Trail Lite 8.2m Oakura 56X

By: Lawrence Schäffler, Photography by: Lawrence Schäffler


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Exclusivity is the guiding mantra in Trail Lite’s 8.2m Oakura 56X. This magnificently-appointed package is not the cheapest motorhome on the market but buyers do get the opportunity to forge a one-of-a-kind custom design, stamping it with their own identity. Lawrence Schäffler reports.

Trail Lite 8.2m Oakura 56X
Trail Lite 8.2m Oakura 56X

Released earlier this year, the Oakura is a new design in the Pukekohe-based manufacturer's motorhome range, and is part of the company's top-of-the-line Landmark series. The defining feature of any Landmark vehicle is the buyer's ability to personalise it by tweaking the existing design in various ways.

In fact, the purchasing process begins with the buyer sitting down with the company's interior designer, exploring colours, fabrics and fittings and even the layout. In this way, says sales manager Shaun Newman, "You have the opportunity to create a motorhome around your preferences, ensuring the vehicle is exclusive, different – just as you want it".

The Oakura is a lush example of what can be achieved and you'd be pressed to find ways to improve it. It's the first off the production line – and currently the only one in the country – and for me, its standout features are its slide-out lounge and the Iveco chassis on which it is built.

Usually associated with American-built Winnebago motorhomes, the slide-out gives the Oakura a welcome spaciousness. It deploys and retracts at the touch of a button and, as the U-shaped sofa is built into it, there is no need to re-arrange furniture. Deployed, it only projects some 800mm beyond the side of the motorhome, but seems to create much more volume inside.

With the two cab seats swivelled 180 degrees, there is a real sense of an integrated lounge, one that lends itself to entertaining in style. It makes for a much easier, natural flow from the cab to the bedroom suite at the back. It also gives the gourmet chef more room in the kitchen. With the slide-out retracted, you're still able to move through the motorhome via a reasonably-sized aisle.

Freedom camping

Like all models in the Landmark series, the Oakura is designed for seriously-extended freedom camping, and the selection of the Iveco 65C18 chassis contributes significantly to this objective. It all relates to the vehicle's generous six-tonne GVM which enables the manufacturer to increase capacities, while retaining the car licence rating, and allows owners to pack a hefty payload of supplies.

It carries, for example, 375 litres of fresh water (with a 200-litre grey water capacity). Couple that with two 9kg gas bottles and a whopping 520 amp/hours of battery power. A 180-watt solar panel on the roof helps to keep those batteries frisky – a useful ally for driving the 300-watt pure-sine inverter. Together, these features make it easy to contemplate going bush for weeks at a time

The Oakura also benefits from the Iveco's drivability. It is fitted with a powerful but beautifully-smooth power plant: a 180hp three-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged common rail diesel, with a six-speed AGile automatic transmission delivering the grunt to dual rear wheels for superior traction. A direct injection engine, it boasts 16 valves for more efficient breathing. Masses of torque (400 Nm) is available across a fairly wide rev range (1250 – 3000 rpm) so it's never working particularly hard, and that means better reliability and fuel bills that are easier on your wallet. The fuel tank capacity is 100 litres.

Interior

The Oakura is beautifully appointed, with top-of-the-range fittings and accessories, and because Trail Lite motorhomes are 'ready-to-go' packages, buyers don't have to worry about crockery, cutlery, bedding or towels. It's all there, fully-equipped.

Of course, many of the fittings are fairly standard motorhome fare but I like the way things are incorporated into the Oakura's design. The 26" TV, for example, is mounted discreetly in a cabinet opposite that slide-out lounge – out of sight when it's not needed. And the electronic, self-locking drawers, which are activated as soon as you turn the ignition key. It eliminates absent-mindedness from the equation; no chance of them flying open on the first corner and distributing their contents around the motorhome.

While the vehicle is able to sleep four (the sofa in the slide-out lounge forms another bed) its luxurious trappings will be best-enjoyed by a couple – anyone else would be reluctant to share the stylish en suite at the rear of vehicle.

Its key features are the island bed (with loads of storage below) and the separate shower and toilet. I liked the soap/shampoo/conditioner dispensers fixed to the shower wall, and the curved sliding doors – very classy.

Better yet, a door separates the entire suite from the rest of the motorhome so there is a true sense of privacy.

A comprehensive entertainment package offers plenty of options. The TV's connected to a fully automatic (self-seeking) Majestic satellite dish on the roof, and while there isn't a second TV in the bedroom, the motorhome is prewired for one. That's complemented by a Fusion CD/DVD/radio unit with iPod connection and high-end speakers mounted in three zones – the living room, bedroom and two outside speakers – so you can bring Mozart to a romantic dinner under the stars.

The only thing missing (and you'd expect it on a vehicle of this class) is a GPS. You'll have to bring your own, well, unless you wait until next year, when the new Iveco will have one built in.

At a shade over $277K (as reviewed) the Oakura is not a budget buy, but you are getting a superbly-finished motorhome that mimics the amenities and features of a very stylish home. It's the ideal vehicle for extracting yourself from civilisation for weeks at a time, armed with a serious stash of your favourite merlot. Perfect for finding your soul.

For more information contact Shaun Newman, ph 0800 872 455, or visit traillite.co.nz.

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