Benjamin DaviesSee other motorhome reviews written by Benjamin Davies
The Practical Motorhome review of the Concorde Charisma II 890M
The Charisma II was launched in Germany for the 2006 season by German manufacturer Concorde, which sets the standard Europe-wide when it comes to building 6.5 tonne-and-over premium A-class motorhomes.
It earned a big thumbs-up from our reader tester Ruth Bass, at the NEC show in 2006, and romped home as the winner in the ‘A-class over £60,000’ category in the Caravan Club’s Design & Drive Awards 2008.
The company hasn’t rested on its laurels, launching the Credo, a more budget-minded A-class (if you can call the thick end of £80,000 ‘budget’) and most recently the Charisma 890G, which garages a Smart car and still stays beneath the crucial 7.5-tonne MTPLM. This latter model took pride of place on UK importer Southdowns’ stand at the October NEC show.
We tested the 890M model you see here, shortly after its success at the Design & Drive Awards and, for us, it remains one of the best models of 2008/09.
The single entry door benefits from an electromagnetic lock system, insulated security glass window and code entry. And, all the external locker doors are protected by robust aluminium locks. It just oozes top-quality craftmanship throughout.
Our test ’van came loaded to the gunwales with around £30,000-worth of extra kit, including: a chassis upgrade from the standard 6000kg to 6700kg; Agile automated six-speed manual transmission; air suspension on the rear axle with a raise and lower function; a tow bar; a bi-xenon headlamp set; and a woodgrain dashboard finish. Elsewhere, there’s a Yamaha generator, electrically operated awning, cab swivel seats… the list is bewildering.
On the road
The driving position seats you close to the huge windscreen, which gives an unparalleled view of the road. The steering wheel is rather horizontal and bus-like, but otherwise it feels rather nimble for such a big rig.
There’s the option of a reversing camera pack – our test model was only fitted with sensors – and we reckon this is a more important cost option than a lot of the other kit aboard the ’van.
Lounging & dining
The twin sofas and swivel cab seats make for an enormous and comfortable lounge space, with a TV cabinet well sited near the entrance door, beneath a glass-fronted drinks cabinet lit by LEDs (the latter is a very Germanic idea which you will either love or hate). The fixed table is mounted on a height-adjustable leg and the top slides for convenience.
Elsewhere, an Alde wet central heating system does the job of keeping the entire ’van cosy.
There’s a stainless steel three-burner hob, a microwave oven, coffee machine, and a waste bin on runners with separate areas for different types of waste (perfect for your recycling efforts).
Opposite is an enormous fridge/freezer stack, and overhead is a roof fan. We didn’t actually see the sous chef, but we'd assume that the kitchen in a motorhome with this much style comes ready-equipped with one!
Our test model also had a pull-down bed over the cab seats (surprisingly a cost option). An electrically operated, insulated roller blind for the windscreen does the privacy job of an evening.
The huge basin, porcelain-bowl marine-style toilet, and shower cubicle are all separate, so as not to slow down the family’s morning ablutions.
3-burner gas hob
Separate shower cubicle
When you are aboard the Charisma it feels more like a rolling hotel, or cruise ship, than a motorhome – it really is that plush. Concorde’s immense attention to build detail is evident in every well thought-out nook and cranny, and you are simply left applauding this giant motorhome.
- Immense; superbly equipped; massive double bed; large kitchen; 'homely' washroom facilities
- Immense; price; running costs