Review: TrailLite 766X

By: Ewan McDonald, Photography by: TrailLite


Kiwi motorhome maker TrailLite has unveiled a new flagship range. NZMCD's Ewan McDonald takes a look.

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So the Mediterranean cruise and the European trip are off, then. Time to consider your options, and what better option than a top-of-the-line, fully selfcontained motorhome? One that has all you’ll need to escape the city and live in it fulltime?

And especially when it’s been designed and built in New Zealand for our roads and off-the-beaten-tracks. TrailLite, the Newman family’s Pukekohe firm that has been making caravans and motorhomes since 1954, phased out its Isuzu-based 900 series a year or so back, and the team went to work on creating an all-new floorplan to add to the 700 series.

That’s arrived in the form of the 766X, running on the Iveco Daily platform. There are five models in the everpopular 700 family, from the 8200mm Coromandel 757 to the 9100mm Oakura 766X – TrailLite’s new flagship.

In this case, five and five make 10 – each model can be upgraded to the company’s prestige Landmark brand, which means you can personalise the interior colour scheme plus get extra features as standard.

TrailLite’s marketing manager Ashlee Rose says the 766X is designed for fulltime living, "It’s open-plan, really spacious, and has big water and power capacity. "But one of the features that we’re currently working on and continuing to improve is our ‘best for self-contained freedom camping’ concept.

It’s about getting off the grid but in total luxury. "With the 700 series you’ve got the ability to add whatever options serve you – whatever you like off our options list, inverter and fulltime living packages, extra TVs in the bedrooms, blackwater tank toilets."

Self-containment

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The living area is spacious and comfortable

Because the idea is to take the 766X off the beaten track and stay there for longer, it’s packed with self-contained features married to the Iveco’s pulling power. Capacity is provided for 400 litres of fresh water and 220 litres of grey water, with the option of upgrading to a black water toilet system.

In terms of energy, you have 360w of solar with the option of upgrading to 540w, 270ah battery (also upgradable), plus two 9kg gas bottles. Other features to make self-contained camping or fulltime living more practical and comfortable include energy-efficient LED lighting, 13-litre gas / 230-volt hot water heater, external waste management and facilities locker and a 4kW diesel heater (yes, it does warm the bathroom for those South Island winter trips).

As Ashlee explains, in a modern motorhome, the electrical systems arecritical for comfortable living – think about those e-bikes, that coffee maker, entertainment systems and devices that are now part of 21st century life. They all need charging.

"We’ve also just introduced a lithium upgrade to our range of options, so it gives you even more capacity to get off the beaten track," she adds. Lithium batteries are smaller, lighter and have a much longer life than traditional batteries.

They’re better able to manage heavy loads like e-bikes and invertors and provide quicker charging. Up to 80 per cent of the energy stored in a lithium battery can be used – compared with 50 per cent in traditional batteries.

Lounging about 

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The slide-out creates extra living space

Open-plan, indoor-outdoor flow, designerstyled fittings and furnishings … take just about any line from a Ponsonby real estate ad and it could apply to this motorhome. The most impressive feature of the lounge is the slide-out section. Push the button and you’ll push the wall outwards to extend the living space.

You’ve got a 2200mm-wide lounge with sofa seating for five and two tables. Counting the cab seats, there’s room for eight – say, the grownups at one table and the grandkids at the other.

Or one table for the card players and another for the board-gamers. Sundown, heaps of room for 5 o’clock drinks; dinner, everyone gets their own place; bedtime, it converts to a double bed.

TrailLite offers four locally-created interior designs or you can opt to create a Landmark and meet their designers to pick your own kitchen and cupboard colours, wall colours and furnishings as if you were styling your own home. Entertainment includes a 24-inch TVDVD player, Bluetooth CD-radio and 60cm satellite dish.

There’s recessed LED lighting throughout; matching bedspreads The slide-out creates extra living space and cushions, fitted carpets in the living and bedroom areas, vinyl in the kitchen and entrance are standard.

Windows are double-glazed with retractable flyscreens, thermal blinds and night latches. For travelling, the 766X has four lapand-diagonal belted seats in addition to the two cab seats.

Sleeping arrangements

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The bedroom includes a queen-sized island bed

The 766X continues TrailLite’s concept of a master bedroom containing a queensize island bed and ensuite shower and toilet at the rear of the vehicle. That bed pulls out to full length at night; during the day you can stow it to give more space.

Underneath is a set of six drawers; there are two wardrobes and more storage space overhead, reading and mood lighting. Up front, the daytime sofas convert into a second double bed.

Bathroom

The designers have put a lot of thoughtinto the bathroom. It’s spacious: as well as good lighting, bench and cupboard space, the separate shower has a dry change area. Across the way, the chemical and odourfree toilet system is more than adequate for a lengthy trip; it can be upgraded to a flush toilet with a 100-litre blackwater tank in most floorplans, which will appeal to those planning to live in the motorhome.

The kitchen

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The kitchen is a good size

I’ve lived in apartments with smaller kitchens than the 766X. Lit naturally from a large window and skylight and from recessed LED lighting, there’s a full oven with built-in grill, four gas hobs, microwave and three-way 190-litre fridge freezer.

The benchtop is bigger than Gordon Ramsay’s ego and there’s a full-size sink. For the best use of space, they’ve installed large, lockable drawers instead of cupboards. Smart thinking.

Up front

The standard powerplant is Iveco’s powerful 153kW/470Nm engine, designed to handle the full 7000kg GVM and requiring a Class 2 licence. There’s a 126kW/430Nm option for $2500 less. Both Iveco options offer a car licence or Class 2 licence but the 766X is best kept on the Class 2. Both are dual rear-wheel drive with 8-speed auto transmission.

The cab’s futuristic styling, screens, dials, wraparound windscreen, skylight and luxurious cream leather swivel seats have the look and feel of the cockpit in a highend private jet.

Tech and safety features include electronic stability control, hill start assist, hands-free phone, touchscreen "The exterior graphics portray New Zealand’s mountains, rivers and sea" audio system, ABS braking, dual-camera reversing screen, cruise control and digital climate control, most run from the multifunction steering wheel.

Outside

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The exterior graphics portray New Zealand’s mountains, rivers and sea, and if you’re going to explore those for any length of time you’ll want plenty of storage. The 766X boasts a 2200 litre rear garage and large rear boot with lighting and power. The 4m wind-out awning is standard. Options include larger awnings, warm-water shower, BBQ and bike racks.

Overall

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Floor plan

TrailLite sets out to "make it easy, make it comfortable, make it luxurious and make it New Zealand-made." From feedback and orders placed at the recent Covi SuperShow, it looks like the 700 series has hit all four pitches out of the park.

The 766X with a TrailLite spec starts from $302,031. Upgrades on the model reviewed include sports leather seats in the cab, 24-inch’ TV installed in the bedroom, SOGII chemical and odour free toilet system, two Midi Heki vents, Fusion three-zone entertainment system, upgrade to 139-litre black tank toilet, full-time living package with 220ah battery and 540w solar, 1800w inverter, matching carpet mat in cab, 5m Cvana awning, slide-out barbecue.

TrailLite 766X specifications

Chassis Iveco Daily
Engine 153kW / 470Nm, Euro 5+, rear-wheel drive
Gearbox 8-speed auto
Berths 4
Length 9100mm
Fresh water 400 litres
Grey water 220 litres
Energy 2 x 9kg gas, 360w solar, 270ah battery
GVM Up to 7000kg

Price as reviewed:

TrailLite 766X: From $302,031

Landmark 766X: From $337,001

Find out more at traillite.co.nz

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