Auto-Trail Frontier Scout motorhome review

By: Cameron Officer


Auto-Trail Frontier Scout motorhome review Auto-Trail Frontier Scout motorhome review
Auto-Trail Frontier Scout motorhome review Auto-Trail Frontier Scout motorhome review
Auto-Trail Frontier Scout motorhome review Auto-Trail Frontier Scout motorhome review
Auto-Trail Frontier Scout motorhome review Auto-Trail Frontier Scout motorhome review
Auto-Trail Frontier Scout motorhome review Auto-Trail Frontier Scout motorhome review
Frontier Frontier
Frontier Frontier
Frontier Frontier
Frontier Frontier

Revered for the cold weather comfort of its models, Auto-Trail also offers up a host of motorhome options featuring comprehensive levels of room and storage capacity for families. The six-berth Frontier Scout is one such vehicle that fits much more into a lot less.

Auto-Trail’s own marketing material beats me to what would have been the perfect headline for a review of its upper-range Frontier Scout – "Be prepared".

Gah! Pipped at the post by its PR people. Regardless, it’s a slogan that certainly fits the bill.

The play on the phrase works doubly so because this 7.9-metre-long, six-berth motorhome really does let its owners be prepared for absolutely anything. It offers up a practical assortment of features and plenty of storage space, within what is actually a reasonably compact footprint.

Power play

The Scout’s three-litre, four-cylinder Fiat Multijet common rail diesel engine is a proven power unit, offering up 180hp (134kW) and suitably economic fuel usage. This is an updated Fiat Ducato platform featuring a six-speed auto, traction control for those windier back routes, heated mirrors, Bluetooth phone compatibility and a premium sound system.

Overall, our test drive revealed a comfortable ride with a suitably powerful level of torque low enough in the rev range to make smooth work of starting off, even from a cambered gravel hard shoulder.

The Scout’s maximum gross weight is 4250kg, with a decent carrying weight of 600kg. That allows for a fair bit of kit onboard – a necessity when your RV will take six occupants, as our test vehicle does in this state of dress.

All-weather holidaying

If you’re keen to explore the Central Otago Lakes this winter, the Scout might prove a good place to start (and stay). Auto-Trail’s UK heritage comes into its own with regards to cold weather insulation, making these machines great options for year-round venturing.

Dan Monk, from New Zealand’s sole Auto-Trail agent Auckland Motorhomes, says the majority of Auto-Trail models meet the highest industry standards achievable for both insulation and heating.

"Underneath the impact-resistant outer shell is a polystyrene core and layer of recycled plastic composite material, which is one hundred percent water resistant and essentially as strong as steel.

"Under the floor, Auto-Trail fit a waterproof board on top of a Styrofoam core and a PVC outer skin. This sort of insulation is class leading and in the UK these vehicles are regularly tested in extreme cold conditions."

Dan says that in minus 15 degree conditions, Auto-Trail’s insulation can provide for stable 20 degree temperatures inside the cabin. Double glazed windows and a large two-way gas/electric ducted heating system complete the cosy picture. And for those sunny days, there is a 100W solar panel to supplement the electrical system.

Frontier4

Inside the Frontier Scout…

This motorhome packs a lot into its 7.9-metre-long, 2.35-metre-wide frame.

With the new Hi-line body configuration, the Scout offers sleeping for up to six, with a double over-cab bed adding to the separate double bed available at the rear by converting the large U-shaped sofa arrangement in the main lounge (there are also Lo-line and svelte Super Lo-line body style options in the Frontier range).

The double over-cab bed features a push-in section to help ensure moving between the living space and the cab doesn’t result in knocks to the head.

Our test Scout featured a conversation-friendly double dinette configuration, although Dan says the half dinette option is very popular too. This option removes the solid partition between the driver’s seat and the sitting area and decreases the seat count around the table. But with a removable table at the rear, the Scout actually offers two separate seated dining areas anyway.

The Scout’s siblings, the popular Apache 634 and Apache 700, also feature a U-shaped lounge at the rear, but the Scout provides for that little bit extra length (7.9 metres versus 7.09 metres in the Apache 634). The extra table space the Scout boasts shouldn’t be underestimated either, especially when you can potentially have drinks and nibbles on the go in one corner, and kids or grandkids colouring-in or playing a board game at the other.

"This is our out-and-out family spec model," says Dan. "It’s one thing to boast six berths, but to actually cater for that many occupants is another thing altogether.

"The Scout really does ensure there’s room for everyone onboard through a good use of space."

Those decent dimensions extend to the bathroom too, which features separate shower and toilet.

The Scout’s interior is finished with lots of light wood panelling, chrome handle detailing and light-coloured Franklin textured fabrics. It’s a conservative but premium-looking interior that makes the most of available light and includes a panoramic Skyline sunroof; available on all three height configurations in the Frontier range.

The glass door fronts on the main storage cupboard – which helps separate front and rear living spaces – offers a nice homely touch.

Appliances include a stainless steel oven/grill combo featuring a four-burner dual-fuel hob, a 175-litre, three-way auto fridge freezer, satin finish microwave and a flat screen HDMI-capable TV which slides unobtrusively upwards behind the upper-rear storage cabinets when not needed. Cupboard space under the sink unit is suitably generous, as are the dimensions of the cabinets tracing a curve above the rear seats.

Frontier5

Below decks

The expert use of space inside is augmented by decent storage solutions and features underneath the motorhome too.

The Frontier Scout offers 140-litre fresh water and 140-litre grey water capacities. There’s a decent storage garage at the back (accessible from both sides), made all the roomier by having an easily-reached spare wheel mounted on the exterior rear wall, rather than impeding the shape of the storage space. A reversing camera (which also features ‘night vision’ capabilities that provide the driver with extra illumination after dusk) sits above the rear wheel cover.

Auckland Motorhomes sells every Auto-Trail with two 9kg gas bottles and a twin battery set-up, while the toilet cassette also features a carbon filter which – when used in conjunction with the washroom fan – eliminates odours quickly.

For al fresco cooking during warmer months there’s an external gas point outside to hook a barbeque to, supplemented on the opposite side of the motorhome by an external hot and cold shower connection for those sand-covered returning bathers.

The verdict

With plenty of room, plenty of cargo capacity (including carrying weight) and plenty of premium features, there’s plenty to like here. The Frontier Scout ticks the box as yet another Auto-Trail model that provides for plenty of passengers, all of who will "be prepared" indeed.

Pros

  • Feels roomy inside but unimposing on the outside.
  • Fantastic insulation and heating make this a true all-seasons motorhome.
  • Excellent quality fit and finish.
  • Option of three different roofline height levels within the one sub-range showcases excellent buyer options.

Cons

  • None to speak of.

For more information, phone Auckland Motorhomes on (09) 294 6500, or visit them at 61 Creek Street, Drury, Auckland. You can subscribe to Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations magazine here.

Keep up to date with news by signing up to nzmcd.co.nz's free newsletter or by liking us on Facebook