It’s not all struggle on the European front. Germany’s Weinsberg is determined to fit in with the UK next season with this, the CaraOne 390 QD – one of a new series that also includes the 400 LK, 550 UK and 740 UDF.
The 390 is by some margin the smallest – and lightest – with its stablemates going up in size by their numbers.
Weinsberg is the budget brand of Knaus, one of Europe’s largest players. Certain qualities permeate down to even lower-cost offerings like this. Previous models came on BPW chassis, but there’s a switch to Al-Ko for the season ahead.
It might be small, but that hasn’t stopped Weinsberg making the 2018 version of the 390 QD fully UK-compatible – with door on our nearside as well as other UK-friendly exterior features such as smooth aluminium sides. The single front window, meanwhile, is an early reminder of this ‘van’s budget credentials.
Inside, though, it’s a layout you won’t see in any UK-made tourer, although it’s one that works incredibly well in such small dimensions. With only 4m of internal length to play with, you get a permanent double bed, a French (i.e. cutaway) fitting that’s 1.96m x 1.36m wide at its maximum. It’s across the front, with a two-piece mattress on a slatted base and generous storage space below (also accessible via a decent sized hatch on the nearside). Heater ducting around the front of the ‘van should help keep the chills away.
That leaves space for a double dinette in the rear offside corner, where the seating and the side-fitting table can be dropped to a lower-level rail to make a second double bed.
As you might expect, there are compromises elsewhere. There’s a three-ring gas hob, with a lid that hinges to the right to act as a splashguard when you’re cooking. The Dometic fridge below has a removable freezer box (take it out and you can devote all the space to chilling, if you prefer it that way).
The sink is set well left of the hob, which helps optimise the worktop area. It’s locker storage that’s most affected. There’s a drawer under the sink, but the grill/oven – another concession to UK expectations – steals a locker, as well as being set just a bit too low for overall convenience. A microwave is also standard.
Spec’ upgrades for the season ahead include a 12V charger/transformer and gel battery (they were only options last year). They join a list that extends to other items imports often prefer not to alter for the UK, including: fire retardant upholstery, A-frame cover, waste water container, Al-Ko wheel lock receiver and more. Of course we’d recommend buying the AL-KO Secure lock for this receiver to lower the cost of your caravan insurance.
The washroom occupies the rear nearside corner and, although inevitably space is at a premium, there’s a swivel-bowl toilet and just about enough room to take a shower. And there’s a window.
Elsewhere, there are actually quite a few fittings you wouldn’t normally associate with such a small unit. The ceramic-bowl toilet, for example. And a fresh water tank. The Truma 3004 space heater is arguably something of a throwback, although it’s likely to be highly effective in such compact surroundings.
Take a closer look at the options list, though. On it is a steel-poled full awning that more than doubles the living space and is completely tailored to this model. It might just prove the deal maker.
Verdict: German-made… to UK expectations
Plus: Lightweight and easily managed, sleeps four, great use of space
Minus: Some inevitable compromises
In-a-nutshell: Cleverly compact
There’s more information on the CaraOne range on the Weinsberg website. To find out more about insuring this or your current caravan visit our caravan insurance discounts page.
Alternatives: Adria Altea 362 LH Forth, Swift Basecamp
Weinsberg CaraOne 390 QD factfile
|Model||Weinsberg CaraOne 390 QD|
|Dimensions||5.91m L, 2.20m W, 2.57m H|
|Safety & security||Al-Ko hitch stabiliser, smoke alarm, Al-Ko chassis with springs|
|Key options||Alloy wheels (£329), barbecue point (£169), external 230V socket (£169), Wigo all-season awning £799), bike rack £299), alternative upholstery (£199)|