The Ariane is a coachbuilt 4 berth motorhome which was designed to combat the cheap continental imports, like its sister van the Eclipse, it was built on the T1400 chassis and powered by either the 2 litre petrol engine equipped with the excellent Rennix electronic ignition system, or one of the Renault diesel engines.
Although the Ariane and Eclipse are externally very similar, you can distinguish one from the other by the positioning of side windows and the habitation door. The Ariane has a large window just behind the cab on the driver's side and the habitation door is on the back wall of the van.
The interior layout is very similar to the Autoquest 270 which was built on the Sevel chassis and also has a rear door with a central aisle. To the right, as you enter the rear door is the shower and toilet cubicle, next the 4seater dinette.
To the left, wardrobe, hob and grill, sink with drainer, then a useful 34" length of worktop. Under all of this is a good selection of cupboards and the three way refrigerator. One of the cupboards contains the carver boiler which makes it a small but effective airing cupboard. above the worktop is a double "glass" fronted cupboard which contains the all important bottle cups and glasses.
Above the kitchen area are two good sized lockers, one of which contains the crockery rack. There are three similar sized lockers above the dinette. all of these lockers have fiddle rails along their top front edges which makes good storage for maps and books
Forward of all of this is the overcab bed. in my opinion, only suitable for children, as the head height is only 20" but with two on board it provides good storage space for bedding etc. the dinette seats make up into a double bed. A 70 litre water tank lives under the forward seat and the propex unit under the rear seat.
As mentioned previously, the Eclipse and Ariane are very similar on the outside. The Eclipse has it's habitation door on the nearside and has two large windows towards the rear of the van. It also has a large rear window in the back wall which the Ariane does not have.
In modern terms the Eclipse is quite short, 16Ft 9inches [5.2Mtrs], but It had to fit our drive. It has a 2.0ltr petrol engine, which is rather thirsty. Initial power problems have been resolved and we can now cruise at 55mph with some degree of economy. It is well balanced over the rear wheels, the vehicle rear springs never look stressed.
It has a 2 burner gas cooker with grill, and oven, although not all Eclipses were fitted with ovens, it was probably an option from new. The fridge is 3 way, 240v Gas or 12v (for on the move).
There were no blinds or fly screens when we bought the van, just cloth curtains The only lights fitted are in the ceiling and are quite good, but are not satisfactory for reading. I fitted two aeroplane cabin, corner lights below the balustrades to suppliment the main lighting.
We like the side wall loungers at the rear, giving some separation from the centre kitchen area, and flat beds at night. The table fits between the side loungers for dining purposes.
The small washroom with cassette toilet suits us, we rarely use the shower as most sites have facilities, when used it’s quite good, but it won’t be a habit, as I’m suspicious of the washroom seals.
The gas locker on the offside rear of the van has room for two 2.7kg (907) Campingaz bottles, hook-up cable, waste and drinking water hose pipes, and toilet fluid bottles. Care is taken when on site to ensure the floor gas vent is not covered.