Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Co. Down
My Motorhome: Hymer B598PL
Thanked 131 Times in 117 Posts
Our van is a Hymer B598PL which is the same shape and weight as the one you are considering. It is a 2.3 130BHP version. Our unladen weight is 3150kg with a 350kg payload. In France this year we were running at 3700 kg partly because we carried water at up to 140 kg if full. I am considering updating to 3850kg which I am assured is a simple paper exercise.
We did over 3000 miles in France this year and have done a total of about 6000 so far. I find that it drives well and has a slightly higher natural cruising speed with its 6 gears (manual) than my mk6 Transit had with 5 manual gears. The transit ran well at about 55mph, whereas the Fiat is happy at 60mph. It feels like there is more power available although 60mph is plenty. I like to look around as we travel and consider the driving as part of the experience. Fuel consumption is similar. I am consistently getting 30 mpg from the fiat. The Transit gave 28 mpg.
The proper test of the power for me was some of the Pyrenees colls that we visited this year. We took ours up the Col d'Aspin, the Coll de Tourmelet and also up to Gavernie. Considering that we were running quite heavy the van performed well and without effort.
I am not sure what height you are, I am 5'10" and I do find that my left knee is frequently in contact with the side bulkhead. It is not as comfortable in that respect as the Transit. This is not a criticism of the seats which are very comfortable.
As for the water capacity, ours can carry 140ltr and about 100 ltr waste. I always travel with an empty waste tank, but the 20 litres for driving is ridiculous. It simply allows them to boast a greater payload. If you don't use sites then this is impractical. The access point for the water tank is under one of the floor hatches. A 6 inch screw lid allows easy access (same with waste, good for cleaning purposes) but beside it is a triangular valve wheel. This has 3 positions, closed to retain all the water, 3/4 turn which will drop all but 20 litres and fully open which will completely drain the tank. The waste tank on ours has an electrically operated valve with a switch located in the garage.
Hope this gives a little insight for your consideration, though it sounds like you have nearly made up your mind.