It's large, lavish and luxurious, but not without a few niggles. And with options it costs over £90,000, so it's hardy cheap, either.
Concorde Credo I 735H
SMALLER it may be, but the Credo does not feel like a mass-produced motorhome.
Before you step aboard, look at the hinges on all the exterior lockers, feel the way those hatches close and seal and rejoice in the practicality of the RV-style waste water dump and a mains lead that drops through a bespoke slot in the floor so as not to impair insulation in the side wall.
Of course, the AL-KO chassis (lower and with a wider track than the standard Sprinter) also allows Concorde to install a double floor, where both fresh and waste water tanks join generous storage in the heated basement (with radiators actually alongside the tanks). The water tanks are even designed for easy removal in the event of servicing issues.
There’s a huge garage, too, with chequer plate flooring and plenty of shelves. Its door measures 1.18m by 0.95m and (like the habitation door) comes with a clip to hold it open... a clip that’s not the usual flimsy plastic motorcaravan industry item, but a proper metal device that’ll probably still be doing the same job in 20 years‘ time.
Our test vehicle may have been treated to extras that, in total, cost as much as a used VW T4 camper, but the reality is that if you’re buying a vehicle of this calibre there’s nothing here that’s OTT.
The ambience is pure Concorde – nothing flashy, and much more traditional than a Knaus S-Liner or a Carthago Chic Designa, but undeniably built to last. You’re reminded that you’re in a Mercedes, too, by the way it still rocks gently on the suspension as you move around or turn over in bed, even though the AL-KO chassis has greatly reduced body roll when tackling hairpin bends and roundabouts.
Unfortunately, the wind-down legs fitted at the rear of the chassis seemed rather fiddly in use.
Another factor that you have to live with is the single door – the cab’s superb vision would be compromised by cab doors, as would insulation that keeps winter at bay with double-glazed side windows and a massive roller blind for the windscreen. Closing the latter (at the flick of a switch, naturally) is like Arkwright shutting up shop for the night.
In summer – and in scenery like that of the Bavarian Alps – you’ll want the blinds open all hours, though, for few motorhomes make you quite so inclined to sit back and put your feet up.
We simply cannot imagine how Concorde could make the L-shaped settee more comfortable, while the cab chairs – which rise as well as rotate to integrate perfectly into the lounge – are just as luxurious on-site as they are for driving.
Cleverly, Concorde has even managed to install a flat floor right through the living area. The only step is in line with the front of the cab seat bases, so you step down to take your seat for the start of a new day’s touring adventures, flick a lever and lower your chair back down to driving level.
With a section of the L-settee removed, two more travellers can be accommodated in the rear, and here the high-backed seat with concealed steel structure is as well-designed as we’ve seen anywhere.
You’ll appreciate the fact that the table is splendidly over-engineered in true Teutonic tradition. It slides fore and aft and is big enough for four to dine and yet it never gets in the way, but the really impressive part is that even the edge of the tabletop furthest from the leg feels strong enough to support an entire year’s production from the whole of Germany’s Frankfurter industry.
Flick a switch and the Sharp 20-inch flatscreen glides effortlessly down from its hidey-hole behind the mirror-backed glasses cabinet.
Just as impressive is the variety and quantity of lighting. Ceiling lights? Check. Reading lights? Check. Soft mood lighting between eye-level cabinets and ceiling? Check. Oh, and there’s plenty of daylight, too, thanks to a plethora of clear roof vents and plenty of windows. The door has a fixed window and a slide-across flyscreen, as well.
While the multifarious illumination is standard, our Credo’s kitchen had been upgraded, like much of the rest of this test vehicle. The Kitchen Pack includes a huge fridge/freezer (a 142-litre AES model – hardly mean! – is standard), as well as Corisan worktops, a Rowenta coffee maker and (although missing from ‘our’ ’van) an oven and grill (part of a Techno-Tower) mounted up above the fridge.
While the height of the oven will grate with keen cooks (especially shorter ones), the rest of the galley looks, and is, practical.
You’ll sleep well in either of the Concorde’s double beds. We could criticise the window and cupboard at the head of the over-garage bed that make sitting up to read less practical, but you won’t find a more comfortable bed anywhere.
A full version of this review first appeared in the September 2008 issue of Which Motorcaravan magazine. To order a road test reprint ring 01778 391187. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.