By having a lengthways drop-down bed instead of a transverse one, mattress length becomes more generous, access easier and storage is improved. With fixed singles that are also generously long, the 728G can provide for taller sleepers both fore and aft and makes a far superior four-berth ’van.
Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 340kg
Bürstner has always been at the cutting edge of the drop-down bed concept (along with Chausson and Rapido). That’s not much of a surprise as the firm’s Mega Van was the first of the modern breed. Enter the Ixeo TL range, a selection of low-profiles that all feature drop-down, lengthways double beds above their front lounges. Overall lengths range from six-and-a-half to seven-and-a-half metres (21ft 4in to 24ft 7in), with two rear washroom floorplans, an island bed design and, finally (as tested here), twin single beds in the rear.
Mounting the Ixeo on Fiat’s Camper chassis gives it a lower stance and so no need for an external step. This is all to the good as weather and road dirt can see them get mucky and stuck. Bürstner uses the Sevel base for all its ’vans, whether van conversion, low-profile, overcab or A-class, so it’s the delights of the Fiat cab up at the business end. The test ’van sported the mid-range engine – its 150-horsepower output feeding through the optional Comfort-Matic semi-auto gearbox.
Step aboard many continental motorhomes and you’ll most likely discover a similar interior to this one. That means neutral tones in various shades of brown. Time to look at the details, then, and here the cabinetry has curves in all the right places – that is, to allow movement through the interior without a bruising experience. Both the washroom wall and the kitchen base unit have radii fit to do the job, while looking pretty smart, too. It’s smart up front as well, but for a different reason as the upholstery is very well crafted in optional leather – £1,500 – that looked and felt superb.
The layout, too, is replicated in many ’vans, thanks to two items: single beds and the garage beneath. This is one of the most popular layouts in new motorhomes, especially continental ones. The lounge, again, is typical of the type, albeit better designed and more generously appointed than some. As is often the case, the large fixed table has an adjustable – this way and that – top and plenty of square metres to allow all residents to indulge in anything from drinks and snacks to a big meal with the associated crockery. It’s good for laptop work, too.
Now it’s bedtime and, sated with the delights of a good red and maybe a small snifter, you’ll want bed deployment to be as fuss-free as possible. The table must be lowered before the bed can fill the space and doing the job is easy once you discover that you need to lift its top slightly before pushing it floorwards. It’s far simpler to operate the bed, as a turn of a key sees it descend, electrically powered down to sofa level.
No dual-fuel appliances in this kitchen, but there is an oven/grill unit. And, unlike some, it doesn’t seriously compromise storage – drawers and a roomy pull-out larder unit, plus overhead cupboard should provide space aplenty. To the rear and, next door, chilled and frozen storage is voluminous, by Dometic and fitted with AES – that is the fridge detects the most appropriate available energy source (12V, gas, or mains electricity) and connects automatically. The main galley unit’s top is standard for this design of continental motorhome, with a deep sink and the popular three-in-line gas hob that allows some working surface in front.
The swing-wall washroom is a popular design that squeezes maximum practicality into the most compact of spaces. The idea most often sees the washbasin mounted on a hinged wall, which swings across the room, protecting the toilet and storage provision from shower water and (combined with a wetroom-style floor) creating a generous showering area. Bürstner is pretty good at these and this one is no exception.
With all motorhome fixed beds it’s the details that make or break their suitability and the first issue is size. Trying the Ixeo’s twin beds made for good news as both beds stretch to 6ft 4in and they’re very comfy with excellent-quality mattresses.