Mike Le CaplainSee other motorhome reviews written by Mike Le Caplain
We test a dealer special with lots of extras – Lowdhams' exclusive special edition, the six-berth Bessacarr Hi-Style 496 rear-lounge low-profile motorhome
This is no ordinary Bessacarr 496 – in fact, it’s a special edition Hi-Style, exclusive to Midlands dealer chain, Lowdhams. The Hi-Style is endowed with more than £3000 worth of additional equipment, despite costing just £1000 more than a standard 496.
The cassette toilet hatch, mains hook-up point and water filler are confined to the offside, so those lazy evenings spent under the huge nearside awning won’t be spoiled by trailing leads or brimming loo cassettes heading for disposal. The gas locker next to the habitation entrance door is large, but usefully low to make loading cylinders that much easier.
It’s good to see the Winter Pack (which comprises heated water tanks and insulated plumbing) fitted as standard, but surely a motorhome’s capacity for fresh water (90 litres in this case) ought to be matched by its capacity for waste; the Hi-Style’s grey-water tank can hold just 68 litres.
Nevertheless, exterior equipment is very good on the whole – the benefits of the full-length awning and colour reversing camera are plain to see.
On the road
Elsewhere the Hi-Style pack brings with it a host of additional equipment, including cruise control, cab air conditioning and a stereo upgrade that comprises a fully integrated DAB radio, a CD player, a touch-screen sat-nav and Bluetooth phone connectivity.
Lounging & dining
In day mode, this is undoubtedly the place to be, offering as it does simply colossal lounging and dining space. Large windows and ample lighting keep the area well-lit by day or night, too.
Cupboard space is just as tight. The locker to the right of the microwave passes the all-important cereal-box test with ease, but the one between the cooker and fridge is quite narrow and dominated by the cutlery drawer.
of the bed stretch taut to protect occupants from the surrounding cabinetry and the bed can be fixed at almost any height – Swift even provides a ladder – if the ‘downstairs’ bed is in use. If not, it can drop to a suitably low level, once you’ve removed the settees’ seat backs.
The rear double bed is the biggest in the Bessacarr, stretching the tape measure to 2.11m by 1.67m. It’s not fully four-square (the nearside single is noticeably longer than the offside equivalent), but it is still enormous, again with the rearmost backrests removed.
|Layout||Van conversion, rear lounge|
|Fresh/waste water||90L / 68L|
|Leisure battery||95 Ah|
|Gas bottle size||7kg|
|Number of gas bottles||2|
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas with electric hot plate, Oven, Separate grill, Microwave
Thetford C-200 toilet, Bi-fold shower door
Low-line bodywork and a drop-down bed make the latest 496 a contender in the premium family motorhome market. Lounging space and the six sleeping berths are exceptional, but the washroom and kitchen disappoint slightly.
This dealer special is made exclusively for Lowdhams by the Swift Group and you can see the Bessacarr Hi-Style 496 either at Lowdhams in Crosland Hill, Huddersfield, or the branch in Gunthorpe, Nottingham.
- Enormous U-shaped end lounge
- Six belted travel seats to match six berths
- Electric drop-down bed has comfy mattress
- Big beds
- Excellent front dinette
- Compact washroom
- Not much storage in the kitchen
- Toilet gets a little shower overspray despite the bi-fold door