Upper class

If you are in the market for a premium A-Class, then this German offering should be on your ʻto seeʼ list says Nick Harding

Founded some 44 years ago, Carthago (pronounced “car-tah-go”) creates motorhomes at the upper end of the market. On review here is the 150 QB island bed model from the company’s c-tourer Comfort range of three. With any Carthago, it’s all about getting an exclusive specification that’s right for you; the starting price of £113,000 is just that – typically, owners will then spend anything between £25,000 and £40,000 on a huge range of factory-fitted extras. 

Retailer Choose Leisure from Kent, which supplied this vehicle for review, deliberately goes for some UK expected spec and then some. All its Carthagos kick off with the likes of an oven/grill, solar panel, alloy wheels, floor carpeting and Truma heating.

Build quality – 92%

There’s a roll-call of bodywork features, backed by a 10-year water ingress warranty. Note the radiused roof edges, the particularly deep windscreen and a wood-free construction with aluminium exterior and interior walls plus GRP roof and floor. Add Styrofoam RTM hard foam insulation, aluminium side skirting, a double floor and quality exterior hatches, and there is a reassuringly solid feel to the whole structure. Such are the extras fitted to our c-tourer, it’s easier to talk about the near-230kg they add to the vehicle’s MRO. Nevertheless, there’s still nearly a tonne of payload to play with, thanks to a 4,500kg maximum weight upgrade. The 150 QB includes a generous garage storage area, within which a panel lifts up to reveal a well for your bike wheels.

Driving – 78%

Underpinning all this is the Mercedes-Benz 415 CDI Sprinter chassis-cowl with Al-Ko’s low-frame extension. The 170bhp upgrade makes a positive difference, and the automatic transmission surely is a must-have in a vehicle like this. You should still be getting economy figures in the late 20mpgs, even early 30s. The ride is pliant and there is more ‘oomph’ than you might expect from any engine pulling around several tonnes of luxury.

You do have to consider weight, though. You’ll need C1 status on your driving licence, for starters (if you don’t, you’ll need to take a further test). Plus, due to its high unladen weight of over 3,050kg, lower speeds apply on UK A-roads (50mph) and dual carriageways (60mph), although you can still do 70mph on motorways.

Daytime – 77%

The 150 QB sports a typical A-Class front lounge arrangement. The Aguti cab seats are easy to swivel and that large windscreen allows lots of daylight in and scenic views out. A fixed L-shaped settee plus inward-facing seat are set around a fixed pedestal leg table which can be swivelled. The wind-up rooflight over the settee is a boon for ventilation/daylight, while illumination includes lots of downlighters. Upholstery here is the Davos leather/fabric combination (alternatives are available). The rest of the floorplan sees an L-shaped kitchen immediately behind the settee, separate shower cubicle (nearside) and toilet room (offside), then the rear bedroom area. 

Night-time – 80%

If you haven’t already guessed, QB stands for ‘Queen Bed’ – you get full bedroom privacy thanks to a clever trio of sliding sections, the outer one of which can also be used for fixing a TV. There are individual adjustable upper back sections for the bed itself, with wardrobes either side and cubbies near your heads – perfect for night-time stuff like a glass of water, book etc.

There’s a typical A-Class bed at the front, a manually operated pull-down double, again of considerable size, its one-piece mattress also on a slatted base.

Kitchen – 78%

At nearly £1,700, that Krups coffee maker, sliding out from its dedicated locker, may seem an expensive option until you consider it entails the fitting of an inverter. This means you can also use any of the other mains sockets throughout your c-tourer when you’re off-grid. 

In true continental fashion, the kitchen is a little cramped, although it excels in its provision of storage. You get a shelved overhead locker, a trio of drawers, even a locker designed to store up to four drinks bottles.

Equipment includes a three-ring corner hob from Dometic, with cast-iron grate, complemented by a Thetford Duplex combined oven and grill. The circular inset sink comes with a removable cover that slots into the wall to add some helpful shelf space. Its underside is a nylon chopping board. Opposite is a Dometic fridge/freezer with main door that opens on both sides.  

Washroom – 80%

As mentioned, the shower cubicle is on the nearside with toilet room opposite. The swivel-bowl WC almost looks out of place among the opulence elsewhere –you’ll find a handy section of countertop around the basin, lockers are mirror-doored and details include a couple of mugs, a hook, soap dispenser, mains socket and a (locker-door) toilet roll dispensing slot. The plastic-lined shower cubicle is a decent size. Features include two drainage points and a trigger-operated shower hose on a riser bar, with two pockets for toiletries. 

Details – 84%

Even before you start piling on the extras you’ll benefit from details such as double coat hooks on the habitation door and an illuminated grab handle. Of note are the relative lack of screw caps on the furniture, etc. 

There are minor criticisms: access around the main bed is a little tight and there is just a standard rooflight overhead. Also, you only get standard cassette blinds and flyscreens in the main living quarters. 

Verdict – 81%

A super-premium product with a price to match – quality stares back at you everywhere you look. 

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