Such was the success of the ’van, and the tag-axle line-up as a whole, that Bessacarr has expanded the range for 2008 with this fixed-bed, garage version of the E789.

The E789 caused quite a stir in the motorhome world when it was launched earlier this year. Not only did it offer a successful combination of innovative features and opulent design, it was also the first tag-axle model in the E700 range to offer the luxury of an island bed.

Is this new layout likely to prove as successful for Bessacarr as it has for competitors Auto-Trail and Bürstner? To find out, we were allowed an exclusive look at the new-model prototype.

No matter what your opinion of the back-end of the E789, it’s clear from the first time you step into the ’van that it exudes luxury. The sofas in the lounge area are swathed in beige leather and the cupboards above look and feel solid and well-made. The bed tucked away in the Luton area is spacious and the curtains which separate it from the rest of the accommodation area are heavy and well-made.

One significant change to the 2008 model will be the removal from the cab of the seven-inch drop-down TV screen which previously doubled as both the television screen for the lounge area and the reversing camera. The former has now been replaced with a medium-sized LCD TV (with Freeview and a DVD/MP3/MP4 player) that handily slots onto a bracket, either in the lounge or at the foot of the rear bed. The reversing camera, which you will need in an 8.67m-long ’van, is now combined within a Blaupunkt satellite navigation unit on the dashboard.

Kitchen The kitchen area remains largely the same for 2008 with oven, grill and hob, as well as a microwave oven up above. Storage space is excellent. There’s lots of room for storing cans and bottles and plenty of worksurface area on which to prepare your meals. What will differ from the prototype model we saw is the fridge: production versions will be fitted with a 150-litre fridge/freezer with separate doors. This should provide plenty of food-storage space for a group of five on tour for some length of time.

Washroom The washroom in the E789 will also remain the same. It has a separate shower with a small seat, useful for those travelling with children. Within the washroom there is a fair amount of room in which to move around and the large, translucent window at one side allows plenty of light to flood in.

Bedroom It is at the rear of the ’van where the major changes have taken place: the island bed has been replaced with a transverse fixed bed, raised high to allow for a large garage.

While the rear of the motorhome may now look less like a typical bedroom, the space has been utilised to good effect. It was a bit of a squeeze to access the right-hand side of the island bed in the original E789 but there is plenty of room in front of the fixed version in this garage model.

Storage Clothes storage space is excellent in this ’van, with easy access to the set of three drawers and the cupboard to the left of the bed and the full-length wardrobe on the other side. Another wardrobe is located next to the washroom.

The prototype that we saw had no steps up to the rear bed but we are told that these will be included and contoured in typical Bessacarr design. Headroom in the bed is sufficient but tall occupants would find it uncomfortable to sit up against the headboard as there’s not a vast amount of space between the mattress and the roof. It is, however, a comfortable place in which to lie back and watch TV, or read, and there’s plenty of light, both natural and artificial. The two shelves on the back wall can be used to place a book, a remote control or a glass of water.

Garage and exterior equipment The major addition to the E789 is, of course, the garage which is big enough for a scooter or a number of bikes (the recommended weight limit is 200kg). There are two lights inside, and entrance doors either side help loading up.

The Bessacarr also has an awning which runs the entire length of the ’van, enabling a full-sized awning, with sides, to be used – a highly practical feature which would allow you to load the garage without getting wet should the weather become inclement.

Final details have yet to be confirmed but it is expected that the garage version of the E789 will have a similar payload to that of the island-bed model: thanks to its generous MTPLM of 5000kg this comes in at a significant 835kg, which should be more than sufficient to transport kit for a group of five. Serious appeal So to whom will this ’van appeal? The E789’s size and relatively high price (£58,495) mean that this is a serious ’van for those who are serious about their touring, so is likely to appeal to larger family groups who want to travel longer distances in luxury. The introduction of the garage model will now allow those who are happy to live without the opulence of the island bed the opportunity to carry bikes or a scooter.

And its rivals? A similar layout is already offered on the Bürstner A7472 and the Auto-Trail Chieftain G (at £55,960 and £58,186 respectively).

Brand loyalty will play a part in buying decisions but with market reports suggesting that buyers are increasingly moving towards larger motorhomes, we can certainly see demand for the garaged version of the E789. We’re looking forward to finding out.