Andrew McPhee

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Read the Practical Motorhome review of the Auto-Trail Cheyenne 840 D SE

Design

With its discrete decals and smooth roofline, the Cheyenne is definitely distinct from its rivals, yet manages to remain subtle, too.
Although Auto-Trail has fitted a double-floor system to house pipework and tanks, with some storage space available, it may be a surprise to learn that the Cheyenne isn’t fully winterised. The tanks are insulated, but heating for frost protection is a cost option.
All the main exterior lockers open sideways, with twist-lock or key catches which are slightly easy to use. The ’van also has corner steadies as standard, though with two rear axles we don’t feel that these are essential.

On the road

The Cheyenne employs an Al-Ko low-frame chassis, with torsion bar suspension on the rear axles and a wide rear track. This means it rides and handles pretty well for such a big beast, and the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel makes short shift of pulling it all along.
Its body is no wider than a conventional coachbuilt and it offers superior stability compared with many shorter single-axle ’vans, so the main disadvantage of its size is parking, because the turning circle is so wide. The reversing cameras give superb visibility to help out, though.
On the road, the Cheyenne rolls along quietly, with few rattles or rumbles from the habitation area – not something every rival can boast.

Lounging & dining

Cheyenne buyers have a choice of lounges: an L-shaped travel seat-cum-sofa, a double-dinette if they need the extra travel seats, or the longitudinal seating in this guide. With parallel sofas and light fabrics, the lounge feels pleasantly open.
The cab swivel seats are a little too close to the sofas, especially if you want to pack the lounge with friends and family, and you cannot use both cab seats at the same time if the adjacent sofas are occupied.
There’s a TV space with plugs below the mirror by the door, and a small drop-down cab screen. but only the Kon-Tiki has speakers in the lounge.
The Cheyenne’s wood-edged lockers have a sturdy feel, but no locking catches to hold items in place on the road.
Natural light is plentiful, but if there isn’t much of it, the whole area is made to look sophisticated by concealed strip lights above overhead lockers, and 230V dimmer switches – a big comfort if you want to set up on site for long periods. Halogen spotlights offer illumination for reading, but they draw a lot juice from the battery and get hot.
The table folds, so the lounge is more flexible than in Continental ’vans which have obstructive, fixed, tables. When it’s not in use, the table sits in a locker over the cab. If you want, you can buy an additional table – a boom-leg coffee table for the swivel seats. There’s also a convenient table top by the door.

Kitchen

Make no mistake – this is a cook’s kitchen. There is lots of worksurface, in the practical, L-shaped kitchen and plenty of storage. There’s a movable draining board and chopping board/sink cover, and you have a clear route to the table for serving. Power points are sensibly positioned, too.
For storing kitchen paraphernalia, you get a twin-tambour door microwave cupboard and two floor-level cupboards. Overhead and cutlery storage space is good, with two large lockers with two small ones beneath.

Sleeping

The bedroom is well lit by a rooflight and two windows, and has an opulent feel, with dark woods, frosted, dimmable lights and panelled walls. There are wardrobes and dressing tables either side of the beds but only a 25cm gap between the corners of the bed and the dressing tables.
You can watch TV in bed (there are speakers here), too.
The lounge bed makes up by sliding out the seat slats, dropping the spring legs and pulling out the linked slats to fill the seat-base gap.

Washroom

The en-suite washroom is best for long-termers who want domestic-style separation of the lounge and bedroom.
The toilet has a wind-up rooflight, a small, clear window and a pop-up rooflight over the shower. A solid door closes off the kitchen, and a pleated curtain separates the bathroom from the bedroom. With the door closed, the toilet feels cramped, because there is only 23cm of space between the bowl and the door at the narrowest point. The sink is wide enough to wash your face in and there is enough room to bend over it (with the door open) but the soap dish and glass holder are an encumbrance. The separate shower is more than roomy enough for regular use.

Storage

If you want roof bars and a ladder so you can fit a large roofbox, you can – but they’re a cost option. If you want to tow something – a small car on a trailer, perhaps – you’re going to have to watch very carefully what you tow, because the Cheyenne’s maximum towing limit is only 1000kg. Some rivals have much beefier limits (The Swift Kon-Tiki 669 is one, for example).Payload is good, however – 1216kg.
The rear underbed storage space is neither heated nor big enough for bikes or a scooter, but the rear panels has room for a bike rack.
The Cheyenne has a full-width double floor locker in the skirt behind the gas bottles. It is 41cm wide by 24cm tall, with an 18cm aperture. On the offside, there are two skirt lockers: one with a wooden box for the batteries, and another, similar space behind this for cable and levelling ramps. None of these skirt locker doors have stays to hold them open and they use a different key to the other external doors. It also has a tall one-shelf locker, suitable for boots, in front 
of the offside axles.
Internal storage space is good. Half of the rear bed base is available (including the combi boiler) and twin wardrobes and overhead lockers surround the bed. There are six aircraft-style lounge overhead lockers (one containing the Freeview receiver) but the lower sections are shallow and suitable only for books or CDs. The seat bases also allow cupboard access.
The Lo-Line chassis on our test-model Cheyenne also gave us a large overcab locker with two side lockers.

Technical specs

Sleeps4
Travel seats2
MTPLM5000kg
Payload1216kg
Length8.61m28′3″
Width2.31m7′7″
Height2.97m9′9″
Waste water68L
External Options
GRP sidewalls, Awning light, Directional TV aerial, Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
Thetford Fridge, 3-burner gas with electric hot plate, Oven, Separate grill
Heating
Truma Electric/Gas Blown air heater, Truma Electric/Gas water heater

Verdict

For a luxury two-berth, you won’t find better living space outside a US RV.

Conclusion

Pros

  • True end-bedroom, with en-suite bathroom
  • Ideal for long trips where ’van is sited.

Cons

  • Some rivals have a greater specification and maximum towing weight.
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