This Bürstner Ixeo IT664 is also a Wilderness Escape 4, but by any name it’s a good thing…
by Malcolm Street
New Zealand’s Wilderness Motorhomes is unusual amongst rental companies. Whereas most use motorhomes built for their specific needs, Wilderness has a number of German-built Bürstner motorhomes in its fleet that are actually just vehicles built for the private market.
There are good reasons why rental companies use purpose built rigs. However, from a consumer point of view, the bonus here is that not only can a potential purchaser try out a specific model before they buy it used, Wilderness also sell new Bürstners through its Smart RV arm.
Not long ago I had the opportunity to check out a Wilderness Escape 4, otherwise known as Bürstner Ixeo IT664. It's what we call a B-class motorhome but Bürstner calls it a Semi-integrated model, as distinct from its Integrated (A-class) and Alcove (C-class) units. Confused? I'll get to the semi-integrated bit shortly.
The Ixeo IT664 is based on the much loved Fiat Ducato cab-chassis. In this case the 130 Multijet model, which is powered by the slightly less loved 2.3 L 96 kW/320 Nm turbo diesel driving through Fiat’s six-speed automated manual transmission (AMT). Certainly the ‘little’ Multijet gets along well enough on most normal road conditions and in city traffic, but if much mountain driving or extended driving is anticipated, the larger Fiat motors are going to be more acceptable. I have to say, though, that driving the Ixeo IT664 isn't difficult and my little sojourn around the Darfield/Methven area was a bit of fun.
Measuring 6.8 m (22 ft 4 in) long the Ixeo IT664 is a striking looking motorhome: partly from the colour – “Champagne” in Bürstner speak – and more so from the streamlined body, even with the slight bump just behind the cab. The body structure is a mixture of fibreglass mouldings and vacuum composite walls, with aluminium for the external finish. There's little framing, except where it is needed for fixing internal furniture. In the case of the furniture, it's made from lightweight ply with the doors being honeycomb construction to keep them light.
This is a German built motorhome and although it's right hand drive, the motorhome entry door is on the driver’s side. Although that might sound a major inconvenience, it's not as bad as you might think and in some situations is quite handy. Apart from the normal bins for gas cylinders and toilet cassette, there is but one external bin for storage. However, it's of considerable capacity and will easily take all the normal items plus a set of golf clubs or similar. There are even tie down straps to keep everything in place. Additionally, given the storage area is under the bed, it can also be accessed easily from the inside.
When first stepping inside the Ixeo IT664 things look a bit cramped. But a slightly longer look reveals a well put together layout that can quite easily be used by four people. Towards the front is the lounge/dining area that includes the swivelled cab seats. Most of the mid area is taken up by the kitchen, with the L-shaped bench being almost opposite the entry door and the fridge (with microwave above) being between the doorway and the bed in the rear. That bed fills most of the rear driver’s-side corner, leaving just enough space on the other side for the bathroom and a reasonably sized wardrobe cabinet.
A characteristic of many Euro-built motorhomes is that quite a number of things are multi-functional, and the Bürstner Ixeo IT664 is no exception. Up front there are the two swivelling cab seats, while behind the passenger seat is a table, then two forward-facing seats for the rear passengers. In addition, along the passenger-side wall, is a inwards facing lounge. In theory it's possible to seat six around the expandable table – there's a second leaf that swivels out from below – but four is definitely going to be more comfortable. All the seats are upholstered in the same materials, making it all a nice match. Over the seats on both sides are cupboards and there's a small cabinet at the end of the sideways lounge that's handy to the door for items like torches, keys and a couple of pairs of shoes.
Now to the Semi-integrated bit. From the outside there's a bump in the roofline. From inside it’s not so obvious because in it a second bed fits into the ceiling! Measuring 1.95 m x 1.3 m (6 ft 5 in x 4 ft 3 in) it can be simply lowered by hand – no tricky electrics or chain driven bed lifts. The bed does need a ladder to be accessed, but it's a good size and has little compartments at the front plus side curtains that come down with the bed. All that makes the front of the Ixeo IT664 a very functional area.
One of the best features of the L-shaped kitchen is that it's slightly larger than many Euro kitchens I’ve seen. There's enough space for a three-burner cooktop and a stainless steel sink with a separate drainer. For storage there are four good sized drawers, an overhead locker and a lower cupboard. If I was being picky about this arrangement it would be the lack of a grill or oven. There is the microwave above the fridge of course, but that's not usable if camping sans mains power. It's also on the high side for shorter people.
Bed, Bath & Beyond
Although the bed in the rear sits against the wall, rather than being an island unit, it is of a good size – 1.98 m x 1.34 m (6 ft 6 in x 4 ft 5 in) – and there are decent size windows fitted to both walls, plus a big roof hatch overhead. Corner beds don't get much bedside storage, but overhead lockers are fitted all round. Lifting the bed gives access to the storage area and there is a generous amount of space, even with the Truma Combi hot water/space heater that takes up part of it.
Squeezed into the rear kerb-side corner are a number of features. There is of course the bathroom area, which contains both a bench style cassette toilet and a shower cubicle. Some might find it a bit small but I reckon it's a workable arrangement. Outside the bathroom is a small washbasin/vanity cabinet with mirrors on both sides of the corner walls.
Electrics in the Wilderness 4 are well appointed, with LED lights everywhere and the control panel right by the entry door. All the power points are naturally converted for NZ use, while also fitted was a 12 V/230 V inverter with a USB charger socket!
What I think
One of the assets of the Bürstner Ixeo IT664 is that is can easily be used by 2 or 4 people; the latter preferably being a family rather than four adults. For most use I'd imagine the motorhome is just going to be used by two people and it's ideal for that. It's also ideal for a rental motorhome holiday. I didn't have the Escape 4 for very long but keeping the keys for a much longer time was a very tempting thought!
- Nice looking motorhome
- Capacious external storage
- Very flexible lounge/dining area.
- Easy to use drop down bed
- Given space, decent sized beds
- No grill or oven
- High microwave oven
- Tight for 4 adults
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Click below to download a PDF of the full test, including specifications and contact details.
Burstner Ixeo IT 664 (1182 KB)
Burstner Ixeo IT 664 (1182 KB)