Review: Ilusion 650 Irius

By: Cameron Officer, Photography by: Cameron Officer


irius The Ilusion 650 Irius irius
irius 8 The rear lounge during its daytime configuration irius 8
irius 9 Bathroom might be a wet room design, but it is a well-appointed one irius 9
irius 10 Three-burner hob features controls tastefully tucked away irius 10
irius 11 Easy-to-use switches deploy both beds from one spot irius 11
irius 12 Deep storage cavities sit behind the rear sofa irius 12
irius 13 Integrated wine cabinet is a nice touch irius 13
irius 15 Exterior connections are covered against the elements irius 15

A new model to arrive in New Zealand from European manufacturer Ilusion offers robust construction, matched with a unique floorplan

The Ilusion 650 Irius makes up a rather unique part of the European motorhome market in New Zealand. And no, I’m not even talking about the Citroen chevron in the grille.

It has more to do with this range-topping vehicle’s bed configuration, with no less than two completely separate drop-down beds creating rest areas for four, or spacious his-and-hers sleeping, with two separate lounge areas available during the day.

Ilusion expansion

Irius -2

Since bringing the first Ilusion into the country in 2017, Paul Cook from RnRV, sole agent for the brand, has been pleased with the response the Spanish-manufactured motorhomes have generated here.

With the island and twin single bed models already having been launched and other models on the way, Paul says there is plenty on offer under the Ilusion banner for a variety of customers looking for compact, elegant European-built motorhomes.

Paul also says customers can recognise quality craftsmanship when they see it. "A good rule of thumb is to look at the garage door locker and all it encompasses, such as the quality of the seals, latches, etc, in any motorhome. With Ilusion vehicles, you can see that highly robust double thick material has been used here. It’s the same throughout the entire motorhome," he says.

"That’s a good indicator of the level of craftsmanship and the quality of build materials deployed during manufacturing. You can’t hide cheap materials, but every manufacturer that is proud of the level of skill required to build their motorhomes will always have it front and centre."

The build

Irius -14

The proof is in the pudding—or the cladding, as it were—when it comes to just how robust the Ilusion 650 Irius is.

Ilusion uses Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) on the roof to resist hail stone damage, etc. The motorhomes side panels are 32mm thick and of a high quality, smooth finished, resilient, and 100% polyester.

The thickness of flooring material used is higher than average in the European market. The underbody is designed specially to block infiltration and moisture absorption, while offering better thermal insulation and resistance to impact from stones—handy on Kiwi coarse chip.

Up above, the reinforced roof even features hail protection measures, while the material used doesn’t feature external screw points, so as to mitigate water ingress. The large skylight lets light in but is a one-piece fixed unit. The aim is to allow plenty of natural light to filter into the interior but not to have to worry about the risk of water infiltration.

Double bed, overhead

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As I mentioned earlier, the 650 Irius features two drop-down beds that both recess neatly against the ceiling when not required. Controls for each are sited in the centre of the motorhome on a panel at the front of the main kitchen cabinet.

This is convenient, in that to deploy either bed at each end of the vehicle, you’ll need to be standing here anyway. Turn the key to the ‘on’ position and then use the up or down buttons to raise or lower the bed electronically; it’s easy.

This particular motorhome probably won’t appeal to families. In fact, the front and rear drop-down beds might never be deployed together, save for when unexpected guests drop by. This is a model that will appeal to couples; Paul Cook confirms as much, saying the interest generated thus far in the 650 Irius has been from empty nesters. One couple who has purchased a 650 Irius for weekend getaways even utilise each dropdown as their own separate king single.

Interior

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It isn’t just the external panels and in places you can’t see that the Ilusion 650 Irius proves itself a quality build; there are plenty of premium touches on display inside the living quarters too. I’m always impressed by any manufacturer’s clever use of LED light technology.

Framing under-benches and behind wall partition recesses doesn’t necessarily need to be done, but I reckon it’s the measure of a particular motorhome builder’s attention to detail when it’s done right.

That’s the case here, with plenty of subtle LED illumination on offer, augmented by overhead panel light clusters that can shine brightly as normal or, with the flick of a rocker switch, turn iridescent blue to help guide the way down the access ladder to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

The kitchen features high-quality tapware and a durable Corian benchtop. Dometic appliances are utilised throughout, while Webasto takes care of house heating and hot water to the usual high European standard. The bathroom feels light and spacious for a motorhome of this size. It’s essentially a one-piece room, although the shower and basin area can be sectioned off from the toilet.

Underfloor, the garage compartment features double locks (as does the main house entry door) and comes ready-lined in durable treadplate.

Verdict

Irius -4

A lot of thought has gone into the construction of this mid-sizer from Ilusion. While its layout will probably only appeal to a very particular buyer, the 650 Irius can certainly be taken as a prime example of the level of expert craftsmanship—utilising seriously robust construction materials—that this new company on the Kiwi scene utilise for their model range.

As a bit of a Citroen fan (and someone who enjoys driving a manual transmission when I get the chance), I can also recommend the gutsy turbo diesel powering this model. On my evaluation drive, I tackled several decent hills in third gear without any issue. In all, I’m looking forward to seeing what else Ilusion has on offer in the coming months.

Ilusion 650 Irius specifications

Vehicle make/model: Ilusion 650 Irius
Engine Citroen Jumper: 160hp turbo diesel
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Berths: 4
Approx. overall length: 6600mm
Approx. overall height: 2750mm
Tanks: 100L fresh, 100L grey
Gas: 2 x 9kg
GVM: 3500kg
Price (as reviewed): $139,990

Irius -6

Pluses

  • Value for money proposition
  • Impressive build materials and expert level of craftsmanship

Minuses

  • Twin drop-down bed set-up will have specific market appeal
  • Manual-only transmission might be a deterrent to some

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