The new Ixeo T answers one regular criticism of German motorhomes: that there are too many expensive optional extras. Here, pretty much everything is standard. More than that, the T 690 G is a classy-looking and contemporary ’van that makes good use of its 6.99m overall length. Our test conditions weren’t ideal but they only emphasised how the Ixeo T impressed as something special in this crowded low-profile sector.
Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £70,995 Berths: 2 Travel seats: 4 Length: 6.99m Gross weight: 3,850kg (3,500kg, 4,000kg and 4,250kg available) Payload: 610kg
It’s not often MMM arrives to find a test vehicle with its blown-air heating blasting out on both gas and mains power (a big thank you to Bürstner dealer, Moran Motorhomes). Having a fresh coffee delivered brought to our pitch was something of a first too (Ludlow Touring Park, you’re stars). But it’s rare for us to be testing in sub-zero daytime temperatures. This wasn’t going to be an average test – nor did the new Ixeo T 690 G prove to be an average ’van.
Bürstner describes its new Ixeo T range as upper mid-range. In reality, that translates into a list price north of £70k or about £8,000 more than an equivalent Harmony Line but, for once on a German motorhome, you won’t need to add a list of extras to get a desirable equipment level. This Bürstner has a very high spec as standard – even the all-over silver paintwork and real leather upholstery are included.
It’s the 130bhp engine here (Moran says it normally specifies the 150bhp unit for the other, longer Ixeo Ts) and a 3,850kg gross weight (resulting in a decent payload, despite all the standard kit, of over 600kg). The chassis can be downplated to 3.5 tonnes, if required; just check that the then reduced payload is adequate for your needs. Probably the only feature we’d want to add to ‘our’ Ixeo T is the Winter Pack (£1,130), which gives you a heated and insulated waste water tank, as well as, more unusually, heated cab seats.
The Ixeo T will stand out in the sea of white on most campsites, but the good looks go further than the paintwork. Cab running boards help merge Bürstner and Fiat bodies, as well as easing access, while the rounded transition from roof to sidewall is something usually only seen on the most upmarket coachbuilts.
The 4.5m awning comes with full-length LED lights and an anthracite finish and, like the 16in alloy wheels, 100W solar panel and flush-fit framed windows, it’s a standard feature.
There’s also central locking on the extra-wide habitation door and, with an electric outboard step and a recessed step inside, entry here is easier for the less mobile. And the door comes with a bin, large fixed window and flyscreen, too. Just inside the entrance, to the right, is a useful locker for shoes, or they could go in the floor compartment.
Body construction is wood-free and includes a hail-resistant roof and a subfloor also made from GRP, backed up by a 10-year impermeability guarantee. Meanwhile, Bürstner’s heated thermo-floor double floor, with 130mm-deep storage areas under a pair of trapdoors, ensures a step-free walk through from the cab right back to the bedroom.
Perhaps the star feature on the outside is the Service Unit, where a hatch on the nearside reveals your fresh water tank’s filler (complete with anti-spillage spout) and an opening cap for cleaning, the boiler drain valve and mains hook-up socket – everything neat and conveniently together behind one lockable door. You can close it with the electric lead attached, which has to be better than another hole (and potential cold spot) cut in the side panel. External TV and barbecue sockets are on the other (entrance door) side of the ’van, where you’ll want them.
Of course, this T 690 G is also one of the three models in the range (of four) with a garage. It comes with two full-sized loading doors (each with two-point locking) and a generous internal height of 1.20m, in addition to the usual heating, lighting and tie-downs.
You’ll have to pay extra if you want a spare wheel, though (and allow for its 22kg in your payload calculations) – standard is just a Fix ‘n’ Go kit.
The opening overcab Skyroof is one of the largest we’ve seen, while the cab spec below wants for little.
Taking centre stage in a dashboard enhanced by silver trims and chrome-ringed dials, is a double-DIN Pioneer radio with sat-nav and 8in touschscreen display. The unit is also linked to the reversing camera.
Fiat’s cab also comes with ESP, Traction Plus and Hill Holder, LED daytime running lights, cruise control, driver and passenger airbags and air-conditioning (upgraded here to the automatic system with digital control) – all without recourse to an expensive options pack. The most obvious benefits to the driver, though, may be the tactility of the leather steering wheel and the stability advantage of the wide-rear-track camper chassis.
