Concorde Charisma

By: Bill Savidan, Photography by: Bill Savidan


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With its rear garage you drive a Smart car into, the Concorde Charisma exhibits some highly innovative design and engineering, with a few surprises...

Concorde Charisma
Concorde Charisma
  • Accommodates a Smart car in the garage
  • Excellent build quality
  • Lavish and luxurious interior
  • Upright driving position affords great visibility
  • Enough room for long-term habitation

For all its determined, businesslike demeanour, the Concorde Charisma exudes the cheeky charm of a four-year-old. The grinning radiator grill is disarming, but it hides a much bigger surprise. The Charisma has a garage in the back, tailor-made for a Smart car.

Engine and power

The Charisma as tested was built on an Iveco 65C18 3.0-litre diesel with an automated six-speed transmission. A Class 2 licence is required to it as it has an unladen weight of 5820kg, and all up maximum weight of 8800kg. The 2980 payload within an overall length of 9.13m will accommodate the Smart car with capacity to spare.

Exterior/interior construction

The Charisma has "custom build" quality. The lockers housing the 60A charger with 2400-watt peak/1200-watt continuous output sine-wave power inverter, the Jabsco vacuum toilet and the Alpe heating system were laid out with Germanic precision and attention to detail providing easy access for servicing.

The same high quality was evident inside the Charisma. The matt finish Cherrywood furniture and panelling is well made and installed. It looks and feels solid.

The layout of the Charisma has the only entry door amidships on the driver’s side. The lounge/dining area is between the entry door and the cab. The kitchen is opposite the entry door. The north/south queen sized bed is at the rear above the garage with the Smart car nestling directly beneath the mattress. Between the bedroom and the kitchen is the bathroom/changing room. This lavishly appointed space has the vanity and wardrobe on one side facing the toilet and shower stall on the other.

Each side of the wide lounge is a comfortable two-seater couch upholstered in leather. A large table can be mounted on a pedestal between them for dining, and the kerbside settee can be reconfigured into belted forward facing seats for two passengers. The cab seats rotate towards the lounge allowing six people to be entertained in comfort.

Discreetly mounted in the space above the cab seats is a Lattoflex (foam mattress over slats) bed. Once the cab seats are folded down, it pulls down quite easily to around waist height to provide a second queen size bed. Curtains provide privacy from the cab windows and the lounge.

The lounge windows are fitted with insect screens and blinds. The huge windscreen and cab windows have built-in custom made blinds. The floor, walls and ceiling are foam insulated. Ventilation is superb with five roof hatches and lounge windows each side. There is also an Alde central heating furnace with radiators throughout the RV, and six LED overhead lights each side plus reading lights above the couches.

The Corsian kitchen bench-top houses the three-burner glass-lidded gas hob and a moulded sink with ribbed draining tray. A nice touch is the moulded corner plinth for the 240-volt coffee maker. Opposite the bench is the 175 litre fridge freezer and above it a griller/oven combination. In the kitchen/lounge area there are 10 overhead lockers with open shelves below which can be used for food and utensil storage, plus a glass fronted cabinet and a racked cabinet for glasses. Beneath the kitchen bench are six drawers, a large cupboard, and a bottle store.

Two sliding doors close off bathroom/changing room area, creating a cosy, private space. There is a generous full-length wardrobe for clothes, plus vanity set featuring a mirror-fronted cabinet above and a large cabinet beneath flanked by slide-out towel rails.

The queen size bed above the garage is "foam over slats" and most comfortable. It is elevated, so access via a central set of steps through the doorway will not suit everyone. At least there is a crawl way down each side of the bed. Headroom is quite sufficient for sitting up and reading. Overhead storage behind and beside the bed takes care of personal items. Having the Smart car garage does compromise the bedroom, but having a comfortable commuter car to hand will more than balance this for a number of RV buyers.

You have to remember to fold in the rear vision mirrors before you winch the Smart car up the loading ramps and into the garage. You have to connect the front wheel tie-downs through hatches fitted into the sides of the Charisma. Of course, you can carry whatever you want in the garage, so long as you stay within the weight limits.

Driving

The upright positioning was unusual, but importantly, it allowed excellent visibility forwards and to the sides. Rear vision mirrors mounted on antenna arms let you know what’s happening behind, and there is always the rear vision camera and screen.

The leather cab seats are firm and comfortable.

The six-speed automated manual gearbox offered both auto and manual options with well-spaced ratios, both necessary qualities for an RV with a GVW of 8.8 tonnes. The dashboard curves around the driving position so that knobs, buttons and levers come to hand readily.

Specifications

Base vehicle Iveco 65C18 Agile automated 6-speed transmission
Engine 3.0-litre turbo diesel
Power 130kW @ 3200rpm
Torque 400Nm @ 4000rpm
Length 9130mm
Width 2380mm
Height 3410mm
Power supply 160aH AGM battery, 60A / 2400 watt peak charger/ 1200 watt power inverter
Fridge 175-litre
Toilet Vacuum
Fresh water 230 litre
Grey water 230 litre
 

 

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