Nick Harding

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For a fantastic drop-down bed, a spacious lounge and solid German build quality in a sub-7m-long package, read our Dethleffs 4-travel T 6966-4 review

Overview

Be sure to make time for our Dethleffs 4-travel T 6966-4 review. But there's no time for 40 winks here, the drop-down bed concept is evolving fast – putting it lengthways is just another step in the process.

Germany’s Dethleffs is certainly keen enough to join the cause, announcing the three-model 4-travel line-up, characterised by electrically-operated double beds where you sleep with your head at the cab end.

Two of the models – the twin single beds T 7116-4 and island double T7156-4 – are 7.49m in overall length. The sub-7m long baby of the three is the T 6966-4 that we went to see at the Lowdhams dealership’s Nottinghamshire base.

This is Lowdhams’ 17th season with Dethleffs. Today, just five other dealerships in the UK hold the franchise, between them accounting for eight outlets through England, Scotland and Wales.

Design

Unlike so many, Dethleffs motorhomes are staying loyal to aluminium sides for their bodywork, although the roof and underfloor have GRP outer skins and the construction is timber-free. Using Fiat’s low-height chassis – and, it has to be said, some clever use of graphics – gives the 4-travel a sleeker look than its 2.98m overall height should suggest.

For the UK there’s a long list of standard equipment, which ranges from loose carpeting to Truma’s trusty Combi 6. It’s iNet-ready, too, should you wish to upgrade to controlling all heating and hot water via your smartphone.

The 4-travel cab, however, is a strange mix of premium (automatic air conditioning, lower centre console) and standard Fiat fare (basic steering wheel) and you’ll have to budget for a stereo.

Lounging & dining

The cab seats swivel to complete a spacious lounge, where space is opened up by having just a token backrest panel (rather than deep cushioning) for the sofa on the offside. Nearside, the forward-facing travel seat for two can soon be adapted into an L-shaped settee.

The Macchiato upholstery is leather-trimmed, with cloth inserts, or you can option the darker Chocolat.

Kitchen

The Dethleffs 4-travel T 6966-4's kitchen has three gas rings in a line – arguably the best hob arrangement, because it allows worktop space to the front. There’s an impressively large cutlery drawer under the hob area, with a Smev oven/grill set directly below – another UK-exclusive fitting, it’s nonetheless just a tad too low for the easiest use.

A high ledge to the right of the hob will prove handy. The shelved cupboard here also includes isolators for the gas appliances – a practical location where they’re much more likely to be used. The sink is in tough, stainless steel, with lots of locker space below and shelving above. A Perspex-doored drinks locker, meanwhile, has a three-bottle capacity.

Keeping things chilled or frozen will be easy, too, thanks to Dometic’s automatic-energy-selecting RML 9435 narrow fridge – capacity is up to 151 litres.

Sleeping

At night, the drop-down bed glides into place thanks to the quietest of motors, coming right down to seat-base level, should you require. A second motor for the head-end is somewhat noisier. Dimensions are generous and the top-quality mattress on slats makes it very comfortable.

Making the Dethleffs 4-travel T 6966-4's second double bed, where you sleep transversely, involves a fair amount of cushion re-arrangement.

Washroom

Across the back, sliding door access to the washroom is always a space-saver. The shower cubicle is on the right, there’s a basin straight ahead and a Thetford swivel-bowl toilet to the left. The shower cubicle is plastic-lined and comes with a riser bar as well as a clothes hanging rail, plus LED lighting, two plugholes and corner storage baskets in a chrome finish.

There’s open shelving and a large mirror behind the toilet – where surely a window would have been better. But the pleasant surprise on the back wall is the mirrored section that slides across to reveal a large storage area that includes two drawers.

Equipment

Paradoxically, these 4-travels lack the distinctive styling of some Dethleffs. There’s a wider habitation door than most (we understand future models will have a window), although the configurations aren’t switched for the UK. Alloys and the sunroof on our example are among the fitted options, at £735 and £840, respectively.

Other fitted extras include the automatic transmission (£1490) and the 150bhp engine upgrade (£1095). What’s not in doubt is the overall quality feel to this vehicle. The interior, including the easy-opening and soft-close actions of the overhead lockers in particular, really is superb.

Technical specs

Sleeps4
Travel seats4
MTPLM3850kg
Payload661kg
Length6.99m22′11″
Width2.33m7′8″
Height2.98m9′9″
Engine (power)130
Fresh/waste water120L / 90L
Leisure battery90 Ah
Gas tank size11kg
Number of gas tank compartments2
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas hob

Verdict

Fans of German build quality will put this Dethleffs 4-travel T 6966-4 on their shortlist – especially if you want the latest in drop-down bed technology from a German manufacturer that continues to build on a solid reputation here in the UK. And to see other Dethleffs motorhomes for sale, click here.

Conclusion

Pros

  • It has a fully-lined shower cubicle
  • There's a clever service hatch
  • The habitation door is wider than most
  • The TV holder that slides out of view is a neat touch

Cons

  • Garage space is a bit limited
  • The habitation door is on the 'wrong' side for the UK
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