Motorhome review: TrailLite Oakura 354

By: Bill Savidan


Motorhome review: TrailLite Oakura 354 Motorhome review: TrailLite Oakura 354
Motorhome review: TrailLite Oakura 354 Motorhome review: TrailLite Oakura 354
Motorhome review: TrailLite Oakura 354 Motorhome review: TrailLite Oakura 354
Motorhome review: TrailLite Oakura 354 Motorhome review: TrailLite Oakura 354
Motorhome review: TrailLite Oakura 354 Motorhome review: TrailLite Oakura 354
Motorhome review: TrailLite Oakura 354 Motorhome review: TrailLite Oakura 354

Bill Savidan finds a real buzz when he calls in to TrailLite to review the new Oakura 354.

As we crossed TrailLite’s Pukekohe yard to the Oakura 354 I was about to review, I asked general manager Shaun Newman to fill me in on TrailLite’s latest motorhome:

"This design is a new direction for TrailLite," he explained. "Developed from Oakura 353, the new 354 introduces TrailLite to buyers new to TrailLite – and perhaps new to motorhome ownership. Dimensionally, it is the smallest and lightest TrailLite. Easier to handle, park and store but big enough to provide the freedom camping facilities Kiwi owners want; like large water tanks, big batteries and loads of space. With a GVW of 5000kgs, the Oakura 354 can carry all of this and still have room for other toys."

Putting it to the test

Powered by a 120kW turbo diesel motor and a six-speed manual gearbox, the Crafter feels to have power in reserve to meet the task of towing. And like most new European vehicles, it is fitted with Electronic Stability Control, ABS brakes and the 'hill start assist' feature that saves you the embarrassment of rolling backwards when starting on a hill.

Freedom campers, and those owners who spend weeks at a time, rather than days, away in their motorhome, will appreciate the self-contained camping features of the Oakura 354. Not many motorhomes of this size provide 200-litre fresh and grey water tanks, a 260-amp/hr house battery and a 140-watt solar panel charging through an MPPT solar controller as standard.

There are also two nine-kilogram LPG bottles; and with the fridge/freezer, plus both gas and water heaters able to operate on LPG, the romantic notion of camping for a week or more in an isolated spot becomes a reality.

Important as all this technical and practical stuff is, the charm of a TrailLite lies inside. The layout, the interior décor and the quality of the fixtures and fittings of the Oakura 354 live up to expectations.

Trail Lite _354_2

The design brief is a motorhome for two people to live comfortably while exploring New Zealand. It should cater for occasional overnight guests and 'happy hour' groups of four or five, but the main focus is on pampering a couple.

The distinctive modern apartment styling that is TrailLite's décor theme is instantly apparent. The bed is a generous queen-sized width, has a comfortable inner-sprung mattress over a slat base and there is easy access down either side. With side tables and overhead reading lights, it would suit me down to the ground.

The bathroom setup is a practical use of space while emphasising that the Oakura 354 is essentially a two-person affair. The shower stall is on the right of the walkway through to the kitchen; the toilet and hand basin are together in a cubicle to the left.

Current design trends are evident in the kitchen. Cupboards with doors are out, drawers are in. The oven fitted is a compact version with three LPG hobs, allowing room for a rubbish bin below the oven. The kitchen bench is not large but is adequate, and lowering the glass lid over the hob can provide extra workspace.

With some careful thought, TrailLite have made this compact kitchen an efficient station for preparing and serving meals with more than enough space to store supermarket shopping whether at room temperature or cool/cold in the 190-litre fridge/freezer. While not provided in the review vehicle, a microwave can be installed above the fridge/freezer.

Conveniently clustered above the entry door are the switches and monitors for various essential items in the motorhome; the tank and battery monitors, the 12-volt switchboard, the water heater controls, and the satellite dish elevation meter. Being all together in one place like this means they are less likely to be overlooked.

The verdict

I found the neutral décor of the Oakura 353 welcoming and relaxing, also easy to personalise with the addition of a few touches of colour. Overall, I think the Oakura 354 meets its design brief brilliantly and is an excellent example of a quality Kiwi-built motorhome.

Thumbs up

  • The island bed
  • Large shower
  • The freedom camping capability

Thumbs down

  • Nothing

For the full review, check out the November 2014 issue (#122) of Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations. Subscribe here.

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