Autotrail Imala 615

Jan 8, 2014
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Just back from the NEC and really glad we went. After viewing many vans in our price range and layout we wanted we changed our minds. I always wanted a u-shaped lounge but found a front lounge with swivel chairs gave us much more room. So, we settled on an Autotrail Imala 615. Very good discount in my opinion and a couple of grand less than my firm budget number, so good news there. I have added a media pack, 150bhp engine upgrade, comfortmatic gearbox, 3m canopy and a free 150kg weight upgrade.

I have agreed a price but have not agreed to purchase. Wanted to go home and think it over. Now that I am home, I thought I would share this with you folks to get your opinion on Autotrail and Edwards motors in Worcester. A good bit away from me but they have said that any issues will be dealt with by mobile engineers and I have contacted a dealer in Dundee (60 miles from me) who will do warranty work.

What do you think?
 
Last edited:

rolandrat

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The Auto-Trail always looks the part with up to date build designs but you need to look very carefully closer other than the inside. I took a close look underneath and was far from happy with the very flimsy side skirt trims which apart from being very thin had very little overall mounting support. Also the wheel arch trims were far from precision made. There is obviously the cost to manufacture the trims but I would have thought that making them much thicker would have helped rigidity. In other areas sealant had been applied very slapdash and butt joints could have been improved on. Another area inside which applied to the over cab bed models was the lack of decent design to enclose it due to the panoramic window.
 
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ABZSteve
Jan 8, 2014
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The Auto-Trail always looks the part with up to date build designs but you need to look very carefully closer other than the inside. I took a close look underneath and was far from happy with the very flimsy side skirt trims which apart from being very thin had very little overall mounting support. Also the wheel arch trims were far from precision made. There is obviously the cost to manufacture the trims but I would have thought that making them much thicker would have helped rigidity. In other areas sealant had been applied very slapdash and butt joints could have been improved on. Another area inside which applied to the over cab bed models was the lack of decent design to enclose it due to the panoramic window.
Thanks for your input RR.
 

DuxDeluxe

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One other word....... (Well, two to be precise)


Real Payload - even with a weight upgrade, it might be a lot less than you think
 

The Bogtrotter

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We were also very impressed with the Imala at the N.E.C. the only reason we did not go for this was first :- it only sleeps two and second :- it was only insulation class three. As we will be using the MH in winter we ended up buying the Auto-Roller 746 also from Edwards in Worcester. A bit bigger than we planned but everything else was perfect.
Also I found the build quality of the Imala slightly suspect, one of the cupboard doors did not close properly but that may be just all the hammer it gets at a show.
 

Gellyneck

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Hi Steve
What dealer are you looking at in Dundee to do any warranty work?
We've got a Savannah and looking for a more local warranty repair option.
 
OP
ABZSteve
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Hi Steve
What dealer are you looking at in Dundee to do any warranty work?
We've got a Savannah and looking for a more local warranty repair option.
Hi, Grants caravans in Dundee and I talked to Greenbank Caravans today. They are only 40 miles from me in Fraserburgh. Autotrail rep said I could use any NCC approved workshops or mobile engineer if they agree to do it because not all will unless your purchase is with them e.g. Dyce caravans or Perthshire caravans won't.
 
OP
ABZSteve
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We were also very impressed with the Imala at the N.E.C. the only reason we did not go for this was first :- it only sleeps two and second :- it was only insulation class three. As we will be using the MH in winter we ended up buying the Auto-Roller 746 also from Edwards in Worcester. A bit bigger than we planned but everything else was perfect.
Also I found the build quality of the Imala slightly suspect, one of the cupboard doors did not close properly but that may be just all the hammer it gets at a show.
Hi, yes a lot of kids playing with doors and chairs. Also noticed in one van that the kids dumped their rubbish. We only want to sleep or carry 2 (y) plus dog. And our winter trips will be limited and if we were out then EH would be used and heating on :) enjoy your MH (y)
 

Mousy

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Steve, we've got an autosleeper with a similar layout. The one downside we have found is that if you make the bed to a double you are cutting the van in two.

A rear lounge layout means you can both use the bathroom, kitchen and front seats without having to unmake the bed. You can't do that with side beds/sofa layout.

