Last time I took a break in a motorhome, it didn’t end up well: I literally took a break and my right arm was in plaster for a couple of months.
I’d taken up the offer of driving from Auckland to Toast Martinborough, the festival that celebrates the Wairarapa town’s contributions to food, wine, and music each November.
On the way home, the Vinegar Hill campground on the banks of the Rangitikei River near Ohingaiti beckoned. To cut a long story short, during a post-dinner stroll, wine in hand, I misjudged my footing and felt myself tumbling. I couldn’t save the wine, and worse, I managed to break a few bones in my hand in the attempt.
However, clearly, it hasn’t put me off this style of recreation and besides, it wasn’t the motorhome’s fault. Perhaps that’s not the best way to establish my credibility as a new MCD motorhome reviewer, so let’s move on to my next, rather more enjoyable experience.
Auckland Motorhomes has the 2018 Auto-Trail Tracker RB on its lot at Drury, South Auckland. Not for long though, because the blighters keep driving out the front gate.
“They’re one of our most popular vehicles. There’s such a demand for them,” AMH’s Treena Balsillie told me, as she walked me through the vehicle’s features.
As regular readers will know, the vehicles are built at Auto-Trail’s factory in Grimsby, northern England, to Kiwi specifications and road-going requirements. The company takes pride in its name being “synonymous with luxury” and guards its reputation for design excellence.
At the rear, the bedroom features an island bed, which, at 1850mm x 1340mm, is only slightly smaller than a regulation double. It’s designed to spend most of the day with pillows and backrest up, bedtime-reading style.
Even when it’s dropped down to fully flat, there’s room for the partner who prefers the left side (or is it the right? Depends which way you’re facing, I suppose) to get out and walk around it, but it’d be a bit of a squizzle. Each partner gets a wardrobe on their side of the bed, and there’s more storage underneath.
Auto-Trail’s shower-toilet design has been a feature of its vehicles for some years—as has been noted elsewhere, “simply because it works”.
There’s a decent-sized, separate shower cubicle with sturdy, curved doors, a good shower head and fold-down drying rail. Across the aisle, the toilet and basin cubicle has a good-sized basin, bench, large mirror, and plenty of cupboards. The electric flush toilet has a 17-litre cassette.
The solid toilet door swings across the aisle to create a master bedroom-bathroom en suite and complete privacy if guests are overnighting in the bed up front.
The kitchen is top-drawer: full-sized cooker with four elements, separate grill, and European-sized oven. Above, there’s a microwave and extractor fan (and, as Treena pointed out, all the opening windows have flyscreens and windows are double-glazed and have interior louvres for privacy).
A surprising amount of bench space and a generous sink; across the way, Auckland Motorhomes insists that all its motorhomes are fitted at the factory with a 142-litre three-way fridge and 15-litre freezer.
The lounge could comfortably host half-a-dozen for drinks and a natter, taking into account the two cab seats that swivel into armchairs and two sofas.
Those can be converted into a transverse bed by sliding the bases together and dropping the backrests. It would be long but maybe not wide. There’s storage here, there, and just about everywhere: overhead lockers, under the sofas, and above the cab.
Anyone who has driven a modern car will know that they now come with an alphabet soup of driver aids and warning systems that tell you everything about your driving, from when you’re in danger of crossing the centre line to when you need to brush your teeth.
Most modern motorhomes have control panels that show water tank levels, battery charge and so on but Auto-Trail takes the concept a step further with its My Auto-Trail system, fitted to many of its models, including the Tracker RB.
Available to download as a smartphone or tablet app, it allows owners to check several operational aspects of their motorhome wherever they are. Functions include available battery charge, fresh and waste water tank levels, setting up the lighting to suit each occupant, or switching the lights on remotely.
Additional technology called Auto-Trail Connect allows owners to keep tabs on their motorhome wherever it is. Text alerts notify the owner if, for example, the fresh water level falls below a certain level.
The system also allows the owner to call the distributor for assistance and advice, and the distributor can also see the readouts, helping with problem-solving and building up a record of vehicle data, allowing the owner to record water and battery use.
Built on the robust, reliable Fiat Ducato chassis that’s been the go-to for Auto-Trail vehicles, the Tracker RB uses the 2.3-litre version of the engine, producing 180bhp, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
It’s rated Euro 6, a high standard for environmental friendliness and fuel-efficiency. Auckland Motorhomes and Fiat provide a five-year warranty. Auto-Trail also guarantees the body water ingress for 10 years.
From first glance, this is a large vehicle: 7.6 metres long, 2.35 metres wide, and 3.03 metres high in the Lo-Line version, 3.10 metres in the Hi-Line style. You can add to those generous proportions with the 4.5-metre awning.
These big, beautiful vehicles are running out of the yard as fast as Auckland Motorhomes can import them. The manufacturers’ 25-plus years of design and engineering expertise appeals to buyers looking for a motorhome that offers that extra layer of luxury and style.
Auto-Trail Tracker RB Specifications
|Vehicle make/model||Auto-Trail Tracker RB|
|Engine||2.3L turbo diesel 180bhp|
|Approx. overall length||7600mm|
|Approx. overall width||2350mm|
|Tanks||140L fresh 140L grey|
|Gas||1 x 9kg and 1 x 4.5kg|