December 10, 2019 – A couple of days ago we revealed what is our favorite plant on a six-meter vehicle. Today we tell you which manufacturer has chosen to adopt it. There are actually two, but they are close cousins and both are part of the Trigano galaxy: Challenger and Chausson. The vehicle in question is identical except for the external graphics: interiors, equipment, options and list prices are the same. Choosing between one and the other is more related to the proximity of the dealer or to trust in a particular structure than anything else. Only the initials change: 180 in the Challenger house, 520 for the Chausson branded version.
The first nice thing is that it is possible to choose the mechanics, not only in terms of power, but also in terms of brand: these vehicles are set up indiscriminately on Ford Transit or Fiat Ducato. The external dimensions vary very little: 596 centimeters in length and 289 in height on Ford, 599 and 292 respectively on Fiat, while the width is identical: 235 centimeters. The wheelbase is 380 centimeters in the first one and 375 in the second one. The mass in running order sees the Ducato prevail, whose declared value is 2,802 kilos, against the 2,819 of the Transit.
Beyond personal preferences, the available powers are 130 (standard) or 170 horsepower on the Transit and 120 (standard), 140, 160 or 180 horsepower on the Ducato. The Ford chassis boasts slightly richer standard features: 16-inch wheels (against 15), start & stop system, automatic headlights and wipers, radio and leather steering wheel; automatically disengaging handbrake and windshield with defroster on Fiat are not even available as options. In addition, choosing Ford means saving a thousand euros on the list price.
A huge convivial space
More specifically, this vehicle features a dinette with opposing sofas and swivel seats in the cabin that creates a huge convivial space. The central table is foldable in half and electrically lowered to create the lower double bed or simply to lower the overhead drop down bed to the level of the benches. Of note is perhaps excessive flexibility of the table, which can annoy especially when working with the computer. The feeling of space, also expanded by the linear kitchen on the left side, is remarkable, and you would say everything except being in a motorhome less than six meters long.
The front area is served by two opposing windows, a 70×50 maxi rooflight (which, however, is optional, offered in a substantially indispensable package that we will see later) and a transparent opening skylight: brightness and air exchange are certainly not a problem. From the two sofas, in a few seconds, two single seats facing the road with safety belts are obtained: there are 4 homologated seats.
Bed at any height
The bed, which descends electrically, has a maximum capacity of 250 kilograms and can be locked in any intermediate position. Its dimensions are more than enough for two people, with a shoulder width of 140 cm and a length of 190. On the plus side, the bed does not fully engage the entrance door (60 cm wide, with two locking points and equipped with a window), allowing you to get on and off even when it is in the position of use. Stopping it at half height, you can sit in the dinette below: if someone is still sleeping, the rest of the crew can still use the table.
The linear kitchen has excellent storage spaces, both under the worktop and in the wall unit, but above all it has a depth that guarantees a discreet support surface. This space can also be expanded with a liftable flap that occupies a small portion of the sofa on the left. Opposite, a 167-liter trivalent column refrigerator with automatic energy selection offers all the space needed for fresh or frozen supplies.
Super closet and separate shower compartment
The rear portion, on the other hand, reveals a really comfortable bathroom, separated from the rest of the habitation by a sliding plastic door (which is one of the elements we like least of this set-up, together with the too-small sink). But there are two really super things: the wardrobe hidden by the mirror which is full width, therefore with a decidedly out of the ordinary capacity, and the separate shower compartment with double drain, which if we used the motorhome only for vacation we could considering space almost wasted, but living in it becomes instead a plus.
Finally, a nice rear locker allows you to stow even bulky items. The space, whose entrance “mouth” measures 695 by 1,145 millimeters, is also organized with two folding shelves, which allow it to be divided in a personalized way. The depth of the locker is not specified in the technical data, but should be about thirty centimeters to the eye. In general, therefore, apart from bicycles and surfboards, everything you need can be comfortably accommodated.
The revenge of wood
At the plant level, the heating is by diesel (4kW standard, 5.5kW option), while hot water is guaranteed by a 10-liter gas boiler. The fresh water tank is 95 liters, the recovery one is 100 liters. Space for gas cylinders allows for a single 11-pound cylinder. Interesting is the adoption of a locker called Technibox which groups together all the essential controls: electrical panel, battery charger, fuses, connection to the 220 Volt grid, water filler neck, access for cleaning the fresh water tank,
The two companies are keen to emphasize the quality of the insulation. Roof, floor and walls are a sandwich made of polyester and Styrofoam insulation, with a mixed frame of wood and composite materials that is presented as a gift: prevent infiltrations thanks to a particular joint system (seven years warranty offered), this solution guarantees a structural rigidity that cannot be reached with other construction systems. The considerable thickness of the roof (54.5 mm) and floor (63.5 mm) also contributes to the insulation of the vehicle.
There are two optional packages
Challenger 180 and Chausson 520 are offered at 48,890 euros “ex works” (€1,000 more for the version on Fiat), and therefore the transport costs must be estimated at the dealer. There are two optional packages. The first, named VIP, includes manual climate control in the cabin, passenger airbag, regulator and speed limiter, electric rear-view mirrors with defroster, body-colored bumpers, entrance door with mosquito net, cabin seat covers, panoramic rooflight and fog lights (on Ford). The price is €2,000, but given the type of accessories we consider it essential.
The second package is called Premium and can only be purchased if you have also chosen the VIP. It includes superior quality upholstery, central locking also for the entrance door, reversing camera, blinds in the cabin, set of additional cushions, rooflight with fan, TV support and external sockets for gas and shower. The Premium Pack costs 2,500 euros on offer. For what we have seen at the Salone del Camper in Parma and by some dealers, the products for sale in Italy are usually offered with both packages.
If basic horsepower isn’t enough…
In terms of chassis, as Fiat you should choose the 140 horsepower engine (€500 the required difference), while those with 160 and 180 horsepower cost €2,500 and €4,500 more respectively. And if you want the nine-speed automatic transmission you have to budget €4,870 (for the 140 horses) or €4,370 (for the 160/180 horses). Less expensive is the request from Ford, which to switch to 170 horses asks for €1,500 and that to add the six-speed automatic transmission stops at €2,540.
Among the noteworthy accessories on the more camper front there are the transition to heating from 5.5kW (€500) and the Winter Pack, which for an additional €500 offers insulation with heating of the recovery tank, covers for the grids of the refrigerator and the external curtains for the cabin.
If you like this layout there are also versions with the garage
We are huge fans of smaller vehicles, but if the dimensions do not scare you, the two French brands offer 4 further variants, which compared to the little brother boast the presence of the garage locker (of variable dimensions based on length), of a rear wardrobe that becomes almost a walk-in closet and in the longer models a double bed that passes to a width of 160 centimeters both at shoulder and foot, leaving the entrance door completely clear. In the Challenger line we are talking about the models 250 (less than 6.4 meters), 260 (less than 7 meters), 270 (less than 7 meters, but with twin fold-down beds instead of a double bed) and 380 (less than 7.2 meters); Chausson names these models 650, 630, 640 and 720 respectively. And don’t ask us why the model of less than 6.4 meters has a higher numerical code than the longer models!
If you like the Challanger 180, you can also watch this complete video made by the Nuova Nordaffari dealer in Brusnengo, in the province of Biella:
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