Read our Dethleffs Esprit Comfort T 7090-2 review to learn more about the features that make this 'van great for all year touring and winter sports fans

Overview

Dethleffs builds more motorhomes than any other European manufacturer, so it’s well practised in tailoring its products to specific markets. 

Many of the company’s motorcaravans are popular in Scandinavia, which is ample proof that the brand knows a thing or two about crafting a four-season tourer for enthusiasts of winter sports. That’s the unique selling point of the Esprit Comfort line-up, whose superior insulation and double floor that sandwiches the plumbing makes it ideal for the cold. There is also dedicated, easily accessible storage for skis, snowboards and other bulky items. 

Four floorplans are available, including this, the T 7090-2, which sports a rear French bed and end washroom. Like its siblings, the T 7090-2 is available as an A-class or a low-profile, the latter of which is on test. 

Measuring 7.31m, with an MTPLM of 3850kg and a generous user payload of 704kg, the T 7090-2 has a single bed in the front lounge, giving touring couples flexibility – ideal for the odd visiting family member or ski instructor.

Design

With their funky colours and sharp styling cues, Dethleffs motorhomes clearly target a younger market segment than other offerings from the Hymer Group.

Consider the automotive-looking lower front panel, that incorporates two groups of five daytime running lights, and the sleek low-profile cab moulding with its sharp leading edge. Grey graphics combine well with the burgundy cab colour, and the multi-element rear panel – designed for easy repair – features LED light clusters with a high-level brake light. Smart alloy wheels, as fitted to our test ’van, complete the sporty styling.

The T 7090-2 rides on an Al-Ko low-frame chassis, which keeps the height down to 2.87m, despite the 20cm double floor. The habitation door is on the UK offside, so care will have to be taken when disgorging passengers at the roadside.

Inside, the styling may not please traditionalists. The mid-toned ‘Noce Padano’ cabinetwork is paired with mahogany-effect work surfaces and chocolate-coloured soft furnishings carrying orange, silver and beige details. The floors have a granite finish and aluminium checkerplate in strategic areas.

Another Dethleffs styling quirk can be seen in the control panel above the habitation door; rather than a typical all-in-one unit with illuminated icons, this has three clocks with buttons between them – it’s very retro and pretty cool.

On the road

The Esprit Comfort range is based on the Fiat Ducato chassis with a 2.3-litre Euro 5 engine rated at 130bhp (our test ’van had the 150bhp upgrade). Based on the Lowdhams Leisureworld rally field, we didn’t get the opportunity to undertake an extensive road test, but we know this base vehicle well and have driven many Dethleffs conversions.

The Ducato’s driving position gives good visibility, although the chunky B-pillars can impair vision as you approach junctions; the nearside lounge window, just behind the passenger seat, offers extra perspective when turning right from a T-junction, if driving solo. Driver aids include ESP, ASR and hill-hold. Driver and passenger airbags and cruise control are fitted as part of the enhanced UK specification.

Four travel seats are provided, two on the front-facing lounge sofa. The short leg of the L-shaped seating group can be removed during transit so that passengers three and four can enjoy proper legroom.

Lounging & dining

With a lounge that can accommodate five, using the rotated cab seats, the T 7090-2 offers plenty of flexibility for lounging.

The lounge seats are comfortable with plenty of support in the backrests and are completely flat, with no knee rolls. The upholstery coverings are high quality and our testers liked the automotive headrests finished in a lighter colour, with a stitched Dethleffs logo on a flap above the seat belts – very elegant.

You can imagine the lounge looking gloomy on an overcast morning, given its chocolate-orange-and-grey palette, granite-effect flooring and mahogany tabletop, but this isn’t the case. A panoramic sunroof in the low-profile roof pod lets in plenty of natural light, and is augmented by a large opening rooflight that follows the track of the kitchen gangway and permits even more daylight to flood in. This second rooflight has ambient lights around its surround, and two LED clusters between this and the front skylight.

For mealtimes, the lounge table can be moved laterally to be nearer those seated on the offside sofa or the rotated driver’s seat. It’s sturdy and ample for a couple or up to five diners.

Kitchen

The Dethleffs Esprit Comfort T 7090-2 follows the familiar L-shaped midships nearside kitchen configuration. Three glass ‘petal’ lids provide access to the three gas burners and sink, with the latter being sited on the right under a swan neck tap.

The lids are a clever use of space, as one lid can be raised to boil a kettle, while the other two are left lowered to increase food preparation space. The sink and hobs sit in a mahogany-effect worktop that matches the table, and looks classy.

Under the hobs you’ll find a combination oven and grill, with shelves to the right. A 190-litre fridge with a separate 35-litre freezer compartment is located opposite, on the offside. Above the hobs are four overhead cupboards that carry ‘Dethleffs Gourmet Center’ branding and a pair of task lights underneath.

Another feature of note is the location of the master gas taps under the lip of the kitchen work surface. This gives quick and easy isolation of the gas services. Further along this panel, to the right, are the controls for the gas hobs. These controls are illuminated, courtesy of lighting that runs under the lip of the worktop.

