Peter Baber
Reviews Editor

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With a washroom that converts into a double bedroom, this motorhome is far from conventional. Peter Baber finds out if this radical layout works

Overview

What do you do when you’ve finished innovating? Simple: innovate again. That seems to be French manufacturer Chausson’s plan. The company is well known for breaking new ground, having introduced the ‘Maxi Lounge’ end-washroom layout that many others have since copied, and the drop-down single bed. That seems to have done the trick, because Chausson is now one of Britain’s best-selling continental brands.

For the 2020 season the company has gone even further, producing in its 778 model an end washroom with his-and-hers basins in a drop-down, island-bed arrangement. It looks impressive, but is it all a step too far?

As with almost all of its models, Chausson is making the 778 available on both a Fiat and Ford chassis – although this season there will no longer be the Flash and Welcome trim levels. There’s just a VIP pack (£1750), which gives you extra goodies in the cab, including cruise control and a skylight, and a Premium Pack (£2200) which includes the VIP Pack and more extras such as cab blinds, an external shower and a barbecue point.

With the rear bed in the up position, the garage at the rear is 1.05m high, so there is plenty of room for a bike. Holds for a bungee cord are included, and it is lit and has a mains and 12V plug, too. 

The parallel sofas can be converted into two rearward-facing travel seats; although this ’van can be a five-berth if you pay an extra £700 for the front drop-down bed, there’s only room on the road for four. In settee mode those seats make for a comfortable and sociable lounge, with a pedestal table that folds out between them.

The skylight that comes with the VIP Pack brings in more light, and good LED and ambient lighting help to warm up what could otherwise be a rather austere grey and off-white interior.

There are TV sockets (and a bracket, with the Premium Pack) above the slimline fridge that is immediately to the left as you walk in, so no one in the lounge should miss out on viewing.

The kitchen includes a three-burner dual-fuel hob and a round sink in a work surface that is adequate. An extension, that butts into the lounge, is well lit. The under-hob oven and grill mean there is really only one large cupboard for utensils to complement the two overhead lockers.

So, to that washroom. Chausson says it wanted to create something that was more or less what people might expect to find at home - which makes us want to move to a house in France. The double washbasins are seriously big; as is the mirror that you fold down from underneath the raised bed.

There is also a large shower cubicle and a small corner basin – so no one need worry about not being able to wash their hands if they make a night-time trip to the loo.

The island bed is comfortable, even if you do get a slight feeling that you are sleeping in a washroom. Spotlights, a USB socket and cubbyholes also feature.

The drop-down bed over the lounge, if you opt for it, doesn’t completely obscure the door, and whoever sleeps here can benefit from the LED in the ceiling to read by. The fifth bed is made up by lowering the table, although it’s perhaps only suitable for a small child.

A lot of this clever flexible design is only possible by sacrificing what would otherwise be useful storage space. Having the washroom beneath the bed obviously means you can’t store anything there. But the travel seats take up most of the room under the settees in the front, too - although you do get a boot locker here.

There’s a wardrobe  either side of the bed, but they are rather small and, apart from a few other boxes and floor cubbies, you have to rely on the three overhead lockers in the lounge.

Technical specs

LayoutTransverse rear island bed
Sleeps5
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload383kg
Length7.49m24′7″
Width2.92m9′7″
Engine (capacity)2000
Fresh/waste water95L / 100L
Leisure battery80 Ah
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Washroom
Separate shower cubicle

Verdict

We loved the 778 on first sight, but, judging from some of the comments we overheard at the NEC show this October, we suspect it is going to be a Marmite motorhome. The washroom and bedroom area is fabulous – and its design is ingenious – but you do have to get used to the idea of merging the two rooms into one. And there is, at best, only adequate interior storage. In short, you are going to have to be pretty disciplined when it comes to doing your packing.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Ingenious design

Cons

  • Limited storage