Andrew McPhee

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Practical Motorhome reviews the McLouis Tandy 640, a top of the range 'van designed to accommodate big families

Overview

The Tandy is at the top end of the range from Italian manufacturer McLouis. The 640 is designed to accommodate an extended family of seven, with six dedicated travel seats, and this bunk-bed-and-garage layout is a popular design.

The model we took on test is slightly modified from the standard Continental layout: there’s a fixed sofa on the British driver’s side, rather than the single-seater dinette that appears in the brochure.

Design

The 640’s looks are clean, plain and simple, due to understated graphics, a white colour-matched Fiat bumper, ABS sills and well-integrated, white, flush-fitting Seitz S4 windows. The roof rack and rear ladder are also colour matched, in white, to finish the look.
The GRP-skinned walls and roof are 33mm thick, and the floor is 70mm thick, which suggests a good level of insulation when the sun heads south for the winter.
The huge gas locker is, thankfully, built into the sills at a low level given the physical effort required to replace the big 11kg bottles it houses. The fuel tank fresh water caps are within inches of each other, on the offside.

On the road

At 24ft long and more than 10ft high, the Tandy’s a big beast to propel, but Fiat’s outstanding 3.0-litre engine copes admirably.
The long-wheelbase Ducato has a large footprint, which makes for a smooth ride. Rear visibility from the driver’s seat can be drastically improved by opening the two sliding wooden doors that effectively seal off the lower bunk. That way, the driver can see through the rear window, which helps when it comes to parking, too, especially with no reversing camera or sensors.
The Tandy gets full marks for cab safety with passenger and driver airbags, ABS and ASR. It also gets top marks for comfort, with air-conditioning as standard and adjustable driver and passenger seats with twin armrests.
There are six belted seats: three-point belts for the cab seats, three-point belts for the forward-facing dinette seats and lap belts for the rear-facing dinette seats.
The standard 3500kg chassis only allows for a 478kg payload, so some careful planning will be needed if the motorhome is to carry its full complement of seven people.

Lounging & dining

Seven can sit in reasonable comfort in the lounge: four at the dinette and three on the side sofa. The soft furnishings, including the upholstery, the sprung cushions and the curtains, are all made to UK specifications and the cab seats are upholstered to match. The coarse upholstery weave gives the fabric a hard-wearing look and feel, and the oatmeal colour scheme should disguise any minor blemishes.
We tested the first UK model, but for standard UK-bound ’vans the table will have an extra leaf that slides out, allowing up to two people seated on the side divan to also eat from the table. UK models will also have a hinged television stand, suitable for a flatscreen TV, which sits in a locker above the divan next to the overcab bed.
The Webasto diesel-fired heater beneath the passenger seat is man enough to heat the living area, and heating vents are located throughout the ’van.

Kitchen

Bearing in mind that a family of seven is more likely to eat in the ’van rather than eat out, the galley-style kitchen area is a bit short on workspace. The only preparation areas are the glass hob and sink lids – not ideal, because in practice the cook will need to use both at the same time.
That said, the swan-neck tap allows you to easily get a kettle underneath and the strip light and integral fan are sited directly above the hob. We would have welcomed auto ignition on the cooker, though.
Storage space for food is good – there’s a generous locker with a built-in wire vegetable rack sited beneath the cooker, and the fridge has a massive 150-litre capacity. The grill/oven is mounted above the fridge – not great for shorter cooks, who prefer not to have to lift hot objects down from shoulder height.
The entry door has a flyscreen and an integral bin with a removable basket – something we think all ’vans should have.

Sleeping

The dinette bed turns into a flat double, with the table as the bed base. Extra supports extend from the dinette seat bases on standard UK models, widening the bed to 1.25m, while the sofa is long enough, at 1.56m, for a gangly youth.
The overcab area has windows on either side that help to prevent claustrophobia.
The upper rear bunk has a window on the UK nearside and a privacy curtain. The lower bunk has the rear-facing window and wooden sliding doors that can shut out the rest of the ’van in the evening.

Washroom

The washroom is generously proportioned. There’s an abundance of leg room around the Thetford and a huge mirror helps increase the sense of space.
The separate shower compartment has a sliding door, and the large, frosted-glass window floods the area with light.
The water boiler beneath the wardrobe can be run on electricity or gas, but even the decently-sized 110-litre fresh-water tank wouldn’t last too long for minimum facility camping without mum and dad policing shower times.

Storage

The garage running across the full width of the ’van is the prime storage area. Both garage doors have a safety catch that can only be released from the inside – a wise precaution given that it’s the younger family members who’ll be sleeping in the rear bunks. It has a chequer-plate style durable floor, with tethering points, and the bed base of the lower rear bunk bed raises by 90º to clip against the rear wall – this maximises the space for bikes and the like while in transit.
The fresh-water tank takes up the storage space under the rear-facing dinette seat, but access to the space beneath the other lounge seats is via the bed bases. The handle-less overhead lockers have attractive convex (rather than the more usual concave) faces, and are positive locking so you can be confident that items will not spill out onto passengers while you’re on the move.

Technical specs

Travel seats6
MTPLM3500kg
Payload478kg
Length7.26m23′10″
Width2.35m7′9″
Height3.05m10′
Waste water100L
External Options
GRP sidewalls, Manual step
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Washroom
Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Truma Electric/Gas water heater, Webasto space heater

Verdict

With a huge engine, masses of safety features and seating for six, this a superb family tourer

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