Andrew McPhee

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Practical Motorhome reviews the compact Bessacarr E425

Overview

We like Bessacarrs. They are always workmanlike and look neat, tidy, and eye-catching. At a show or on a dealer forecourt, it’s the exterior looks that first draw you to a motorhome.

The new Bessacarr is no exception to this. At 20ft 9in long, the E425 is a compact ‘van which can be easily parked in most places. Swift Group’s design team has made a great job of the overcab shape atop the new Ducato which many manufacturers have either struggled to make attractive or have just continued with an existing shape, regardless of appearance. Although it sleeps four, there are only two belted seats, so it’s essentially a luxury two-berth.

Design

The 425 has stylish design and nicely understated graphics, and the finish is excellent. Looking around the outside of the ‘van, we find the normal lockers: the gas locker takes two 7kg bottles and is fitted with the new gas regulators; the toilet cassette locker is easily accessible, as is the mains connection.
The nearside entrance door has a window in it. Inside this door is something that is often missing from the majority of ‘vans: a good-sized waste bin. There is also a flyscreen and an automatically recessing step.
The offside, underseat locker houses the leisure battery. We think it would be quite difficult to lift out unless you went inside and lifted it out via the settee. Also, Bessacarr must do something about the loose wiring – much of which isn’t in a loom and could easily be fouled when the locker is used. We hope this will be tidied up in production models.

On the road

We’ve yet to drive the new Ducato with an overcab, nor have we tried the entry-level, 100 Multijet engine but it must be an improvement on the old 2.0-litre JTD that was fitted as standard to the smaller E400s. However, it’s unlikely to give you enough power to tear up motorway inclines.
Sitting in the cab, the driving position seems very comfortable and the cab has a nice dashboard trim to match the motorhome’s interior.

Lounging & dining

Inside, it’s a joy – very light and airy, which gives a real feeling of space. This is helped by the Heki roof light and the all-round windows at the back.
The windows have fitted blinds and fly screens, both of which pull down from the top. There are good curtains on the windows, too, with tie-backs.
The upholstery is sprung and has good quality covers but the light colour may show the dirt very quickly.
The seating at the back is L-shaped with easily accessible, capacious lockers beneath. The one shortcoming is the loose wiring we mentioned.
The folding table is freestanding so it can also be used outside, but because of the E425’s L-shaped layout, only three people could eat at this table: one at the end and two at the side. If there is a fourth diner, he or she had better enjoy eating off their lap. So, you get a nice, airy ‘van with four berths, one dedicated passenger seat and a table that seats three. Draw your own conclusions…

Kitchen

The hub of a ‘van is its kitchen. It should have good worksurface and be easy to use. This ‘van has those qualities. A full-size cooker with mains electric hotplate, and automatic gas ignition means that you can cook any meal you want. There’s an eye-level microwave, too, but its door flies out at an incredible speed as if to decapitate you. (John the Baptist’s head was served on a platter… with this door it could be ours!) Also, taking hot dishes out of the microwave at that height could fraught with danger.
Storage space is good, with a place for the chopping board, a pull-out vegetable rack, a large cupboard beneath the sink and a removable drainer to allow more workspace.
All round, it is a great kitchen with, unusually, enough space for two people to work at once.

Sleeping

At the front of the ‘van is a well-designed pull-down bed in the Luton, assisted by gas struts. It has a very comfortable 4in-thick sprung mattress. The access ladder was not in the ‘van we saw and our worry is that this ladder, when in place, would block access to the shower door and the main entrance door.
The L-shaped sofa easily makes up into a double bed. You use the back cushions, which we felt would make for a lumpy night’s sleep but you could turn them over to give, at least, a flat top surface.

Washroom

The bathroom is well fitted with ample shelves and a cupboard for storing towels.
The shower area is a clever design: by pulling out a hinged wall panel and connecting it to a swing panel in the door you form a separate, integral shower unit and this partitions the toilet area to keep it dry. Sadly, though, this clever piece of design didn’t quite meet in the middle – nor did it on another, similar ‘van we were shown. “It will be OK on the production model, sir.” Yes, but we’d like to see it working now.
Hot water is supplied by either mains electricity or gas. This also applies to the space heating. With the amount of mains electricity available in modern ‘vans, a close eye must be kept on the consumption of amps, limited to 16A on most campsites, but commonly only 5A in France.

Storage

On the offside is a large wardrobe with ample storage space for normal motorhome requirements. It also stores, very neatly, the dining table and the fuse box.
The control panel is above the entrance door and is neat and simple, once you fathom the hieroglyphics.
The E425 has a good idea we’ve never seen in a ‘van before: a magazine rack is positioned beneath a large vertical window.
The roof lockers have well-fitted doors and all the woodwork throughout is very well finished.

Technical specs

Sleeps4
Travel seats2
MTPLM3500kg
Payload540kg
Length6.32m20′9″
Width2.24m7′4″
Height2.96m9′9″
Waste water6.32L
External Options
Awning light
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas with electric hot plate, Oven, Separate grill, Microwave
Washroom
Thetford C-250 toilet
Heating
Truma Gas/Electric heater, Truma Electric/Gas Blown air heater

Verdict

As we left the ‘van, we spoke to two potential buyers who were viewing it. Their opinion? Airy, light, well finished, well equipped and great value for money. At £32,745 (on the road), even considering the shortcomings we mentioned, we wholeheartedly agree with that view.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Light, open interior; specification; price

Cons

  • Only two belted seats; difficult for four to dine; position of microwave; odd build issue
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