Wheel Estate: Auto Trail Comanche

By: Lawrence Schäffler


Auto Trail Comanche Auto Trail Comanche
Auto Trail Comanche The designers have been at work with a clever kitchen upgrade Auto Trail Comanche
Auto Trail Comanche The rear bedroom suite is equipped with an island bed Auto Trail Comanche
Auto Trail Comanche The Commanche offers a stylish, spacious interior Auto Trail Comanche
Auto Trail Comanche Auto Trail Comanche
Auto Trail Comanche Buyers get their choice of luxury Farnworth upholstery Auto Trail Comanche
Auto Trail Comanche Auto Trail Comanche
Auto Trail Comanche Auto Trail Comanche

Among their many other attributes, Auto Trail’s motorhomes deliver a drive relatively free of noisy creaks thanks to a quality build process. Proving there’s always room for improvement though, the 2013 models lift rattle suppression to an even higher standard.

Wheel Estate: Auto Trail Comanche
Hear no evil

One of the flagships of Auto Trail's top-of-the-line Frontier range, the six-wheeled Comanche is — at 8.73m overall — quite an imposing vehicle. Its commanding presence is matched by a smooth, powerful engine, a stylish, spacious interior and plenty of easy-living features. This is a seriously attractive motorhome designed for those not interested in diluting their standards.

It's a small, discreet rubber strip set into the lower framework of all the lockers, where the door meets the frame. Conventional lockers tend to creak and protest over every imperfection in the road. With the Comanche, the rubber strips form a cushion, absorbing any movement. It's a subtle detail, I know, but it adds to the overall sense of stately, distinguished touring.

Upgrades

  • The skyline — a large, aerodynamically-shaped window flooding the cab and lounge area with natural light. The 2012 model was fitted with a flat, square hatch positioned slightly further back. The skyline looks way nicer, is much more streamlined and integrates seamlessly with the body.
  • The new entry door is now equipped with a gas strut so it won't swing wildly in the wind and the design also carries a much larger waste bin.
  • Better layout in the kitchen, they have also reverted to a simpler keypad for the new 190-litre Dometic fridge.
  • Outside, you'll be struck by the new colour scheme and the LED running lights built into the front spoiler.

The ride

At 5000kg it's not exactly a lightweight, but the three-litre, 180hp, turbocharged four-cylinder engine married to the highly-regarded Comfort-Matic six-speed gearbox moves it along with ease. It has plenty of power — peak torque (400Nm) arrives at a modest 1400rpm — and the engine meets Euro 5 emission standards.

Options

Much of the popularity of the Auto Trail range can be attributed to the multitude of options offered to buyers — including the layout. With the Comanche, these relate mainly to the long, parallel settees in the lounge. Depending on the size of your touring party or dinner parties, the settees can be swapped for a four-seater dinette or a seat/table and smaller settee. The settees deploy into a second double bed or twin singles.

With the full-swivel seats in the cab facing back, it's easy to create a large lounge for six guests, and they'll enjoy the light from the skyline overhead.

The standard Comanche (set up for a couple) has a rear bedroom suite equipped with a large island bed (excellent access all around), with the separate shower and toilet cubicles just forward.

The shower on this year's model had been redesigned and features curved bi-fold acrylic doors. Thanks to an embedded magnetic strip, they snap together to create a watertight seal. More importantly, the curved doors create a much roomier shower. On the other side the toilet cubicle has received a new, very stylish basin. Buyers also get a choice of furnishing.

Kitchen

L-shaped and with the sink set off to one side, it provides good, expansive work surfaces with lots of natural light provided by a large window. The curved locker under the sink is a particularly good use of space.

In its new location, the 800-watt microwave plays a useful support role to the main oven below. The hob features three gas rings and one electric plate. Soft-close drawers offer a sense of calm efficiency — even if the chef is panicking about the burnt potatoes.

Chill time

An option offered to buyers is the media pack — a treasure trove of electronic goodies to keep you captivated and entertained when your relationship turns a little frosty. It includes a new seven-inch, touch-screen radio/CD/DVD player which doubles as the display for the colour reversing camera. The screen's equipped with Bluetooth cell phone connectivity, a SD card reader (for viewing your photos) and an AUX/MP3 input.

The Comanche is elegant and stately — it's an easy motorhome in which to live and tour stylishly. It's also a large, relatively heavy motorhome and you'll need to hone your manoeuvring skills to become adept at squeezing it into tight corners.

For more information contact Auckland Motorhomes on 09 294 6500 or email info@aucklandmotorhomes.co.nz.

Specifications

Length

8.73m

Width

2.35m

Height

Hi-Line 3.10m, Lo-Line & Super Lo-Line 3.03m

Berths

2-6 (depending on model and layout)

Chassis

Fiat Ducato, Alko Kober, tandem rear axle, six-wheeler

Engine

2999cc, 180hp, turbocharged, four-cylinder (Euro 5)

Transmission

Six-speed Comfort-Matic

Water

136L

Waste water

85L

House battery

100 amp-hours

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