Andrew McPhee

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Read the Practical Motorhome Hobby Toskana Exclusive 750 FLC review for the definitive verdict on this 'van

Design

The Toskana will appeal to couples who prefer low-profile looks and streamlining but want a spacious and sociable lounge with the facility to take family or friends along on a trip. With this type of layout, there are few other 
low-profile ’vans which can offer such comprehensive storage and internal space.

This German manufacturer has taken the successful ‘French’ layout of lengthways fixed bed with washroom alongside, centre kitchen and front lounge, and stretched it. One strength of this layout is the successful zoning of living areas – which works well in practice, allowing separate activities to take place without the need to constantly shuffle and rearrange things. The 750 FLC effectively elongates 
these zones, thereby greatly increasing the living/dining area, the kitchen and available storage space. There’s much more room in which to move around, too, avoiding the rather hemmed-in feel of shorter motorhomes.

The payload and engine power are well matched, and 
a double floor makes this Hobby well suited to winter use.

It's certainly a looker. Gold-coloured skirts and clever GRP mouldings integrate the cab and body, and the roof bars and integrated awning are neat and unobtrusive.

There are loads of exterior storage lockers, but alternative transport (save for folding bikes) would need to be towed, or perhaps rear-mounted, which would further increase this motorhome’s considerable (8.05m) length.

While we’re outside let’s look ‘below stairs’ at the utilities. Comfortable living in sub-zero conditions is assured by the double floor within the Al-Ko chassis. This encloses the piping and tanks to keep them frost-free, and the living area lovely and warm. The level of insulation is of a decent standard for a mid-range motorhome and the Truma Combi 60 system is versatile, powering heating and hot water by gas or electric, or both.

Although the Toskana does pretty well in the winterisation stakes it is not perfect, partly due to the potential amount of heat loss through the cab. Also, the waste water valves would ideally be within the double floor.

Other utilities are well thought out: a separate service hatch allows convenient access to the fresh-water dump valve, boiler and frost water-dump switch. The gas locker takes two 11kg Continental (or British 6kg) bottles. Beneath the ’van is the waste-water outlet, for which a detachable extension hose is provided.

Elsewhere, we really liked the stylish caravan door with its window, storage pockets and a proper doormat in the entrance well. By the door is the digital control panel, which is simple and intuitive to use. An 80Ah gel leisure battery is provided, beneath the driver’s seat, but it might be worth installing a second one, perhaps under the passenger seat or in the nearby outside locker.

On the road

Even drivers who have never taken an 8m tag-axle on the road before will be relieved at how easily the Toskana handles. The Fiat 3.0-litre MultiJet 160 engine eases smoothly up through the six gears and cruises effortlessly at 60mph. With this engine you’ll feel happy to tour fully laden.

The driving position is excellent, and the dashboard-mounted gear lever is a nice touch, but the stretch down to the handbrake means smaller drivers would have to buy an extender. You really notice the difference an Al-Ko chassis makes to handling: the lower, broader stance hugs the road and the improved suspension gives a more comfortable ride.

Excellent aerodynamics combined with the long wheelbase and tag-axle make motorway driving a doddle. Factor in the cruise control and cab air-conditioning, and long journeys should prove a comfort and joy. The Remis blind casings could very slightly impede vision of the road ahead, but that's a price worth paying for the convenience of using the blinds when on site.

Even with the oven trays removed, however, our test model still had a few rattles which would need attention.

Lounging & dining

You cannot fail to be attracted to the lounge, which might be described as ‘contemporary Continental chic’. The curved lines of the wood-effect cabinetwork, and the wrap-around seating upholstered in cream, suede-effect Alcantara help give the lounge a particularly sumptuous quality. The whole area is fabulously light, due to the large windows and the rooflights in the cab and living spaces.

The cab seats in our Toskana did seem a bit wobbly once they were swivelled around, and a touch too high in relation to the slightly lower living-area floor. There are more comfortable sofas around, too.

One big plus point is the amount of space for socialising. You could seat six for dinner around the stylish, drop-leaf fixed table, or entertain as many as eight guests for drinks. Fixed tables can restrict movement so Hobby has hinged this one. The end result is elegant, knock-proof, ever-ready and not intrusive.

The lighting is stunning and practical. When on hook-up, you can go the whole hog with combinations of mood lighting. Otherwise, for economy of electricity, you can use a combination of the individually switched spotlights and LED low-lights. This is lighting design at its best. There’s a definite 'wow!' factor to the ambience created, although some may dislike the unusual touch of the blue-lit, mirror-backed glass cabinet by the caravan door – this is bound to split opinion!

