Review: CI Triaca 32XT

By: Malcolm Street, Photography by: Malcolm Street


NZMCD takes a look through the Triaca 32XT, which at less than six-metres in length, offers up a surprising amount of interior space

Anyone who has been around the New Zealand RV scene for a while will know there are some obvious distinctions between motorhomes built in the US and those built in Europe, with New Zealand manufacturers falling somewhere in between.

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US builders seem to create space as a point of principle, often resulting in huge rigs, whereas Euro manufacturers are masters at using space effectively, the end result being a much smaller motorhome, yet one which is still user-friendly.

A typical example is this category is the 5990mm CI Triaca 32XT, which has a tare mass of just 3008kg. Inside, there’s a little clue as to the country of manufacture, Italy, that being the styling. CI motorhomes are imported into New Zealand by Walkabout Sales, CI’s authorised New Zealand dealer.

Exterior

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In a crowd, or in my case a motorhome show, what grabs the attention to the Triaca 32XT is not only its modest size but also the classy-looking two-tone paint job that enhances no end the rather snappy-looking low profile appearance. 

Built using fibreglass/Styrofoam composite walls and mouldings, the B class motorhome has a considerable amount of style and class about it. Even though it’s relatively small, there are two good-sized external storage bins along the offside and all the other essentials—gas cylinder bins, battery compartment, and cassette toilet—on the nearside.

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I particularly liked the height of the battery bin, which gives easy access without too much bending over. Having just been getting around in a motorhome with a separate key for the habitation door, it’s great to get into something with remote central locking on all doors.

Driving

In an Italian-built motorhome, what might you expect for motive power? An Italian-built Fiat Ducato, of course; in this case, the Multijet 130 with a 2.3-litre, 96kW/1800Nm turbo diesel. I quite like European-built motorhomes (Fiat’s Ducato has more than 80 percent of the market) but it would be nice if the more powerful Fiat turbo diesels were a standard item; they give a little more grunt on the steeper hills.

Standard, of course, is the six-speed AMT gearbox, which sometimes requires a bit of manual assistance in the lower ranges but otherwise changes reasonably smoothly. An asset on any motorhome, even one this size, is the rear-view camera, a safety item if nothing else.

The motorhome is designed to carry four people but the passengers in the rear are going to be facing sideways. A rig this size is going to be an easy drive around town and the Fiamma bike rack on the rear is a handy item for those who need a couple of bikes for either practical or pleasure reasons.

Interior

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Looking forward from the habitation door is what appears to be a stark white colour scheme but various shades mute that effect somewhat, and certainly, in the kitchen, the grey-coloured cupboard doors and drawers have the desired effect. The Fenix stone benchtops are something a bit different and the neatly concealed LED strip lighting nicely finishes off the overall effect.

Layout wise, the Triaca 32XT is a step away from the conventional, yet one that is practical and makes effective use of that prime space-saving feature of recent times—the drop-down bed. It is located directly behind the driver’s cab above two sideways facing lounges.

They both integrate nicely with the swivelled cab seats creating and spacious lounge/dining area. In the rear, the combo bathroom sits in the rear nearside corner, leaving the rest of the space for the kitchen facilities.

Kitchen

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What is surprising about the rear kitchen is just how large it is. Fitted into the benchtop along the wall side is a three-burner hob, while the rear section contains the stainless steel sink and separate drainer, with an oven/grill below. There is a relatively good amount of benchtop space but that can easily be extended by using the flush lids that both the sink and hob have.

What those clever Italians have also done is provided slots for storing the lids when not being used, instead of having them lying around loose. Storage is very good with three good-sized drawers, overhead locker, a couple of small compartments along the rear wall, and two wire basket pantries.

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That’s just in the kitchen bench. On the other side of the bathroom, the cabinetry contains not only the Isotherm 169-litre fridge but also a shelved cupboard above and two vertical cupboards adjacent to the bathroom room, which are really for hanging clothes, but overall, the kitchen scores well for general storage.

Not really kitchen items, there are two floor hatches, one giving easy access to the water tank and the other for stashing small, maybe valuable items.

Bathroom

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Like many a combo bathroom, this one is compact with shower cubicle vanity cabinet and cassette toilet. It does have the advantage of being ‘dry’, meaning that it’s possible to use the loo without getting your feet wet. Even though it’s a bit squeezed in, the vanity cabinet does come with a good-sized wall mirror and storage compartments below. 

Dining and lounging

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Up front, there is plenty of space for sitting around, and certainly, there’s a generous amount of space for four people. Like the driver’s cab seats, the rear lounges are upholstered in a matching eco-leather.

The table is one of those clever designs that can be folded over when not being used, thus keeping it out of the way and also lowered if the lounges are needed for making up a bed.

TV viewing angles are often a hugely variable subject in motorhomes, some TV mounting positions almost looking like an afterthought. Not in this case, with the offside wall above the lounge being used as a mounting position, so that at least three people can watch it without difficulty.

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I suspect there are some who might prefer a window in the wall rather than the TV but it’s a compromise. I guess if really desperate, a camera could be fitted outside and connected to the TV, thus giving an even better view than the window.

On the subject of light and ventilation, the nearside window and two large roof hatches give good levels of both.

Bedroom

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A benefit of the 1900mm x 1360mm drop-down bed is that it can be left made up all the time and easily lowered into position by the push of a button on the edge of the bed. Some manufacturers seem to forget that drop-down beds need reading lights or similar but not in this case where concealed wall fittings are used.

Many a reader will be familiar with the cushion and base removal process that goes on with making up seat beds. Not quite so much here, where it’s a simpler method of lowering the table and unfolding the bed base from the offside seat. The 2120mm x 1460mm x 1220mm bed still has to be made up, but for the lazy, something like a Duvalay will solve that problem.

Electrics

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Two 100AH deep cycle batteries and a 220-watt solar panel ensure the Triaca 32XT is well set up for remote camping, and the comprehensive LED lighting fitted throughout will ensure a low battery use overnight. Light switches are mostly in logical places and the control panel is handily located above the habitation door.

Verdict

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What’s most surprising about this motorhome is just how much CI has managed to fit in. I was going to say jammed in but that would give the wrong impression.

Just about everything is designed for practical or flexible use, and the Triaca 32XT is a great example of just how good the Euro manufacturers are at making an efficient use of space.

CI Triaca 32XT specifications

Vehicle make/model CI Triaca 32XT 
Engine 2.3L turbo diesel 
Transmission 6-speed AMT
Berths 4
Approx. overall length 5990mm
Approx. overall width 2350mm
Tank

100L fresh
100L grey

Gas 1 x 9kg
GVM 3500kg 

CI Triaca 32XT price (as reviewed): $144,000 

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Pluses

  • Small but comfortably-sized 
  • Highly manoeuvrable
  • Drop-down bed can be left made up
  • Good-sized kitchen
  • Italian design flair
  • Electrical capacity

Minuses

  • Another power point or two in the front area
  • Sideways seating for rear passengers
  • Lower powered Ducato engine

For more details, call CI Motorhomes on 09 810 8999 or visit cimotorhomes.co.nz.

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