Chausson 728EB Welcome review

By: Lisa Potter


Chausson 728EB Welcome review Chausson 728EB Welcome review
Chausson 728EB Welcome review Chausson 728EB Welcome review
Chausson 728EB Welcome review Chausson 728EB Welcome review
Chausson 728EB Welcome review Chausson 728EB Welcome review
Chausson 728EB Welcome review Chausson 728EB Welcome review
Chausson 728EB Welcome review Chausson 728EB Welcome review

There is an element of joie de vivre about the French, an understated elegance and muted sleekness. And so it is with the latest French import to New Zealand shores: the Chausson 728EB Welcome.

This jaunty motorhome is equipped with everything you would wish for to enjoy ‘apartment living’ on wheels. It is not commonplace for a motorhome this size (7.4m) to boast a central island bed, separate shower and toilet, full height fridge/freezer and an oven, as well as such spacious storage.

However, in typical French style, the clever design combines substance with a touch of flair. It is visually appealing and wonderfully practical; the perfect getaway for a couple (with room for a guest or two if required).

Alan and Maxine Rees, owners of RV Direct, are justifiably proud of securing exclusive distribution rights for Chausson in New Zealand.

With close to two decades in the business, the couple are notably detail-driven when it comes to motorhomes and caravans. With such a deep-seated love of the industry, they spent some years researching brands around the world, before settling on Swift as the basis for their new business; RV Direct. Based on the outskirts of Hamilton, with the stunning backdrop of Waikato’s Mount Pirongia, the business is a joint passion for the couple. And the recent addition of Chausson to the fleet has put a smile on Allan’s face.

"It’s a good feeling to be able to offer a high end product at an entry level price," he says.

The Chausson is kitted out with typical European attention to detail and design – there’s a reason it has won a host of awards. But more importantly, it is ideally suited to the New Zealand market as a home away from home for a couple who enjoy travelling.

Although it is three berth, it is in its element as an abode for a two. The central island bed (north/south facing) is a major drawcard and added privacy can be created by sliding doors allowing the separate toilet, shower and pedestal basin to become individual rooms. (The four berth version available includes a drop down bed in the lounge.)

The height adjustable bed is flanked by individual reading lamps and overhead lockers, while the deep wardrobe includes automatic lighting. Small touches, but welcome additions to the overall experience.

Chausson _8

In the wet area, the shower features double ventilation, a dual drain shower tray and a rigid shower partition (no clinging shower curtains; non, merci). The ability to partition off sections makes for a workable unit allowing privacy while entertaining guests. And a separate toilet is always welcome in any setting.

The eye-catching circular pedestal basin creates a curvaceous focal point from what could otherwise be a practical eyesore. Once again, careful thought has gone into the design, with hand towel rails and toothbrush holders on either side of the unit, and plenty of storage in the column supporting the basin as well as on either side of the mirror.

While the flow from the master bedroom to the wet areas and into the kitchen and dinette is seamless, a quick rearranging of doors and voila, you have three separate spaces; a private bedroom, private bathroom and separate living area. So you can enjoy time together as a couple, but also indulge in a little time out when required.

In the dining and entertaining area, Allan has made a small but effective tweak to the design, replacing the central large table with a smaller version, greatly increasing the ‘walk through’ space around the rotating cab seats.

Neatly tucked into a pocket space between the kitchen and bathroom, the television eases out on a sliding bracket and can be angled for optimum viewing. Sky TV is installed and the satellite dish can be hand wound into place when needed.

A 175-litre fridge/freezer, three-burner hob and Thetford Duplex oven allow you to cater for everything from a Sunday roast with chilled wine, to whizzing up antipasto platters in the functional bench space area.

Glass covers on the stove top and basin not only protect the walls from cooking and washing splatters, but when closed allow extra working surface.

Storage is a major drawcard of the Chausson. All interior cupboards and drawers are soft close (no slamming in a display of European temper) with extra shelf storage above the cupboards. A clever ‘hidden’ compartment is tucked away beside the master bed, perfect for valuables and virtually undetectable.

Outside compartment lockers offer plenty of space for extra tables and chairs (a la Cafe Parisian style) and the spacious main locker can accommodate the height of bikes, once the bed has been wound up to its maximum height. A smaller locker can carry a slide out barbecue and there is an additional locker, perfect for gumboots, raincoats and odds and ends. It’s all part of that uncluttered French appeal and part of the appealing versatility which is evident throughout.

Chausson _7

All lighting is LED, with discreet undershelf lights offering muted comfort. Seitz double glazed windows include screens and shade.

The racy looking 2.3litre Fiat Ducato cab is a simple 6-speed manual, and can be driven on a car licence. With 16 inch wheels (and Fiat mags, of course) and good ground clearance, it offers an enjoyable ride.

"Front wheel drive is a far better vehicle for touring than rear wheel drive," reckons Allan. "It’s a bit more car-like in terms of the ride.

"Rear wheel drive with duals on the back tend to be a lot more rigid, whereas this is wide track, so you can straddle judder bars, etc. And because it has single tyres, it allows for a smooth ride and enhanced comfort for driver and passengers."

All the mod cons are evident; from Bluetooth and air conditioning to a dual USB port and LED lighting. The usual acronyms are present: ABS, ASR , radio with MP3, etc.

Above the cab, a panoramic cabin roof allows plenty of natural light and ventilation. Driver and passenger seats swivel and can be height adjusted. Both the three berth and four berth layouts include lap diagonal seatbelts for the driver and three passengers, to meet NZTA compliance.

"It’s a moderately priced motorhome produced to a very high standard with quality fittings like Thetford and Dometic. The French are well renowned for presenting their motorhomes and going the extra distance in terms of design – and this is a perfect example," says Allan.

When it comes time to check the essentials, an easily accessible Technibox just outside the main kerbside door provides a central location for all the key controls, from electricity and clean water to charger and battery power.

With the GVM upgraded to 3.65 and diesel heating for water and central heating eliminating the need to carry heavy gas bottles, there is plenty of capacity for carrying golf clubs, bikes, fishing rods and other ‘toys’. Insulation is grade three (23 degrees inside, minus 15 outside).

Equipped to carry the extra weight allowing for long trips, this GVM upgrade does mean a 90km/h speed limit. But that just means even more time to relax and enjoy the trip.

For more information, phone (07) 825 2955.

For the latest reviews, subscribe to Motorhomes, Caravans & Destinations magazine here.

Keep up to date with news by signing up to nzmcd.co.nz's free newsletter or by liking us on Facebook