Carado T449 motorhome review

By: Bill Savidan


Carado T449 motorhome review Carado T449 motorhome review
Carado T449 motorhome review Carado T449 motorhome review
Carado T449 motorhome review Carado T449 motorhome review
Carado T449 motorhome review Carado T449 motorhome review
Carado T449 motorhome review Carado T449 motorhome review
Carado T449 motorhome review Carado T449 motorhome review
Carado T449 motorhome review Carado T449 motorhome review
Carado T449 motorhome review Carado T449 motorhome review

Bill Savidan and Jill Malcolm take a longer look at a Wilderness Outback4/Carado T449 motorhome.

To Wilderness Motorhome rental clients, it is an Outback 4. To SmartRV clients, it is a Carado T449. To me, it appeared to be a desirable motorhome.

Built on a Fiat Ducato cab/chassis, the low profile T449 can sleep four – two in the rear island bed and two in the drop-down bed in the lounge. Powered by the workhorse engine of the Fiat fleet – the 130 Multijet turbo-diesel – it supplies 96kw/130HP to the front wheels through the standard Fiat six-speed AMT auto gearbox. It is a useful combination that drives comfortably in the city, and while it slows a little on steeper hills, the overall performance is quite impressive.

Built for the European market, it has the habitation door on the driver’s side but this is not really an issue, as most times when on the road the cab doors are used to get in and out of the vehicle. There are just three exterior hatches: one for the toilet cassette and two – one each side – for the large rear storage garage.

Inside

Inside, the Carado’s layout is familiar. There’s a front dinette incorporating the cab seats, a central kitchen separated from the rear island bed by a shower stall to the right, and a toilet compartment to the left.

Rotating the cab seats so they face the table creates a convivial space for relaxing, entertaining and watching TV. When there were just two of us, one would sit on a cab seat and the other at the dinette. That way we had ample room to read a newspaper or work on a laptop. When a couple of guests called in, the other cab seat and the side seat came into play. Cosy, but with enough room for two separate conversations as often happens when two couples meet.

Carado _4

At 1950mm long and 1100mm wide, the bed is a small double that lowers until its base rests on the back of the dinette seats about 1200mm off the floor. A detachable ladder provides access.

During daylight hours, roof hatches in the bedroom, kitchen and lounge provided ample light for reading and other tasks. An array of LED lights took over in the evening lighting the kitchen, ablutions and lounge extremely well but not so in the bedroom, where lights at the head of the bed and over the shower were insufficient to light the whole room.

Kitchen

Although it is small, the kitchen is well equipped and functional. The L-shaped bench has a three-hob LPG cooktop on the ‘left leg’ and a large circular sink on the ‘right leg’. Opposite was a huge fridge/freezer. Breakfast, lunch, and most of our evening meals were cooked aboard. Once I found the oven could achieve 225ºC, I even managed to rustle up a batch of scones and a fresh baked loaf of bread.

As long as we were well organised, doing dishes as we went and putting items away once we had used them, the kitchen worked well for us.

Rear bedroom

Last but definitely not least is the bedroom at the rear of the T449. At 1500mm wide by 1900mm long, the island bed is as spacious as any I have seen in a motorhome the size of a T449. With its memory foam mattress over sprung wooden slats, it is also one of the most comfortable. Snuggled under our duvet, we slept like logs each night.

Each side of the bed is a hanging locker where we hung our long pants and jackets while folding garments went into the lockers above the bed. Spare towels and linen were kept in a cupboard under the foot of the bed.

Carado _5

Bathroom

The shower is very practical with room to move about, shelves for soap and shampoo and effective adjustment for water temperature and flow. Once showered, you didn’t need to wipe dry the walls or tray. With the shower doors folded back and the removable floor section over the shower tray replaced, they were covered to drain at their leisure.

Tucked into the compartment opposite are the swiveling bowl toilet, a handbasin, a mirror and a tall narrow cupboard with lots of shelves for bottles and jars.

The verdict

While the Carado T449 has belted seating and beds for four people, it would be even more functional with only two adults. It has all the fixtures and fittings needed for comfortable living and freedom camping over an extended period.

At the time of publication a new Carado T449 retails for $132,900 inc. GST and on-road costs.

For further information, phone 0800 007 627 (Auckland) or 0800 007 628 (Christchurch).

Pros

  • The large fridge/freezer
  • The big, comfortable island bed
  • The storage space in the rear garage

Cons

  • The dropdown bed is a tight double
  • Needs a central light in the bedroom
  • A portable step to assist access to the island bed would be a big help for short folk

Read the full review in issue #145 of Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations magazine (on sale now!). Subscribe here.

Keep up to date with news by signing up to nzmcd.co.nz's free newsletter or by liking us on Facebook