The shelf for a flat-screen TV, beneath the glass cabinet, is ideally positioned for a clear view from the swivelled cab seats.

Kitchen

This is a good kitchen to work in. It’s well lit and there is masses of storage space so a couple touring long-term could shop less often and take along any amount of crockery and kitchen tools.

We like the selection of both deep and shallow drawers, which are truly practical for storing pans and groceries. However, the wire-basket drawer is too short for bottles and rather oddly shaped for vegetables. A vast, circular cupboard under the sink, along with spacious high-level lockers, complete the line-up.

The neat, three-burner hob sensibly places the largest burner at the front, but there is no spark ignition, which seems a bit mean for a ’van priced at around £60,000. There’s no extractor unit, either.

The deep sink swallows dinner plates with ease. A second sink/drainer/bin would have been useful, but there is a superb expanse of well-positioned worktop between hob and sink – ample for a keen cook who likes to spread out.

A pair of well-positioned, worktop-mounted 250V plug sockets will serve for kettle, toaster and the like, while a Tec Tower unit houses the fridge-freezer (without automatic energy selection) and an oven.

Eye-level ovens are often criticised, but this one is at a sensible height. There is no grill, though.

Sleeping

The lengthways rear bed, with washroom alongside, forms 
a master bedroom en-suite when partitioned off by the concertina blind – a shelved clothes cupboard is here as well, though there is no hanging space.

The big double bed should please all but giants, and the minimal cut-off corner is barely discernible. The good-quality, sprung, twin mattresses on tensioned slats will help you off to a great night’s sleep.

The bedroom is a pleasant space illuminated by a roof light, a side window, and twin reading lights. Pockets for books are found at the foot end, and the sight of two ‘cuppa’ shelves will bring a smile to some buyers' faces.

The lounge bed is quite another matter. It’s a puzzle, even with the manual, and is in desperate need of a re-think. If you’ve got children with you, save your energy: just take the backrests off the couches and pop them on the seat bases.

Washroom

Elsewhere the layout of the Toskana Exclusive makes efficient use of space, but here in the washroom it is restricted. Nevertheless, it is just about adequate, with plenty of surfaces by the washbasin, lots of storage space for toiletries, and a big under-basin unit for other items. The ceiling-mounted electrical socket will please the hairstylists among us, and charge up the boys’ razors, too.

The separate shower is roomy, with easy-clean walls and an excellent non-slip tray which drains well (a second drain hole would assist if the ’van was not quite level).

Towels can be hung on the hooks in the shower or else draped over the shower door, but it would be nice to have the advantage of a rail to use for drying coats – a simple but useful addition often lacking in motorhomes.

A couple of niggles about this washroom: it is gloomy and would benefit from a shower light and a small skylight; and for ventilation, you have to pull down the blind and open the low-set opaque window – the result is that it feels draughty and privacy is compromised, especially at night.

Storage

As well as the massive rear locker, accessed from inside 
or out, there is a decent-sized exterior locker underneath the offside couch. Internal access to the under-bed storage area is a doddle thanks to the twin mattresses and hinged bed base, though a means of restraining this in the upright position would be helpful. The compartment is aired by the heating pipes running through, and illuminated by the bedroom spotlights.

Inside the ’van you will find two generous wardrobes, one of which is shelved, and this makes perfect sense – how many of your clothes actually need to be on hangers? It would also be useful for the storage of large, miscellaneous items as well as folded clothes.

The illuminated wardrobe rail is a little irritating because, thanks to the flimsy door catch, the light won't always switch off unless you are really careful. The other cupboard is unlit, and due to the poor lighting in that part of the ’van you may find yourself rummaging around in the dark. There is a tiny shoe cupboard by the door, but no coat-hooks. A long mirror here would have been nice, too.

Further storage potential is provided by the many overhead lockers: four extra-large ones and four small versions in the lounge, with two more extra-large and a couple of medium-sized ones in the bedroom.

Technical specs

Sleeps4
Travel seats4
MTPLM4500kg
Payload770kg
Length8.05m26′5″
Width2.31m7′7″
Height2.91m9′7″
Waste water100L
External Options
Aluminium sidewalls, Integral awning, Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
Thetford Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Oven
Washroom
Thetford C-250 toilet, Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Truma Gas/Electric heater, Truma Gas water heater

Verdict

If you want smart, low-profile looks with a spacious living area and a high level of winterisation, this could be the ’van for you.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Partition between rear bedroom and lounge provides privacy and an en-suite sleeping area; excellent driving position and dashboard-mounted gear lever; uplighting creates warm aura.

Cons

  • Lounge bed seems complex to make up; cab seat covers were ill-fitting in test model; shoe cupboard is very small.
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