The Bessacarr’s overcab looks bulbous, but the reward is a genuinely usable overcab bed. The smooth GRP side panels are very shiny and have none of the characteristic cross-hatching effect that you see on the GRP panels of some other motorhomes. This doesn’t alter the effectiveness of the sidewalls, but the Bessacarr looks particularly sharp. Add the Bessacarr’s colour-coded bumpers and aluminium skirts and it’s a striking vehicle.
The interior strikes a good balance between modern and traditional. The Lima upholstery in our review model made the interior feel light, despite the reddish cherry-effect woodwork.
On the road
The Bessacarr’s cab offers window and mirror electrics, as well as door speakers. It sports the 2.3-litre turbo-diesel, which usefully hikes the power and torque by around 30 per cent over the 2.0-litre unit offered in some rivals, thanks to the extra capacity and the addition of an intercooler. This extra ‘urge’ is worthwhile as it makes for more relaxed cruising. The Bessacarr gains more points for the inclusion of ABS brakes, which come as standard on 2006 models.
Lounging & dining
Four can suit comfortably at mealtimes, thanks to a roomy dinette and supportive seats. The interior is very bright and breezy to look at and the side-sofa in particular was a joy to sit on, thanks to the sculpted bolster cushions at either end.
The kitchen lies across the back of the ’van, between the washroom wall and side wall. This limits available space on the worktop but Swift Group has worked around it.
The Bessacarr’s refrigerator is next to the door and the oven, which leaves a small, upright, storage cupboard between the two for housing a small cutlery drawer (with no divisions) and a small wire drawer for perishables. On the other side of the living-area door is a massive floor-level storage cupboard that will swallow tins, bottles and all manner of foodstuffs with ease. There is only one eye-level storage locker above the sink and hob, but there is a microwave oven in a dedicated storage locker and this more than makes up for it. Workspace is limited near the sink and cooker, but there is loads available above the large storage cupboard.
The Bessacarr can legitimately be called a five-berth motorhome with its large overcab double, a single bed running along the nearside, and a double bed in the dinette. All the beds form up to make flat sleeping areas and although very tall sleepers may find themselves a little cramped in the lower beds, the overcab boasts 2.09m (6ft 10ins) of length – which should accommodate most people, in comfort. The beds are easy to make up, too.
The Bessacarr lacks a window and, along with the coloured wall treatment, feels dark and a bit dingy. The flush-fit magnetic door is nice, though, and stops a lot of the snagging catches which can imprison the unwary in the washroom. A swivel Thetford cassette toilet is standard and the shower is controlled using the washroom taps, rather than its own assembly.
The Bessacarr makes a half-hearted attempt at exterior storage, with a tiny storage door next to the gas bottle locker, but getting bigger items in and out of it is a bit of an art.
Inside the ’van, there’s plenty of storage under the seat bases, while numerous roof-level lockers line the areas above the lounge and dinette.
The Bessacarr has a slide-out TV locker fitted as standard, with a huge space available with pre-wired sockets for hooking up a DVD-player.
A half-height wardrobe above the heater supplies storage for coats and jackets.
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas with electric hot plate, Oven, Separate grill
Thetford C-250 toilet, Shower curtain
The Bessacarr E435 strikes a balance between value, traditional British comfort, and the thoughtful design that typically characterises Continental ’vans.