Burstner Nexxo T660 Moonlight

By: Bill Savidan

Burstner Nexxo T660 Moonlight Burstner Nexxo T660 Moonlight
Burstner Nexxo T660 Moonlight Burstner Nexxo T660 Moonlight
Burstner Nexxo T660 Moonlight Burstner Nexxo T660 Moonlight
Burstner Nexxo T660 Moonlight Burstner Nexxo T660 Moonlight
Burstner Nexxo T660 Moonlight Burstner Nexxo T660 Moonlight

Bill Savidan basks in the soothing light of Burstner’s Nexxo Moonlight.

Burstner Nexxo T660 Moonlight
Burstner Nexxo T660 Moonlight

It's 9am Monday morning when I arrive at Albany to review one of Burstner's latest offerings. Terry Tuohy of Smart Motorhomes, the New Zealand Burstner agent, introduces me to the Nexxo T660 Moonlight.

Terry explains that the Moonlight is an upmarket version of the T660. Each year Burstner selects one model from its range (currently numbering 53 models) and puts together a 'Special Edition' of that model, with a limited build number. This year they have chosen the T660, and Smart Motorhomes has secured two of them.

First thing I notice is the colour scheme: New Zealand's old cricket beige pyjamas meets the All Blacks. "It's not beige, its Champagne," says Terry. Either way it looks rather striking.

Terry tells me 2012 has been a good year for Burstner overall, as production figures are almost up to 2007 levels (another very good year for Burstner). Terry also shares with me figures for the different model styles. Cab-over-beds are proving less popular – falling to just a third of 2007 production and being replaced by low-line and super low-line models. But I digress: back to the T660.

I set off for North Head at the entrance to the Waitemata Harbour where I plan to complete our photo shoot. The Fiat hums along – its 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel working through a six-speed manual transmission unobtrusively. It's a quiet drive with low engine noise and no rattles. Most motorhomes rattle, especially if they are loaded up with crockery, cutlery and bottles in the pantry, but many accept this as part of the package. But this one just doesn't rattle, which is worth a mention.

I decide Jill (my wife) needs to see the T660 so I detour home. She is impressed with the colour scheme and body shape – sort of repressed aggression she reckons. I agree. Aside from the small kitchen, she loves it (Jill loves a large kitchen). She feels the grill oven is a bit on the high side for safe access. I mutter to the effect I do most of the cooking anyway and adroitly dodge the ensuing kick. I tell her Terry is coming back to me with a trade-in price for our Jayco (a lie) and she says "Why not? Let's go for it." That gets me thinking. Would it suit us?

Off the motorway on the winding, undulating Beach Road through Campbell's Bay and Castor Bay, I'm aware I need to work the six-speed transmission to keep the Fiat 130 multijet happy. At 50km/h the short sharp hills mean third and fourth gears get a lot of work. That's okay though when you consider fuel use is still around 10 litres-per-100km. The Fiat's low-level chassis with its wide rear axle reduces body sway to a minimum too.

As I pass Milford Marina I realise I've found a photo opportunity I hadn't previously considered. I stop, find a couple of locations with suitably boaty backgrounds and get to work.

That done I position the T660 so sunlight doesn't glare through the windows and set up for the interior shots. I decide not to take an image of the dinette converted into a bed – it's not photogenic unless it's made up with fresh linen, pillows and blankets, which I don't have on me. Terry showed me how to assemble the bed and it proved easy to do though. Instead I rotate the cab seats to face aft and set the table.

The dinette can seat five at meal times with the swing-around table extension bringing the drivers cab seat and the 'divan' into play. Most times, though there would just be two at the table because the T660 is really a two-person RV. I particularly liked the cunning bottle rack, perfect for a couple of wine bottles, located against the wall under the table.

The cab seats will be used for more than dining. They are well-padded, upholstered to match the interior décor and ideally placed to watch TV. The TV is mounted unobtrusively in an overhead locker between the kitchen and the dinette. The bracket slides out from the cabinet and the TV can face the lounge area, or be rotated for viewing from the bed at the back of the motorhome.

