The Chausson Flash 03 is based on the 2013 Ford Transit van. It is actually really lovely to drive, I had never driven a vehicle with a 6 speed gearbox before so that came as a surprise, but I loved it.
The motorhome also has cruise control so you can just accelerate to what speed you like, set the cruise control and not worry too much about keeping an eye on your speed. The turbo diesel engine is powerful and doesn’t seem to have any of the flat spots or turbo lag that I had experienced before.
The Flash 03 is easily capable of doing 70mph, but I tended to maintain a cruising speed of 60mph on the motorway as we were trying to keep fuel costs to a minimum. Apparently you use 20% less fuel at 60mph than you do at 70mph. The diesel tank is quite large, so if you find yourself at a supermarket petrol station, fill up with cheap diesel.
When driving along country lanes you start to notice something that you may have never noticed before, overhanging trees. Branches from trees can do a lot of damage to a motorhome so you may need to drive slightly more in the centre of the road than you would normally.
Manoeuvring the motorhome is fine when you are going forward due to the massive door mirrors and the additional wide angle mirrors they have in the lower portion of the mirror. When you are taking corners you need to turn a little bit later than you would in a car and glance in the mirrors to check your rear wheels don’t hit the kerb.
Reversing the motorhome is not particularly easy if you are not used to driving a big vehicle. It’s helpful if you can get somebody to ‘see you back’. A huge tip is to tell your assistant to make sure they can see YOU in the mirrors, if they can’t see you, you can’t see them! The motorhome is about seven metres (21 feet) long so walls and fences come up faster than you may think.
Finding parking spaces is never particularly easy these days for any vehicle. With a motorhome you need to be prepared to park a little bit further away than you might do with a car. For example in a supermarket car park it is worth going to some of the more remote spaces. This way you can probably find two free spaces end to end so that you can drive into the spaces and drive out, without needing to reverse.
As far as the day to day running of the actual motorhome goes, I actually enjoyed all of that. When I was being shown around the motorhome it all seemed a little daunting, but after a day or so it was all pretty familiar. The one thing that amazed me is how well you can survive without mains electricity. The fridge runs really well on gas, as does the gas water heater. The lighting is all super low power 12 volt LED lights and the diesel heating system is superb. Even the TV/DVD runs off 12 volts! The only times I started craving a mains supply was when my laptop battery was getting a bit low and also when I wanted to charge up my video camera. This was a massive contrast to my old caravanning days when we would be pretty much stuffed without mains hook up.