Bruce Heberly admits it was love at first sight. He first saw images of the Dethleffs Exclusiv 760 DR playing on a TV screen at a show and was convinced this was the recreational vehicle he and his wife had been looking for.

The Dethleffs 760DR looks more like a luxury apartment than a caravan

“Stunning” was Bruce’s first impression of the vehicle. And the love affair with the caravan he bought 18 months ago shows no sign of abating. In fact, I met Bruce at the 2018 Covi SuperShow where he was on the stand talking to potential buyers about the vehicle from the viewpoint of a very satisfied owner.

Bruce and his wife are based in the Bay of Plenty. From there they’ve journeyed around the North Island, clocking up some 10-15,000 kilometres. It would be fair to say they’ve given their vehicle a fairly sound road test. They don’t live aboard, but Bruce says there would be no problems if they chose to do so at a future time.

Bruce Hebberly is a happy owner keen to share the virtues of the 760 DR

“We really enjoy it. It’s a superb caravan and very functional,” he says. “If we wanted to live aboard, we know that we would have no problems – and we do know others who are travelling around full-time.”

“What gets me about this vehicle is the finish. The reliability of the build is amazing. For us the selling points would be the size, the fact that it’s ideal for living aboard, the finish and attention to detail, and the after-sales service from Brent Thurlow and the team at Central RV in Taupo.”

Soft close drawers and everything at hand makes for a great galley

I can remember my own first flick through brochures for the new Dethleffs caravans being imported from Germany to New Zealand for the first time. I thought that if the real thing stacked up to even half as good as the ahead-marketing made them look, they would indeed be pretty stunning. So, it was a great opportunity to fast forward from that first impression to a first-hand viewing of the top of the range Exclusiv 760 DR and to not only sit in one of the vehicles, but also to chat with an owner, who had put the vehicle through its paces.

The galley is designed for ease of use with thoughtful extras like a bench extension

I was keen to see for myself if the hype around these vehicles being “the pinnacle of luxury caravanning” had any substance; and I have to admit that the first impressions on stepping inside (through the extra-wide entry door) are that this is indeed a step up for caravanning. Dethleffs have been perfecting the art for more than 80 years and buyers have come to expect a level of surface sophistication that is underscored by the strength and durability of the build.

Dethleffs have been perfecting the art of caravanning for more than 80 years

The 760DR has a 2.5-metre-wide body, and it’s more than eight metres long (you can also choose the 7.35m model). The welcoming U-shaped lounge with leather upholstery, so apparent when entering the vehicle (through the lowered coupé door), seats six to eight people comfortably. If you travel with others, this luxurious lounge area converts to a second, exceptionally generous bed.

Note the unusually-generous sink design

One of the best features of this vehicle is the placement of the amenities amidships. With double doors to the toilet and shower, privacy from this cross-vehicle barrier is assured for all parties when sleeping, or when using the ablutions. This also means that the owners can enjoy a very private master bedroom with ensuite.

HEADREST New designs in the bedroom offer an exceptional level of comfort

These multi-way doors are an exceptional design feature, more common these days, and all too frequently taken for granted. But these are the aspects of industrial design that should be celebrated by us all for what they are: the genius of small space design. With the pressures on housing we currently face, many elements of RV design are transferable to permanent housing.

A roomy bathroom is placed amidships

Dethleffs has been spearheading departure design for more than 80 years and remains at the forefront of innovation. The spacious kitchen has a space-saving, easy access pull-out pantry and an innovative bench extension. Soft close drawers are illuminated. This is just one aspect of the excellent LED lighting design throughout which helps elevate the appearance of the vehicle to five-star luxury.

Excellent LED lighting throughout elevates the overall sense of five-star luxury

Hidden from view, the workings of the vehicle are designed to in every way support the over-arching sense of luxury and serenity. Dethleffs prides itself on blending luxury and quality with strength and a high payload. The 760 DR includes an upgraded AL-KO heavy duty chassis with independent suspension which comes with a suite of other AL-KO features like anti-sway, trailer control and self-adjusting brakes. The caravans are available exclusively through Central RV in Taupo.

For more information, ph: 07 378 0620 or browse the models on www.centralrv.co.nz

Exclusiv 760 DR 4-berth
Priced from $114,900
• Upgraded AL-KO heavy-duty chassis and independent suspension for extreme payloads
• AL-KO ATC Trailer Control System
• AL-KO AKS anti-sway coupling
• Al-KO Octagon shock absorbers
• AL-KO AAA premium self-adjusting brakes
• Alloy wheels and heavy-duty commercial tyres
• GFK glass fibre composite roof
• Double-glazed, tinted trapezoidal windows
• Metallic silver side panels with chrome grab handles
• Fully insulated floor, roof and walls
• Fully self-contained with on-board 183L fresh, 145L grey water tanks
• Extra-wide 70cm entrance door with lowered coupe entrance
• Large, vertical-opening front storage locker
• AirPlus ventilation system
• Alde central heating system/boiler– 230V/LPG
• LED lighting individually dimmable
• Fine, genuine leather upholstery
• Dakota Oak/Welsh White overhead storage
• Large illuminated skylight in lounge
• Sturdy, height-adjustable table with one-hand operation
• 320W solar system with MPPT controller
• 20-amp smart charger with display/control including tank monitors
• Avtex 22-inch TV/DVD with KiwiSat 60cm automatic satellite dish
• Kitchen with combined oven and grill, soft-close drawers, pull-out pantry, generous storage and innovative bench extension
• Swiss-made 7-zone EvoPore HRC WaterGel mattress
• Fully featured bathroom with separate large shower, premium vanity and Thetford C223 cassette toilet (electric flush)