LIFE is getting progressively harder for the Great British Motorhome.
The relentless invasion of continental brands has, over the years, shown prospective buyers that their next motorhome needn't be tediously styled, inside or out. And it needn't sport utterly conventional layouts or be saddled with a below-average base vehicle. Home-grown manufacturers have had to adapt.
The Fiat Ducato/Peugeot Boxer twins were arguably a little late in getting to the New And Improved Base Vehicle party, and allowed rivals to scoot worryingly far ahead. With an impressive new Ford Transit, Volkswagen Crafter/Mercedes Sprinter and rejuvenated Renault Master on the horizon, Fiat had to get its act together. This test of Bessacarr's svelte new E540 represents the first time we've laid our hands on a motorhome with a proper UK-spec right-hand drive Ducato. We'll soon know if it's been worth the wait.
The Bessacarr felt too big, too avant-garde and just a little chilly, with its paler woodwork, carpets and upholstery. The fact that I suspected I wasn't going to fit comfortably behind its steering wheel merely confirmed my initial suspicions as to how the test was going to pan out.
Now that I've mastered its idiosyncratic driver's seat and lived with its more modern-feeling conversion, it feels spacious and complete. It's not perfect by any means, but it has an excellent lounge, sleeping and dining quarters.