Andrew McPhee

See other motorhome reviews written by Andrew McPhee

Read the Practical Motorhome Bürstner Argos 747-2 G review for the expert verdict on this family friendly 'van

Design

Burstner has not over-concerned itself with scrimping on space when it comes to fitting transit seats for five belted passengers, sleeping berths for seven (at a push) and accommodation space for a sizeable scooter – this is a real family ’van which, at 8.86m long, knocks on the door of 30ft in length.

The overcab section is huge, protruding further forward than that of most similarly equipped ’vans. You could call it striking and boldly styled, though not everyone agrees.

The tag-axle Fiat/Al-Ko chassis allows for the construction of a real double floor where all ducted piping goes, making for great externally-accessed storage space and full winterisation. The door, a solid three inches thick, is exactly what should be on all motorhomes.

On the road

Driving 8.86m of ’van is an acquired taste but once you get a good sense of its proportions, you’ll never look back (metaphorically speaking, of course!).

A six-speed manual gearbox delivers Fiat’s three-litre 160 MultiJet engine’s power to the front wheels, which pull the whole rig along admirably. The Ducato/Al-Ko chassis has a 4.6m footprint and a wide rear track, so there is none of the pitching or rolling you might experience in tall motorhomes with shorter wheelbases.

On the open road we found plenty of pull throughout the six gears for the necessary repertoire of manoeuvres, and pulling out and overtaking never proved a problem. Also, we reversed up a number of hills during our time with the Argos, without a trace of gearbox judder.

The driving environment is good, with cab air-con fitted as standard. However, the conversion entrance step doesn’t retract automatically at start-up: instead a buzzer and red dashboard light indicate this, and you have to do it manually. The colour reversing camera gives an ample, rearward view, but some of our testers were still worried by the Argos's length while parking in town centres.

Safety levels are good, with driver and passenger airbags as standard. The sliding, wooden partition doors that close off the conversion area for privacy and heat conservation at night were a concern, though: from the cab, there is no view of the kids in the back.

One clever gizmo is the additional heat exchanger, which diverts heat to the conversion area while on the road – great when travelling to the Alps in winter.

Lounging & dining

The internal layout of the ’van is fantastic, with space for all occupants to move around without hassle. The ‘Novalife’ brown upholstery, a high-tech fibre that looks and feels like leather and is incredibly resistant to grubby fingers and spills of all types, is stylish.

The excellent ‘Reliner’ side sofa facing the twin dinette seating is an exclusive Burstner innovation: tug on the attached pulls and the seat squab slides forward, and the back rest rakes, for optimum TV-watching comfort. The armrests, too, can be raked if you want to lie down and rest your head. Great stuff!

At mealtimes, the table extension is a real fiddle to install and very heavy to lift. However, the lights around the living area – downlighters and swivel-head halogens – do provide plenty of light. The flatscreen TV, which slides out from behind its tambour-doored locker, is adjustable for viewing, and good for four or five to watch at any one time.

Kitchen

With plenty of room to move around the motorhome, the kitchen could be used by more than one person at a time. The sink is placed at an angle to the full-sized oven/grill/four-burner hob and extractor fan, with the fridge and separate freezer easily accessible behind.

Storage was extremely good in the kitchen, with a large, slide-out waste bin, although a little more food-preparation area would have been ideal. Occupants could still access the washroom from the living area without getting in the way of the cook.

Sleeping

The primary sleeping area is the rear, transverse, double bed over the garage. It has plenty of headroom, cupboard and shelf space, and sockets for a TV – however, it would have been nice to have a separate partition blind here, too, so the washroom could still be accessed by kids or guests without getting an unfortunate full view of whoever is sleeping in the rear double bed.

We found the overcab bed spacious and comfortable without being claustrophobic, but a problem arose with the overhead soundproofing and the air vent in the roof, which became noisy under windy conditions.

The dinette bed is made up by lowering the table to act as the bed base, and extending the seat benches. Once made up to full width, though, it prevents the ladder being used to access the overcab.

Washroom

In this section the Argos comes up trumps once again: with its shower and washroom areas separated, either side of the vehicle, the space in each is optimised.

Also, the toilet door swings through 90 degrees and effectively turns the end bedroom into an en-suite.

The washroom has a bench toilet with electric flush, a good-sized corner mirror above the moulded sink and plenty of storage space for toiletries. What’s more, there’s a dedicated towel rail here, thanks to the clever Alde wet central heating system installed in this ’van.

Storage

If there is one thing at which this Burstner truly excels it is storage space. Our only problem would be preventing ourselves from piling in loads of clobber before the payload ran out. The garage will easily take a family of bikes, and the double floor provides further space for bits and pieces.

It’s a shame, though, that the garage is not accessible from inside the ’van, rather than having to use the sliding access door – Burstner opts for a couple of broad, wooden steps up to the bed, and the bed base is fixed so you cannot raise it and reach into the garage space. So getting anything out in cold or wet weather means getting cold or wet yourself!

Technical specs

Sleeps7
Travel seats6
MTPLM5000kg
Payload775kg
Length8.86m29′1″
Width2.3m7′7″
Height3.25m10′8″
Waste water100L
External Options
Aluminium sidewalls, Manual step
Kitchen Equipment
Thetford Fridge, 4-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill, Extractor fan
Washroom
Thetford C-402 bench toilet, Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Alde wet central heating

Verdict

Intimidatingly large, but a great family 'van that's equipped to deal with the harshest winter conditions.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Big garage space; stylish upholstery; excellent build quality.

Cons

  • No access to garage from living quarters; lack of privacy curtain for end bed.
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