MMM Motorhome Awards 2024: Best Compact Motorhome
Welcome to the MMM Motorhome Awards 2024 award for Best Compact Motorhome, delivered in association with Creation Personal Finance.
Manufacturers have really embraced the idea that motorhomes can be slimmer and more compact yet still offering all the luxuries of home.
We are delighted to reveal the 2024 winner and two highly commended runners-up.
WINNER – Best Compact Motorhome 2024
(Staff photos and photos courtesy of Chausson)
Why the Chausson X650?
As of the time of writing (October 2023), our video of the Chausson X550 has had 778,987 views – that’s the level of interest in this rather special campervan/motorhome crossover. However, the winner of our Best Compact Motorhome Award 2024 is not the X550, because that debuted in 2021 (and sold so much like pâtisserie chaud that Chausson temporarily dropped it from the brochures to catch up with building sold orders!). No, this year’s very worthy winner is the X650, the X550’s new and slightly bigger brother.
The X650 takes everything that made the X550 so appealing and adds the one thing it lacked – storage for bikes or other bulky gear. And it does so in just an extra 37cm of overall length. The campervan-style width of only 2.10m stays the same.
The unmistakeable black and white exterior styling is carried over, too, with black alloy wheels, an overcab sunroof and a chunky rear end that almost gives the impression of an off-roader. The cab, of course, is from Fiat’s ubiquitous Ducato, with the 140bhp engine.
Crucially, there’s a new feature on the outside that makes a huge difference inside – a lounge window is now fitted on the offside, where in pre-2024 X550s there was a blank wall with a pinboard. Now, you can enjoy more views and more daylight while still benefiting from long settees on either side and swivel cab seats, plus a dining table that folds in half. But you can also convert the sofas into forward-facing travel seats, if required – and, if you do, it’s worth noting that Isofix comes as standard.
The front of the motorhome also becomes the bedroom at night, with a drop-down bed (electric, of course) that measures 1.86m by 1.42m and can be lowered down to just above the sofas (80cm off the floor).
It’s at the rear, though, that the X650 shows off Chausson’s famously unique thinking. Yes, it’s a bike-sized garage but there’s a supersized wardrobe above. Or you can press a button and make the wardrobe deeper and the garage shallower, right up until when the latter disappears and a walk-in changing area is created!
The X650’s Vario Bathroom is much more conventional but incorporates a swing-wall shower that needs no curtain. And the kitchen beats similarly sized campervans, especially as UK spec includes an oven.
You can upgrade your X650 with Connect, Accessories and Safety Fiat packs, but, as this model is produced only in Exclusive Line trim, it doesn’t want for spec in standard form. With or without the options, this is a motorhome that feels like a campervan on the road and something much bigger on site. A true Tardis!
Knaus Tourer Van 500 LT Vansation
There must be many campervan owners that yearn for more living space than their small pop-top campervan but don’t want to move away from the perennially popular VW Transporter. Well, here’s the answer – a super-compact coachbuilt based on the T6.1.
We saw the fixed bed 500 MQ first, but this same-size 500 LT model seems far more in tune with the British market. Its front lounge has side settees and it feels much more spacious inside.
Its washroom is far more conventional, too, although its swing-wall shower still makes excellent use of space. Alongside that, in the rear corner is a sort of vertical garage with a tall exterior door and folding shelves and a hanging rail inside – a genuinely multifunctional space.
The Extendable Slide Bed is another great feature, creating a lengthways upper double berth in a matter of seconds. And Vansation spec includes the 148bhp engine, DSG automatic gearbox, 17in alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, sat-nav, reversing camera, Truma diesel heating and an awning.
VW Transporter T6.1
There's no shortage of compact low-profile motorhomes with a rear transverse double bed over a garage, but most are 5.99m long. This new Rapido – the latest addition to the C Series range – is 20cm longer but uses that to good effect. So, it’s still shorter than an extra-long Fiat/Peugeot panel van, and not a lot wider, at a modest 2.17m.
Its front half-dinette lounge feels surprisingly spacious, thanks to the size of the sunroof over the cab seats, while a folding jump seat is a useful addition, perhaps as a footrest.
At the opposite end of the motorhome, the 1.95m by 1.45m double bed is easier to access than many due to its fixed steps (not a ladder), and there’s room to sit up to read the papers in the morning. Below, the garage has up to 1.20m of headroom.
In typical Rapido fashion, the furniture comes in a choice of Luceo or Nacarat styles, while the compact galley includes a low-level oven and grill and there’s a 140-litre compressor fridge with bottle drawer. There’s a full-sized wardrobe, too, not one squeezed under the bed.
Return to our Motorhome Awards 2023 main page to see all the motorhome award categories and discover who was our overall winner.
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