Review: Dethleffs Pulse GT T7051

By: Malcolm Street, Photography by: Malcolm Street


Malcolm Street finds a German-built motorhome which is definitely worth a closer look

The business achievements of Zion Motorhomes only ever appear to keep moving upwards and outwards. Take for instance the Dethleffs range currently available in this country.

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When the Dethleffs brand first arrived in New Zealand there were just a couple of models. The Pokeno-based dealership now has at least eight different Dethleffs models to complement the diverse range of other quality European brands.

One of the newer motorhome models from Dethleffs is the Pulse GT, which is available as either an A-class or Low Profile (B-class), such as the T7051 reviewed here. It’s a motorhome with an external length of 7410mm and a GVM of 3500kg, so there’s room to move and plenty of payload – about 460kg.

Motive Power

Powering the Pulse is a Fiat Ducato Multijet 150. Although most of the motorhomes imported into New Zealand seem to have the lowest powered of the Fiat engines (Multijet 130), the Pulse GT has moved upmarket with the 150, meaning there is a bit more grunt underfoot with the 2.3-litre, 109kW/ 350Nm turbo diesel.

And of course you also get the standard Fiat six-speed AMT gearbox and 16-inch alloy wheels, rather than the 15-inch wheels often supplied.

Construction

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The front area is spacious; note the angled back overhead lockers

Composite body construction is certainly all the rage these days among the European motorhome builders, and Dethleffs are no exception. The sandwich structured walls have an aluminium/XPS foam/wood panelling structure while the roof and floor have a similar structure, but the external cladding is GRP (fibreglass).

A point of interest is the overall look. From the front, the cab fits in very well with the mouldings, giving a streamlined appearance. At the rear, instead of a top and bottom moulding, Dethleffs have opted for a slightly curved wall – a simple but effective technique for taking away the ‘square’ look.

Euro motorhomes are clearly made with cold climates in mind because the body is designed to have minimal ‘cold spots’ with no aluminium or wood inserts. Presumably that works for hot weather too! To back up their body construction method, Dethleffs offer a six-year water ingress warranty.

External storage

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External bin capacity isn’t an issue

Across the rear, the garage measures 1100mm x 900mm but it has the interesting feature of an adjustable height inside. That’s achieved by raising or lowering the bed using a simple winding handle – the bed base being directly above the storage bin.

Consequently the height of the bed inside really depends on the internal height of the storage bin! Tie-down rings along the base of the garage make it easy for keeping large items secure.

Inside

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The front area is spacious; note the angled back overhead lockers

Given the Pulse is a German-built motorhome, inside is a bit of a no-surprises layout. There’s a front lounge/dining area, mid area kitchen, and rear bedroom, with a split bathroom within the bedroom area. The cabinetry has a stylish look about it, not only in the general design but also the colour scheme.

Overhead lockers are not usually mentioned in the fashion stakes but these are worth a comment, at least the ones in the front area. They are two-tone and angled back with an additional shelf. The locker door is a soft opening bifold arrangement that opens upwards – a very practical little idea.

Bedroom

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The bedroom cabinetry has a stylish look about it

In the bedroom, the cabinetry also deserves a mention. There is of a course a 1900mm x 1600mm island bed with curved corners at the base which, as noted, can be raised and lowered from the storage bin below.

At the bedhead end, there are the usual overhead lockers and bedside wardrobes, but the latter are angled to overhang the bed without getting in the way. It’s a clever way to use a bit of air space but it also looks good. In addition, both sleepers get a small storage compartment at pillow level and a decent bit of bedside storage as well.

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The water/space heater fits neatly under the rear seat

Lifting the bed base reveals handy compartmented tray storage, and at floor level, the nearside bed occupant also gets a small underfloor storage compartment – good for shoes and the like.

In addition to the standard insect screen/blind, the windows feature translucent Roman blinds, and as well as the bed reading lights, semi-concealed LED strip lighting is fitted behind a panel in the ceiling and under the steps at floor level.

Bathroom

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The roller shutter door makes it easier to get in and out of the shower cubicle

To make it easy to get around, the nearside shower cubicle has a roller shutter door and a removeable timber base, so it’s easy to have a dry floor when walking past it.

The cubicle on the opposite side contains the cassette toilet and quite a decent vanity cabinet setup with both upper and lower cupboards, as well as a wall mirror.

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The toilet cubicle is snug...

Although it’s a split arrangement, the toilet cubicle door can be used to close off the front part of the motorhome and sliding doors can be used to close off the bedroom area.

Simple lines

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The split-hob lid and angled design help make up for lack of bench space

The kitchen area is clean and uncluttered with the expected features, like a three-burner hob and round stainless steel sink with a Thetford grill/oven below. Benchtop space gets a moderate rating, but at least the hob has a split lid to improve things a bit and the sink has a cover when not being used.

A couple of power points are tucked away in the corner. For storage, the cook gets a cutlery drawer, cupboard and overhead lockers. Opposite the kitchen bench, the well-sized 190-litre two-door fridge has a cupboard above it.

Up front

What catches the eye here is the relatively large table, which can be used with the swivelled cab seats, and the two lounges – forward-facing and side-facing in the rear. There are no problems getting past the table because it can be pushed to one side quite easily.

More or less part of the lounge/dining area, although it is actually in the kitchen, is the cabinetry on the side of the fridge. In addition to a couple of recessed shelves, there’s also a drawer but, most importantly as far as the seat occupants are concerned, the mid-section is the mounting point for a 19-inch LED TV. It’s mounted sideways for travel but can be swivelled around when being watched, mostly from the front seats, given the location.

New Zealand specs

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There is space for two 9kg gas cylinders

Apart from the compliance issues, like gas and electrics, Kiwis get a few extra goodies on top of those motorhomes supplied to the British (who in turn get a few more goodies, notably right-hand drive, than the Europeans).

Included in the extras list is a 200W solar panel, Thule awning, 7-inch display stereo with GPS and reversing camera, 19-inch LED TV and a KiwiSat satellite dish.

Verdict

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The Pulse is well suited to New Zealand roads

The Dethleffs Pulse GT is a slightly deceptive motorhome, in a positive way. When stepping aboard, there is a temptation to think you’ve seen it all before. Yet there are features like the soft-close overhead lockers, the quite sophisticated lighting system and the general look of the motorhome inside and out, which all add up to a classy package.

It’s certainly a motorhome worth a second or third look and definitely worth taking a test drive!

Specifications Dethleffs Pulse GT T7051 

Vehicle make/model Dethleffs Pulse GT T7051 
Engine 2.3 litre 109kw/ 350Nm turbo diesel 
Transmission 6-speed AMT 
Berths 4
Approx overall length 7500mm
Approx overall height 3000mm 
Fresh/grey water tank  116L fresh, 90L grey  
Gas  2 x 9kg  
GVM  3500kg  
GVM kgs 4400 
Tare kgs  3620 
Payload kgs 570

Price as reviewed: $190,000 

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The Pulse is a stylish-looking motorhome, inside and out

Pluses

  • Stylish looking with tasteful décor
  • LED lighting system
  • External storage
  • Kitchen layout

Minuses

  • Space around the bed when extended is a bit tight

To find out more, visit zionmotorhomes.co.nz, or phone 0800 112 828.

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