French tastes in motorhome design, and interior furnishings in particular, have always seemed a little closer to Anglo-Saxon preferences than those of the Germans or Italians.
And Chausson have become uniquely aggressive over their pricing, with their entry-level Flash motorhome range looking pretty sensational value at a time when almost everyone is counting their pennies extra carefully.
They’ve come up with some pretty innovative thinking too, and while this new Flash 22 isn’t that different like the island kitchen Suite, it does possess a rare mix of low-profile luton, drop-down bed and family-friendly bunk bed layout.
Those attributes – and a super-competitive price tag – won it the Editor’s Choice in the annual awards run by Which Motorhome magazine.
Inside, the styling is as attractive as out. The typically European half-dinette and side settee lounge has a restful fawn and brown upholstery (although there are other options), and the net curtains are the most obviously continental touch.
The concave curve of the cupboard doors is unusual (especially as most budget ’vans have very simple cabinetwork), and the complex automotive-style mouldings around the sunroof are not only squeak-free on the move but another unexpectedly upmarket flourish.
And you get a big wind-up sunroof over the galley area, part-LED lighting and a huge fridge/freezer too. Plus all the cupboards have positive-locking catches.
In the rear end where you might expect a French bed (lengthways fixed double) or a transverse double over a garage, the Flash 22 has kid-friendly bunks (though they’re big enough for adults too).
And the Flash lives up to its name with a fashionable flourish in the form of a drop-down bed. This bed is ABC simple to deploy and it’s equally comfortable to crash out in.
If you use all five of the Flash 22’s seatbelts or need to keep the back end as a garage, then the lounge bed, below the drop-down bed, may come in useful.
The huge 141-litre fridge/freezer will look after plenty of vin blanc, as well as the food for a hungry family.
Indeed, with its three-burner hob, removable draining board, large cutlery drawer, smidgeon of worktop and decent storage space, this galley has all the bases covered.
If you like to shower in your motorhome, rather than in campsite facilities, then you’ll appreciate not only the Flash’s semi-separate circular shower, which has plenty of room inside its rotating Perspex door, but also the generous 127-litre fresh water tank.
The Flash 22 isn’t just about being a five-berth motorhome. It’ll work well for couples who want a compact motorhome with a garage, or those who want to sleep in separate beds (one in the top bunk, one in the drop-down double). It’ll cater especially well for those who take kids with them on some, but not all, trips.
And it’ll work brilliantly as a three-berth. This is one very versatile ’van, and unlike many other family-orientated motorhomes, it doesn’t look or feel too big. It’s a great all-rounder and great value.
Price from: £37,704
Travel seats (inc driver): 5 (inc one rear-facing)
Dimensions: 6.49m L, 2.30m W, 2.89m H
Beds: drop-down double 1.84m x 1.37m, lounge bed 2.15m x 1.04m-1.10m, rear bunks (each) 2.13m x 0.81m-0.93m
Insurance cost: £238.50 *
Motorhome insurance cost based on 2011 Chausson Flash 22 valued at £37,704. Fitted with manufacturers immobiliser, kept on driveway home at TD9 8ED. Motorhome owners – professionals over 50 years old with no claims, convictions or health conditions in last 3 years. 4 years no claims bonus mirrored from car policy and 2 years motorhome driving experience. Members of motorhome club doing less than 7000 miles annually. £250 excess applies. European cover included, European Breakdown £42.50 extra. Premiums include insurance premium tax at 6% and are correct as of 18.03.11