Andrew McPhee

See other motorhome reviews written by Andrew McPhee

Read the expert Chausson Allegro 97 review from Practical Motorhome

Design

Coloured bodywork is now a readily available option for most manufacturers but the Allegro comes only in white. At least its bodywork is shapely and smoothly integrated, although some of the sealant work on our test model was poor, which made us worry about its overall build quality. The waste empties below the tank, so it limits you to drive-over drains.

Inside the ’van, the one drawback of the island-bed layout is that the en-suite washroom has to go opposite the L-shaped kitchen in the central area, leaving a fairly narrow passage between them.

Chausson has been innovative with its transverse bed, which allows a rear-window vista as well as a view through the entire ’van (the driver will also have a small amount of through-view while on the road). However, there is just a 12V extractor roof vent above the bed in place of a panoramic version – a practical idea, given the toilet set-up, but one that makes the room a little dark.

The bedroom door has a dividing curtain and the whole interior space has a level floor, apart from a step up to the cab. Just behind the cab is a large, unwieldy table, which is great for dining but awkward to manoeuvre around.

On the road

The Fiat Ducato ‘special’ chassis is lighter and lower than the standard ladder-frame chassis. The Allegro's engine and MTPLM can be up- or down-graded; the 130 MultiJet engine has sufficient power for stress-free driving on the 3.5-tonne chassis, though the bigger 160 power-plant is worth investigating as a £1550 option.

Included as standard are a six-speed gearbox, twin airbags, cab air-con, cruise control and reversing sensors.

Lounging & dining

That big table is great at mealtimes but we can’t see the benefits of the L-shaped half-dinette. A slide-out seat base makes up the ‘L’ and retracts into the travel seat to allow legroom for the nearside passenger, but the extra, side-facing seat cushion provided by this layout cuts off the existing nearside travel seat and gets in the way of the offside one. Is it worth the fuss? We don’t think so. It would make more sense if the whole seating group were bigger.

The cab sunroof lets in plenty of natural light and it's good to see that this is a standard feature.

Kitchen

The large L-shaped kitchen is a plus, but the oven/grill is too high for comfort. That aside, it is a practical kitchen. The curved shape and position of the hob allow space for a detachable plastic drainer, and would allow an even larger worktop area were it not for the wire shelves. We would prefer an unadorned space which would leave room for a toaster, kettle, or large chopping board.

Sleeping

There is plenty of headroom at the back to sit up straight in bed (though the window blind makes this difficult), and the electrically adjustable backrests are an innovative piece of equipment in this price range – they can be used not only at night but also when lounging during the day.

The transverse bed is a little easier to get to and from than some, thanks to its level floor, though there are some very narrow points. Its split mattress noticeably overhangs the forward edge of the bed frame so it’s a little less secure than it might be. Only this and the lack of a rooflight mar an otherwise excellent bedroom.

Washroom

The combined washroom is a little cramped. You do get a reasonable amount of shower space, but with an awkward, two-part door. On the plus side, there is an excellent corner vanity unit in the bedroom, with a slide-out hand-towel rail and a useful slide-out four-shelf unit.

Storage

The external locker is compromised by the bed shape, but there is room for folding chairs and a table. In the bedroom you'll find two slim wardrobes and there is another by the kitchen.

The Allegro offers deep storage space beneath the bed, accessed with the help of two sturdy gas struts.

Technical specs

Sleeps3
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload350kg
Length7.3m23′11″
Width2.3m7′7″
Height2.75m9′
Waste water100L
External Options
GRP sidewalls
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill, Extractor fan
Washroom
Dometic toilet, Bi-fold shower door
Heating
Truma Gas/Electric heater, Truma Electric/Gas water heater

Verdict

A great budget low-profile option that still delivers plenty of equipment.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Good bedroom and user-friendly layout; electrically adjustable beds.

Cons

  • Cost-cutting shows in places; high-level oven; cramped washroom; unwieldy table.
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