Andrew McPheeSee other motorhome reviews written by Andrew McPhee
The Practical Motorhome review of the Dethleffs Advantage I 6501 B, a smart A-class from the well known German brand
However, limited bonnet access in A-class motorhomes is the stuff of mechanics’ nightmares and this model is no exception. The real test will come if you are involved in a bit of vehicular jousting and need spares delivered sometime in the same century…
The internal layout features a forward lounge and central kitchen. There are contrasting handles on most of the doors, and Dethleffs might have won full marks here if not for the stepped floor from the kitchen to the lounge. This will be annoying to many, and certainly a no-no for those with restricted mobility.
On the road
Fiat’s award-winning 130 MultiJet common-rail turbo-diesel powers the ’van with ease. You can specify an upgrade to the 160 version, but it is only available on special order. Cab air-conditioning is fitted as standard.
Getting into the driver's seat involves climbing across the cab from the left-side door, which is a pain you shouldn't have to put up with at this price. To be fair, it obviously doesn’t bother the many British buyers of the numerous motorhomes arranged like this, so perhaps we’re making a mountain out of a molehill? The residential entrance door on the ‘wrong’ side is less of an annoyance.
Lounging & dining
The inward-facing settee is fine, and the extending table has a mechanism that some other makers would do well to copy: when the table is pulled away from the wall, to accommodate the slot-in table-top extension, the leg comes with it so it is still at the end of the table top.
There is the tantalising suggestion of some worktop space, but not enough to be truly practical. The fridge-freezer is a two-door domestic-style unit, while the Spinflo oven and grill can be found underneath the hob, just where many feel it should be. Incidentally, the controls for the hob are, surprisingly, not on it but underneath the sink (cynics may claim that this ‘feature’ was designed by someone who never has to use it). However, as a kitchen it is visually attractive, and there is an extractor fan.
The cab drop-down double bed is also a fair size and has an opening rooflight which makes the area feel less claustrophobic.
Finally, there is an extra transverse bed that can be made up in the dinette area. This is also over two metres long but barely one metre wide, and clashes with the ladder for the drop-down bed.
The door is a sliding one, which left a gap when ‘closed’ on our test model.
There is loads of space under the rear bed, accessed by lifting the base on gas-assisted struts or via an access door from outside. There are also exterior doors for the generous gas lockers.
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill, Extractor fan
Thetford C-402 bench toilet, Shower curtain
A clever and civilised A-class offering from this established German brand.
- Clever touches in the design-led interior; upgraded chassis.
- Inefficient windscreen wipers; step up between kitchen and lounge.