Niall Hampton
Editor

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Check out the Practical Motorhome review of the 2014 Hymer Exsis-i 578, a compact A-class that weighs well under 3500kg and has a large user payload

Overview

Things are looking good for Hymer in the UK. The iconic German brand recently expanded its dealer network on these shores, and was fourth-placed overall for new motorhomes in our 2014 Owner Satisfaction Awards. In our analysis of the results, we noted that Hymer’s latest models are tightly focused and very competitive. 

One range spearheading this resurgence is Exsis-i, rebooted in 2011 to become a compact A-class on a Fiat Ducato base. The unique selling point of this four-strong range is its light weight, something that will appeal to buyers keen for lower fuel costs, or for those downsizing from a larger A-class to a smaller version that can also be driven by younger family members on an ordinary car licence. Unladen, these ’vans weigh substantially less than 3000kg. Load them with touring kit and the MTPLM should still be well within the all-important 3500kg threshold. 

Design

The Hymer Exsis-i 578 sports the rear fixed twin single beds layout, with a nearside washroom and offside kitchen. We road-tested a left-hand-drive version in Germany in December (right-hand drive is available for the UK, although the habitation door will be on the UK offside – ideal if you tour in Europe regularly).

Built with PUAL walls, the exterior of the 578 is uncluttered, with modest monochrome graphics used sparingly on the white bodywork. The van is fully winterised with insulated plumbing. A large rear garage with a 250kg loading capacity houses the gas bottles (on the vehicle’s nearside).

Inside, white fabrics and upholstery sit well with the mid-toned cabinetwork, creating an atmosphere of refinement. The cab boasts swivelling Aguti seats, between a door on the nearside and a storage unit on the offside. LED lights shine down from a panel in the underside of the pull-down bed. Headroom is generous; the cab area does not feel claustrophobic.

Lounging & dining

The lounge area offers an L-shaped sofa with a pair of belted travelling seats. Five people could sit around the table, courtesy of a catch that allows the table to slide towards the offside of the ’van. Nets to the windows and large directional LED lights running under the lounge’s overhead lockers add style and practicality.

Kitchen

Just behind the habitation door is a small kitchen area with three gas rings and an oblong sink. A fridge with separate freezer sits to the right of the sink, with a cupboard above (UK buyers can specify a combination oven and grill). Storage space in the kitchen is well thought through.

Under the hobs and sink is a cutlery drawer, and below that two divided drawers. All drawers are soft-closing and secured with positive catches.

Sleeping

The rear bedroom has the fixed twin single beds layout, but easily converts into a spacious double, using a hinged wooden flap and two filler cushions. Two 25cm-tall steps lead up to each single berth, reducing the total headroom available to 1.48m.

Up front, a drop-down bed above the lounge offers two further berths. It’s manually operated and is accessed via a wooden ladder. Two heating vents in the cab area keep it warm at night-time.

Washroom

In the Hymer Exsis-i 578 there is a washroom-cum-wetroom. To the right as you enter is a bench toilet and cupboard, with a basin and vanity unit straight ahead. The vanity unit wall is hinged on the right and pulls forward to create a wetroom. The wetroom is made up by folding a flap out from the basin unit’s leading edge and closing this in the tambour door, which secures magnetically. It’s a clever use of space and converts easily between both uses.

Storage

Storage in the Hymer Exsis-i 578 is generous, with 11 lockers. A wardrobe with hanging rail is located at the foot of the offside bed. Opposite, the nearside bed has a cupboard and one of the bedroom steps lifts up to reveal a storage cubby with handy built-in bag.

Technical specs

Sleeps4
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload700kg
Length6.75m22′2″
Width2.22m7′3″
Height2.77m9′1″
Fresh/waste water100L / 100L
Leisure battery95 Ah
Gas tank size7kg
Number of gas tank compartments2

Verdict

The Practical Motorhome review team members were fans of the Hymer Exsis-i 578. It is a well-designed 'van that will appeal to buyers who want the refinement of an A-class but without the size and weight of some rivals. There are more affordable competitors, but this Hymer is a class act. 

Conclusion

Pros

  • There's a neat, clever washroom/wetroom layout
  • Storage is not in short supply
  • There's an elegant refinement to the interior space
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