Review: Dethleffs Exclusiv 650 Ret

By: Claire Smith, Photography by: Claire Smith


MCD editor Claire Smith takes a look through the new Exclusiv 650 RET from Dethleffs

Dethleffs caravans are synonymous with quality and luxury and have found favour with New Zealand caravanners looking for a top-of-the-line holiday experience. The caravans are available exclusively through Taupo-based dealership, Central RV. I caught up with Central RV’s owner Brent Thurlow at the NZMCA Motorhome, Caravan & Leisure Show in Hamilton last month to take a tour through the Exclusiv 650 RET.

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And it was a pleasure to peruse, not only because Brent and his team are genuinely passionate about the Dethleffs brand, but because this model had so many redeeming features, including my favourite bed layout – twin singles. Brent selected the German-manufactured Dethleffs caravans for his business because not only do they tick the box for quality, but also because he was able to work with Dethleffs to include several specifically selected component upgrades.

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LED lighting throughout

These include a heavy-duty AL-KO chassis and axle to allow for very high payloads, without compromising towing safety. The result ensures the caravans suit the demands of the Kiwi lifestyle. "New Zealanders have a long history of holidaying by caravan, we love the great outdoors and have an amazing country to explore," says Brent.

"When our clients head away to enjoy a holiday in their Dethleffs caravan, not only do they get to enjoy it in comfort and luxury, they also have the peace of mind in knowing they have a well-engineered, high-quality vehicle." When you’re caravanning, a little luxury goes a long way. Which, of course, means that more luxury goes even further. And the Exclusive 650 certainly has a little more on offer than the average caravan.

Lounge

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The luxurious lounge

The first thing you’ll notice upon entering is the plush leather-upholstered U-shaped lounge with a slightly longer seating area on the side opposite entry. The lounge area is one of those spaces that almost demands that you sit down immediately and indulge in the comfort on offer, and once you do you could be forgiven for thinking you’re sitting aboard a luxury yacht.

The seats are comfortably wide and provide plenty of space to stretch out. The dining table sits in the middle and is solidly designed with a laminate surface and is hydraulically height-adjustable (which can be easily done one-handed). And because it’s a stand-alone, it’s easy to move around to suit, or even to carry outside for an evening dinner under
the stars.

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The décor is clean-lined and contemporary

The review model upholstery was cream coloured which looks quite stunning, but possibly more suited to those past the stage of having littlies still in the crayon-and-juice days. Although Brent does assure me that the leather repels spills, so stains are not an issue.

Other colours are also available, and the darker choices of leather look equally gorgeous.
Still in the lounge, up top you’ll find oodles of overhead cabinet space, and, like pretty much every feature in this caravan, it looks as good as it performs. The cabinetry is soft-close, generously proportioned and is sleek and contemporary looking in colour tones of Dakota Oak/Welsh White.

Kitchen

Alt TEXT HEREPlenty of storage in the kitchen

Cooking in a caravan isn’t always the easiest option when you’re in the mood for something beyond the basics, so foodies and chefs will be pleased to note that the Exclusiv 650’s kitchen has been designed with creative cooking in mind.

First up, there’s some seriously good storage, including three large drawers beneath the sink for pots, pans and appliances, a half-size pull-out pantry for bottles, jars, and cans, three overhead cabinets, plus an additional pantry drawer beneath the oven.

Directly above the oven is a thoughtfully placed benchtop where you can rest your perfectly cooked roast lamb while you top up your glass and finish the veggies. Alongside, is the main bench which houses the four burner Theford hob and sink. In total, there’s 1850mm of bench space available, with the hob and sink including glass covers to provide extra prep space when you’re getting creative with those hors d'oeuvres or after-dinner cocktails.

Opposite the kitchen ‘workspace’ is a full-sized 175-litre Dometic three-way fridge-freezer, and right alongside is a large wardrobe for hanging jackets and shirts, or for housing sheets, towels, spare blankets and pillows.

Bedroom

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Twin singles – so many benefits

Moving into the rear, the bedroom comprises of twin single beds, each including a Swiss-made 7-zone EvoPoreHRC WaterGel mattress. Brent tells us that twin singles are increasing in popularity and I can totally understand why. They’re not going to suit everyone, but as mentioned earlier, twin singles are my choice of layout hands down. Apart from the fact that you end up with more mattress width per person, twin singles offer all sorts of extra benefits.

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The layout is tidy and spacious

There’s no partner disturbance, they’re easy to get in and out of, and each partner can enjoy their own bedding preferences. In addition, access to overhead lockers and under-bed storage is nice and easy, which is not always the case with an island/French bed. There’s also the added benefit of the beds doubling as couches during the day, providing extra seating when you have guests popping by. 

Bathroom

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A bird’s eye view of the bathroom

Working nicely with the twin bed layout, the bathroom is located at the rear. Again, storage is plentiful with lots of shelving and cupboard space. The toilet sits to the left, shower to the right, and the sink/vanity between with a window above it. Those who love a good shower in the morning will be all smiles with the full-sized slide shower that includes a radiator for keeping you warm on chilly mornings.

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The shower has its own heater

The heater is part of the Alde central heating system set up to pump hot water through radiators around the vehicle. This, combined with double-glazed windows, first-class insulation throughout – designed to withstand harsh European winters – means the Exclusiv 650 is wonderfully warm and condensation-free over winter.

The addition of an AirPlus ventilation system, tinting on the windows and a large skylight in the lounge (illuminated), means it’s also a cool retreat in summer. In addition, the Exclusiv 650 includes 350w solar and an AGM deep-cycle battery, and an Avtex 22" TV/DVD with KiwiSat 60cm automatic satellite dish.

Exterior

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Outside and underneath, the Exclusiv 650 is built with an AL-KO heavy-duty chassis and suspension for extreme payloads, including AL-KO AAA brakes, AKS anti-sway coupling, ATC Trailer Control System, Octagon shock absorbers, and alloy wheels. The caravan door is extra wide at 70cm which helps when you’re carrying boxes of shopping or lifting out the table outside for dinner al fresco.

Overall

Freedom camping? Tick! Summer by the beach? Tick! Winter ski trip with your best friend? Tick! Year-round home away from home? Absolutely. The Exclusiv 650 is all about travelling in comfort. It’s about adding that touch of luxury to your travels, making them more memorable and enjoyable. From the plush lounge, to the quality bathroom finishings, the Exclusiv 650 hits the high notes throughout.

Find out more about the Dethleffs Exclusiv 650 RET at centralrv.co.nz

Pros

  • Quality and luxury throughout
  • Seriously good storage in every room (and soft-close too)
  • A heated shower – every RV should have one
  • Super-sized kitchen with good bench space

Cons

  • Some won’t love the twin bed layout (note, however, that Dethleffs has an east-west island-bed version available)

Dethleffs Exclusiv 650 Ret specifications

Berths 4
Axle Tandem
Length 7350mm/8720mm (body/overall)
Width 1990kg/2500kg (MIRO/max)
Payload 510kg
Fresh/grey-water tanks 183L fresh/145L grey (monitored)
Gas 2 x 9kg supplied (can hold 2 x 14kg)

Price: $113,900

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