A worthy winner of Family Motorhome of the Year and a truly excellent family-friendly motorhome. If you have kids put it on your must-see list.
PRICE AS TESTED £52,123 TYPE APPROVAL European Whole Vehicle OPTIONS FITTED Chassis Pack – passenger airbag, electric mirrors, cab air-conditioning, cruise control (£1,350), Graphite external colour (£404), oven/grill (£527), TV bracket (£187), Nova Amber upholstery (£250), Truma Combi 4 E heater mains upgrade (£435) BERTHS 4 TRAVEL SEATS (INC DRIVER) 4
Bürstner’s Ixeo Time it 745 is our Family Motorhome of the Year. So this is a very good motorhome – one of the very best new models for 2013, in fact – but it’s not perfect. And that’s because there’s no such thing – every ’van has compromises, and if you’ve navigated the often frustrating process of trying to choose your perfect motorhome, you’ll know what I mean.
That said, the best way to get under the skin of any ’van is to spend time living in it, and that’s exactly what I did. The location was the Caravan Club’s Brighton site and the weather was horrible: sub-zero temperatures, howling wind, snow, sleet and rain.
The base vehicle – Fiat’s Ducato – is the long-wheelbase camper chassis version.
In-cab options come courtesy of the Chassis Pack, which provides the electric mirrors, cab air-conditioning and cruise control that most folks will probably want.
The 130-horsepower motor is standard and provided impressive performance – however, engine options of 148 and 177bhp are available for those who want to get more of a move on.
Payload issues can be addressed too: if you want to carry lots of kit and four grown-ups on a regular basis you can up the maximum weight to 4.25 tonnes (for just £390), which gives well over a tonne of payload.
Those with a lazy left foot can also order an automatic – on all engine sizes – the Comfort-Matic robotised gearbox comes in at £1,512.
The rear travel seat is built for two and it’s a bestpractice unit with a full-width steel frame at its rear that mounts adjustable automotive-type head restraints. Cab seats swivel to face the lounge, with drop-down double bed above.
Behind this, the kitchen spans the aisle – main unit on the offside, fridge, oven and storage opposite. Next, the bathroom sits opposite the wardrobe, bunks across the rear.
Just about every part of this motorhome’s living area is impressive and that starts with the lounge.
This relaxing-and-dining space really is a cracker – you might get nine close friends in here, all sitting cosy ‘n’ comfy thanks to nice high backrests and decent depth squabs.
The table is just as capable, as it’s large – half a dozen could probably sit down for dinner – and slides all over the place on its height-adjustable pedestal leg.
To the kitchen, where the good news continues... I love to cook and I’d be very happy if I had this galley in any motorhome of mine.
A generous L-shape, the main unit includes the ubiquitous three-burner hob and the oft-found continental feature of no separate working surface.
However, the separate drainer here is excellent, and there’s more as a drop-on chopping board fits drainer or sink.
Opposite, the fridge is a decent size and has an oven/ grill mounted above. And this is the first real downside in this galley – there’s a big cupboard below, so the whole lot could be lowered, making the oven easier and safer to use.
The only other less than good feature of this kitchen is the fact that the only mains socket is mounted up under an overhead locker – something that stretched my toaster’s lead a little too far.
But storage is stunning, with a pullout larder unit, large cupboards and a stack of three big drawers providing loads of space for food and kitchen kit.
Bathing facilities continue the excellence theme, a story that starts with the generous separate shower.
Like the kitchen, storage is a feature in here, with two large cupboards up top that have adjustable shelves with fuddle rails. Below the washbasin there’s a further big, two door space, also shelved.
Bedtime highlights begin from above the lounge, as the drop-down double is deployed. This bed’s latch is very easy to use – a pull on a central panel in the rear edge releases it to descend easily in to the lounge.
Once in bed you discover LED lighting and a comfy mattress riding on sprung staves.
An opening overcab sunroof provides natural light, but also the essential ventilation that’ll be needed in balmy summer weather.
At the rear of the van are the bunks, where a second short ladder gives access to the upper berth.
Both these sleeping spaces are adult-sized and comfy.
I spent four winter days and nights in Bürstner’s Ixeo Time it 745, which merely confirmed my opinion that this motorhome is worthy of its accolade of Family Motorhome of the Year.