Second-hand test: Britz Trailblazer

By: Cameron Officer, Photography by: Cameron Officer


Britz Trailblazer Britz Trailblazer
Britz Trailblazer Britz Trailblazer
Britz Trailblazer The Trailblazeer is equipped with all on-road necessities Britz Trailblazer
Britz Trailblazer Britz supplies a Tourism Radio receiver Britz Trailblazer
Britz Trailblazer Britz Trailblazer
Britz Trailblazer Britz Trailblazer
Britz Trailblazer Compact but surprisingly capacious Britz Trailblazer

Trying before you buy is always a great advantage. If you’re about to take the plunge into motorhome ownership, renting a vehicle you think might fit the bill is a wise move. And if you’re after a two-berth camper with plenty of room, the Britz Trailblazer is a great place to start, writes Cameron Officer.

Second-hand test: Britz Trailblazer
Britz’s larger four-berth Navigator made it into MCD’s Best Motorhomes and Caravans 2012 line up.

Britz's larger four-berth Navigator made it into MCD's Best Motorhomes and Caravans 2012 line up. The relevance, you ask? Well, think of the Trailblazer we're testing here as a compact version of the Navigator.

The Trailblazer and big bro' Navigator share the same basic underpinnings — a 2.3-litre turbo diesel Fiat Ducato running a six-speed manual — and in terms of general dimensions, there's only around half a metre in it as far as overall height and length are concerned.

In fact, while the Navigator scored points with our testers last year for its space, it's perhaps a measure of how cleverly designed the two-berth Trailblazer is that its interior height measures in at only 57cm lower than the bigger motorhome.

The Trailblazer's van-style layout means — in its daytime set up — you have two entry and exit points to the living space: either through the conventional sliding door amidships, or out the barn-style rear doors. Having both doors wide open in the height of a long, hot Kiwi summer provides for very effective natural air conditioning too.

Entering through the side door, the layout consists of a shower/toilet combination unit immediately opposite, with a glass-covered, two-burner gas stovetop and sink unit to the right. This unit also boasts plenty of drawer space. Scanning clockwise, two comfortably-wide bench seats run opposite each other along the length of the living area. Back beside the sliding door a secondary benchtop houses the 110-litre fridge/freezer underneath. Overhead storage runs the length of the cabin on both sides and, although not covered, still provides for perfectly usable cubbies to get personal items up and out of the way.

The Trailblazer boasts a pretty conventional two-berth set up when the sun dips below the horizon — the detachable table unclamps from its support pole (which can be stored securely with brackets under one of the bench seats) and then makes up the in-fill base of the surprisingly-spacious double bed, along with a couple of extra wooden partitions stored under the opposite bench seat. Pull the comfy lower seat squabs into the centre of the base, fold down the narrower side squabs, fit the supplied sheets, duvet and pillows and you're away laughing. Well... sleeping, anyway.

A bonus of renting a motorhome from a company like Britz is you're instantly kitted out with everything you'll need. Our test Trailblazer came ready to go with all manner of domestic tools — plates and bowls, cups and glasses, a full utensil drawer, mixing bowls and a colander, chopping board, bottle and can openers, kettle, toaster, tea towels and more — so all we had to do was supply the groceries and hit the road. Brilliant.

Other extras already on board helped further with the comfort level of the journey ahead: a bucket and hose, dustpan and brush, toilet chemicals, a first aid kit, clothes pegs and coat hangers were all to be found inside upon collection. What's more, we even received a free supermarket discount card, and upon opening the driver's cab were greeted with oversized road maps and travel guides in the door pockets.

Additionally, Britz supplies a Tourism Radio receiver free of charge. Plug this wee box into one of the Fiat Ducato's two 12V sockets on the dashboard (handy if you also have a portable GPS unit you want to suction to the windscreen), tune into the right FM frequency and you can listen to music and information about touristy points-of-interest in the general vicinity of wherever you are at any given moment. For the most part the music is generic easy-listening lite, but the local information would be a boon for anyone with no fixed timetable travelling through unfamiliar terrain.

On-road performance is great thanks to the torquey 2.3-litre turbo diesel and, despite the relative bulk of the van, stirring the engine along in fifth and sixth gears proved no stretch whatsoever. You'd do well to be comfortable with a manual transmission before uplifting the Trailblazer, but after a few kilometres we got used to the clutch action and found the gearbox to be satisfyingly usable, both on the open road and through urban centres.

The Trailblazer proves little brother certainly doesn't live in the shadow of his bigger, four-berth sibling. If you're one half of a pair who'd like to try before you buy, this motorhome will make for a very enjoyable homework assignment indeed.

The Britz Trailblazer is available for around $74,990 from The RV Supercentre, Albany.

Specifications

Length

6.36m

Width

2.05m

Height

2.53m

Interior height

1.93m

Base vehicle

Fiat Ducato

Engine

2.3-litre turbo diesel

Fuel capacity

80L

Transmission

Six-speed manual, 2WD

Fresh water

62L

Berths

Two

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