudspeakers were installed in the living area,
- there is a trash can in the kitchen,
- there were more electrical outlets and at least one USB.