Around the same time Erwin Hymer Group was launching Carado in North America with products like the Axion camper van, it was also launching the all-new Carado Vlow over in Europe. Beyond sharing general Fiat Ducato/Ram Promaster underpinnings, the Vlow camper van is very different from the Axion, being built for different needs and tastes. It comes in a variety of floor plans, most intriguing of which is the 19.7-ft (6-m) V 601 that can haul bicycles and gear to camp and sleep a family of five once there.
After covering dozens of camper vans over the years, we've noticed that new vans are very often designed for two or four people. Four-sleepers usually add the extra capacity in the form of a roof bed below the pop-top or high roof. If you have to drive and sleep a family of five, you'll probably find yourself shopping larger Class C and Class A motorhomes or large trailers and fifth wheels.
However, there does exist a smaller subset of camper vans that can sleep five people. Carado's Vlow camper van is one, owing to the V 601, a floor plan designed primarily as a four-person, but with the capability of supporting a fifth sleeping berth.
Instead of sleeping two campers up high in a roof bed, the V 601 stacks everyone together on a pair of transverse bunk beds in back. Both beds are doubles, but they are dimensioned individually, measuring in at 73 x 56 in (185 x 143 cm) and 68 x 55 in (174 x 140 cm). The optional convertible central bed creates the extra sleeping berth, allowing the V 601 to sleep a full family of five without even having to scrunch all three kids together on a single bed.
Oddly, the V 601 is only available with four seats – the two front cab seats and the dual-seat dining bench providing all available riding space. We guess you'd only use the fifth sleeping berth if your party was traveling in multiple vehicles. Still, getting five people sleeping snugly in a 6-m van without a pop-up roof is an impressive feat, and the Vlow's double-bunk design doesn't even prevent owners from hauling bikes and other large gear in back. The lower bed collapses out of the way to make room, and tie-down points secure everything in place.
Carado launched the Vlow camper van family at the 2017 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, and it now has four 2019 floor plans. Besides the V 601, all other Vlows come standard as two-sleepers, with the option to add the central bed for a third berth. The V 600 is based on the same 236-in (599-cm) Fiat Ducato as the V 601, only it has one transverse double bed in back instead of the bunks. The compact 213-in (541-cm) V 540 also has a transverse double bed, while the 250-in (636-cm) V 640 stretches out with a longitudinal double bed.
All four floor plans look much the same up ahead of their individual rear bed configurations. Immediately ahead of the bed, each has a wet bath compartment opposite a kitchen block. The kitchen includes a dual-burner gas stove, sink and compressor refrigerator, along with storage. The bathroom has a toilet, corner sink and shower basin floor.
All floor plans also include a driver-side dining area just ahead of the bathroom compartment. Here, campers will find the dual-seat bench and the swivel front seats on either side of a table.
Standard equipment common to all Vlow floor plans includes interior heating, 100-L fresh water and 90-L waste water tanks, a 95-Ah battery, and three 230-V and one 12-V outlet. All the 6-m+ models include a 90-L fridge, while the V 540 has a 65-L fridge. Other variations between models include the number and layout of cabinets and the size of tables and worktops.
Each Fiat Ducato base van comes standard with a 129-hp 2.3-liter Multijet engine, and buyers can select options up to 174 hp. Other van options include Traction+ with Hill Descent Control, rear parking sensors, and a chassis package with air conditioning, cruise control, passenger airbag and more.
Vlow 2019 base prices start at €35,499 (approx. US$40,420) for the V 540 and rise to €37,999 (US$43,315) for the V 640. The V 600 starts at €35,999 (US$41,000), while the V 601 starts at €36,999 (US$42,120). Note that the full exterior photos in the gallery show the 2018 model; the 2019 models have slightly different paintwork.
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