Andrew McPhee

See other motorhome reviews written by Andrew McPhee

Read the Practical Motorhome review of the Chausson Flash 09

Overview

The French-built Chausson brand is a popular choice abroad – we’ve seen dozens of them on the road. The company’s latest coachbuilt for families, the Flash 09, has an external elegance that is sure to turn a few heads.

It takes over from Chausson’s Fiat-based Flash 05 as one of an increasing number of European family ‘vans. Others in the £25,000–£35,000 price bracket include Lunar Champ/Homecar, CI and Joint.

Design

The well-proportioned appearance of the Flash 09, with its grey trim contrasting with the white bodywork, makes a great looking ‘van.
The utilities are conveniently all on one side, and the door to the living area on the offside has sturdy locking bolts. Good internal steps and an external electric step makes for safe entry and exit for small children.
A door towards the rear provides entry to a garage area, big enough for bikes if the bottom bunk bed is clipped up out of the way. It’s a shame there isn’t access from both sides of the ‘van because reaching gear on the far side of a full garage might prove awkward, and the light beside the door doesn’t illuminate the far side. Bike-rack mountings are pre-fitted while a ladder and roof-rack are optional, as is an exterior shower socket – a worthwhile extra for hosing down sandy kids.

On the road

Based on a Ford Transit 350L, its twin rear wheels are designed to increase load capacity – a worthy thought when trying to pack all the usual clobber that’s involved with a family holiday.
The list of in-cab standard equipment is impressive: ABS, PAS, electric mirrors with auto-defrost, electric windows, central locking (cab doors), height adjustable cab seats, a pre-fitted radio. The new dashboard-mounted gear lever is an improvement on previously floor-mounted versions in terms of cab space and driver comfort. There are twin air bags, too – an almost unheard of addition to budget-priced ‘vans.

Lounging & dining

The layout is functional but there is not an overwhelming sense of space. Access feels narrow and there would be a lot of ‘squeezing in’ to pass other occupants – we couldn’t imagine a family, with boisterous youngsters in the ‘van on a rainy day, coping for too long. The cab-to-living-area passage is atrocious – there’s hardly any space to squeeze through. However, lift-up carpets reveal a practical wipe-clean floor.
Two dinettes (a double and a single) side by side enable ample, comfortable dining for six people and there are large windows either side.
Although there is adequate ventilation, in the form of three standard roof lights, we felt that a larger roof light would allow more natural light into the dining area.
The single dinette could also be turned into a makeshift sofa if you were to add a few scatter cushions of your own. However, we felt that the seat-back upholstery consists of too many separate cushions Velcro-ed together, which bored children would enjoy pulling apart. Also, the water heater switch was in a prime location for little fingers to fiddle with: just above the dinette seats within easy reach.

Kitchen

The galley-like kitchen is fitted with a 97-litre fridge (with freezer compartment), and three-burner hob, oven and grill. It lacks worksurface area until the hob-cover is lowered.
While there is ample storage space for crockery, pans and cutlery, the kitchen cupboards would not allow a microwave to be installed.

Sleeping

There is an overcab double bed (which can be raised), a small double and a single dinette bed.
There are also two single bunk beds at the rear which children could make into an exciting den-space, away from the adults. It’s just a shame that the dividing curtain seems five inches too short. That’s not good if you want to tuck the children into bed and have an evening to yourselves without the need to turn all the lights out just to get them to sleep.
We noticed that the overcab bed and bottom bunk were not slatted and would worry that condensation could collect on the mattresses. Another niggle is that if all seven beds are occupied, the overcab sleepers would find it awkward to reach the toilet without squashing someone below.

Washroom

The best interior feature is the washroom. It’s spacious, light and airy. A separate, curtained, shower area means that there is sufficient space to be able to sit on the swivel toilet in comfort, without being under the showerhead. The only downside is the tiny towel rail that certainly wouldn’t hold a family’s towels. There is plenty of space for toiletries, though.

Storage

With its garage, and space under the single dinette (also accessible externally) as well as overhead lockers (and TV cupboard), the Flash 09 has a good amount of storage space, even though most of the double dinette storage area is taken up by water tanks.
It’s a shame that there is no internal access to the garage area. Owners should be careful not to cover the floor of the wardrobe, too, because the battery charger there needs ventilation.

Technical specs

Sleeps6
Travel seats6
MTPLM3850kg
Payload719kg
Length7.07m23′2″
Width2.24m7′4″
Height3.03m9′11″
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Washroom
Thetford C-250 toilet

Verdict

One of the Flash’s strengths is that it has six seatbelts and most of the features you need, but it needs to be more spacious and liveable. A more open seating arrangement would help. Also, we’d sacrifice the plush carpets and nicely upholstered seats for more practical features such as a second garage door. The rear-wheel-drive Transit is great for transporting a family and gear. However, there are more basic but equally functional ‘vans on the market for a lot less money.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Six belted seats; spacious washroom; rear single bunks; storage

Cons

  • Cramped front lounge; poor kitchen worksurface; access from overcab bed at night
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