Roma Alto: Video Review
Compact but surprisingly spacious, the Roma Alto is the weekend warrior’s new best friend.
No one, let alone Roma, which specialises in mainstream all-road caravans, is pretending the Alto is a long-term tourer. It’s a weekender or a week away at the beach or country, onroad caravan and needs to be viewed as such. In truth, it walks a clever line between a full-size caravan and a camper trailer, delivering the size of the camper with many caravan-like comforts in a clever, very appealing package.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
I can’t think of any caravan that packs as much into a 5.26m (17ft 3in) overall length, 2.1m (6ft 11in) width and 1.62m (5ft 4in) travel height.
But for many, the real attraction of owning an Alto will be found ahead of its simple A-frame and ball hitch; a tow car that needs no more than a 1500kg rating to haul it, meaning that any small SUV and most Australian family cars are Alto friendly. Just as attractive to many will be the fuel savings that flow from its Tare weight of just 865kg, combined with its aerodynamic shape.
Plus, to make it appealing to many people who have never previously thought of caravanning, the Alto ticks a lot of ‘green’ boxes, with 60L fresh, 60L grey and 46L black water tanks as standard, making it as welcome in a national park as in a regular caravan park.
Once you get past its looks, hitching up the Alto is ridiculously easy. There’s a fixed wind-up central jockey wheel, but the Alto’s light, 110kg ball weight allows it to be lifted onto the tow car by two people if you prefer. However, in the raised position the actual jockey wheel hangs too low and needs to be removed by a slightly fiddly clip before setting off – a potentially dirty business depending on the terrain.
With its narrow 2.1m (6ft 11in) width, towing the Alto is a breeze. The only negative here is that it tends to bounce about on broken surfaces and, unless you have a pin tensioner fitted to your tow hitch, the constant rattle becomes annoying.
On site, the Alto’s light weight makes it very easy to move the around, although this would be even easier if there were exterior handles.
Popping the Alto’s roof is also easy. A power rocker switch just inside the door makes it all happen silently, albeit a bit slowly. But in less than a minute it’s raised, another switch flips the rear bed cushion into the horizontal position, you place a few cushions in appropriate places to serve as backrests and the Alto is ready to enjoy.
If it’s scorching hot, you’ll also be comfortable inside, thanks to the optional Truma reverse-cycle air-conditioner and the excellent ventilation afforded by the large lift-up front window, smaller opening rear window and the sliding rear side windows.
HITS & MISSES
- Innovative, clever design
- Light weight
- Ease of towing
I would have liked...
- A sturdier jockey wheel
- Less vulnerable under-body plastic tap fittings
- More suspension travel
ROMA ALTO SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall length 5.26m (17ft 3in)
- External body length 4.25m (14ft)
- External body width 2.1m (6ft 11in)
- Travel height 1.62m (5ft 4in)
- Internal height 2.08m (6ft 10in)
- Tare 865kg
- ATM 1165kg
- Ball weight 110kg
- Frame Aluminium
- Cladding Aluminium sandwich panels with plastic honeycomb core
- Chassis Aluminium
- Suspension Single-axle with Dexter Torflex independent rubber
- Brakes 10in electric
- Wheels/tyres Alloy 13in with 175/80R13 tyres
- Water 60L fresh; 60L grey; 46L black
- Battery 1x120Ah AGM
- Solar 2x90W
- Air-conditioner Truma reverse-cycle
- Gas 1x9kg
- Sway control No
- Cooking Two-burner gas cooktop
- Fridge EvaKool 90L compressor
- Microwave Optional
- Toilet Thetford cassette
- Shower Exterior hot/cold
- Lighting LED
- Hot water 23L gas/electric
- Blue metallic body colour; Truma reverse cycle air-conditioner; alloy 13in wheels; hot water service; lightweight weight distribution kit; electric operation for rear backrest; TV bracket and antenna; bike rack; toilet; external shower
Price as shown
- $57,500 (on-road, Vic) (base price $48,500)
The full test appears in Caravan World #539 July 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!