Platinum Origin motorhome test

By: David Linklater, Photography by: Steve Vermeulen and David Linklater


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Platinum Motorhomes specialises in high-end bus conversions and motorhomes, and with a forest of solid timber and sumptuous upholstery throughout, the Origin low line model unquestionably fits that bill

Platinum Origin motorhome test
Platinum Origin motorhome test
  • Stunning interior styling and fittings
  • Makes great use of the space available
  • Full size shower
  • Generous storage

Perhaps there is such a thing as too much choice. Whangaparaoa-based Platinum Motorhomes has built a reputation as a maker of high-quality custom-built vehicles, but when it came to its latest compact Origin series there was a problem. The Origin is offered on various platforms, low line or cab over shapes, in lengths from 6.1 to 7.7m. No problem with any of that, but according to Platinum distributor Paul Cook of RnRV in Silverdale, many potential customers for this size of vehicle were having trouble visualising exactly what their own finished product might look like.

Enter the Origin demonstrator featured, now on location at RnRV. This vehicle has flown the company flag at the likes of the Auckland Motorhome Super Show and Hamilton Motorhome and Caravan Expo. But it has also been created to illustrate to customers exactly what some of the finished product looks and feels like.

Platinum product

The Origin series is a slight change in tack from Platinum. The company says its expertise lies in structural work, as well as composite-construction motorhome shells and bespoke interiors.

The latter comes courtesy of Platinum's two directors, who are both from a marine background. The company was founded in 2003 by Andrew Tapp, an ex-custom boat builder, and Andrew Dazeley – who joined in 2008 – has worked building superyachts for two decades. The pair say the wooden joinery, rounded corners and European fittings used in their motorhomes are directly inspired by the marine world.

However, the company's experience in refitting with those older buses has paid big dividends in the specification of the Origin – they're used to completely rethinking an interior layout and have taken noting for granted in configuring the cabin of the Fiat Ducato. 

Platform and design

The Platinum Origin demonstrator is a 7.4m motorhome built on a Fiat Ducato 3.0-litre turbo diesel platform. It's a low line body that probably won't knock you out with its exterior styling – but that's not the idea of Platinum products.

The company is well-known for producing beautifully crafted conversions on older bus base vehicles – little expense spared, with extensive use of real wood and top-quality fittings. They're not inexpensive and they're certainly not produced to compete with mainstream and/or mass-produced motorhomes.

"This [Origin] is really just the same thing, but on a brand-new base vehicle," says Paul. "As you can see it's not about watching the budget, it's about making something really lovely. It's beautifully built, right down to Italian fittings in the kitchen.

"If you're on a tight budget then Platinum is probably not the place to go. If you're looking for something really beautiful, then yes." 

Living space

We'd have to agree with Paul on the Origin's interior design/quality: it's genuinely different to mainstream motorhomes and there's a sense flair and solidity that's immediately apparent. The curvaceous table tops and fashion-forward tones give the cabin a light and airy feel. That joinery is real walnut, while the microsuede upholstery combines a modern feel with practicality and durability.

One of Platinum's basic Origin layouts includes an island bed; that would be something to see in a vehicle of this size given the company's obvious expertise in layout and design, but was not a feature of our evaluation vehicle.

Nonetheless, the cabin was beautifully done and Platinum's background in yacht design and building is evident in the gorgeous decor, the cool tones and textures of the joinery and the faultless fit and finish. On paper, the combination of silver-finish kitchen drawers with walnut and frosted glass sounds a bit dubious, but it all comes together beautifully in this vehicle.

We'd say that marine background also shows in the sheer functionality of the Origin's occupant space. Very little space is wasted, nor is there much evidence of showy apartment-style seating arrangements. Even the table is of a modest size, but wholly appropriate to a vehicle of this size. Space is expended where it's most useful: kitchen cupboards, general storage and an impressive full-size shower.

What's lacking? Well, the side windows are relatively small and double bed/shower are blocked at the rear of the cabin – so no rear window or convivial rear-lounge layout – there's much less of a sense that you might really be able to enjoy your surroundings in this vehicle.  

Specifications

Price $220,000
Engine 3.0-litre turbo diesel
Transmission Six-speed automatic
Power 118kW at 3500rpm
Torque 400Nm at 1700rpm 
Wheelbase 4300mm
Brakes Four-wheel discs, ABS

 

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