TRAILlite Oakura 53

By: Lawrence Schäffler


TRAILlite Oakura 53 TRAILlite Oakura 53
TRAILlite Oakura 53 driver's seat TRAILlite Oakura 53 driver's seat
TRAILlite Oakura 53 inside TRAILlite Oakura 53 inside
TRAILlite Oakura 53 TRAILlite Oakura 53
TRAILlite Oakura 53 floor plan TRAILlite Oakura 53 floor plan

The latest addition to TRAILlite’s top-end Landmark series – the 7.8m Lowline Oakura 53 – combines a streamlined body with a slick, Euro-styled interior. Appropriately, it’s built on a Mercedes Benz chassis and will attract admiring glances wherever it goes, writes Lawrence Schäffler.

TRAILlite Oakura 53
TRAILlite Oakura 53

Like every TRAILlite Landmark motorhome, the new Oakura 53 is a statement about distinction and exclusivity. Landmark vehicles, the company likes to remind buyers, are 'bespoke' creations; no two models are alike – an appealing notion to those searching for something different.

In fact, the purchasing process begins with the prospective buyer sitting with the manufacturer's in-house interior designer. This encourages punters not only to specify their ideal interior decor and fittings but also to tweak the layout to their preferences. And while this first-off-the-production-line Lowline Oakura 53 is a spec-build rather than someone's personal vision, it's a glowing tribute to TRAILlite team's stylish flair.

As the interior images show, the decor uses an unusual palette and although the burgundy kitchen, black upholstery, silver-grey cushions and white joinery might not be to everyone's taste, it's beautifully balanced – very crisp, very clean – and vaguely reminiscent of a top-floor penthouse suite.

As the price reflects (around $207,000), this is a slightly smaller version of the first Oakura model (reviewed in our June issue). That one – the 8.2m Oakura 56X ($277,000) – is equipped with an expansive slide-out lounge. The 53 sacrifices the slide-out but gets the aerodynamically-sculpted, lowline body, meaning less wind-resistance, easier handling and better fuel-consumption, and the sunroof over the cab is a real treat.

Engine

The 53 is built on a Mercedes Benz Sprinter chassis (rear-wheel drive) and offers a choice between three power-plants: 416, 516 and 616. The first two are both 2.2-litre turbocharged, four-cylinder Euro V diesels (120kW/165hp at 3800rpm, 360Nm of torque at 1400-2400rpm). The difference is in the Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM): 4.5 tonnes versus five tonne. The 616 is equipped with a three-litre V6 (140kW/190hp at 3800rpm, 440Nm at 1400-2400rpm).

This first review model is a 416, with a five-speed automatic transmission (the 616 offers a seven-speed alternative). It's a confidence-inspiring vehicle to drive – very measured, solid and predictable, with ABS braking bringing things to a stop in a nicely-controlled manner.

Inside

Good, solid German engineering personifies the Merc's cab. It's all perfectly functional and practical but aesthetically a little stark and austere, not quite complementing the rest of the motorhome's sense of style. I'd like to see it offer a bit more in the way of electronics smarts, perhaps a built-in GPS screen?

There is no rear-view mirror, but the built-in dual reversing cameras and generous side mirrors provide a fine replacement. Cruise control and a Bluetooth hands-free phone kit complete the package.

The vehicle is set up for a couple, with a large, fixed island bed in the rear. It's a true bedroom suite, complete with an opulent headboard! Bathroom facilities are split between a toilet/vanity on one side and a separate shower with curved acrylic doors opposite. I like the drying rack in the shower – convenient but out of the way.

However, families with two children can also be accommodated, as the dinette (just behind the cab) converts into a double bed. In this mode, the toilet door is a clever piece of design: when fully opened, it shuts into a recess in the centre aisle, providing a separation (and some welcome privacy) from the rest of the motorhome.

Concertina blinds on all windows, including those in the cab, ensure that you can insulate your cosy parties when you pull into a crowded motor camp.

The sense of luxury is enhanced with the quality fittings and subtle LED lighting. But the best feature of the rear suite is the access to storage and there's plenty of it, including a vast locker under the bed. Hanging lockers and drawers on either side of the bed are welcome and being able to get to them easily (no crawling over the bed) is a real bonus.

Fully-adjustable swivel seats in the cab extend the lounge area and they are also well-positioned for watching movies on the flat-screen 19-inch TV, linked to a Fusion CD/DVD player. It's in an unusual spot for the TV, nestling within a purpose-built recess in the bulkhead at the motorhome's entrance door, but it works well and the screen is easy to view from either of the swivel seats and from the dinette benches. A second TV can also be mounted in the rear suite.

Kitchen

No lack of high-end equipment here. The oven and separate grill with a four-burner hob is complemented by a 190-litre three-way fridge/freezer opposite, with a microwave above (the 53's fitted with a pure-sine inverter). But it's the stylish flair that gives this arrangement something special – an elegant composition – and the uncluttered surfaces will be easy to keep clean.

Standard on Landmark vehicles is the soft-close kitchen drawer system and the drawers are also automatic-locking models. They're activated as soon as you turn on the ignition, keeping the contents safely within. Strategically-located LED lights abound, creating the perfect mood for the chef's gourmet specialities.

Freedom

There's not much point in having all this luxury if you can't enjoy remote hideaways and happily, the Oakura caters for adventurers keen to escape civilisation for extended periods. It carries 200 litres of fresh water (with a corresponding 200-litre grey water tank), a 260-amp-hour house battery (expandable to 520 amp-hours), a 130-watt solar panel and twin 9kg gas bottles.

Winter adventures are also possible, thanks to the Webasto diesel heating system (ducted through the bathroom), double-glazed windows/hatches and cosy thermal blinds. Walls (35mm sandwich construction) and floors are also fully-insulated.

Al fresco dining will require a separate fold-up table and chairs, but there is 4m wind-out awning to shelter under and a hot exterior shower for rinsing off after a swim or hike.

With its streamlined profile, the Oakura 53 Lowline is a welcome addition to the Landmark series. It offers unabashed luxury and comfort, and I can see it being a popular contender among those who savour the driving experience as part of the overall adventure.

For more information contact TRAILlite, ph 0800 872 455

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