Motorhome testing in the North: Hobby in search of the cold
At the CMT trade show in Stuttgart in January, Hobby showed a new offensive attitude. The launch of the new entry model Hobby Optima ontour was followed up in February with a presentation in Tromsø for selected caravan magazines.
Motorhome journalists from 16 European editors were invited to Tromsø to test the Optima ontour, which Hobby calls a van and the city car Vantana ontour. We were one of them. Eight motorhomes of the two brands were sent to Tromsø for the occasion, and Hobby's marketing department took the opportunity to take their beautiful pictures. We have used a couple of them in this report. They are good advertising for winter tourism in Norway, and we will probably see them in Hobby's marketing later. In Tromsø we were able to dispose of the two models for three hours each. We also spent one night at Tromsø camping in one of the campers. For our part, the night there was spent in a Vantana ontour. We chose to keep the wool underwear that night, but the experience is too short to say anything about this model. Running it was a pleasure anyway.
Good grip on the road
We had agreed to run an Optima ontour from Tromsø to Oslo. There were thus four days and far better experiences with this. We really wanted to test winter properties on northern Norwegian winter roads in mid-February. Let's take the driving characteristics first. The Hobby Optima ontour is built on a front-wheel-drive Citron Jumper. It has a six-speed manual transmission and a two-liter engine on the 130 hp. The engine uses AdBlue. The model is 216 cm wide and has a length of 678 cm. The total weight is 3500 kg and the load capacity is given to 618 kg.
We drove 1650 km and had a good driving experience in this motorhome. The driving environment is like getting into a Fiat. Only the steering wheel logo reveals that this is a Citroen. This is the result of extensive cooperation between car manufacturers. The Jumper gearbox is dense and nice and even one that usually drives with automatic transmission found itself immediately at ease. With its compact dimensions, this is a motorhome that is easy to drive even for those who do not like big cars. We never lost track and drove like rails with new studded tires. The living room seems solid and well "screwed together". There was no noise here on our drive. Here it must be added that there was no more luggage and equipment than what we needed for our drive. The garage was as good as empty.
Passed the winter test
There is no doubt that Optima ontour passed the winter test. The Truma heater did its job without too much noise and it was constantly warm and good in the motorhome. One weakness in our test car, however, was that the heater only ran on gas. On entry models it is important to save where possible, but to spend 5-6000 extra on a heater that can also run on electricity seems very reasonable with Norwegian eyes. With German eyes and German electricity prices, this assessment is quite different. A check with a Norwegian dealer afterwards also shows that they take in Optima ontour with Truma Combi 6E. It has the possibility of electrical operation of heat and hot water. We used the motorhome in different types of weather, 15 cold weather one day and heavy snowfall another. Without concrete measurements, our experience is that Optima ontour is well insulated and keeps well on the heat. It clearly passed the winter test.
The interior of the Hobby Optima ontour is minimalist. The surfaces are clean and free of wood. This is an interior that is likely to find its followers in younger age classes.
The kitchen has three cookers, a sink and a limb that extends the kitchen counter in front of the front door as well as an 140 liter refrigerator. There are large and good drawers in the bench and good with cupboards in the kitchen. Our model was a Hobby Optima ontour V65 GE with single beds. It is also available in a version with a transverse bed at the back. Both models have two beds.
In the bedroom there are cabinets on three walls. Under the two beds there are shelves on one side and hangers on the other. What the bedroom lacks is lighting. There is only one reading lamp at each bed. We missed the general lighting. Otherwise in the car we had nothing to delay the lighting. The bathroom is spacious, but you shower in the same place as you stand in front of the sink. The toilet has a separate water tank for flushing. There is also a cupboard over the table in the lounge. Around the cab there are open shelves which are well suited for what you need easy access to when you are on the go. Above the cab there is a so-called panoramic window that can be opened.
Although this is an entry-level model, Hobby follows its "all inclusive line". This means that it is equipped with awning, 22 flat screen, radio with navigation and rear view camera, bed extensions for folding single beds, curtains in the cab, loose carpets on the floors, frost-protected installations in the floor and heated water tanks. Hobby Optima ontour costs in Norway about 700 000. Optima is also available in the "de luxe" and "premium" editions.
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