A highly interesting layout in a motorhome that offers a supremely comfortable drop-down double bed and a vast array of specification options
Berths: 2-5 Travel seats: 4 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Gross weight: 3,850kg Payload: from 410kg
A new range for 2017, Lyseo T comprises eight low-profiles – all offering the option of at least one drop-down bed – slotting in neatly between the compact (City Car and Brevio) and ‘semi-integrated’ (low-profile Travel Van and Ixeo). Lyseo supersedes the previous Ixeo Time. The 744, here, is arguably the most interesting in terms of layout – offering a rear lounge, over which sits an electrically operated double bed, just waiting to glide down.
Fiat’s low-frame chassis with wider rear axle is the Lyseo’s starting point and you can have it in variants from 3,500kg up to 4,000kg. As standard, the Lyseo actually looks rather bland against its peers by comparison with its all-white bodywork and plastic wheeltrims, albeit aspects like the flush-fitting windows counter any low-rent thoughts. And there are silver and gold metallic options for the cab.
This is a Bürstner, so – like so many other motorhomes on the market – there are whole rafts of optional extras to navigate your way through. Options can always be confusing but Bürstner’s website does allow you to configure the Lyseo of your dreams. Consider delivery times, though. The normal rule applies: the longer the list of extras, the longer the waiting time.
All this includes a considerable choice of interior finishes. Here, the furniture finish is Ginger Teak, which is not as adventurous as it sounds. Santina is a darker alternative. Next come some 34 different soft furnishing options, thanks to a rather unique selection of four upholsteries (including two leather) and infills (cushioning or, as here, wrap-around pieces, called Walis).
The rear lounge is L-shaped and comes with a nifty little coffee table on castors, which, when not needed, slots away under the nearside seating. The back end is generous of window (they’re on three sides). Apart from comfy cushioning and endless legroom, there’s a neat sideboard unit running along the offside, underneath the picture window, which gives plenty of tabletop space, as well as a couple of cupboard units. It’s blessed with warm air outlets throughout, too. There are three to the rear lounge alone. Operation from mains as well as gas for the Combi 6 is from the options list, but it’s an upgrade well worth considering.
Up front, there’s a half-dinette (with adjustable head restraints), twin swivel cab chairs and a single inward-facing seat adjacent to the habitation door. The table is a side-fixing unit with a swing-out extension, but the main top is angled, allowing easy access from the cab to the rest of the living area.
All 744s will come with the drop-down bed, but it doesn’t stop there. Your Lyseo 744 can be anything from a two to a five-berth. Options include a second drop-down over the front lounge and the facility to make a single from the seating below. Unofficially, you could even accommodate two more sleepers in the rear lounge (post-party?). Just bear in mind, however, the 744’s only got four seatbelts for travel. But, oh, the comfort of that main double. It has a one-piece cold foam mattress, with dimensions I measured at 1.93m by 1.50m. It comes down to a commendably low height from the floor, too, if you remember to remove all the backrest cushions. Nevertheless, most of us will be happy to use the neat step/drawer that slides out from beneath the wardrobe to aid the hop up to bed.
The L-shaped kitchen provides that extra bit of space for both storage and worktop around and between the three-rings-in-a-line gas hob and the circular stainless-steel sink (with loose cover). There’s a window beyond the hob and an acrylic splashguard to its left, next to which is a narrow-bodied 145-litre fridge. Storage includes a decent-sized overhead locker with shelf, and a proper cutlery drawer directly under the hob. The grill is somewhat token – it’s small and set low. The slide-out storage unit alongside it is far more impressive – it can house bottles, while the towel rail and hooks that are part of the same section are surely always going to come in handy.
Lighting is good (four LEDs) in the washroom. There’s a separate shower cubicle – complete with plastic walls and trays for shampoo bottles, with two diagonally opposed plugholes in the sturdy footwell – and a Thetford swivel-bowl toilet, with just about enough room around it to use it. Storage includes upper and lower-level lockers, which should suffice.
A decent-sized wardrobe is conveniently to hand adjacent to the rear lounge/bed. There are also lockers over and under the fridge; two floor hatches, one of which is just inside the habitation door and ideal for shoes, etc; cubbyholes alongside, as well as a deep-lipped shelf in the door; open shelving around the overcab area; and upper lockers, with easy-to-use catches lining the walls. Plus, there’s some shallow external locker space under the rear lounge. But the only access is via the offside hatch.
Bürstner is on course for a record year over here. It will easily sell all the 600 vehicles it’s allocated to the UK for the 2017 season. If anything, it’s deliberately under-sold, too, just to maintain demand. Yes, there’s still some 2017 stock at its 14 UK retail outlets, and this year’s prices were held pretty much at the previous season’s levels but, like all motorhomes, you might want to brace yourself for price rises when it comes to the 2018 season.