We have been very pleased with April overall. She drives well, is comfortable and more than satisfies our living needs. We have had to think carefully about how and what we load into her, but that has been a positive experience overall and we've managed to get rid of a load of junk. April fits beautifully on our drive and the unobtrusive colour means she happily blends into the background. We have found the slate grey colour perfect for us and so much easier to keep clean! So far, we have not noticed that we are too warm in the summer because of the colour and we did have some very hot days this year in France. White may be more, reflective but we can honestly say we haven't noticed any difference. The larger fuel tank means we can go a long way on a tank without worrying about filling up. We have found the water and gas more than adequate for our needs. If anything we were mildly embarrassed when we filled up the gas tank as it only cost £1.79.
Living: The bed is fabulous and really comfy. We have used a mattress enhancer from M &S and that works well for us. The duvet and mattress cover are in cotton duvet covers and roll up neatly in the back locker. I have been using a cotton throw on the seats just recently, but I think I will probably make something that fits better, even possibly getting the knitting needles out! I can see an Aran throw may work here. The big IH cushions live on the front seats during the night and are comfy by day.
The TV works brilliantly and is in the perfect place for a bit of night viewing. We usually only use the TV at home in the colder weather although it did work in France. It's really easy to use and tune in! The top cupboards provide massive storage. The heating is great and we have left it on very low all night when it's been cold.
Kitchen: The kitchen has loads more space than it would at first appear. The worktop extension is a valuable bit of extra room. The sink is adequate although I do leave a washing up bowl in the toilet compartment and we use site facilities when we can. The cooker works well although I have used the electric hob plate less than I thought I would and the oven slightly more. All my pans and crockery fall into the large kitchen drawers. We took out the heavy cutlery drawer and use a small light weight one. We have even used the little outside table, a handy spot for the wine bottle. I like the fridge, it's smaller than my last one but seems to hold more. We found a neat little pop up waste bin that also slots into the front door pocket.
Bathroom & Shower: The toilet and shower all functions as you would expect. With hind site we were glad our van arrived without an all round shower curtain, as the bathroom is a little cosy! We use site facilities where we can, although I do like to brush my teeth in the bathroom it works fine! We just need to remember to secure the bathroom cabinet door after use, as it was a mystery bump for a while! The toilet is great, I think I prefer the bench type it feels more secure.
Front Room: Grand title for two swivel front seats but they work well, although one had to have a handy file rubbed over its bits to get it to move more smoothly. The front door pockets provide handy storage for the electric leads and we keep the chocks in the front as a step for my little short legs which don't touch the floor. It also means we have a bit more room in the boot. Our shoes and boots fit in the floor locker, just as well we both have little feet! The side cupboards behind the drivers seat are the glory holes storing keys and other bits and bobs. We also carry two wicker baskets for other "things" like wine and groceries. We put up a pole for our home constructed mozzy/fly screen but truthfully we have not needed to use it yet. The little blighters seem to fly in through the big door and out again through the roof lights or windows. Strange but flying things don't seem to hang around in April but time will tell!
Boot: Well everything has been in and out and chairs have been changed and new table has been bought. To cut a long saga short, everything fits in, just!! When we take bikes the Thule tow bar on the back works well. We have also tried out the gas BBQ and that is perfect!
We paid a lot of money for April and although most of our warranty issues have now been fixed, the question remains should the manufacturer and the dealer have been more diligent about what they were sending out.
In our quest to be truthful and with the words to any readers I may have, of "caveat emptor", buyer beware, ringing in our ears,there is rather a long list, of warranty issues. We could go into a whole chapter on whose fault it is, but readers can draw there own conclusions. Suffice it to say, that we do now have a near perfect van, although there are a few finer points left to clear up, when the habitation check is due. We live in hopes that nothing else can go wrong.
So here is the list:
Complications with the specification of the Fiat van and the options available. No one seemed to have the information we needed at the time. Eventually we found it ourselves.
Huge problems with the alarm. Nearly had to cut short our holiday in France.
Satellite receiver fixed with stick tape, which kept falling off.
All outside decals poorly fitted around the windows. They were replaced.
Black finish on outside grills flaking off. Replaced.
Fresh water tap too near to exhaust, melted. ( No this is not a joke) Replaced.
Front blind fixing held on with sticky tape. Replaced with screws.
Front locker not straight. Still to be fixed.
Carpet on rear side wall bubbled up when it was hot weather.
Rear and side lockers not straight. Obviously the fitters had been having a wonky 5 minutes. This was fixed.
Mirrors in bathroom stuck with tape. Now fixed with mirror screws.
Battery charger. Still not convinced it is right. Time will tell.
Protruding screws from kitchen splash back. Fixed.
Wiring and lights. Where do I start ? Finally fixed.
The pictures probably do not show the full glory of the wonky cupboards. The first time I noticed it, I thought it was the wine! The cupboards were at least 3 cms out from right to left.
This list may appear to be picky, but each fault had it's own story.
To be entirely fair to IH, all the work has been almost finished, hopefully quality control will improve. We had no problems getting the dealer and IH to fix issues I guess it was the inconvenience involved which proved the most frustrating. IH van are excellent products and we do not regret buying one, it is perfect for our needs.
Would we do it all again??
Um......... yes and no, but differently.
I think we would look for a new van that had already been built.
The further from home the dealer, the more complicated things are.
Things we may want to add later, possibly an inverter to help charge up phones and ipads when not on an EHU. Roll on our next trip!