Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £53,290 Berths: 5 Travel seats: 5 Length: 7.46m Width: 2.35m Height: 3.06m Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 451kg
Chausson has made a name for itself with the innovative design of some of its low-profile motorhomes, but for 2020 there are also three overcab coachbuilts in the range.
These C-prefixed models (capucine is the French for overcab) are the compact Ford-based C514, the Fiat-based bunk bed C656 and this garage model C717GA, which is the longest of the three at 7.46m.
Basis for this motorhome is, predictably enough, a Euro 6d Fiat Ducato with the 120bhp engine as standard. With such a tall, bulbous shape to push through the air, you might want an engine upgrade to at least 140bhp. It’s a 3,500kg gross weight, too, resulting in a payload of 451kg – again, you’ll want to investigate upping this if you plan on making full use of the C717GA’s garage and five berths.
This is a true five-person motorhome, with beds and seatbelts for a quintet at no extra cost. The beds are a double in the luton, a single made up from the lounge seats and twin beds in the stern where you might have expected to see a transverse double. Importantly, all five travel seats face the direction of travel here, too, so there’s no short straw or naughty step for one offspring who then has to face backwards.
Instead, under the double side-facing bench on the offside you’ll find a hinge-up backrest and head restraint, turning this seat from sofa into single forward-facing chair.
It may do the external aesthetics (and its aerodynamics) no favours, but the size of the Chausson’s overcab makes it a proper adult bedroom. The bed itself is 1.99m by 1.53m and there are storage pockets and USBs at the head of the mattress (on the nearside). There’s a roof vent as well as an opening window here and the bed base folds up to ease access to the cab during the day.
At night, the rear bedroom also promises comfortable sleeping, with the beds measuring 1.94m by 0.88m on the offside and 1.96m by 0.88m on the nearside. There are his and hers wardrobes under the beds and a sliding door closes off the bedroom area. It’s also possible to add a slot-in panel with integral foot-hole (for the clamber up) to turn the single beds into a huge double, measuring 2.11m by 1.94m.
At the foot of the beds is the en suite washroom with shower on the nearside and toilet opposite, plus the usual facility to turn this into a comprehensive bathroom across the full width of the motorhome.
The kitchen area is quite small for such a big family motorhome but the UK spec does include a Triplex cooker with mains hotplate and combined oven/grill. A loose glass cover for the sink creates a little preparation space but the best feature here is the 142-litre AES Thetford fridge on the opposite side of the motorhome.
But while the galley is petite, the lounge is big enough for entente cordiale on tour. And there’s more to like here, such as a 63.5mm thick floor (much better than the industry norm), 6kW diesel-fired heating that can be used while you drive and a large heated garage (0.90m wide, 1.15m headroom with twin loading doors).
Don’t forget to add the VIP Pack (£1,750) which includes cab air-conditioning, cruise control, a passenger airbag, flyscreen door, front seat covers and more.