Something a bit different? You bet. A van-motorhome combination, says Chausson. But arguably more than that.
The Chausson X550 Exclusive Line is just 6m long and a slimline 2.10m (19ft 9in and 6ft 11in, if you prefer). You’ll get bigger van conversions, but they won’t be able to match the interior space served up by this Fiat Ducato-based Chausson. You could say the same for some larger coachbuilts, too…
Daring to be different
As for first impressions, it certainly makes an instant statement. Flamboyant styling and graphics, complemented by 16in alloy wheels and features such as the almost seamless fit between cab and the slim bodywork, give this compact coachbuilt a very individualistic look.
But there’s practicality, too. That roof, for instance, uses a material called pDCPD, a polymer that’s already used in the truck and heavy plant machinery industries, where it’s known for its resistance to impacts, abrasion and chemical corrosion, plus it’s an effective heat deflector. Chausson gives a seven-year water ingress warranty to the bodywork, the rest of which is GRP.
In standard trim, the Chausson X550 Exclusive Line comes with Fiat’s latest 2.2-litre engine with 140bhp with six-speed manual transmission. The Automatic Pack means an upgrade to 160bhp as well as nine-speed automatic transmission, but there’s a rather spicy premium to pay.
It is a full four-berth, however. In daytime on-site mode, the lounge comprises two settees and the cab seats swivelled, all within easy reach of the fixed pedestal leg table.
For travel, though, there are Aguti seats that fold up, both also with Isofix (still an all-too-rare offering in any motorhome). Bearing in mind the X550’s short, slim dimensions, it’s a very roomy lounge – and you almost don’t notice there’s no offside window – instead, there’s a rather nifty wall design featuring three circles – a mirror, cork pinboard and a wipe-clean writing surface. Elsewhere, there’s an opening sunroof over the cab, a window in the habitation door and a rooflight over the kitchen.
At night, there’s an electric double bed that glides down from the ceiling to any height you want. There’s a ladder for access but if there’s just the two of you onboard and you don’t have a need for the lounge seating/second double bed you might not need it. At a commendable 1.90m x 1.44m that upper double also has excellent lighting and it’s designed so it doesn’t intrude across the main doorway.
It’s the kitchen that’s arguably compromised most, especially when it comes to work surface. Nevertheless, there’s a Thetford Triplex cooker (two gas rings, electric hotplate, combined oven/grill) as well as a 139-litre Dometic fridge, with automatic energy selection.
Kitchen details in the Chausson X550 Exclusive Line range from a rail with adjustable hooks, to USB ports, a mains socket, dedicated bottle storage, a couple of small drawers and a high-level double locker.
There are no qualms about space in the washroom, which extends right across the back end of the X550. A sliding door gives access, while a tambour door means you can shut off the shower area from the rest of the room. The showerhead itself has a riser bar and there’s plenty of space for shampoos etc. There’s also space for a swivel-bowl toilet and a drop-down soakaway (it won’t hold water).
Washroom details extend to wooden duckboarding and two drainage points in the shower tray. A rather clever arrangement is the way the nearby wardrobe door can be opened to give extra dressing space (and, of course, easy access to your clothes).
For all its radical tendencies, the Chausson X550 Exclusive Line still relies on lots of proven equipment. Webasto diesel-powered heating, the Truma water boiler runs on gas and/or mains electricity, there’s a full blind for the windscreen, a flatscreen TV holder by the main entrance (where you also get a full flyscreen), locks for the external hatches seem more substantial than most, the cab seats are well trimmed (past Chaussons have been criticised for their loose covers).
Factor out the “Marmite” effect and what you have here is a seriously good motorhome.
Verdict: Beyond the style, a highly practical motorhome
Plus: Lots of innovative touches, clever living and sleeping arrangements, generous washroom
Minus: Too much style? Making the second bed is a bit of a faff
In-a-nutshell: It’s got the X factor
There’s more information on the X range on the Chausson website. Find out more about insuring this or your current motorhome on our motorhome insurance page.
Alternatives: Adria Matrix Axess 590 ST, Bürstner Lyseo TD Harmony Line 590
Chausson X550 Exclusive Line factfile
|Model||Chausson X550 Exclusive Line|
|Base vehicle||Fiat Ducato low-frame chassis-cab|
|Dimensions||5.99m L x 2.10m W x 2.75m H|
|RRP||From £61,190 on the road|
|Safety & security||Electronic immobiliser, remote central locking, ESC (electronic stability control), twin airbags|
|Key options||Connect Pack (Xzent touchscreen “infotainment” system with DAB, reversing camera, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel controls) (£1,840), Safety Pack (Collision Alert, automatic lights and wipers, Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Change Alert) (£1,400), towbar (£1,500), Automatic Pack (160bhp engine and automatic transmission) (£5,500)|