Andrew McPhee

See other motorhome reviews written by Andrew McPhee

Get the expert verdict on the Bessacarr E789 in the Practical Motorhome review

Design

Launched shortly after the island-bed E769 version, the E789 comes with a transverse, double bed at the rear, over a garage, and so is aimed at active families who want to take their cycles with them on tour, or a scooter as a second form of transport (after all, it’s a big rig to drive down to the local shops for a pint of milk in the morning). It’s certainly big enough for a family of four: it has three belted passenger seats and sleeping berths for five.

On the road

It’s a giant to push along but Fiat’s excellent 3.0-litre engine copes admirably. The Ducato/Al-Ko chassis has an enormous footprint and a wide, rear track which nicely flattened the Peak District’s winding, narrow and cambered roads. We detected very little body roll, too. On the open road, some people have an issue with the gearing in the upper ratios but for us it was fine, with enough pull throughout the six ranges.

While driving back up the steep Winnat’s Pass from a standing start, though, the front wheels did scrabble a bit before getting the grip they needed to pull the ’van away – it’s to be expected really, given the vehicle’s overall weight. Ironically, it was better at reversing up hills, with good grip and none of the all-too-familiar gearbox judder.

The driving environment is fine, too, with cab air-con as standard. And it's good to see an entry step that retracts itself when you start up the engine.

The colour reversing camera provides a great, fish-eye type rearward view, although the Blaupunkt TravelPilot is one of the less intuitive sat-navs. A small gripe is the addition of woodgrain dashboard trim – it’s supposed to give a veneer of class, but it looks cheap and feels flimsy.

Lounging & dining

The Midi Heki rooflight over the front lounge and rear bed allow plenty of light to flood into the living areas. When travelling, the driver’s-side L-shaped lounge is easily converted into a forward-facing passenger seat for two. In lounge mode, the TV bracketed to the bulkhead behind the driver’s seat can be watched by four easily enough, with two on the side sofa and two in the L-shaped lounge. One of the merits of such a long motorhome is that you don’t have to scrimp on floorspace so it certainly feels roomy throughout.

An occasional table fixes to an L-shaped leg and a bracket behind the driver’s seat if you want a place to rest a mug or a book. For full meals, the freestanding table, which stashes in the wardrobe, comes into play. With the hinged extension section in place, it will accommodate five people.

Kitchen

Again, no space saving required here – the workspace stretches almost as far as the eye can see! The cooker has three gas hobs and an electric hotplate, with a dedicated light and extractor fan overhead. There is a clip-on drainer and a chopping board to fit the round, deep sink. A 150-litre fridge comes with auto-energy selection (AES) and digital controls, and a microwave oven sits at eye level. With a moulded tray for crockery, wire vegetable racks, and an abundance of storage space under the fridge, this is a very competent kitchen area.

Sleeping

The L-shaped lounge is big enough for an adult to sleep in, and the pleated cab blinds cut out all light. The overcab bed, on easy-up gas struts for daytime access, has a very comfortable single mattress. The ladder is concealed in a storage tray beneath it and, with windows at either side, the area is perfectly habitable.

The rear double bed has a large, padded headboard and 67cm of headroom. The whole bedroom can be separated from the rest of the living quarters by a concertina divider for privacy, too, leaving the washroom free for others to use during the night.

Washroom

The lockable washroom door opens through 180 degrees, which is good news for access when someone is busying themselves in the kitchen. The large, separate, circular walk-in shower has a duckboard but there is no ceiling vent to let out steam when you’re enjoying a shower. A mirrored, overhead toiletries locker has a nice push-to-open mechanism and is all the more stylish for not having handles. The washbasin is rather small, though.

Storage

There’s a waterproof storage tray on the driver’s side, accessed externally, that houses the batteries (but it does not stretch the full width of the ’van). However, we were surprised to find that the Thetford cassette is the old-style, smaller, pre-wheels variety.

The garage, though, is the E789’s pièce de résistance: doors either side guarantee quick and easy access to the interior, and a sliding wooden door also allows access from inside. There are LED strip lights on the back wall, plus a spotlight at the point of entry from within the ’van. It’s easy to wash out mud and the like thanks to the chequerplate-style floor with a drainage plug. Blown air is vented here, and there are four floor-mounted tethering points for securing the cargo in transit, as well as more shelf space than you can shake a stick at. For outside living there is a three-pin plug socket and TV aerial point here, too. All in all it is very comprehensive.

In addition to all the garage space there are two wardrobes and a chest of drawers servicing the rear bedroom, so there is space to travel heavy should you need to.

Technical specs

Sleeps5
Travel seats4
MTPLM5000kg
Payload835kg
Length8.67m28′5″
Width2.35m7′9″
Height3.05m10′
Waste water100L
External Options
Aluminium sidewalls, Integral awning, Electric step, External mains socket output
Kitchen Equipment
Thetford Fridge, 3-burner gas with electric hot plate, Microwave
Washroom
Separate shower cubicle

Verdict

A luxurious family 'van with plenty of space in all the areas where it's needed.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Spacious interior; beautiful exterior styling; very well equipped.

Cons

  • Tacky dashboard trim; no ceiling vent in washroom.
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