Bürstner is good at A-class motorhomes and this one follows the firm’s trend with few faults and a lot of plusses. While is not perfect, the sofa-based lounge offers seating no worse than a half-dinette, is more sociable and creates a great feeling of open space inside. Things lacking are a borderline short island bed, lack of a sliding widow for the nearside rear passenger and rather low payload on the standard chassis.
Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Berths: 4 Length: 7.49m Gross weight: 3,850kg
This Ixeo is a seven-and-a-half-metre, mid-range German A-class with front lounge, drop-down bed in the cab, amidships kitchen and an island bed in the rear with attendant ablutions. All standard stuff, but instead of the usual half-dinette-based lounge, there’s a pair of inward-facing sofas.
Sitting on the Fiat Ducato Camper chassis brings this motorhome closer to the ground than with the standard rear frame, while Bürstner’s latest construction method bans structural wood and uses high-quality foam insulation, known as XPS. Exterior wall cladding is alloy, while the ’van gets underfloor and roof skinned in GRP.
Inside, I’d describe the look as ‘caramel, chocolate and cream’ and it’s quite curvy, too. A nice touch is the transition from locker ends to the underside of the drop-down bed which is smoothed by triangular sections.
The standard motor is the 130bhp unit and, with a motorhome of this size and weight, it’s likely to get a bit breathless when loaded up. And talking of loading, the standard 3,500kg chassis’ payload is just 315kg. The solution is a motor and chassis upgrade.
In the cab there’s plenty of kit that’s optional on some ’vans: a passenger airbag, cruise control, cab air-conditioning. Bus-style mirrors are also standard.
Centrally locked with the habitation entrance, a cab door is fitted, so, in spite of the continental handing, there’s a safe way out when parked at the kerbside. And the extra-wide habitation door benefits from an electric external step.
One of the main reasons for the popularity of half-dinette-based lounges is the fact that they provide a pair of instantly available forward-facing belted travel seats. The vast majority of side-facing sofa-based lounges from UK manufacturers do not, relegating them to pure two-berth status. However, there is now a trend towards parallel seating from European makers (lead by Rapido) and these usually cunningly adapt to provide travel seats.
When converted to face forwards, all is pretty much OK for passengers and the offside seat benefits from a sliding window, so fresh air can flow in while travelling. A top-hinged window serves the opposite seat, however.
Back to the sofas, which are short and not very deep, so don’t expect laid-back lounging. However, their presence means folks can all sit facing each other in convivial fashion and there’s a much better feeling of space than with the usual half-dinette. The fixed table offers plenty of surface to let the six people that can sit in here dine royally.
TV time will see most people in the lounge able to watch telly as it’s located, like many, just inside the habitation door. Shame it’s mounted rather high up, though.
In estate-agent-speak, the kitchen would be described as ‘space-saving’. The main unit is not expansive, but again, its reversed L-shape does help bring a feeling of roominess to the whole interior. The kit count fares very well. A conveniently located (low down) oven/grill is welcome. Up top, the three in-line burners on the hob make it very easy to use, with access to all your pans.
Across the aisle, the fridge boasts big capacity, a removable freezer box (to increase chilled space at the cost of a home for frozen foods) and automatic energy selection.
Island beds are very popular because it’s easy for either sleeper to get in and out of bed. Centrally located, the double here allows the inclusion of en suite washroom facilities. A separate shower is located on the offside, with the toilet/washroom opposite.
As is usual with this design, the washroom door opens to rest across the aisle and close off the area, including the bedroom, from the rest of the interior. Now the users of the bedroom have complete privacy, while an unobtrusive sliding door provides the same for those sleeping up front.
The shower is roomy, has rigid doors and a roof vent, as well as shelves and a swing-down hanging rail for wet things.
Island beds are often radiused at the foot to allow easy passage around the bedroom. This has the effect of reducing the usable length at each side. Here, the length is an inch over six feet – adequate, but not generous. Width does better but 4ft 9in is still not class-leading. There’s plenty of headroom for sitting up in bed and lots of lighting.
Up front, easy-release catches make it a synch to recline the cab seats and allow the drop-down bed to descend. The bed has a latching system, too, so no seatbelt-style buckle to operate.
Access to drains, fillers and the electric hook-up point is via one external locker door. The fresh water tank has a large inspection hatch, while the internal filler has a neat drip-stopper funnel. The garage is roomy, served by a large door on each side, while the island bed above is adjustable, manually wound up and down to vary the amount of stowage space. Proper garage status is achieved (with plenty of headroom for full-sized bikes), but only with the bed in the ‘up’ position, where it is a bit lofty for comfortable sleeping.