Benjamin Davies

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Read the Practical Motorhome review of the impressive Chausson Allegro 96

Overview

The electrically adjustable twin single beds in this mid-market low-profile are not revolutionary, but as part of a well-refined layout they help make the most of the living space: apart from night-time comfort, they are sufficiently versatile to allow the beds to be used as lounging space during the day.

The end washroom is big enough to have a separate shower and also doubles as a dressing room with a wardrobe. So, this is a low-profile that could be really comfortable for touring using, say, overnight stopover points such as French aires.

Design

The mostly white bodywork 
is tasteful. The all-GRP coachwork and ABS trim is moulded to give the Allegro a distinctive silhouette.

The insulation level and build are not on a par with 
that of, say, some German manufacturers, but the waste water tank is insulated so freezing weather will not be 
a problem (up to a point).

There is pre-wiring for a reversing camera, so it’s an easy dealer fit. Reversing sensors and corner steadies are standard.

On the road

There are better base vehicles but Fiat’s dedicated motorhome chassis, designed for just this kind of low-profile, handles as well as any. The low frame and wider rear track offer class-leading stability and the ratios of the six-speed gearbox are well suited to the extra weight a motorhome carries, compared to that of a standard panel van.

Some drivers may not feel comfortable with this 7.3m-long ’van, although we were fine, even when driving through French cities. The length was only noticeable when manoeuvring. However, you can’t fit this vehicle into a standard parking space unless there’s at least a one-metre overhang at the rear.

The cab sun-roof will provide welcome light in British winters. Air-con is standard, as are cab seat covers in living-area fabric, and cab carpet.

Lounging & dining

The Allegro beats the common, Continental, twin-single/garage layouts in the bedroom area, which has been reclaimed as lounge space. Each bed can be raised to provide a decent recliner so you can watch TV without having to plump up your pillows. It also allows 
for separate lounge areas so couples can have their own space while on tour.

The half-dinette is fairly typical and the cab seats are easy to swivel, so four can 
dine in comfort.
The level of natural and artificial light is superb, with two large rooflights, spotlights and muted strip lights. But with so many halogen lamps you have to watch the amps when you’re running off the battery.

Kitchen

The L-shaped kitchen is comfortable to work in, except that the oven is on top of the 175-litre fridge/freezer, so it is difficult for anyone under 5ft 8in to use. Also, it doesn’t have a grill, or room for a joint of meat, but its position leaves a lot of storage space under the sink and worktop.

Workspace is compromised by the chromed, circular shelves in the corner – which are useful for hanging your Marigolds on – but there is enough space to chop food and prepare most two-pan meals.

There is a noticeable step from kitchen to lounge, but we soon got used to it.

Sleeping

Twin singles are just about 
the most comfortable sleeping arrangement you can have, and in the Allegro the bed positions are well-spaced, rather than being squeezed on top of a garage, and have conveniently-sited spotlights with flexible necks. Try the beds for size, though, because the nearside one is significantly shorter.

The foam mattresses are comfortable enough, but not the best. The gangway between the beds is too narrow for two to pass, but that is the only significant bottleneck.

The dinette bed is a single, suitable only for occasional use as it’s quite a huff-and-puff to put up, thanks to the sturdy, fixed table and ubiquitous motorhome-cushion jigsaw.

Washroom

The end washroom is bigger than those squeezed into the centre of similar-sized ’vans. There’s a separate shower, and crucially an adult can sit on the loo without having their knees up against their chest. 
We like the glass washbasin, too.

Storage

There’s no garage, so the nearside under-bed locker is all you get for your bits and bobs. We found that this was plenty for two people, though, with an adequate (but not generous) payload. Fit a bike rack on the back and you should be fine, but you may struggle if you fancy skiing while staying at aires, or on three-month tours.

Inside, the large wardrobe 
in the washroom, the over-bed lockers and two small cupboards at the foot of each bed easily swallowed enough gear for two people.

Technical specs

Sleeps3
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload350kg
Length7.3m23′11″
Width2.3m7′7″
Height2.75m9′
Waste water109L
External Options
GRP sidewalls
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas hob, Oven
Heating
Truma Gas/Electric heater, Truma Electric/Gas water heater

Verdict

It’s hard to say outright 
that the Allegro 96 is the best-value ’van with this layout, outside of a close-comparison test, but it’s the only one we know of with electric beds as standard. Add the high level of standard equipment and the well-executed kitchen and washroom, and you have a motorhome which, in its class, 
is very hard to beat.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Versatile living space; smart looks; excellent standard equipment

Cons

  • Insulation and build could be better; no garage
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