The Zefiro 690G really is a family-friendly ’van, as it offers six berths and a big garage.
It’s not the most beautiful of motorhomes. The overcab section looms large over the whole – hardly stylish, but adding to space and practicality within, while at the rear two large locker doors make loading the garage easy.
Value is pretty good as well, with prices starting at just under £40k on-the-road, in a motorhome that looks well screwed together. This isn’t an upmarket motorhome, but it’s far better built than some Italian models of old.
The latest and recently launched Ford Transit provides the horsepower – the test motorhome came with the 153bhp upgrade, which, costing just a grand, is pretty good value.
Where the external styling of the new Tranny is a tad conservative to some eyes, the cab interior is undeniably a class-leader, providing modern, car-like design by adopting the mantle of Ford’s Focus.
Ergonomics are almost perfect, too, and shorter drivers should find the seat/pedals/steering wheel relationship is much better than in the Fiat Ducato.
The rest of the cab is excellent to use, although the heater controls are too far from the driver and too small.
This coachbuilt is simply great to drive. That thousand pounds for the big engine is money well spent as performance is excellent, while the suspension provides a complaint ride. One useful fitted option is the rear camera that’s part of the Lux Pack– there’s no rearward through view here, so the interior mirror-style monitor is a great helper.
The cab plays no part in providing living space, but getting in and out of it is made easy as the aft end of the overcab bed hinges up for head-bash-free transfers.
Décor is darkly modern – new for 2015 – and relieved by funky, multi-angled, cream overhead locker doors.?
Directly behind the cab on the offside looms the big wardrobe, which is all the better to house plenty of family togs.
Opposite a pullman dinette is the only formal seating. Travel seats are provided, but the two rear-facers have only lap belts. Cunning extensions slide out into the aisle, actually making this a six-seater.
Later, the same thing happens when the dinette becomes a double bed that comes in at six feet long. The overcab double is a proper bedroom, too – it is very spacious and has a window at each side.
Any faults? No roof vent is the biggest: hot nights need good ventilation, with cooling air flowing in through the windows and out of the top.
Most cooks will be happy with the Zefiro’s kitchen. I am, as it contains at least two of my favourite features: big drawers and a really good slab of worktop. Also, the oven/grill unit may not be huge, but it’s better than in many ’vans and it’s set low down, so access is good.
The three-burner hob is in combination with the sink, which isn’t huge but adequate nonetheless.?
Chilled food storage is represented by a slim fridge which still has a capacity of 141 litres, and has a bottle drawer in the base that’s great to use.
The washroom includes a separate shower. The room is a good size and there’s good storage. Flanked by two big mirrors, the basin is a tad small, but adequate, while to its left, a good chunk of usable surface hides a small, top-loading locker.
There’s plenty to like in the shower as it, too, as it is a good size, has a twin-outlet tray, pockets for flannel and gel – even a seat for serious feet or child washing. There’s a translucent window but no blind or flyscreen – vital in the summer.
A very generous transverse double bed stands centre stage at the back. Like the overcab bed, this one has a nicely thick mattress on sprung staves.
Shallow lockers are set across the rear and there’s a shelf at either end. There isn’t full sitting-up space here, but it’s probably enough for a spot of bedtime reading.
You get a big garage which, unlike some others, is unencumbered by kit – no heater, leisure battery box or gas locker in here, just a gloriously big stowage space, complete with a large door at either side of the exterior. Roller Team has also seen fit to provide access from the interior, too, via a sliding door in the front face. Pet owners might love this as the garage can easily become the kennel.
Truma’s dual-fuel, 6kW Combi boiler leads the way in the service sector. This upgrade will set you back £600 from the options list, but it’s money well spent as plenty of heat and hot water is a prerequisite for happy family motorhoming.
Water tanks, as expected in a continental ’van, are big enough to serve well and the lighting is nice, too, with LED strips, spots and cluster ceiling fittings included – the latter very important as, without a big rooflight anywhere, the interior can be a bit gloomy.
This is an abridged version of the full review appearing in the Summer 2015 issue of MMM.