If however, you are happy to sleep as singles it works well and is lovely for afternoon naps!

Just have a think about how you use your motorhome because the change of layout is considerable.
 
Dec 21, 2011
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Hi, Grants caravans in Dundee and I talked to Greenbank Caravans today. They are only 40 miles from me in Fraserburgh. Autotrail rep said I could use any NCC approved workshops or mobile engineer if they agree to do it because not all will unless your purchase is with them e.g. Dyce caravans or Perthshire caravans won't.

I would pop down there, tell them about the deal you have been offered at the show and ask if they would match it.

They will be much more interested in fixing any problems if they sold you the van.

Some companies pay warranty work at a lower rate than normal dealer workshop rates and they might not be so keen if they are busy and you did not buy it there. (y)
 

Chris

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Are you sure about the front lounge?

I had that on my last van and it's not a patch on a U shaped ( in my opinion).
 
OP
ABZSteve
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I would pop down there, tell them about the deal you have been offered at the show and ask if they would match it.

They will be much more interested in fixing any problems if they sold you the van.

Some companies pay warranty work at a lower rate than normal dealer workshop rates and they might not be so keen if they are busy and you did not buy it there. (y)
Hi Mike,
These guys do not sell Motorhomes just caravans. Been to other dealers and they are not interested in offering decent deals in fact both of the M/H dealers I tried were quite rude.
 
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ABZSteve
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Are you sure about the front lounge?

I had that on my last van and it's not a patch on a U shaped ( in my opinion).
Chris, I thought I wanted a u-shaped lounge and was adamant that was the correct layout for us. There was a compromise with the single bed length i.e. the models I was interested in were just a tad short but I thought, well, I don't have to sleep here full time. The imala 625 had great seat width compared to the Bessacarr 462 but both as I said, just too short. Anyway, decided to look at the 615 out of interest and wow!! The single bed width was great and can be made wider by pulling out the double bed support a couple of inches. The length is perfect with not leg restriction. The other thing is that by swivelling both cab seats, we have a u-shaped lounge where as that space is wasted in the other layouts. We can also lounge on the seats to watch the drop down TV in the cab area, just as we would have on the u-shaped lounge. Alternatively, put a bigger TV on top of the fridge unit and watch from the cab seats. Don't know what it was, but I really liked the layout and my wife loved it. Being new to this, whichever layout I chose was going to be a bit of a gamble but hopefully we have chosen correctly.
 

Chris

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Chris, I thought I wanted a u-shaped lounge and was adamant that was the correct layout for us. There was a compromise with the single bed length i.e. the models I was interested in were just a tad short but I thought, well, I don't have to sleep here full time. The imala 625 had great seat width compared to the Bessacarr 462 but both as I said, just too short. Anyway, decided to look at the 615 out of interest and wow!! The single bed width was great and can be made wider by pulling out the double bed support a couple of inches. The length is perfect with not leg restriction. The other thing is that by swivelling both cab seats, we have a u-shaped lounge where as that space is wasted in the other layouts. We can also lounge on the seats to watch the drop down TV in the cab area, just as we would have on the u-shaped lounge. Alternatively, put a bigger TV on top of the fridge unit and watch from the cab seats. Don't know what it was, but I really liked the layout and my wife loved it. Being new to this, whichever layout I chose was going to be a bit of a gamble but hopefully we have chosen correctly.
Great stuff Steve. If it suits you then go for it,

You have obviously given it thought(y)
 
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ABZSteve
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Steve, we've got an autosleeper with a similar layout. The one downside we have found is that if you make the bed to a double you are cutting the van in two.

A rear lounge layout means you can both use the bathroom, kitchen and front seats without having to unmake the bed. You can't do that with side beds/sofa layout.

If however, you are happy to sleep as singles it works well and is lovely for afternoon naps!

Just have a think about how you use your motorhome because the change of layout is considerable.
Hi Mousy, yes we are really happy to sleep in the singles. First reason is that the dog can sleep on the floor between us. Second reason is that we didn't want one of us clambering over the other to get to the loo and the third reason is I don't like her being too close to me ;). Thanks for your input.
 

Mousy

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In that case you should be fine, our tv is on a bracket above the fridge so we tend to leave the front seats front facing and get comfy with cushions leaning against the seat backs.

