Berths: 2/4 Travel seats: 4 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 596kg
It’s no surprise to find that the trio of Fiat Ducato-based Flash Special Editions come with Europe’s most popular fixed bed layouts: island bed (718XLB), twin beds over a garage (727GA) or low single beds with an end washroom (757). All three measure the same 7.46m overall, but only the 130bhp engine is standard and all can be driven on a normal car licence thanks to their 3,500kg gross weight.
Despite a higher specification level than a standard Flash, Chausson still quotes a useful payload of nearly 600kg for this 757 model. So what’s special about the Special Edition? Well, the most obvious aspect is the Salinas furniture finish which is lighter and brighter (with contrasting white panels on cupboard doors) than the Malaga cabinetwork used in both the standard Flash and the higher-spec Welcome models.
But, even with identical pricing to the ‘van ordinaire’ Flash – £50,630 without the Hideaway bed or £51,330 with that electric drop-down double above the lounge – you might expect more than a change of wood tone to go with the Special Edition logos on the outside. And you’ll get it. These models get 16in alloy wheels and a reversing camera as standard and the VIP Pack (usually a £1,300 option that provides £3k-worth of kit) is included, too. Moreover, if you order the drop-down bed, it comes with the plusher finish of Welcome spec.
If you’re wondering about that VIP Pack, it adds cab air-conditioning, cruise control, heated mirrors, a colour-coded bumper, dashboard trim, black headlight surrounds and cab seat covers.
The layout of the 757 is also new this year. It now features Chausson’s Smart Lounge, which provides the open-plan side-facing settees so loved by British buyers but with the possibility of converting these into a pair of forward-facing travel seats. In this derivative, the offside lounge seat is for one person, while the nearside sofa might suit two slimmer campers. The central table is fixed but its top folds in half, so it’s never obtrusive.
In fact, this motorhome feels very spacious and very open (especially with the second rooflight over the lounge shown here in the version without the Hideaway bed), but there’s a sliding door to close off the bedroom when you want more privacy.
If there’s one aspect of the ’van that is far from large it’s the galley, but even here compensation comes in the form of a fold-up worktop extension and a new and UK-only cooker with mains hotplate and a built-in oven/grill. The loose sink cover can create a bit more preparation space (but will need to be stowed for travel). Opposite, the fridge is a giant 167-litre two-door model.
In the bedroom, the singles measure 1.85m and 1.90m long, with an overhanging wardrobe on the offside only. Unlike so many models, there’s no impediment to sitting up in bed here, while externally accessed under-bed storage is good on both sides. Or you can tip up the mattresses on gas struts for convenient internal access.
There’s a second sliding door into the washroom where you’ll discover an extra-large shower, rectangular washbasin, useful worktop for toiletries and a second wardrobe. This space comes with removable shelves and can also be reached via a full-height external door. The only downside in this area appears to be the Velcro straps used to hold the sliding bathroom (and bedroom) doors; how long before these need replacing?