There’s a welcome (no pun intended) whiff of consolidation about Chausson’s plans for 2016, with a marked emphasis both on simplification (to present a less confusing range to buyers) and considerable improvements in build quality.
Mot startling of all is the news that only low-profile Chaussons will make it into the UK dealer network next year, with a trickle of overcabs reserved solely for motorhome hire companies.
Again, both budget Flash and more premium Welcome will be offered in a choice of 11 different models, including two below 6m long. Once again, too, both Fiat Ducato and Ford Transit are the base vehicles of choice.
Three new models have been added to the range, and with some 90% of all Chaussons sold in the UK during 2015 sporting a drop-down bed, all 11 models will have one of some description: either manual or, if it is the only bed fitted, electric. Interestingly, the drop-down beds can be deleted as a no-cost option, however.
Chausson claims that its targets for 2016 are simplification, technology and innovation. In terms of the former, only one option pack will be offered during 2016 (instead of the current seven), with prices for Flash and Welcome set at £2800 and £3600 respectively.
A new ‘iRP’ (insulation, resistance and protection) build process has also been introduced, incorporating up to 55mm of XPS insulation, a 63.5mm-thick floor, a 54.4mm-thick roof and a new GRP under-floor coating. A new wood/composite wall and floor structure has also been introduced, all of which has prompted Chausson to include a new seven-year whole body anti-water ingress guarantee on all models.
Chausson has also come up with a new ‘TechniBox’, which essentially groups the electrical panel, fusebox, fresh-water tank fill and drain points all inside one exterior locker box, with the mains hook-up positioned directly alongside. Oddly, though, this is not available on the new 620.
Shared new body graphics are enhanced, on the Welcome, by a dark-coloured cab, while Seitz windows are standard on Flash models. The soft furnishings used on a domestic market-only model during 2015 have now been made standard on all models for all markets, alongside a choice of two duo-tone wood styles.
The new models on offer start with what is unquestionably the star of the line-up: the new 620. We’ve selected this as our ‘must-see new ’van’ (please scroll down to find out exactly why) – suffice it to say it takes all the good points of the best-selling end washroom 610 and island bed 628, and adds in a fiendishly clever, yet wholly practical innovation that we’re pretty sure is an industry first. It’s priced from £40,450.
Next up is the 727GA (from £43,490), which sports fixed twin single rear beds (convertible into one large double) mounted longitudinally, a half-dinette lounge up front and the option of a fifth travel seat.
The final new model for 2016 is the 737 (£42,190 onwards). It has entirely separate fixed rear single beds, topped off by a full-width end washroom and separate shower. Like the 727GA, it has a half-dinette-type lounge, plus an optional fifth travel seat.
In other news
The babies of the new, streamlined Chausson range are the 5.99m-long 510 and 514. The 510 is probably the pick of the pair, since it offers a full-width end washroom and the larger of the two lounges. And since its drop-down bed is the only one offered, it is electrically operated.
The 514, meanwhile, has a slightly smaller lounge, but the flexibility of a transverse fixed rear double bed. As such, its drop-down bed operates manually. Prices start at £37,750 for the Ford Transit-based Flash.
The mid-range line-up may have been dominated by the remarkable new 620, but the award-winning 610 remains, with its superbly spacious end washroom and electrically operated drop-down bed over a spacious L-shaped lounge. Prices start from £38,850.
The 616 (from £40,490) is slightly longer, at 6.79m overall, and retains the family-friendly transversely stacked rear bunks, together with an amidships unitary washroom and adjacent kitchen on the nearside and wardrobe/fridge opposite.
Another favourite layout – this time that of the en-suite French bedroom – makes a return for 2016 in the guise of the twin-settee 625 (from £40,850). The 628EB, meanwhile (which was Chausson’s clear best-seller in its domestic market for 2015), returns with its palatial longitudinal island rear bed, split-level shower/washroom and half-dinette lounge. Expect to pay from £41,450.
Occupying the top of the range alongside the two 7-series new models are a pair of island-bed layouts. The 718EB apes the 628EB’s en-suite rear island bedroom in a longer (7.49m) body, with the 728EB again sporting Chausson’s clever rear-facing central ‘floating ’ washbasin and vanity unit. Prices kick off at £42,190.
Practical Motorhome’s star ‘van – Chausson Flash/Welcome 620
Built to combine the best points of the end-washroom 610 and island-bed 628, it’s difficult at first to comprehend quite what all the fuss is about with this new model.
The end washroom is entirely familiar, as is the nearside kitchen, but the body, at a whisker under 7m, is quite a bit longer than the 6.69m 610’s. Up front, the differences become a little clearer: the new lounge comprises a pair of inward-facing seats and a novel new central forward-facing settee.
At bedtime, however, the 620 provides the 628EB’s island bed. Remove the sofa seat base, fold down the backrest and lower the electrically operated table. Turn another key to lower the roof bed, drop it to its lowest level, push it forwards slightly, et voila: one central low-level island bed – complete with full walk-around space.
All 11 models will have a drop-down bed of some description