Both models are stunningly good, but it’s almost a clear points victory for Bürstner here, winning on its lounge (bigger table), kitchen (a grill/oven can be fitted), washroom (space and storage) and offering the better drop-down bed. Plus, there’s all manner of choice when it comes to options, although this could hit your wallet pretty hard. The Adria is not poor second here. It is very much the winner on price, for starters. It just lacks those defining touches of the Bürstner.
Do you want a motorhome under six metres long, spacious lounge, large payload, good storage space and one full-sized double bed with a one-piece mattress? Well it's all been made possible by the drop-down bed concept – a clever piece of engineering that tucks a ready-made bed beneath the ceiling. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of solutions. Which brings us to two newcomers for 2013. Adria has extended its Matrix offerings with the all-new Axess 590 SG, and Bürstner adds the 590 to its line-up.
The Adria looks the more opulent of the two, thanks to the grey cab with colour-matched bumper and graphics that extend the scheme into the main bodywork. The proportions are right, long rear overhang aside. the Bürstner doesn’t win the looks contest. But that’s more down to the colouring - other colours are available… as are such niceties as alloy wheels etc.
ON THE ROAD
Adria save a bit of money by using Fiat’s standard chassis-cab, while Bürstner adopts the low-frame version configured especially for motorhome use, hence the slightly lower overall height. Suffice to say these latest Ducatos really are a pleasure to drive – arguably the more so the smaller the vehicle. Don’t forget, automatic is an option for both vehicles. The standard 130bhp is the ideal choice of engine, although upgrades are available on both. With both vehicles being four-seaters, the Adria’s rear passengers travel on a fixed seat with rather flimsy looking removable head restraints that simply slot into the top of the seat. There seems to be a bit better provision for rear seat passengers in the Bürstner than the Adria, too. The head restraints here, for example, have proper metal inserts and are adjustable for height.
While the interior layouts are broadly similar, the treatments are considerably different. Both vehicles make the most of their lounges, having a pedestal table with fore and aft adjustment around which up to five could sit. The lounges may not be for out-and-out sprawling, but there’s generous seating space. Don’t forget there’s the main bed directly overhead; nevertheless there’s some 6ft of standing room – and it’s an area where you’ll spend all your time sitting!
The Adria definitely has a more restrained appeal to its interior décor, compared to the more flamboyant appeal of the Bürstner, with its numerous options if your don't like the standard.
The Bürstner that has the significantly larger and sturdier table. Bürstner also offers a different solution to cab window black-out, providing a set of three pleated material blinds that are easy to fix on. One major advantage of these over blinds ready fixed to doors and windscreens is they won’t rattle – ever!
The Adria has a bigger kitchen than you’d expect. A three-ring hob takes centre stage, with a commendably deep sink. There’s no space for a drainer, but it does leave a generous amount of worktop. Under-the-counter storage is more intriguing. There’s a small cutlery drawer directly below the hob, then the double cupboard doors open to reveal direct access to the boot area, with a large box drawer offering an obvious place to stow packets of food. Adria doesn’t offer an oven or grill, but there is a microwave – set a little too low. Biggest bonus here is the large fridge.
The Bürstner kitchen starts with a similar three-ring hob (no spark ignition) but you can order a grill/oven, even if it is high up, over the fridge. It does, however, lack the open, corner shelving you get in the Adria that can prove useful once you’re parked up on site. Bürstner’s work surface is at a bit of a premium.
The Adria wardrobe is a bit narrow and nearly every bit of underseat space is taken up by the Truma boiler, piping, leisure battery and charger – and the fresh water tank occupies the other main seat base. And the boot? Fitting in bikes may prove a tad tricky, but there’s certainly sufficient space here for outdoor chairs, tables, the barbecue and more.
There’s lots of clever stuff going on in the Bürstner: the shoe locker in the settee base; the coat hooks on the back of the door; open cubbies to your left; padded panel over the door has elasticated strapping; four press studded pockets at each side of each lounge window. Unlike the Adria, there’s loads of space in the settee base, and it’s accessible from outside, with an inset area going deep below normal floor level. The tall door at the back of the Bürstner opens into a exterior wet locker with hanging rail and drop-down shelving.
ON TO BED
The Adria may also have been suffering from show fatigue (it did duty at October’s show), but the bed locking mechanism didn’t prove the slickest. Head restraints need to be removed, to bring the bed down to its correct position, too. Once down, a ladder hooks on. The blown-air outlet to the bed area is a bonus. It’s a rather thin mattress but it’s on a sprung slatted base.
It’s definitely the Bürstner bed that’s the better. It’s easier to pull-down, has the more reassuring locking and you don’t need to remove the head restraints to bring it all into position (although the side settee backrests are best tipped forward).
As dictated by the location of the reading lights, you sleep facing left to right in the Bürstner (it’s the other way round in the Adria). The Bürstner bed is the more comfortable, thanks to each slat having a hinging facility that means a lot more ‘give’ as you move about. It’s a thicker mattress, too. But it’s a considerably narrower bed than the Adria’s.
ON THE LOO
Adria offers a bench toilet; it suits the setting well here, and is more hygienic – have you ever attempted to clean around a swivel toilet? That large mirrored area on the back wall disguises two key features – the lower section hinges down to reveal the drop-down basin (it’s shallow, but just about suffices). The upper mirrors are the doors to a more than adequate shelved vanity unit. Two concertina doors to give a suitably generous shower area. T
If the Adria washroom is functional, the Bürstner’s is elegant, with that basin and tap immediately grabbing the attention for aesthetics. There’s also a fully lined shower cubicle to the right of this while, to the left, there’s plenty of space for the swivel-bowl toilet.
Arguably, one of Adria’s continual challenges is convincing folk how well built its products actually are. The quality’s definitely there, though. Solid quality with a touch of flair is what we’ve come to expect from Bürstner, and this latest Ixeo Time doesn’t fail.
The Adria costs less than its rival and this could be seen as a coveted vehicle on the secondhand market, where a smaller vehicle will always find favour with newcomers. In other words, we’d expect it to hold its value well. The Burstner has a teasingly low starting price but the options list is just as tempting and could mean a much higher price than the Adria in the end.