It’s not often I get the time to conduct a long-term, in-depth review of a motorhome. But with the country open to travelling once again, my wife Jill and I managed to secure a Wilderness Freedom 2 (a Bürstner Lyseo 590) from Wilderness Motorhomes rentals and head away for a 19-day trip from Auckland to the South Island and back.
We received the Lyseo 590 in excellent condition inside and out. It had served the Wilderness rental fleet since 2018 and had 46,300km on the clock.
In the Būrstner line-up the Lyseo is a mid-range model and presents a superior standard of finish. It has neutral mid-brown laminate-finished cabinetry and seat cushions upholstered with very realistic faux leather. The seat cushions and the lower panels of the back cushions are caramel coloured and the top panels are white, decorated with stylish quilt stitching. The vinyl floor has a fabric patterned, non-slip surface in various shades of brown. The overall effect is a quiet peaceful interior.
Each window and roof hatch has blinds, and insect screens included ‘cassettes’ that are recessed into the wall panelling, negating the need for curtains and creating a crisp, uncluttered interior look.
Built on a Fiat cab/chassis, the 590 is powered by a 130bhp Euro six turbo-diesel motor driving the front wheels through a six-speed Automated Manual Transmission (ATM) gearbox. It is a popular, tried and true combination, but occasionally I found the 130bhp engine was tested on steeper hills, especially from a standing start at the bottom of an incline. To get the best ‘rhythm’ out of the drive train when navigating hilly terrain, I found manual gear changes, 6>5, 5>4, and 4>3, made earlier than would occur automatically kept the engine revs and speed more even. Manual mode on steep, winding descents also produced a smoother ride.
The 590 could be safely parked in most carparks, either parallel or angle, making it easy to use in both town and rural areas.
Upholstered to match the lounge cushions, the cab seats are easily rotated to become part of the lounge seating. They are the most comfortable seats in the motorhome for reading, watching TV or for lying back with your feet up on the side settee having an afternoon snooze.
It is an amazingly large lounge for such a small motorhome, capable of seating six or seven with ease. With just two of us aboard, we were spoilt for choice. A single action locking lever makes the position of the dining tabletop easy to adjust, and because it is a large table, we had it pulled back and to the side most of the time. An optional smaller tabletop would improve access to the cab and would be well worth considering.
Although the Lyseo 590 is primarily a two-person motorhome, it can sleep and seat four. Re-arranging the seat cushions converts the dinette into a small double bed. For passengers seated on the forward-facing seat-belted dinette seat, the kerbside settee cushions need to be re-arranged to provide legroom.
The Truma Combi 6E central heater/ water heater powered by LPG was in operation for most of the journey. The vehicle handbook supplied gave clear instruction, making it simple to use. It was economical too. The Combi 6E, the hobs and the fridge used less than two 9kg bottles of LPG over the 19-day period.
The 145-litre fridge gained our attention immediately with its curved mirror door. It made us look very slim. Tall and narrow, it has a removable freezer compartment at the top and height-adjustable door shelves that can accommodate a lot of food and beverage. Automatic Fuel Detection chooses whether to use LPG, 12-volt or 230-volt energy, simplifying operation of the fridge. It never missed a beat.
Tucked into a corner behind the dinette, the kitchen proved quite practical. The three-hob stovetop offers good cooking options and the circular stainless steel sink is big enough to accommodate the 10-inch dinner plates supplied. We stored salt and pepper, a bottle of dressing and our teabags in the spice rack on the wall left of the hobs. The range hood over the hobs is a filter style model rather than an Xpelair.
Above the kitchen window is a single large locker fitted out to hold glasses and cups with the crockery alongside. We used the rest of the space to house boxed food.
Below the bench is more storage, with a cutlery drawer above a small oven and a cupboard suitable for taller items below the oven. On the end of the bench is a usefully large shelved cupboard ideal for cans, jars and cartons. Alongside is a floor hatch covering more storage space below floor level.
We travelled the whole journey before finding the pull-out pantry. It is behind the towel rail below the sink. Overall storage is more than sufficient for cooking equipment and food for two for a week or so.
