Love a large and luxurious full-width end-washroom? You'll get that and much more in the Hobby Optima De Luxe T70F – we've been on tour to test it!
But you wouldn’t get that impression if you restricted your motorcaravanning to the UK.
Certainly not in the past decade, anyway, when issues with the company’s former UK distributor led to some dealers dropping the brand.
But such troubles should now be behind it and, with the latest (very keen) UK agent taking over last year, Hobby is now making headway with 13 motorhome dealers in the UK.
Meanwhile, back home in Germany, some of the firm’s recent innovations have been remarkable.
So we leapt at the chance to try out a model from Hobby’s Optima De Luxe range when one was offered – and took it for a spin across North Wales.
The model we were particularly keen to try – the T70F – has an offside French bed and a rear washroom.
UK dealers for another brand had told us that historically this layout has never sold that well in the UK.
So are we Brits missing a trick? Here is the Practical Motorhome verdict.
Unlike some low-profiles, which may not have an overcab bed but still seem to make great play of their Lutons, the Hobby’s side profile is very low-slung.
If anything, the slight inward lean to the top of the rear panel emphasises this sleekness, giving the impression that the ’van is tilted forwards. This sleek, go-faster impression is aided by the larger-than-usual decals.
The front cab could almost pass for being a separate colour, because so much of the blue-grey design covers it.
A band of blue-grey goes down the sides almost to the rear windows, much farther than most motorhome designers would consider taking it.
You also get alloy wheels and, unusually for a low-profile, the Fiat badge at the front has been swapped for one with a Hobby logo. This is something you usually only see in A-classes that have a different front profile.
The ’van has a considerable rear overhang. You might think that this would be a problem with the washroom at the back, but we didn’t notice any issues with stability, even when two of us were in the washroom.
On the road
But there are plus points: the cab seats are proper captain’s chairs with two armrests. They come in the same upholstery as the rest of the ’van and are more padded than most, so are comfortable for driving.
There’s also a useful pelmet shelf above the cab that you can reach from the driver’s seat for items such as maps.
We could certainly feel the long overhang on the drive to Wales, but it didn’t make the journey too wearing. The Optima handled plenty of corners with no complaints, and the large window on the nearside of the lounge improved all-round visibility.
Arriving on site was significantly eased thanks to the gas-bottle locker, which has a slide-out base for smooth handling.
The external-access locker door to the area under the bed at the back features substantial handles, and inside you’ll find a light.
Setting off afterwards was also greatly eased thanks to the waste-water set-up. The tank holds an impressive 96 litres – way more than most – so you might not need to empty it that often.
But when you do, it’s a simple matter of undoing the clearly visible cap on the underside and pulling a lever next to the gas bottles.
Lounging & dining
That said, the carpet at this point is easy to remove, if you can make do with a bare floor that’s easier to keep clean.
Things improve from here on in the Hobby Optima De Luxe T70F. There’s a sturdy grabhandle illuminated by an LED light, and a switch by the door turns on both of the elegant LED clusters in the ceiling, so you can see your way in.
A small shelf under the habitation door window (just above the bin) provides a handy spot for keys and fobs, while there are also two coat hooks right by the door and immediately beneath the optional television on its bracket.
The cab seats can easily be swivelled around, so that, together with the side sofa, there is room for six around the table. And thanks to the swing-out table extension, there is possibly just room for six places at the table, too.
We wouldn’t recommend sitting in the side sofa for very long, because it’s not particularly comfortable. The problem seems to be the slanting backrest: it doesn’t leave enough room for your backside to get a proper hold on the base.
That’s a pity, because with two directional spotlights here (which match two on the other side over the table), Hobby’s designers were clearly hoping that this might become a nice spot for reading. You can’t really watch the TV comfortably from here, either.
The whole lounge area is well lit during the day by both the rooflight and the sunroof over the cab, as well as the large window.
Although the TV is positioned by the door, there’s another mains socket and a 12V socket on a bulkhead on the forward side of the window. There are also two speakers for a stereo you may want to add.
One final touch of luxury is the heating. There are two vents under the table (you are lucky if you get one from some manufacturers), with a third coming out from under the sofa where you might stretch your legs, and another one by the entrance. This motorhome is certainly very cosy.
So what, then, of the décor? We suspect that, with its rather sombre blue and lack of any obvious bling (except perhaps for those ceiling lights), many British buyers will say it is ‘rather minimalist’.
With a larger than usual exposure of quality wood, however, we would also say it feels just a touch more like home than some flashier vehicles.
We should also mention the headroom: it’s more than two metres throughout the living area. There’s a step in the dinette, but it’s so far forward in the ’van that it only affects those heading for the cab seats.
