Where flexibility is a friend!
Your heart wants an Auto-Trail. Your brain – and wallet – say there must be a lower-cost alternative. Your family say: “How about an Imala?”
Family? This is where this latest addition to the Imala line-up comes in. Despite starting as a two-berth as standard, as here, it could host up to six of you. Indeed, the whole Imala range – eight models for 2018 – offers unlimited choices in terms of berths, thanks to Lo or Hi-Line overcab sections (meaning overall heights of 3.03m or 3.10m respectively) and various seating configurations.
Plus, if you go for the Hi-Line version, you get a double bed over the cab. Then there’s option of a rear travel seat for two more passengers.
But, it all starts off strictly for two, at a driving licence-friendly 3,500kg, too – although you’ll want to keep an eye on payload, especially if you’re serious about the extra berths. A no-added-cost 3,650kg upgrade is possible for the Fiat Ducato cab with Al-Ko chassis extension – the latter a notable feature not offered by obvious rivals.
Fiat’s 130bhp Euro VI engine is standard, with Comfort-Matic automatic transmission among the options, as are power upgrades. The coachbuilt bodywork is fully bonded, and comes with a 10-year warranty covering water ingress.
There’s an extra £1,149 to fork out for the lower-priced of two Media Packs. But, it gives you a colour reversing camera that means some of the money can be recouped with a lower motorhome insurance premium. You also get DAB radio, an 18.5in TV monitor and more. The other Media Pack brings satellite TV to your home from home.
Beyond the cab, there’s a roomy two-settee lounge and a flat floor leading on to the kitchen (offside) and washroom (nearside), with the master bedroom beyond.
Like any product bearing the Auto-Trail badge, the kitchen is up there among the best, not just in terms of its generous equipment levels, but also overall practicality. So, not only do you get a cooker featuring a dual-fuel hob (three gas rings and one electric hotplate) plus separate oven and grill, supplemented by a microwave oven, but you also have some worktop space, generous storage and neat details like the pull-up tower of a trio of mains sockets.
True, worktop is a bit tight, but the fridge is the only real compromise, at a capacity of 96 litres.
Opposite, the washroom is large enough to offer a full shower cubicle, complete with plastic lining and a removable hanging rail for wet clothing.
There’s also a fixed basin and swivel-bowl toilet, and again good storage (a double-doored vanity unit, plus there are hooks, towel rail and a toilet roll holder, as well as corner baskets in the shower area), while the opening window helps optimise ventilation.
The main bed is, of course, the island double at the back. Because it’s set transversely, it’s key to keeping overall body length down to 7.26m whilst still offering generous lounge space. As well as a base that hinges up, you can also access under-bed storage via an external hatch.
Also, for occasional guests, the settee bases pull together for a second double.
Imalas may lack some of the subtleties of a full-scale Frontier model from Auto-Trail, but the overall specification is more than generous. Check it all out for yourselves while working out the floorplan that best suits your needs.
Verdict: A great addition to the Imala line-up for 2018
Plus: Flexible floorplan, Auto-Trail heritage, island bed comfort
Minus: Only a four-berth maximum for travel
In-a-nutshell: Ringing the changes
There’s more information on the Imala range on the Auto-Trail website. Find out more about insuring this or your current motorhome on our motorhome insurance discounts page.
Alternatives: Elddis Encore 254, Swift Escape 694
Auto-Trail Imala 732 factfile
|Model||Auto-Trail Imala 732|
|Base vehicle||Fiat Ducato|
|Dimensions||7.26m L x 2.35m W x 3.03m H|
|Berths||Four (maximum six)|
|Travel seats||Two (maximum four)|
|Maximum weight||3,500kg (upgradable to 3,650kg)|
|RRP||From £52,481 on the road|
|Safety & security||Electronic immobiliser, remote central locking, ABS and EBD, EBA (emergency brake assist), twin airbags, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms|
|Key options||Media Pack (£1,149), Media Plus Pack (£1,999), 148bhp engine (£1,195), Comfort-Matic automatic transmission (£2,040), 177bhp engine (£2,820), rear travel seat for two (£825), leather upholstery (£1,399), circular coffee table and leg (£200), roof rack and ladder (£630), detachable towbar and electrics (£550), solar panel (£299), additional leisure battery (£120), rear corner steadies (£160)|