Practical Caravan reviews the Hymer Nova GL 590 and discovers it's better built and more stylish than ever before – but you'll need deep pockets to buy it!

Overview

If caravans could be likened to cars, then the new Hymer Nova 590 would be a premium executive saloon – a Mercedes S-Class, perhaps. It’s big, Germanic and stylish, in a restrained sort of a way, engineered without compromise, and endowed with a suitably premium asking price.

The 590 tested here is the flagship caravan in Hymer's UK range and it is unique in having a transverse, fixed double bed and full-width end washroom.

Pitching and setting up

As with many Continental tourers, the 590’s door is located on the offside and, rather surprisingly, so too are the cassette toilet hatch and hook-up point. Be prepared, then, for a troublesome trailing lead inside your awning and the prospect of carrying a full toilet cassette past your dinner guests.
Thankfully, both the inboard water tank filler and submersible pump connector are banished to the nearside. Access to the heavy-duty corner steadies is straightforward. We like the full-width rear grab-handle, too, and the large, low-set front gas locker’s magnificently over-engineered door.

Lounge

The U-shaped lounge is a whopper – you could easily fit six adults onto those invitingly plump-looking settees (though rather fewer around the jumbo-sized table come dinner time), and the feeling of sheer space is enhanced still further by huge twin front windows and an additional panoramic rooflight.

Lighting, too, is borderline excessive, with no fewer than nine spotlights on offer. The touch-operated reading lights are particularly impressive –touch once for white light, twice for pale blue.

Other pleasing attributes include fitted cupholders on either side of the main front window, twin knick-knack shelves and a pair of speakers. That panoramic roof window does preclude fitment of roof lockers, however.
The dresser opposite the kitchen contains the fitted flatscreen TV and CD/radio, along with a pair of mains sockets and a USB point.

Kitchen

The kitchen isn’t short on kit – it has a dual-fuel Thetford cooker (complete with separate oven and grill), large fridge and a microwave oven – nor is it lacking in storage space. It’s well designed, too – the power socket is sited sensibly high up on the wall, away from water spillages.

Worktop space is pretty sparse, however – if your food preparation extends much beyond tenderizing a couple of small steaks, then you’ll have to commandeer the dining table.

Washroom

The wood-lined end washroom is a little shallower than we’d like, but it’s still big enough to serve as a dressing room. It looks classy, too – the textured splashback behind the washbasin is particularly stylish – and is crammed with all manner of shelves, cupboards and little nooks. We like the two hooks provided near the vanity mirror (ideal for drying face cloths), and the fact that there are fully three downlighters above. It’s good to see that the window is opaque, too.

There’s plenty of room around the toilet, but it does seem a little curious that the flush button is next to the cupboard under the washbasin, rather than on the loo itself.

The separate shower is a good size, fully lined and fitted with two spotlights. Top marks for the dedicated shower drying rail and proper pop-up rooflight.

Beds

The 590’s forward bed is not four-square, but stretches the tape measure to an impressive 2.03m (almost 6'8") in length and 1.32-1.4m (4'4"-4'7") in width. You could use the longer offside settee as a single bed, too – if you can find room for the backrest cushions.

The transverse rear double is smaller than the front, but at 1.98m by 1.5m min (6'6" x 4'11") , it’s hardly pint-sized. The sliding mechanism opens up useful walk-around space through to the washroom and creates a huge daytime chaise longue.

Each occupant also gets a speaker, reading light and storage shelf, while net curtains at the head end break up what would otherwise be a dreary expanse of wood. A full-height pull-across concertina partition adds privacy and helps to retain heat on chilly nights.

Storage

Each of the lockers beneath the lounge settees is accessible from the outside, and the offside settee has an additional access flap just inside the main entrance door. All the roof lockers contain both shelves and ventilation boards.

There’s not as much storage space in the dresser as first appearances would have you believe – there’s a small open clothes rail behind the ‘floating’ wall, and the drawer beneath the stereo is enormous. But the promising-looking locker beneath is filled with boiler plumbing. The adjacent door opens to reveal a couple of deep shelves. The main wardrobe above is a good size, but ultimate capacity is hampered slightly
by the presence of the Alde heater flue and reservoir, fusebox and stereo back.

Moving further to the rear, the second wardrobe adjacent to the bedroom is narrower, but uncluttered and boosted by two drawers beneath.

The fridge, too, is sandwiched by a pair of additional lockers, and the three drawers beneath the kitchen sink are enormous.

Naturally, the island bed base lifts to reveal a huge storage void – that obviously should only be filled once you’re pitched up – which is further accessible both from outside and via an interior bulkhead door.

Technical specs

Berth4
MTPLM1900kg
Interior length5.95m
Shipping length8m
Width2.4m
Awning size1042cm

Verdict

If you can get past the 590’s hefty weight and asking price, it soon becomes clear that it’s one of the best couple’s caravans for sale in 2015. The feelings of space, solidity and sheer innate engineering are palpable, and the layout is spot on. If Hymer can address the shallow washroom and negligible kitchen workspace for 2016, it will make an already formidable premium contender close to perfect. 

You can see it at UK dealerships that sell Hymer caravans, and we borrowed our test model from Lowdhams

Conclusion

Pros

  • Good all-rounder
  • Properly engineered
  • Excellent layout
  • Spacious lounge
  • Ample storage
  • You'll be able to use it all year round

Cons

  • Shallow washroom
  • Insufficient kitchen worktop space
  • Awning, hook-up lead and toilet cassette are all on the same side
  • Heavy to tow
  • High price
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