Have your cab seats got 2 arms? This makes them much more useable as armchairs.

And congratulations and good luck. Exciting times for you both.
 

DuxDeluxe

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Steve, we've got an autosleeper with a similar layout. The one downside we have found is that if you make the bed to a double you are cutting the van in two.

A rear lounge layout means you can both use the bathroom, kitchen and front seats without having to unmake the bed. You can't do that with side beds/sofa layout.

If however, you are happy to sleep as singles it works well and is lovely for afternoon naps!

Just have a think about how you use your motorhome because the change of layout is considerable.
I think our old AutoSleeper had a similar layout as yours, Dawn. It was a major issue and why we traded it for the Pilote. I thought it would work but practise showed that it didn't and Dawn (Mrs Deluxe) never failed to remind me........
 

DuxDeluxe

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Hi Mousy, yes we are really happy to sleep in the singles. First reason is that the dog can sleep on the floor between us. Second reason is that we didn't want one of us clambering over the other to get to the loo and the third reason is I don't like her being too close to me ;). Thanks for your input.
That would work but ours had a dinette which made a large single; it didn't leave enough room for the mutts
 
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ABZSteve
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In that case you should be fine, our tv is on a bracket above the fridge so we tend to leave the front seats front facing and get comfy with cushions leaning against the seat backs.

Have your cab seats got 2 arms? This makes them much more useable as armchairs.

And congratulations and good luck. Exciting times for you both.
Thanks and yes Mousy, 2 arms. Really comfy (y) but I guess we will stick with the drop down cab TV for now and will lean against the bulkheads.
 
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ABZSteve
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That would work but ours had a dinette which made a large single; it didn't leave enough room for the mutts
Yes DD, we hired a van with that layout and although it was fine for the few days we had it, we didn't like it that much.
 
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ABZSteve
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One other word....... (Well, two to be precise)


Real Payload - even with a weight upgrade, it might be a lot less than you think
Been told that the payload is approx 600kg. I thought that would be enough, am I wrong?
 
Dec 21, 2011
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Been told that the payload is approx 600kg. I thought that would be enough, am I wrong?
In my humble opinion yes. But the 600kg soon disappears. Read the bumpf and find out what is not included. Add on all the bits and bobs you like to travel with and it will soon disappear.

When you get the van put it over your local weigh bridge, there will be a manufacturers tolerance on build weight and this can sometimes eat into the 600kg. Weigh everything you put into it for your first trip.

I suspect you will be surprised how fast it all goes.
 

DuxDeluxe

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Been told that the payload is approx 600kg. I thought that would be enough, am I wrong?
It should be but my 450 kg payload simply disappeared in real life...... Manufacturers are allowed +/- 5% "manufacturing tolerance" when stating their weights, so guess what they do? Yep, you're right. Then awning, bike rack, bikes, water!( yes, a lot quote weights with only 20 litres of water in the system instead of full water tank) etc etc. we were caught as we had a second leisure battery and also the extra weight of the cooker, beanie box etc just ate into the payload. Net result is that we uprated to 3850 which cost a bob or two. Now OK.

Don't want to worry you unduly as you will probably be ok, but just be aware and get it across a weigh bridge under real load conditions doing front, total weight and then rear axles so you have three weights. It is common to be on or over the limit on the rear axle. Sorry to be a doom monger but payload is a fact of life. We were pulled a couple of years ago - I knew we were ok but the VOSA guy was surprised we knew what our approx weights actually were.

Anyway, be aware and enjoy the van(y)

Edit - the above is an echo of MikeD's post........ So I see.
 
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ABZSteve
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Thanks guys, was a bit worried about the payload but hope we will be OK. I have a spreadsheet that I am using to add up the weight of the things we are most likely to need plus a few others such as a tool kit and spares. The extra 150kg has helped but I will certainly take your advice to get the van weighed.
 
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We went to a show in 2002 and bought a new van from a dealer hundreds of miles away, caused us no end of problems, we would not do that again no matter what the deal, always buy local if you can.
 

Mousy

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We weighed ours and were pleasantly surprised how under weight we were.

It worked out to mean I can eat a cake a week or extra cheese helpings for 3 years before we exceed our payload...result :whistle:
 
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