You only get a three-burner gas hob in the Hobby’s kitchen and the tiniest of ovens, but you also get an extractor fan, even though you can also easily open the large window here.
There’s plenty of well-lit workspace in front of the hob and to the right of it, behind the round sink, where there are also two mains sockets.
Three small shelves on the left side of the kitchen at the top provide an attractive space to display spices.
Elsewhere up here there are two shelved cupboards, one of which is partly obscured by the housing for the extractor fan. They are divided by a tambour-door cupboard that is easily overlooked.
Down below are a pull-out towel rail, a large cutlery drawer above the oven and a proper drawer (rather than a locker) below it.
This is probably the only place for large pans, because what looks to be an impressive cupboard under the sink turns out to be just three rather small shelves when you open the door – the rest of the space is taken up by the gas-bottle locker.
Across the way, there is a 140-litre fridge with a removable freezer that has been specially designed for Hobby by Dometic. We like the way this one includes enclosed shelves that held everything securely en route. And we particularly liked the mirrored fascia.
This bed has a generous headboard, and a useful switch dead in the middle of it that allows you to turn off all the lights at the bedroom end, including two reading spotlights.
What’s more, there is a heating control panel on the side of the bed (in addition to the one over the door), so if you wake up feeling cold you don’t need to get out of bed to have everything warm again, which is great!
There’s also a useful shelf above the switch where you can leave your glasses.
There’s no bedside table as such, but the open shelves in the dresser unit next to the wardrobe form a useful place to store books. There is a cupboard either side of these shelves, although the one on the right is partially obscured at the bottom.
It’s surprising that there’s no mirror here, or a socket for a hairdryer, but there is a thin strip of mirror over the bed.
The only partition of sorts you get is a half-height curtain, but it is thick enough for privacy.
You can make up the other bed relatively quickly from the cushions in the dinette, two infill cushions and the table, and it is 2.10 x 0.97m (6'11" x 3'2").
The only downside is that it also involves folding out a rather flimsy panel from under the side sofa, which is supported at the rear end by a strut. We wouldn’t suggest having anyone heavier than a small child sleeping here.
As a result, everything is where it should be. Mirrors are at a range of heights to suit all adults, and storage areas are a sensible size and well positioned.
The latter are mostly cupboards or shelves with large lips, so you don’t have to worry about transferring small items to safety every time you move off.
There’s even a cubbyhole for toilet rolls by the loo, and a little cupboard next to it that is just the right size for toilet chemicals and cleaners.
The light switch is right by the door – not tucked under some shelf where you have to fumble for it in the dark.
The offside shower cubicle is wide and unobstructed, and comes with two drainage holes. It has a light but no rooflight – the washroom’s main rooflight is over on the other side.
The huge space under the bed is clear, and as well as offering external access, it can be reached internally by lifting up the slats that stay up on gas struts.
The overhead lockers aren’t particularly big, but there are seven of them over the bed, and a further five above the lounge.
The wardrobe is properly full-height, and comes with a top shelf and a light, as well as a hanging rail. All of that more than compensates for the fact that neither of the areas under the front sofas are available, because of the fresh-water tank and the heater.
Kitchen equipment may only include a three-burner hob and a tiny oven, but you do get an extractor fan, and the slimline fridge is far more practical than many we have seen in similar rival motorhomes.
We were also particularly impressed by the Hobby Optima De Luxe T70F’s control panel, sited over the door. The TFT panel, as Hobby has dubbed it, is part of the CI-BUS onboard-management system.
|Fresh/waste water||100L / 96L|
|Leisure battery||95 Ah|
|Gas tank size||11kg|
|Number of gas tank compartments||2|
3-burner gas hob, Oven, Extractor fan
Separate shower cubicle, Bi-fold shower door
The Hobby Optima De Luxe T70F is a comfortable and cosy motorhome, with a really well-thought-out design and plenty of intelligent touches.
You could go away in this model at any time of year and feel right at home.
One downside is that, in comparison with other ’vans with a similar layout, it appears a bit pricey, probably because of the current weakness of sterling.
Although the model comes with many juicy extras fitted as standard, it does feel expensive alongside many of its British-built rivals.
It’s likely to be a question of deciding if you’re happy to pay that much more for fabled German engineering.
If you are, we think you’ll really enjoy owning this impressive motorhome.
And to see other Hobby motorhomes for sale, click here.
- We like the switches by the bed, meaning you can adjust the heating and the lighting without having to take your head off your pillow
- The ergonomic washroom is very well designed
- It's full of clever, luxurious touches
- Despite the useful spotlights, the side sofa just isn’t comfortable enough for any long-term reading
- Kitchen equipment might be lacking for UK buyers