In short, the Benimar Anthus 5000U is a very capable motorhome. The key advantages of the floorplan are the large lounge, well-equipped kitchen and workable washroom. The build quality matches anything on the market at this price. Where it falls short is the lack of kitchen workspace, poor provision for a TV and the quality of the upholstery.
Huge dressing mirror
Comprehensive control panel
Electric water heater
Sturdy lounge table
Access to rear steadies
Exit and entry from cab
It has a wobbly table
We had our reservations about the colour scheme and the old-fashioned velour feel, but we expect dealers to opt for something more conservative from Benimar’s range of fabrics.
The corner cushions improve the lounging potential – couples can stretch out on the sofas without having to rearrange the furniture.
The sheer size of the Anthus lounge counts greatly in its favour. Three windows and a large roof light mean there’s no lack of natural light, and there are four spotlights for the evening and a small overhead fluorescent lamp. However, there’s no obvious place for the television to go. There is a dedicated spot with aerial and plug sockets on top of the fridge – ideal for any overcab occupants, but not much use for the lounge. Even if you fitted an extendable turntable, the screen will still be down at the other end of the ’van.
The large table is solid and built with mealtimes in mind, and is sturdy enough to set up outdoors, on a flat surface. However, we did find its bulk got in the way, and it’s easy to tip up. The table’s folding leg mechanism is offset from the centre to facilitate its position in between the sofas, as part of the bed, but this affects its stability as the table’s feet aren’t that long.
The Anthus kitchen is very well-equipped. A full-size Smev cooker with four burners and a deep sink mean that there will be few problems cooking and washing up. The huge fridge/freezer also allows self-sufficiency for long periods. The one thing lacking is workspace. The options are to use the sturdy glass sink cover or the lounge table. Smev does produce an integral chopping board (which was standard on previous Anthus models), which allows cooks to prepare vegetables, but none was present on the test ’van.
Storage is plentiful, though there are no dedicated spaces for cutlery and crockery. The logical place for them is in the large drawer by the sink and the overhead lockers respectively, but it’s up to buyers to fit their own plate racks and cutlery trays. We liked the extractor fan, the very large fridge with separate freezer and the tempered glass sink cover. However, there’s not a lot of space between the washroom and the fridge.
Two of Benimar’s key aims in designing this floorplan were to provide room for the 140-litre fridge and for the combined washroom, which has a separate shower space. It’s a worthwhile aim, as many end-lounge buyers will regularly use both the kitchen and the washroom since they tend to use their motorhomes all year round on campsites with no facilities.
Any centre washroom faces the challenge of having a usable shower, in a small space, which doesn’t get in the way of the toilet. The Anthus is most certainly up to the task. Although it’s a fairly simple design, with a shower curtain as opposed to a solid shower door, it all works very well as a whole. There’s a tall sill between the shower and the toilet and two drain plugs within the shower, so there’s little chance of the toilet floor getting wet, even if you have a shower shortly before driving off for the day. There’s a height-adjustable shower head, which extends to just over six feet tall, with three small wall pockets for shampoo storage.
We found the washroom’s wide sink just as useful for freshening up in warm weather. The amount of storage space provided proved ample for two, with a couple of tambour-door cupboards above the toilet. These included small bins to stop bottles falling out when you open the door and a handy cupboard beneath the sink.
One thing we’d add, though, would be some kind of anti-slip mat in the shower, which was provided with the previous Anthus we tested. Apart from that, it really is hard to fault this washroom.
There are two large double beds available in the Anthus, and the overcab is well appointed for sleeping in. An aluminium ladder provides access and locks into place on the inside of the washroom door. There’s a safety net, too, which clips into place in the roof above the bed. There’s a window on the offside, a wind-up roof-vent in the middle and a fluorescent light on the nearside. A thick, one-piece foam mattress is supported by broad slats, providing some ventilation – we found it supplied a sufficient level of comfort for regular use.
However, there are drawbacks – those sleeping at the front of the cab have far less headroom, and they have to climb over their partner to get out of bed while the other is asleep.
As overcabs go, the Anthus is pretty roomy – a perfectly respectable guest bedroom – though the rake-off is sharp towards the front end. However, some may prefer it over the lounge. The one real failing is the lack of any heating vents, which makes it less practical for year-round use.
The lounge bed is huge and has the option of being left as two singles, although the table would still need to be folded down between the seat bases, to keep it out of the way. We found the cushions comfortable over several nights, but could never get them to fit perfectly snugly. We couldn’t work out whether the final two short back cushions fitted best horizontally or vertically. The corner cushions can be left in place, while still leaving a large bed, or alternatively they can easily be stored in the overcab or the cab.
The Benimar is heated by a Truma heater, with blown-air and a separate boiler, with a mains electric element as well as gas. There are four heating vents in total: one in the toilet, one by the door and two beneath the lounge.
The large, under-seat storage space is one of the key features of the Anthus, as it caters for just those kind of motorcaravanners who favour an end-lounge.
Long-term tourers need lots of space to take all the bits and pieces that make life in a motorhome liveable. The long exterior locker door provides plentiful access. However, inside you’ll need to take the necessary cushions off and lift up the unhinged slats. For clothes, the wardrobe and the nine overhead lockers provide all you could need. In the kitchen, there are two large cupboards, each with a shelf, two overhead lockers, a large drawer and a pan cupboard. If you use the overcab, or specify the optional roof-rack and ladder, there’s as much room as you could possibly want.
The payload (which is 100kg greater with the 2.8-litre engine/Ducato 18 chassis) limits loading, as does the rearward position of the main locker. It’s always worth taking a trip to a weighbridge with a fully laden motorhome to check that the front and rear axle weights, and the overall weight, are within legal limits.
|Shipping Length||6.53 m|