I take a trip into the kitchen. Seriously. There is a small step 'tween kitchen and lounge and being a slow learner, I trip and stumble over it in my pre-occupation with my photos.

The kitchen isn't easy to photograph. The L-shaped bench creates a little corner that's great to work in, tucked away out of the traffic, but awkward to shoot because I can't get back far enough to get it all in. The sink and drainer on one side and the three-burner hob on the other take up most of the bench space. You'd need to lower the glass lids to provide more bench space. There are three drawers and a large end-cupboard below the bench for kitchen utensils and fruit and vegies. Opposite is the large three-way fridge/freezer with a grill oven above and a pantry alongside. Between them they take care of the supermarket shopping.

The overall impression is that you have everything you need... except space. But with careful organisation it should be sufficient. Otherwise, the choice is yours; tighten your belt or eat out more often. As for me, I end up on a stepladder shooting the kitchen through the bedroom window.

If photographing the kitchen was a challenge, the bathroom was dead simple. It is placed beside the double bed and behind an odour-proof, soundproof solid door; once opened it reveals a light-filled pampering paradise. No contortions needed to capture the scene, just stand back and snap away.

The toilet is at the back, the shower is in the middle, and at the front is a corner vanity unit topped with a generously-proportioned hand basin surrounded by wall mirrors. All white and bright and inviting. There are two folding screens to keep the shower spray in the shower cubicle; the back one shields the toilet, the front one shields the vanity. Simple, robust and very effective.

The shower mixer is on a rail (just like at home) and teak duckboards keep your feet above the shower tray puddle. Burstner believes bathrooms sell motorhomes and this one will do the trick in most cases I reckon.

I think the bed will grab the attention of prospective buyers too. The foam mattress is built to bend and accommodate the tilting base at the head of the bed that angles upwards, providing a comfortable reading position with a minimum of pillows. It has a very smart mattress cover too; smart enough that there's really no need for me to make the bed up for the photo shoot.

The bed's slat base lifts to access handy storage beneath; some of which can also be accessed via an external hatch. Sliding doors service the locker at the front of the bed and there are six overhead lockers and a full-length wardrobe for clothing and personal effects. A privacy curtain screens the bed off when required.

The internal photo shoot completed, I head off to North Head for some external shots that will show off the T660 as well as one of Auckland's finest views. Hopefully, I will also find a location for an outdoor shot with tables, chairs and (with an ounce of luck) some willing passers-by to sit in them.

The 'view' shots do passing justice to the cityscape panorama and then I find a place to set up the table and chairs. On cue, two Uni students passing by – Isaac and Tasha – agree to participate in my 'make-believe' tea party while I snap away. Thanks very much for your help with that task, guys.

Packing away the props at the end of the shoot is easy. Everything fits in the big locker under the bed with room to spare. Quarter to six in the evening and I'm back at Albany locking the T660 in the Smart Motorhomes yard. Job done.

Would the T660 work for me? It features a smaller kitchen than I'm used to. Then again it has a comfy permanent bed. And a beaut bathroom. Great heater, insulation and double glazed windows to ward off the cold, too. There's a big locker that would house my golf clubs and our outdoor living gear.

The Burstner boasts a different sort of entertaining area from our Kiwi-club lounge; I'm already used to the step in the lounge and the access door on the 'wrong' side isn't an issue either, because most times I get in and out through the driver's door.

Not my choice of motor power its but very economical and driveable on a car licence. So all up, that question again: would this camper work for me? Yes, I think it would. Perhaps I'll have to get a trade-in price from Terry after all.

The reviewed vehicle has a retail price of $123,000 inc GST, on-road costs and the step.

If you like the sound of the T660 and want more info, call Terry, ph 09 4471087, ph 021 370520 or visit smartmotorhomes.co.nz.

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