Sleeping

The main reason for choosing a T 7090-2 over other models in the Esprit Comfort range is the fixed rear French bed, which is on the UK offside. It measures 1.95m x 1.3m and features a deep mattress with plenty of support and a pronounced cutaway on the side next to the aisle, which takes the width at its narrowest point to 0.85m.

There’s no headboard, but there is a clever solution for reading at night: under a small shelf next to the aisle is a track for an LED spotlight; like the others in the ’van, this can be removed. If left in position then it will provide plenty of light for reading.

A large side window, plus a rooflight above the head of the bed, offer ample natural light. Ambient lighting runs along the top of the three overhead lockers in the bedroom – a pleasing touch.

A further berth is available in the lounge, and measures 2.1m x 1.25/0.9m. It’s made up by dropping the tabletop via its telescopic leg and extending the travel seats bench, then building up the sleeping surface with cushions.

Washroom

To include an end washroom, Dethleffs’ designers made the most of the T 7090-2’s 7.31m length. The washroom doesn’t span the full width of the motorhome but still accommodates a swivel cassette toilet with electric flush, a vanity unit with a stainless steel basin and built-in storage, a frosted window on the rear wall and a full-size shower cubicle to the left. This can be divided from the rest of the space via a bi-fold door.

The shower features a smart mixer tap and an adjustable showerhead, all mounted in a grey moulded unit that includes two small shelves for lotions and potions. With the shower unit so close to the toilet, there isn’t a lot of legroom, but the storage space freed up by this arrangement is an acceptable compromise.

A dresser is opposite the bed, just outside the washroom door. This features a mirror and several cupboards, and it would be the ideal place from which to use a hairdryer while sitting on the bed.

Storage

The space under the fixed bed provides the largest area for storing touring kit, and can be accessed from inside or outside the vehicle, via a large hatch behind the offside rear wheel.

There are some other clever storage solutions, though. Our testers particularly liked the vertical storage door in the rear-offside corner; this features three shelves for storing outdoors kit that is best kept away from the living quarters, and these shelves can be removed to allow tall items like skis to be stored here – a nod towards winter sports enthusiasts.

The shelf at floor level actually stretches across the width of the ’van and can be also accessed from the nearside. Another of these compartments sits in front of the axle.

Inside the ’van, users can choose from among nine overhead lockers and various cupboards in the washroom, kitchen or bedroom. There are cubbies and a shelf above the driver’s cab and more options to choose from at the dresser next to the bed.

Other storage areas of note include an illuminated three-quarter length wardrobe with a centrally mounted hanging rail – ideal for winter coats – and recesses in the habitation door. A compartment in the double floor between the side sofa and lounge seats will be ideal for keeping valuables hidden.

Equipment

Dethleffs Esprit Comfort T 7090-2 models imported to the UK benefit from a higher specification than that found in versions intended for the Continent. This includes cab blinds, carpets, a Heki rooflight, an electric entrance step, a full door flyscreen and an oven/grill. The optional ‘Style Pack’, fitted to our test ’van, adds flush-fit windows and a high-level rear moulding with roof railing.

Space and water heating is provided by Truma’s Combi 6 system, with blown-air ducted around the ’van. Dethleffs’ AirPlus system ventilates the overhead lockers to reduce condensation.

Other options fitted to our test ’van included a 150bhp engine upgrade, LED lighting and alloy wheels. Further options include Fiat’s Comfort-Matic auto gearbox.

Technical specs

LayoutRear corner bed
Sleeps3
Travel seats4
MTPLM3850kg
Payload704kg
Length7.31m23′12″
Width2.33m7′8″
Height2.87m9′5″
Engine (power)150
Engine (torque)258
Fresh/waste water176L / 100L
Leisure battery95 Ah
Gas tank size11kg
Number of gas tank compartments2
External Options
GRP sidewalls, Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Washroom
Thetford C-250 toilet
Heating
Truma Combi heater

Verdict

Costing just north of £65,000, the Dethleffs Esprit Comfort T 7090-2 is pricier than many comparable UK-built motorhomes. However, consider the design flair and innovations on board and the T 7090-2 looks like better value. 

It’s a motorhome for a particular kind of user: winter-sports enthusiasts. The T 7090-2 has been designed to meet their needs, with storage spaces large enough to take skis or snowboards, and superb insulation to ward off the cold. Of course, the fixed bed will be ideal after a hard day on the slopes. 

Add in a sharp exterior, an up-to-date interior and no end of ingenious design details, and this is one import that could keep you happy year-round, let alone in the winter.

Conclusion

Pros

  • We applaud Dethleffs’ bold colour palette and confident use of distinctive fabric designs
  • US spelling aside, we love the super-practical ‘Gourmet Center’ and ‘Safety Center’, which allows instant shutdown of the gas in an emergency
  • Easy to access storage for skis, snowboards and other gear
  • This is a great, year-round 'van

Cons

  • The newspaper holder is rather flimsy
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