Gentleman JackSee other Advice articles filed in ‘Used motorhome buying guides’ written by Gentleman Jack
Trigano is a highly successful pan-European motorhome manufacturing group.
It came as no surprise, then, when Auto-Trail was chosen to import and manage the Italian-built Tribute range of panel-van conversions.
It was Auto-Trail’s positive influence on the project that resulted in such a UK-friendly ’van.
Not only was it equipped with a great kitchen, fabrics and furniture, it was handed for the UK, too. The vehicles therefore have right-hand drive, and the accommodation entrance door on the ‘correct’ side.
This generation of Tribute panel-van conversions were all built on the facelifted, long-wheelbase, high-top version of the Fiat Ducato, equipped with the 2.3-litre, 110bhp, common-rail turbocharged and intercooled engine upgrade. It was mated to a five-speed manual ’box driving the front wheels.
So it was a good base to build anything on – and then electric windows and mirrors, and central locking, were added, and it became even better.
The conversion itself had but a single layout, so it’s probably over-egging the pudding to call it a ‘range’ – although it was eventually available in two colours.
After entering by the side sliding door, one steps into a comfy lounge in which both cab seats swivel.
There’s a linear offside kitchen towards the rear, opposite the shower room and wardrobe.
In terms of sleeping accommodation, there’s a choice of two longitudinal single beds, a three-quarter longitudinal or transverse bed, and an ‘all-over’ king-sized double.
The rear-corner washroom is a masterpiece of design, featuring a sliding window, a cassette toilet, a shower and a fixed vanity basin with storage below.
The standard spec was very high at this price point, and featured double-glazed acrylic windows, a three-way fridge and the latest SMEV four-burner stainless-steel hob and grill.
Space heating came courtesy of a Webasto diesel-fired heater, and a Truma dual-fuel boiler provided hot water.
The original Tribute was only available in white; later models added a metallic-silver option as well as five-spoke alloy wheels, roof bars and a grill/warming-oven upgrade.
Trigano’s immense purchasing power enabled it to mop up all of the remaining run-out X/44 vans, so that some were registered as late as 2007, well after the replacement X/250 had been launched.
- Trigano Tribute on Fiat Ducato LWB
- Built from late 2003-2007 in Tuscany, Italy
- Five-door all-steel high-top panel van conversion
- Overall length: 5.6m
What to look for
Found what could be your dream example on the used motorhomes for sale pages? Read on to find out what to look for before buying.
All were built on the fully sorted and facelifted X/44, so there was none of the previous models’ tendency to drop fifth gear and suffer rainwater flooding the engine.
As always, look for a full service history, a recent cambelt change and check the age of the tyres.
The pedals are offset, so ensure that any shorter driver is comfortable (a kit is available that addresses this, by lowering the driver’s seat squab and moving it inboard slightly).
These were really very robust but, because the youngest is now more than a decade old, it’s reasonable to expect slight wear and tear.
Be wary of collapsed squab cushions: this could indicate hard use on a hire fleet.
Ask for proof of a recent full habitation service, and we’d recommend fitting new smoke and CO detectors.
- Practical layout; compact
- Choice of beds
- Handed for the UK
- No automatic transmission is available on right-hand drive variants
- It has a slightly offset driving position
What to pay
Private early models go from £15,000 while you’re looking at £17,000 if you buy from the trade. Immaculate, lightly used, fully loaded examples start at around £18,000.
Stewart Mouland (Peacehaven) was, at the time of writing, advertising a 2004, 55,000-miler with many useful accessories – including an awning, a solar panel and a towbar – at an asking price of £19,995.
Our pick of the bunch would be one of the very last-of-the-run-out models in silver (56-plate).
Many came with cab air-con and other goodies, and they are substantially more affordable than X/250 models registered in the same year.