The team at RnRV in Silverdale has been waiting for months for this most exciting arrival, a bit like waiting for a baby to arrive really.We saw RnRV owner Paul Cook at motorhome shows last year with big posters and information about the new Carthago brand motorhomes that he secured distributor rights for, but we’ve all had to wait with baited-breath for the first models to arrive from Germany.
The Carthago company is interesting as it’s a family-owned and operated business, not one of the multiple brands produced under the huge Trigano Group, or one of the other big dominating players in the market.
It was founded in 1979 by Karl-Heinz Schuler to produce tailor-made conversions to customer specifications on any vehicle base. Over the years Mr Schuler has grown the business slowly but surely, building manufacturing plants, taking on staff, developing new technologies and creating specialised designs for new and exciting products each year.
For example, they have a registered patent for their concept of a movable wall to the shower room, an interesting utilisation of space.
By 2016, the company had two manufacturing plants, one in Aulendorf in Ravensburg, Germany, that produces the Integrated A-class highliner chic e-line and chic s-plus motorhomes, and the Slovenia factory that produces the Malibu, c-compactline, c-tourer and chic c-line semi-integrated models.
The company now employs more than 900 staff, not bad for a guy who started out as a one-man band. Nice that a family business can stay independent in this European manufacturing realm as well, when most others have been sucked up by the big boys.
Being able to forge a strong relationship as a big player in the European market that has similar family values is a lovely synergy for RnRV, which is also a family run business. This relationship gives RnRV the ability to import a large range of integrated, semi-integrated and campervan models for customers, with a large number of floor plan options to choose from.
So talking with Paul and his team could be vital if you’re shopping for a brand-new motorhome this year. We’ll take a look at one model that arrived in the last few weeks, hot of the boat. Models will be on display at the mid-March Covi Motorhome, Caravan and Outdoor SuperShow.
Body construction of Carthago motorhomes are completely wood-free, with aluminium used on the interior wall, with obvious heat storage effect, and there’s an RTM hard foam insulating core, hence no moisture absorption. The outer shell is glass reinforced plastic (GRP) as are most motorhomes today, offering some level of hail protection on the roof as well. Roof-wall joints are via curved roof and frame members which contribute to the stiffness of the chassis, side walls and rear wall: aluminium is used on the inside and outside of the body, the floor panel has GRP on the upper and underside, which is moisture and stone chip resistant, and will not rot. The total wall and roof thickness is 38 mm.
Carthago motorhomes are tested for lightning protection: the body has a Faraday cage effect thanks to the body interior being made from aluminium.
Side skirts are segmented from aluminium profile and are powder coated, and are easy to replace in the event of any repairs. Four-part rear frames with separate rear bumper is standard and are easy to replace in the event of any repairs. There is a warranty of up to 10-years against leaks in the body.
Carthago’s lower-level garages have maximised loading heights, and extremely high-load capacity wall-floor joints from shape fitting bonded frame members. They can be loaded up to 350kg on some models and 450kg on the larger models.
The cab chassis options
Carthago motorhomes offer three primary chassis options, including a dual rear wheel drive option. Carthago’s Highliner and S-Plus models have the chassis options of the Iveco Daily dual rear wheel drive 50C, 65C or 70C with fantastic load carrying capacity. The e-line, c-line and c-tourer models come with Fiat Ducato AL-KO low frame chassis up to the double axel option, with 198cm wide track rear axle. Power comes from the latest Fiat 2.3-litre diesel four-cylinder Multi-Jet engine with performance options of 97, 112 and 134kW a six-speed gearbox in either Auto or manual, front-wheel drive, with wheelbases adjusted for optimum load distribution to the model floor plan type.
The Carthago Chic C-line I 5.0
This is one of the first models that will arrive in the country. The front cab seats are called Aguti Roadliner comfort seats that swivel to become extra seating for the living area, and have integrated seat belts and adjustable armrests.
There’s a steeply sloping dashboard, and a low-set extra-large panorama windscreen fitted with a hollow-cavity insulating pleated windscreen blind with vertical operation, and with privacy blinds in side windows.
The passenger has a large door for entry/exit. It’s a nicely appointed cab with storage for the passenger and driver, and easily accessible controls as well.
The dining/living area is directly behind the cab seating as is standard in European models. The dining table is moveable front and sideways for flexibility getting in and out, and there’s a further seat on the wall behind the driver’s seat. A fold-down bed is located in the ceiling above the cab offering a third/fourth berth and at 1600x1950mm, is a generous size. The main habitation entry door sits behind the driver’s side with electric step and inset step entry.
There’s a Quick-up 24” TV pop-up system behind the side seat backrest for watching television in comfort at a convenient eye level. The system pivots around, and looks pretty slick.
The living area is in the front, fridge and storage to the left, with the kitchen opposite. The kitchen has some nifty features with a coffee machine shelf that disappears up in-behind the flash-looking glass cabinet above the bench unit. The easy -glide drawers on rollers are self-closing and anti-slam, much like domestic kitchens at home. The fitted sink cover can be removed and slotted into place to create extra bench surfaces to use.
The bathroom is in the middle with a spacious en suite on the left with separate shower opposite. This area has moveable doors to create privacy and a dressing area as required. There are also privacy curtains that can close the bedroom area off for privacy. The bedroom is in the rear with a 1450x1950mm queen sized island bed fitted with quality 7-zone cold foam mattress, wardrobes on each side at the bed head, and overhead locker storage. There’s plenty of storage and space in the bathroom and the shower has two drainage outlets with wrap-around doors to the floor, and a roof vent above for light and ventilation. Mirrors, storage and fixtures make for a classy looking bathroom area.
Furniture parts are bolted and mortised offering durable joins, top stability and permanent quietness without annoying rattling noises during travel, so Paul Cook tells me.
All holder rods, hinges and rails are solid metal, and household-quality. A door closer with soft cushioning also prevents noise being caused while travelling. Roman blinds on all living area windows, pleated in household quality, are easy to operate, and can be completely removed for cleaning.
There are all sorts of high quality fixtures and finishes that take this model into the A-class quality range of vehicles. I would suggest getting along to the motorhome show to check out this and the other Carthago models that will be on display – there could well be a model and floor plan ideal for your needs.