It seems we Brits can’t get enough of Chausson motorhomes. During the 2014 model year, the French manufacturer sold around 400 units in the UK, making it the biggest imported brand by volume. Its ‘SO French’ marketing campaign clearly paid off, striking a chord with buyers who find the Chausson formula very appealing. If British motorcaravanners love touring France, relishing its motorhome-friendly facilities, it seems many of them also enjoy the pastime in a French camping car by Chausson.

Chausson, which is one of several ’van producers in France, builds across the vehicle classifications. Only selected ranges reach the UK, though: mainly classic low-profiles and a couple of overcabs. You can clearly see the brand’s ambition and dedication to excellence in the relatively small collection it exports to Blighty, like the astonishing Suite Family, upgraded last year to have a stunning midships island kitchen to accompany its flexible rear bunks solution.

The 717 was also launched in the 2014 portfolio, unveiled as part of a significant overhaul of the Chausson line-up. In came new model designations, referencing the length of each motorcaravan and its floor plan in the first and third digits, and some exciting new layouts. The 717 is definitely one of them – we described it as ‘magnificent’ upon seeing it for the first time.

Based on the Fiat Ducato, the 717 carries the popular rear twin-bed layout, with an L-shaped dinette up front. An electrically operated drop-down bed can also be specified (one was fitted to our test ’van), offering buyers the added flexibility of four berths in a low-profile body shell.

It is available in two trim levels: Flash (no options) and, as with our test ’van, Welcome (plenty of options available). With the drop-down bed, engine upgrade and other choice extras, its price was just above £52,000; our supplying dealer, Chichester’s Premier Motorhomes, was offering a substantial £3000 discount at the time of writing.