06/07/2020
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Best coachbuilt without fixed bed – under £60k: Adria Matrix Plus 600 DT motorhome

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The layout of the year is undoubtedly an open-plan format with no fixed bed, and in the under £60k class it's the Adria Matrix Plus 600 DT that takes first place in the What Motorhome Awards...

 

If there’s one key layout in the motorhome market right now, this is it: large front lounge with side-facing settees that convert into individual travel seats, an open-plan feel stretching back into a spacious kitchen, followed by an XXL washroom across the rear with super-sized wardrobe space that cleverly hides a garage underneath and, finally, of course, a drop-down double bed up front.

All packed into a 7m body, it’s a design with so many positives for two people on tour (plus the versatility of occasional four-berth capability), that it’s no wonder it took the market by storm in 2019.

Chausson was, unsurprisingly, the brand that was first out of the blocks with its quite brilliant 640 model, which sold so well that warm pâtisserie couldn’t keep up. Bürstner was in on the act from the off, too, offering its Lyseo Harmony Line TD 680 G, while Rapido Group countered with a slight Gallic twist to the recipe, its well-priced Itineo FC650 being an A-class, rather than a low-profile.

Now, both Pilote and Adria have added competitors for the Chausson and Bürstner, with the Pacific P696D and the Matrix Plus 600 DT, respectively. Each of these models arguably moves the game on a tad and it was a tough decision to pick between the two for this award. In the end, the Slovenian motorhome just got the nod over the French one.

A massive part of the appeal of this type of motorhome is the lounge, which is ideal for a couple to relax in. A pair of long (1.66m on the nearside, 1.36m offside) settees dominate the front half of this motorhome and, even though there’s no overhead rooflight, the big sunroof above the cab and the large side windows behind each settee let daylight flood into the area.

Adria Matrix Plus 600 DT

Both cab seats swivel around easily, too, and, as they’re on the same level as the sofas, they integrate really well to increase your sprawling space. The settees also have knee rolls and shaped backrests for added comfort.

Adria often manages to make its motorhomes look more contemporary than a lot of its popular rivals, and that’s a neat trick it’s pulled off here, too. The standard Zanna grey upholstery, combined with Symphony White furniture (wood-effect cabinets and gloss white cupboard doors), succeeds in being both ultra-modern and homely at the same time, which is really quite a result.

Another plus is the table, which not only slides fore and aft in the usual fashion, but can adjust for height, too. It also folds in half – a simple touch (which used to be the sole preserve of Rapidos) but one which makes a massive difference to the feeling of space, while leaving the table always in situ for that essential coffee break. Unfolded, it’s huge, at 0.84m by 1.02m. As in the opposition, the lounge area also converts into a couple of rear travel seats.

This floorplan isn’t just about great lounging space – there’s another major reason to buy at the opposite end of the motorhome, where a silver tambour door closes off the rear washroom.

Inside here the space is truly impressive. There’s lots of room around the cassette toilet to get comfortable, while the washbasin bowl sits on a generous section of grey worktop. A mirrored cabinet can hold all of your toiletries and there’s an additional locker underneath the basin.

A separate shower cubicle is on the opposite side and comes with good-quality aluminium-framed doors. The shower tray has two drains and the high-quality showerhead is mounted on an adjustable rail. There’s also a usefully deep recess for your shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. Overhead, there’s even a hanging rail for the inevitable soggy coats (this is the UK, after all) to drip-dry.

It’s a palatial bathroom for any motorhome, let alone one so compact, but even better is that it’s a changing room, too. There’s loads of floor space as well as a massive wardrobe incorporated here. This is large enough to hold all of your clothes and includes a long hanging rail and deep his and hers drawers.

The really clever bit, though, is that hiding under the wardrobe is a full-sized garage with a 150kg load limit. It has access doors on both sides, twin drain holes for sluicing out, adjustable tie-downs and bike-friendly headroom of 1.17m. On the nearside there’s even greater height when a shelf is folded to allow skis, etc, to be stowed vertically. Headroom here is an incredible 2.22m, with a full-height loading door to match. Whoever said you needed a fixed bed layout to have this much external storage?

In this almost TARDIS-like design the galley impresses, too – not least for its generous amount of worktop. Another myth busted here is that only British motorhomes have great kitchens. Not anymore. This L-shaped galley is a delight and comes with a three-burners-in-line gas hob, a large sink complete with removable draining board, a Thetford grill and oven, and a whopping 167-litre fridge/freezer. There’s plenty of storage as well, including drawers for cutlery and pots and pans, plus a wide slide-out larder with triple-shelved wire rack.

The final piece of this jigsaw is the night-time arrangement, which simply involves closing the (posh, concertina) blinds and flicking a switch. Then, down comes a 1.96m by 1.49m double bed, lowering until it’s just 850mm off the floor for super-convenient access.

Bedding can stay in situ on the bed, so that’s another storage issue solved and, if you very occasionally need a four-berth, this Matrix can serve that role, too, with double beds one above the other (the lower one created from the lounge settees).

Based on the wide rear track Camper version of the Fiat Ducato, the Adria comes with the 140bhp engine as standard but upgrades (and the automatic gearbox) are available. You’ll need to add a pack of base vehicle options to the £61k base price but, for a top-quality low-profile like this, the price seems right.

In fact, with impressive storage, a superb lounge, great washroom and more, the latest addition to the Matrix will be as big and as expensive a motorhome as most touring couples ever need. It’s that good.

 

Read our review of the Adria Matrix here

Buy the July issue of What Motorhome magazine here

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