Mike Le Caplain

See other motorhome reviews written by Mike Le Caplain

Looking for a motorhome with a fixed island bed? Check out our Dethleffs Esprit T7150 DBM review to see if this motorhome built for two is the one for you!

Overview

Dethleffs’ annual model launch is always a daunting prospect, thanks to the sheer breadth of models that the German manufacturer offers. The middle-ranking Esprit is a case in point: while most producers are content with a straightforward model range, Esprit offers four layouts, in a choice of either low-profile or A-class guise. 

We went to Lowdham Leisureworld in Gunthorpe, Nottingham, to test the attractive Dethleffs Esprit T7150 DBM, a low-profile coachbuilt launched for the 2015 season. 

Design

Our test ’van was the former, with exterior styling that is undeniably striking. We’re a big fan of the multi-coloured panels, but some might find the combination too much.

The LED tail lights look expensive, however, likewise the natty alloy wheels, and serious motorcaravanners will approve of the roof rails – the better to attach roof boxes for additional storage space. Not that storage should be an issue – the huge doors at the rear of the vehicle hint at the large garage area beyond.

In design terms, the 2015 Esprit scores well. The gas locker is large, easily accessed and low-set to make the loading and unloading of heavy cylinders easier. It’s a little surprising that the signature bow-topped entrance door doesn’t have a window, but the electric step makes entry a doddle. The toilet hatch and water fill point, meanwhile, live on the other side.

On the road

The Esprit is based on a right-hand-drive, manual gearbox, Fiat Ducato/Al-Ko and leaves the factory with a standard 130bhp 2.3-litre Multijet engine, but our test model sported the pokier 150bhp 2.3. Even in a vehicle this size, that should translate into impressive performance. Invest in a braked trailer, and you can tow up to 2000kg.

Lounging & dining

Entry is straight into the warm and welcoming forward lounge area. Wisely, Dethleffs has eschewed the familiar L-shaped offside settee arrangement and stuck with a more space-efficient half-dinette affair, complemented by a plump two-seater settee just inside the door and a pair of swivel cab seats. The floor is flat from cab to conversion, so headroom is a little above average, and the acres of rich, mid-toned wood, duo-tone locker doors and chrome-effect catches are set off by an array of lights. It’s well-lit by day, too, thanks to a large rooflight and a large opening window just aft of the cab area.

The TV – and, to judge by the profusion of adjacent sockets, central gadget charging area – lives just inside the door above a shelf that’s just the right size for a digi box or DVD player and, lower down, a couple of handy shoe drawers. The drinks locker sits above.

Nearby, classy barometer-style analogue controls – in lieu of the usual LEDs – cluster above the door, adjacent to the less aesthetically pleasing LCD Truma control panel.

Kitchen

The chef’s area – which Dethleffs calls a ‘Gourmet Centre’ – lives just behind the lounge. As is often the case with Continental L-shaped kitchens, worktop space is sparse, but it has the oven (a Thetford Duplex) that’s so often missing from European ’vans. The sink is part of a single unit with the three-burner hob.

Storage seems a bit meagre, but there are a couple of good-sized shelves and veggie wire racks to the right of the oven, a huge cutlery drawer (albeit located near the floor), three good-sized cupboards at eye level and – above the 190-litre fridge-freezer opposite – a locker that looks big enough to swallow cereal boxes.

Sleeping

The Esprit’s crowning glory is its king-sized island rear bed. Each occupant gets a wardrobe, bedside table and reading light, plus three pinlights sunk into the pelmet overhead. It’s well-lit by a pair of large windows and a rooflight, and there’s ample walk-around space – with the washroom doors open. Best of all, the bed measures 1.98m x 1.45m (6ft 6in by 4ft 9in), so a good night’s sleep should be guaranteed.

It is possible to turn the seats in the lounge into a single bed measuring 2.1m x 1.15m tapering to 0.95m (6'10" x 3'9"/3'1"), but we anticipate that this motorhome will mostly be used by couples.

