Benjamin Davies

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The Practical Motorhome review of the Concorde Charisma II 890M

Overview

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.

Design

The smiling grille and those floppy-eared coach-sized door mirrors are a Concorde trademark. The coachwork 
has 42mm-thick walls, with a Solidtherm aluminium-skinned sandwich construction, and a capacious, heated 350mm-deep double floor that houses all the services. It is built on the twin rear-wheel Iveco chassis cowl.

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

At a shade under 9m long, and weighing more than five tonnes unladen (6700kg all up on the upgraded chassis), it’s a big vehicle to move, but the 3.0-litre Iveco engine is man enough for the job, provided you’re not into accelerating away from the lights and racing through the gears. The automatic gearbox moves smoothly through the ratios with little hunting, and has a responsive kickdown when needed.

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 Charisma has a single-level floor from the dashboard right through the living quarters. The ceiling is covered in carpet, with a drop-in carpet for the vinyl floor throughout. Our test ’van had the ‘lounge version’ option, with a nearside couch that is multi-functional and can convert into a forward-facing seat with belt for a single passenger. Again, it shouts quality, with cream leather and warm woodwork veneers that give the 890M a stately feel.

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.

Kitchen

The one-piece Corisan worktop and sink drainer is extremely stylish, and in a motorhome 
9m long this L-shaped area doesn’t have to scrimp too much on cooking space either.

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!

Sleeping

The premium sleeping area is the superb island bedroom. But the lounge area makes up into a massive double bed, with the table in its lowered position acting as a bed base, and hard-backed cushions to fill in.

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.

Washroom

Yet another marvel, the washroom can be partitioned from the living area by a sliding door to effectively create a massive en suite bedroom. 
And, it can be partitioned off from the bedroom, too, to create a private changing area.


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.

Storage

Where do you begin? The uprated chassis affords 1450kg of payload, which is more 
than enough for a full-timing family. There’s extensive wardrobe space for hanging clothes on either side of the bed and a huge, rear garage with doors either side that is heated, lit and fully insulated. This garage has a chequerplate floor, fixing points and a 200kg weight allowance. The double floor also houses a full-width locker, perfect for ski equipment and the like.

Technical specs

Sleeps4
Travel seats2
MTPLM6700kg
Payload1450kg
Length8.98m29′6″
Width2.38m7′10″
Height3.29m10′10″
Waste water242L
External Options
Aluminium sidewalls, Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas hob
Washroom
Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Alde wet central heating

Verdict

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.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Immense; superbly equipped; massive double bed; large kitchen; 'homely' washroom facilities

Cons

  • Immense; price; running costs
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