Auto-Trail Apache

By: David Linklater, Photography by: David Linklater


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With a name like Apache you might be expecting to see an economy sized American-style RV or fifth-wheeler on these pages. But no, here's a compact motorhome from British Company Auto-Trail…

Auto-Trail Apache
Auto-Trail Apache
  • Powerful 3.0L engine combined with auto gearbox makes for a smooth drive
  • Load-through rear locker
  • Plenty of space and functionality yet still compact
  • High quality construction is evident
  • Classic panoramic rear-lounge layout

With brands like Auto-Trail, Auto-Sleepers, Benimar and Tribute in its portfolio, Auckland Motorhomes picks carefully to fill specific niches in the local market. The company sees an opportunity for a model a step up from its $120k Auto-Trail Excel range – with more presence, space and luxury, but still under the $150k mark.

That's where Apache comes in. It has got plenty of traditional motorhome space and functionality about it, but it's still compact and does not require a heavy vehicle licence.

Who is expected to buy it?

Auckland Motorhomes says there's an emerging trend among its customers to downsize out of larger motorhomes into something still very usable in terms of accommodation, but substantially more compact – and something that all members of the family can drive. 

Apache starts at just $138,000, although the company acknowledges that the price leaves room to move on a number of options that it expects many customers to pick up. While a television is standard-fit, you'll need to pay extra for a dish to drive it, most buyers are expected to add a solar panel and reversing camera.

Drive and design

As with most Auto-Trail product, Apache is built on a Fiat Ducato cab-chassis. It's a deservedly popular choice among European motorhome makers and the majority of Kiwi models are expected to follow the lead of our evaluation vehicle, which boasted the 3.0L Multijet turbo-diesel engine option. There's also a 2.3L powerplant available, but that's only available with a manual transmission, whereas the bigger unit comes with an automatic gearbox.

The unique exterior style might polarise some. The Ducato is an idiosyncratic-looking (but familiar) vehicle anyway; but despite the Apache's compact status, Auto-Trail has chosen to endow it with American RV-style cues at the rear, including a prominent spare wheel cover (it's genuine), massive light clusters and even a slightly naff American-Indian badge.

Looks aside, the quality of construction is high, everything is placed for maximum convenience and there's even the novelty of a rearward cargo compartment with full load-though from one side to the other.

In the cabin

The Apache comes in both low two-berth and high four-berth versions, for the same price. There's remarkably little visual difference between the two – there's only half a metre in it – the most significant change being the top-mounted bed in the high version being swapped for extra storage/cupboard storage space in the low.

In the main cabin, Apache is arranged in a classic panoramic rear-lounge layout, with a slide-out slat-base bed. The grain-look interior decor is not too fussy but far from modern. However, customers will appreciate classy touches such as the 35mm benchtop, a fly screen that's nicely integrated into the front door and soft lighting options. They're only little things, but they add to the pleasure of use and pride of ownership. 

Specifications

Engine 3.0L turbo diesel
Transmission Six-speed automatic
Power 118kW at 3500rpm
Torque 400nm at 1700rpm
Wheelbase 4300mm
Brakes Four wheel discs, abs
GVM 4005kg

 

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