Compact low-profiles are popping up all over the place. This season Chausson, never shying from innovation, has brought out two ‘vans that are just 2.1m wide – narrow enough to make twisty country lanes and tight city streets less of a strain.
The S514 is also just 5.99m long. We went to Emm Bee Motorhomes in Bury, Lancashire, to take a look at the van that was the winner of the best motorhome under 6m at the Practical Motorhome Awards 2022.
Despite its length, the motorhome still includes a garage. What looks like an external locker on the side away from the door is actually a clever feature that Chausson calls a Technibox, a locker giving easy access to the fuse box, water tank and water drain-off all in one place.
The vehicle is based on the Ford Transit with 2.0-litre 130bhp engine, but our test model had the £3200 +FIRST pack, providing a 170bhp unit, DAB/FM radio with Bluetooth, and a reversing camera in the rear-view mirror.
The S514 also comes with diesel space heating and a gas-powered water boiler. It’s worth noting that diesel heaters can be slightly noisier than those you might be used to, although the Webasto heater here isn’t the noisiest on the market.
Unusually, in the lounge Chausson has included a sideboard to the right of the door, where other brands might have had an extra seat. Fortunately this does not really affect the driver’s legroom, despite the switch from LHD to RHD.
This sideboard is a useful place for a TV, with sockets close by – and if you’re looking for one, be sure to take a look at our best motorhome TV round-up. The lounge should make for comfortable viewing.
There are no reading lights in the cab. Illumination in the lounge comes from a central LED and one strip light under the locker. Daytime lighting is fine, though. You don’t really miss having a sunroof, as there is a huge rooflight above the table.
Thanks to an extension, that table also stretches to the point where you could easily seat four people. The only mains socket in the lounge is clearly for the TV, but another is close, under the kitchen worktop, next to two USB ports.
The kitchen does indicate the ‘van’s Continental origins: the sink is fine and the worktop well lit, but you only get a two-burner hob – no microwave or oven. Retrofitting either of these would use up too much storage space, but there is a shelf to the right of the half-height fridge with a mains socket, where you could possibly house a microwave or toaster, particularly if you fold the bed in half (about which more later).
The washroom is considerably better, particularly the shower cubicle which you create by swinging out the partition. It has a roof vent above, great headroom and two plugholes; although the wheel arch butts into it, this provides a useful perch. The only downside is the plastic catch and hook-and-loop strap on the partition: how long will they last?
The narrow, deep handbasin swings over with the partition. It is furnished with a huge mirror (in addition to one right outside the washroom door).
The rear transverse bed is reached via a ladder, which does obstruct the fridge. The bed is comfortable, but once you draw the partition curtain, the only light comes from a strip light (with two USB points) under the locker. During the day lots of light comes through the window.
A child-size bed is made up using the table and rearranging the cushions.
As for storage, the garage is big enough to house an upright bicycle, and more besides. It is also accessible from inside once you fold the bed. This gives you access to a large hanging wardrobe, a second shelved cupboard, and the space where you might be able to house an electrical appliance. There are two small overhead lockers at the back, too.
There are two more lockers and a shelf over the TV cabinet, but only with cord retainers. Kitchen storage is limited to one large cupboard (which is why you couldn’t retrofit an oven here) and two overhead lockers, although you could use the TV cabinet, too. The washroom includes a tall cabinet.
PRACTICAL MOTORHOME SAYS…
The S514 packs an awful lot into a very small space. It’s easy to see how it made it onto our best motorhome round-up, when you consider that it includes a relatively comfortable lounge, a super washroom, a spacious rear bed, and a full garage, with a payload big enough to use it properly. The only potential let-down might be the kitchen. But so long as you are fine with being oven-free, this ‘van is great value.
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As for storage, the garage is big enough to house an upright bicycle, and more besides. It is also accessible from inside once you fold the bed
|Shipping Length||5.99 m|
|Engine Size||2000 cc|