The washroom starts in the kitchen with a full-length mirror on the outside face of the washroom door. Inside to the right was my favourite feature; the shower. Behind a secure bi-fold door, it ticked all the boxes for me; it was spacious with room to bend down and touch your toes; excellent headroom; a Star Wars sabre-style shower handpiece; three toiletry shelves; twin lights; a ceiling hatch and twin plugholes. Altogether excellent.
Centrally mounted on the rear wall is the hand basin. It sits below the mirror doors of the medicine cabinet. Shelves alongside the mirror provide more storage for toiletries and more still in a cupboard below the hand basin.
Lighting panels in the mirror glass plus overhead illumination provide good light levels for applying makeup and shaving. However, most men who shave wash their faces before, during or after shaving. There is not a lot of room to get your face over the basin because the medicine cabinet is in the way. It can be done but it takes care.
The washroom worked well as our dressing room. It allowed us to get dressed without having to adjust the lounge/cab blinds for privacy.
Sitting to the left beside a floor-to-ceiling cabinet is the Thetford swivel bowl toilet with an electric flush. A word of advice here; take care when re-inserting the cassette after emptying. I didn’t push it in far enough. We are talking millimetres here, but it failed to lock into position so couldn’t connect and seal correctly to the toilet above. Shortly afterwards the toilet emptying flap jammed, alerting me to the problem. A paper towel mop-up quickly fixed the problem.
Dropdown double bed
We hadn’t slept in a dropdown double bed before. This one was large enough, 2000 x1400mm, but when we examined the mattress – 100mm memory foam over a solid base – we were apprehensive. Surprisingly, it proved to be very comfortable. So much so that we are considering replacing our bed at home with something similar.
When fully lowered, the bed is still around 1200mm off the floor so a four-step ladder is supplied for access. I used the ladder two or three times each night without problems, but Jill found it easier to clamber up from the cab seats to get into bed. There was ample headroom to sit up in bed and we each had our own reading light. A floor light switch is mounted on the bulkhead beside the cab. Making the bed for the first time is a bit of a mission, but from then on we left it made up, tucking in any loose ends on the sides before raising it out of the way for the day.
Early on in our journey Jill commented, “The storage in this motorhome is remarkable.” We carried a mix of shoes and clothing for a two-and-a-half-week journey (no laundry stops) from a warm winter climate in Auckland to a cold winter climate in Christchurch and all stops in between. The Lyseo 590 managed that easily.
We used the four overhead lockers in the lounge for folded clothes and hung garments in the wardrobe beside the toilet. Shoes and bags went in the smaller locker below the wardrobe. Adjacent is a tall ‘all-purpose’ locker. Accessible from inside or out, it has a moulded plastic floor with a plughole, making it suitable for wet gear (diving, tramping or golf ).
A friend of ours with a 590 uses the locker for her trundler and golf bag. It could also carry a barbecue and alfresco dining gear.
Challenges and solutions
At bedtime we found the fridge lights and monitor board lights were too bright. We fixed that by making cardboard covers that we sellotaped over them at night.
On the 590 the bathroom door latch is different. With the door open, the latch remains concealed inside the door. When the door shuts it pops out to hold the door closed; mostly. Sometimes it doesn’t. A rubber door wedge from Bunnings ensured the door remained shut while we were travelling.
A motorhome without a bedroom is a novel concept and Bürstner’s Lyseo TD590 solution is superb. Less than 6 metres long, the motorhome is easy to drive and easy to park and store.
Effectively, the dropdown bed reduces the overall length by 2 metres so you could say the 590 has the lounge, kitchen and washroom of an 8-metre-long motorhome in a 6-metre-long body. And the package includes Bürstner’s style and craftsmanship as well.
Sounds like a very good deal to me.
Bürstner Lyseo TD590 specifications
2018 Lyseo TD590 Harmony Line
2.3L turbo diesel Euro 6. 96kW/130hp
6-speed AMT Auto gearbox
Fresh /Grey water/hot water
130 bhp Euro 6
Price as reviewed: from $99,900 (includes GST and on-roads)