Keeping it all compact
Here’s the kind of compact coachbuilt motorhome that’s perfectly at home accommodating one or two folk, especially those who don’t fancy the relatively bulky dimensions.
Indeed, this is well under the magical 6m length mark and less than 2m wide – yet it offers all the facilities you’d expect in a typical coachbuilt.
Wigan-based independent manufacturer Nu Venture offers two versions of its Nu Rio – the SD here or the same-size RD, with its habitation door at the very back. Nu Venture has honed its skills on such vehicles for at least a couple of decades now, exactly the kind of experience that means small design glitches have been ironed out along the way.
The base vehicle is certainly a step down in size from “the norm”. It’s Citroen’s car-like Dispatch, with willing 120bhp engine that should be good for at least 40mpg, even with a small home on its back. If you want automatic transmission, it entails a switch to the similar Peugeot Expert, with 163bhp engine.
The Dispatch does provide satellite navigation and a tracker as standard. You’ll pay extra if you want a passenger airbag or air conditioning, though.
What definitely helps with the overall appearance of the Rio is the optional Look Pack. It covers aspects such as the colour-coded front bumper, side strips and front foglights you can see here. Note, also, the more upmarket flush-fitting windows and stable-type door with window.
Inside, the Rio floorplan is a typical end-kitchen layout, with washroom in the offside rear corner and a lounge with a settee facing a single dinette. The cab plays no part in the on-site living arrangements – apart from acting as an area for throwing some unwanted stuff.
The lounge converts to a choice of two singles, 1.83m x 0.74m, or – by pulling out the settee base and hooking it into position, a double 1.83m x 1.75m. Should you wish, Nu Venture can actually extend the lengths of the beds with additional panels – it also involves tilting the cab seats forward.
There’s no stinting on the lighting – it’s all LED (except in the washroom); and the four spot lights in the lounge have twin settings – full or nightlight. Underfoot is just as practical. A couple of carpet runners, fixed in via press studs, are more practical than the unwieldy cut-to-fit one-piece offerings from some makers.
In the kitchen, a Thetford Minigrill III four-burner gas hob with grill is standard, along with a 60-litre capacity Dometic fridge. A fold-down flap provides useful worktop, while the absence of an oven (it can be ordered as an option) means storage space is actually very good, considering. A waste bin is nearby, too, at the base of the door.
The washroom gains plaudits for its plastic-lined walls. The swivel-bowl toilet is a space-saver, as is the fold-down basin above it. It’s a small room, so it’s no surprise to see a curtain for showering. The four hooks will always come in handy, too.
The smaller the motorhome, the more critical the storage becomes. Whilst there’s no exterior access locker (no harm in putting outdoor chairs etc in the washroom for travel, or in the settee base), there’s a generous array of cupboard space inside. The large area over the cab should prove ideal for bedding and so on. The wardrobe is a tad slim. The overhead lockers don’t have positive catches but they are fitted with pneumatic struts. And there’s a dedicated drinks locker – always a bonus!
Whale provides the heating and hot water systems, both operating from gas as well as mains electricity. Just be wary there’s only a 30-litre waste water tank, though. Far more importantly, there’s a sturdy quality to the conversion work here that bodes well for the longer term.
Verdict: A coachbuilt in micro format
Plus: Sturdy build qualities throughout, workable interior layout, economical
Minus: Tricky cab to living quarters access, manual gas ignition for the fridge
In-a-nutshell: Small can be practical
There’s more information on the Nu Rio series on the Nu Venture website www.nuventure.co.uk. Find out more about insuring this or your current motorhome on our motorhome insurance discounts page.
Alternatives: Romahome, Hymer 314
Nu Venture Nu Rio SD factfile
|Nu Venture Nu Rio SD
|Citroen Dispatch, 2-litre, 120bhp, Euro V
|5.80m L, 1.96m W, 2.54m H
|From £41,280 on the road
|Safety & security
|Electronic immobiliser, remote central locking to cab doors, twin airbags
|Cab air conditioning and electric door mirrors (£960), Look Pack (£360), passenger airbag (£168), Bluetooth USB (£216), extra 230V socket (£60), bulkhead trim (£115), roof strengthening for TV aerial option (£150)