Review: Tabbert's Vivaldi 560DM and Puccini 655E

By: Cameron Officer, Photography by: Cameron Officer


Auto Leisure & Marine (ALM) has recently added the respected German brand Tabbert to its well-regarded line-up of caravan model offerings

Tabbert has been manufacturing caravans since 1953 and, even at a glance, that design and packaging experience really does show through.

When Auto Leisure & Marine (ALM) decided to add a true European range offering to its line-up of quality caravans, Tabbert was on the shortlist from the very beginning.

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"When we decided we wanted to add a European manufacturer to the stable, we had Tabbert in mind right from the beginning of the search," ALM’s Andrew Fink says.

"There were several criteria our brand of choice needed to fulfil for us. We wanted a broad range of layout options and we wanted to partner with a manufacturer with history and the ability to innovate.

"We also wanted a range of models that feature decent maximum payload; it’s a fact that not all caravans are created equal in this regard.

"Kiwis like carrying plenty of gear with them on holiday, so caravans that can pass muster as load-haulers were essential.

"Additionally, we’re pretty straight up about the fact that we wanted products at the top end of the market; we’re not interested in undercutting the competition with cheaply-made caravans.

"We needed our European product offering to seamlessly fit with the remainder of the ALM-distributed range, and Tabbert definitely does that," he says.

Tabbert overview

We’re taking a look at two specific examples from the Tabbert range—the single-axle Vivaldi 560DM and the bigger Puccini 655E—but an overview of what’s actually available to New Zealand caravanners from this manufacturer would run to several pages.

Suffice to say, Tabbert’s range extends to five distinct lines with an equally distinct classical Italian theme at play (Rossini, Da Vinci, Vivaldi, Puccini, and Cellini).

Within the five lines are no less than between eight and 12 size-dependent layout options, so hauling out the ‘something for everyone’ cliché comes rather easily here.

Length-wise, Tabbert’s caravans stretch between a shade under six metres at one end of the ledger, to over nine metres at the other.

And when you’re talking about premium German caravans, you might as well opt for some premium German tow vehicle tech to transport them; hence our SUVs of choice from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. But sorry, no package deals are available I’m afraid.

Might I suggest you head to your local Lotto retailer instead?

Vivaldi 560DM and Puccini 655E

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These two caravans might be rather disparate in terms of dimensions, but there are several innovative through-lines that we can trace between them.

It may sound like a small detail, but the detachable and moveable reading lights are genius personified; the clip-on/clip-off lights run on a rail throughout the interior of both models.

So, no matter where you choose to sit of an evening, available light can always be at hand.
Excellent bench space in the kitchenettes of both caravans add to their practicality, as does the tidy hob controls embedded in the benchtop next to the three-burner itself (as opposed to under the lip of the bench).

Neither of the two caravans reviewed feature full ovens but Andrew says these can be ordered.

Dometic fridges, smooth exterior design (including clever front boot accessibility), LED lighting, stylish push-lock handles on all cabinetry, and easily convertible bed designs with clever Tabbert disk-spring load-distributing bases are some highlights from both of our review models.

Maximum payload for the Vivaldi 560DM is rated at 430kg, while the Puccini 655E’s maximum payload is 770kg.

Review of the Vivaldi 560DM

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The Vivaldi 560DM might be the smaller of our two review examples here today, but boy does it pack plenty of practicality within its 7.8m-long frame.

Looking at it from outside, you’d be forgiven for raising a sceptical eyebrow if I were to suggest up to six people can bed down in it of an evening, but it’s true.

The clever bit is at the back—a set of twin bunks (crafted from real wood framing with a permanent ladder) extend up the back wall, ensuring extra berths.

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There’s no compromise on storage space, thanks to the bunk beds. The bottom base is hinged and folds back to allow for a tidy temporary garage space where in-transit items can reside.

A French bed at the other end of the caravan provides for berths three and four, while the sofa also converts for night duties if required.

With the living area through the middle of the caravan, two sliding partition doors mean a couple of combinations of children/adult space separation are available of an evening.

And speaking of partitions, the combination toilet and shower cubicle features a screen between the toilet and shower box, meaning that a post-shower dry-down of every other facility isn’t required.

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The vanity sits outside the combination toilet and shower cubicle but is tucked tidily away.

The Vivaldi 560DM Specifications

Vehicle make/model: Vivaldi 560DM

Berths: 6

Axles: 1

Approx. overall length: 7850mm

Approx. overall height: 2660mm

Tanks: 100L fresh, 100L grey

Gas: 2x9kg

GVM: 2000kg

Price (as reviewed): $74,995

Review of the Puccini 655E

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A spacious U-shaped lounge at the rear and twin single beds (with an in-fill squab to make an easy queen bed) up front characterise the Puccini 655E.

But as mentioned earlier, this particular strain of Tabbert recreational finery can be had in a multitude of configurations—10 in all—with the biggest offering full-sized queens with walk-around space and stand-alone shower boxes in the bathrooms.

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A nice detail in the bedroom is extra storage space behind the headboards of each bed—a handy nook to hide electronics and other valuables if you’re away from the campsite. Both bed frames also feature recline adjustability to suit. 

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Overhead storage is available everywhere in here. All cabinetry and latches are finished to an impressive level and the overhead arrangements boast integrated corner lights, which are works of art in themselves.

Like the Vivaldi, the Puccini’s kitchenette is well-packaged, with soft-close drawers as standard and with the added bonus of a separate mini-shelf specially designed for that indispensable capsule coffee maker of choice.

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The Puccini 655E Specifications

Vehicle make/model: Puccini 655E

Berths: 4

Axles: 2

Approx. overall length: 8610mm

Approx. overall height: 2650mm

Tanks: 100L fresh, 100L grey

Gas: 2x9kg

GVM: 2500kg

Price (as reviewed): $95,990

Verdict

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ALM looks to have picked another winner with Tabbert. As summer approaches, there will be ever more interest in new caravan options on the New Zealand market.

When they arrive straight out of the box with as much pedigree as this pair—not forgetting each model’s impressive build quality and floor space flexibility—their appeal is obvious.

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With these two caravans offering more features than we can possibly fit on these pages, it would be best to pay a visit to ALM (either online or in person if you’re passing through Te Rapa, Hamilton) and take a closer look at what the Vivaldi 560DM and Puccini 655E have to offer. 

For more information, call Auto Leisure & Marine Group on 07 850 5512 or visit almgroup.co.nz.

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