This Ixeo T is the only one in the range that sneaks in under the 7m mark (the others are 7.40m or 7.49m). You’ll probably not be aware of that when going forwards, but it certainly aids manoeuvrability. And, inside, there’s still a comfortable two-berth layout focused around twin high-level beds mounted above the garage.
The T 690 G has four seatbelts (a rear-facing Vario-Seat is optional to make it a five-seater) and Isofix (for child seats) is available if you want to carry little ones on tour. Then there’s the possibility of a kit to convert the lounge seats into a single bed, or specify a drop-down bed (said to be 2.00m by 1.33m/1.25m) – or both, creating a five-berth motorhome.
Certainly, there’s enough headroom to cope with adding the drop-down bed – without it, as here, there’s more than two metres standing height, even under the frame of the lounge’s skylight. And you wouldn’t bemoan the loss of light, either.
On a day greyer than the Ixeo itself, with snow being threatened, the overcab skylight, window in the door and plethora of interior lighting made for a warm and welcoming place to tap away on the laptop.
The lounge follows the popular format of an L-shaped settee (incorporating two travel seats), plus a small inward-facing seat for one.
The pedestal-mounted table isn’t huge and it slides in all directions, as well as twisting, so it never feels like an obstruction. Like the kitchen counter, it has a Fenix repairable surface, while the duo-tone Sahara leather upholstery adds a touch of luxury to the ambience.
The forward-facing seat has a rather upright backrest, though the height-adjustable head restraints will adjust to suit adult passengers. On site, it was more comfy to sit side-facing, or in the cab. These positions are also the places to be to view the television.
You’ll search in vain for the built-in espresso machine that seems to have become an obsession with some German manufacturers, but there is still a wall-mounted rack for your coffee pods. Other novelties are a glazed high-level cupboard for your glasses and a set of PurVario dividers (which can be fitted in one of the drawers to suit your own plates, etc) to stop your crockery sliding around.
Otherwise, this is a typical L-shaped galley that’s stylishly appointed but a little short of worktop preparation space. Cooking is on a three-burners-in-line hob or in the small oven below (no grill in this model, unlike other Ixeo T layouts).
In addition, the galley includes three large soft-close drawers, a tall ‘n’ slim 142-litre fridge with automatic energy selection and an extractor hood. The worktop also incorporates draining grooves running into the shiny recessed sink – a practical as well as classy touch.
Keeping things below 7m overall precludes a split en suite arrangement in this Ixeo (it’s offered in the longer T 728 G), so the washroom has all its features in one space, on the offside, and there’s just a pleated screen to provide privacy for the rear bedroom.
There’s plenty of room to use the swivel cassette toilet and, indeed, the basin with its waterfall-style tap. Storage space is not found wanting, either, thanks to a tall cabinet adjacent to the washbasin.
The clever bit, although it’s far from new or unique, is the way the basin and the wall behind it swing round to cover the loo and turn toilet room into shower cubicle. It’s a good-sized space for showering, with diagonally opposing, large-bore drain holes so there shouldn’t be too much mopping up afterwards.
The rear bedroom will definitely be a key deciding factor in purchasing this Ixeo. Not only does it offer two comfortable single beds each of over 6ft in length, but this is a chic space with leather headboards and the very attractive new Vario roller blinds (which allow you to vary the daylight coming in, whilst still giving privacy), hidden bedside shelves and a neat slide-away second step for access.
There are sockets for a TV to go at the foot of the offside bed, which is 70mm shorter than the nearside one. In between, you can have a 940mm-long cushion, effectively widening the beds at shoulder level, or remove this to leave a flat surface for cups, books, etc. A mains socket is fitted above but there’s no USB port here.
Alternatively, if you want a huge double (in which you could sleep lengthways or across the full width of the ’van, to take advantage of a bed length of 2.10m), there’s a second slot-in cushion.
Now the steps are covered, so access is by ladder (which stows away neatly in a floor compartment and has wide, flat treads to be kind to your bare feet).
Beneath the end of the offside bed is a wardrobe with a front-to-rear hanging rail, which pulls out so you can more easily reach your garments. It’s a deep locker but hanging height is only 800mm. Then, opposite, is a triple-shelf slide-out unit for all your folded clothes – a great idea.
The storage, steps and ladder, blinds and lighting all add up to an excellent bedroom, whether you intend to sleep together or apart.
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