Washroom

There’s a step up into the rear bedroom area, but it doesn’t feel like the narrow corridor that sometimes blights ’vans of this design. As you enter, the washroom is split left to right behind floor-to-ceiling tambour doors, with the shower on the right (as you look back) and the toilet/washbasin area to the left.

The toilet might feel on the small side with the door pulled across, but at least there’s a wooden door partition to close the bedroom off by day.

There’s a small amount of wheelarch intrusion into the cylindrical shower cubicle, but it scores highly for its twin tray drains, roof vent, twin light and bottle stowage.

Storage

Storage is excellent in this Dethleffs Esprit – you'll find shelved roof lockers, a dedicated shoe cupboard, a huge cupboard with four shelves in the washroom, a cocktail cabinet, kitchen cupboards with a wire vegetable basket, cutlery drawer and all the usual under-seat lockers. The bedroom offers two wardrobes. There's external access to the garage storage area, beneath the bed, too.

Equipment

Cab air conditioning, cruise control, gas oven with grill, blown air heating, swivel seats in the cab, cab sun roof, electric windows and mirrors, GRP roof, TV

Technical specs

LayoutRear island bed
Sleeps3
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload413kg
Length7.58m24′10″
Width2.33m7′8″
Height2.87m9′5″
Engine (capacity)2300
Engine (power)150
Fresh/waste water125L / 90L
Leisure battery95 Ah
Gas bottle size7kg
Number of gas bottles2
External Options
GRP sidewalls, Directional TV aerial, Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Washroom
Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Truma Electric/Gas Blown air heater

Verdict

The Esprit T7150 DBM’s crowning glory is its king-sized island rear bed. Each occupant gets a wardrobe, bedside table and reading light, plus three pinlights sunk into the pelmet overhead. It’s well-lit by a pair of large windows and a rooflight, and there’s ample walk-around space – with the washroom doors open.

Best of all, the fixed island bed measures 1.98m x 1.45m (6ft 6in by 4ft 9in), so a good night’s sleep should be guaranteed.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Huge fixed island bed in the rear of the 'van
  • Two wardrobes
  • Lounge for five
  • Half dinette turns into a single bed
  • Looks classy
  • Separate shower cubicle
  • Great value for all this luxury
  • Ideal for couples

Cons

  • Cutlery drawer is at floor level beneath the oven in UK models
  • Very little kitchen worktop area
  • Restricted leg room around the toilet
Share with friends

Follow us on

Explore the range

Recently added motorhomes for sale

Most recent motorhome reviews

Swift Escape 604

£47,580OTR

The Practical Motorhome 2018 Swift Escape 604 review – 1 - The Fiat Ducato-based Swift Escape 604 has a licence-friendly MTPLM of 3500kg – it is £47,580 OTR, £49,275 as tested (© Peter Spinney/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Auto-Trail Imala 732 review – 1 - The 2018 Auto-Trail Imala 732 is a four-to-six-berth, with two-to-four travel seats, depending on options (© Peter Baber/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Adria Coral Supreme 670 SLT review – 1 - The silver 2018 Adria Coral Supreme 670 SLT is certainly a head-turner – and has a handy 3500kg MTPLM (© Peter Baber/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Wellhouse Terrier Lux-XL review – 1 - The Wellhouse Terrier Lux-XL is priced from £42,000 OTR – this example is £44,175 OTR (© Nick Harding/Practical Motorhome)

Devon Vitesse

£52,536OTR

The Practical Motorhome Devon Vitesse review – 1 - You get an unusually high pop-top in this Mercedes-Benz-based camper van from Devon Conversions (© Peter Baber/Practical Motorhome)

Auto Campers MRV

£47,500OTR

The Practical Motorhome Auto Campers MRV review – 1 - The Auto Campers MRV is priced from £47,500 – this example with its options comes to £53,836 (© Phil Russell/Practical Motorhome)