Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £66,980 Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Length: 6.99m Width: 2.22m Height: 2.77m Gross weight: 3,500kg (optional 4,250kg) Payload: 570kg
The Hymer Exsis has been around in its current form since 2012, extolling the virtues of a slimmer A-class body (2.22m overall) and introducing Hymer motorhomes to a wider audience as the entry-level line, as well as offering realistic payloads combined with a licence-friendly 3.5-tonne gross weight.
For 2020, though, there’s a new model in the range – the 580 (available both in A-class ‘i’ form, as here, or as a low-profile ‘t’ model).
The 580 is based on Fiat’s own low-frame chassis with wide rear track (rather than the Al-Ko chassis of other Exsis models), thus helping to reduce the list price by over £3,500.
Of course, it also benefits from the latest Euro 6d engines (120bhp is standard with upgrades available) and the option of the nine-speed automatic gearbox. New assistance systems include Full Brake Function (FBC), Blind Spot Assist (BSA) and High Beam Recognition.
Also changed this season is the new generation furniture which brings the Exsis’ design up to date with its Sauvignon Oak finish. This is certainly a younger-looking Hymer, as well as one that boasts 1.98m headroom (despite a low overall height of 2.77m). There are new features, too, such as the recess in the washroom wall (behind the half-dinette) that’s designed to accommodate a 32in TV.
Naturally, the Exsis has the Hymer family look on the outside, in addition to PUAL 2.0 construction that’s 100% wood-free and suffers no thermal bridges.
On site there’s L-shaped seating facing the door as you enter, plus the Aguti swivel captain’s chairs. The Fiat dashboard is neatly integrated into the wider A-class cab, with a switch for the step alongside the driver, while the drop-down bed above demonstrates Hymer’s decades of A-class-building experience with its slick operation. A step in the lounge floor ensures a comfortable sitting height for all, while a deep window in the door and wind-up sunroof stop the area seeming gloomy.
The angled kitchen ensures a wide walkway through to the rear, while four soft-close drawers are each labelled ‘max 15kg’ – how German. But there’s also a full cooker here with separate grill and oven – very British. And the décor mixes white high-gloss with lots of grey and elements of pale wood – very contemporary. A 142-litre tall/slim fridge with bottle drawer completes the galley spec.
The layout at the rear focuses on twin beds over a garage, a Teutonic favourite. Beds are 1.88m and 1.90m long and the previous overhead lockers have been deleted, making it easier to sit up in bed and making the bedroom feel more spacious. The multi-zone cold foam mattresses sit on a membrane layer, which is lighter than slats but still adds comfort. Under the bedroom is a garage with 1.19m headroom and maximum carrying capacity of 350kg, while a massive wardrobe is located under the offside bed (and there’s a second wardrobe sandwiched between here and the fridge).
Finally, there’s a one-piece washroom on the nearside with shower doors that pull around on a track in the ceiling rather than just unfolding. Twin drains in the shower tray and neat storage cupboards with elasticated straps are further pluses of an excellent washroom.
If the only thing that’s stopped you buying a Hymer A-class previously has been rather conservative design, the new Exsis-i 580 is for you. But there’s a huge amount of appeal here – and the 580 Pure (similar but on a 165bhp Citroën base) which is a special edition that’s coming soon might yet offer even more value.