There’s a lot going on in what, initially, must seem a pretty average-sized low-profile coachbuilt motorhome
For a start, it’s a five-berth. Sure, it’s some squeeze if you really do have five on board, but it’s the flexibility of the accommodation that holds the appeal. It’s one of four layouts in French manufacturer’s flagship Welcome range.
Never afraid to offer innovation (check out the clever Sweet models), Chausson’s Welcome 69 offering is interesting to say the least. As a Chausson, it comes with GRP-clad bodywork backed by a five-year warranty, underpinned by the Camping Car version of Fiat’s Ducato.
Inside, at “floor level”, what seems a fairly conventional layout – rear offside French (of course!) bed with toilet room adjacent taking up the other corner, a central galley and a forward lounge comprising a half-dinette / L-shaped settee (for travel/lounging), short settee behind the driver and both seats swivelled, all around a sturdy pedestal table that adjusts electrically for height.
It’s over the lounge that things start to get even cleverer. If you think headroom is a little restricted here (it’s still 6ft), that’s explained by the full-size bed that (again, electrically) glides down to one of two levels for sleeping.
A gimmick? Let’s just say although such features are only slowing catching on over here, on mainland Europe these drop-down beds are storming the market. Simply, they still allow a low-profile front end, yet the number of berths is maintained without going to the expense of additional overall length.
Indeed, the Welcome 69 is actually a five-berth. You can make a fifth bed from the lounge seating, whilst the aforementioned settee also converts to a rear-facing travel seat – it’s far from ideal, but would certainly suffice for shorter journeys.
As a family vehicle, you’d expect the Welcome 69 (or indeed any making such claims) to major on its kitchen, especially. It’s a slightly mixed review here, with top marks going to the full 190-litre, AES (automatic energy selection) fridge/freezer from Dometic, but the three-burner hob lacks spark ignition, and the oven/grill (set over the fridge) may be too high for some.
The kitchen’s sole mains socket has a rather high location, too. There’s a generously deep circular sink, and just enough worktop space to squeeze on a plastic drainer. There’s a waste bin in one of the lower lockers, but arguably it takes up too much space here. And so on…
If there’s compromise in the kitchen, it’s less evident elsewhere, starting with one of the most commodious shower rooms you’ll find in any motorhome. Completely separate from the toilet room, there’s elbow room and height galore in here, with a practical duckboard underfoot.
Overall specification is generous too, thanks to the decision to supply UK Welcomes with the Zen and Serenity Packs as standard and the Anthracite Pack as an option that most folk are expected to snap up (it includes cab colouring, air conditioning and cruise control). Goodies are too many to mention here, but highlights include a TV bracket, pre-wiring for a solar panel, reversing sensors, a heating system that can be used en route, LED lighting, and a whole host more.
You’ll get to read plenty more about the Welcome 69 in Which Motorhome – it’s currently the monthly magazine’s current long-term test vehicle – but early reports suggest it’s already acquitting itself well as a family-friendly motorhome that, tardis-like, is big on the inside yet – at a centimetre under 7m long – is a convenient size outside. And, if it doesn’t beat its rivals on size, it certainly does on price.
A lot of clever accommodation, especially considering the dimensions
Plus: Comfortable beds, good payload
Minus: Oven location, tricky toilet room,
In a nutshell: Family (and wallet) friendly
Cost to insure: £291.50*
- Chausson Welcome 69
- Based on Fiat Ducato with Camping Car chassis, 2.3-litre, 130bhp, Euro V
- Dimensions 6.99m L x 2.30m W x 2.89m H
- Maximum weight 3500kg
- Payload 501kg
- Key options Anthracite Pack £2,086
- Security and safety Central locking to all doors, ABS, driver’s and passenger’s airbags
- Further reading Which Motorhome
- MPG estimate 23-26
- Price from £47,760**
Alternatives: Rapido 776FF, Pilote Reference P716 LPR
Visit the Chausson Welcome 69 website for details or check with UK dealer Marquis Motorhomes for availability.
*Motorhome insurance cost based on Chausson Welcome 69 retailing at £47,760 with standard fit equipment and Thatcham Cat 1 alarm. UK travel only. Kept on driveway at 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 5000 miles annually. £300 excess applies. Premiums include insurance premium tax at 6% and are correct at 02/08/13.
Note: All details correct at time of publication but may be subject to change.