Older readers might remember the signature blue windows of Adria caravans and motorhomes from the 1980s. Back then, they were produced in Belgium and the former Yugoslavia. Today, all Adria leisure vehicles are built in a state-of-the-art factory, constructed on a greenfield site in Novo Mesto, Slovenia.
It is a really impressive RV research, design and build facility, with most sub-assemblies built in-house, rather than bought in as kits. Adria vehicles consistently perform well in the Practical Motorhome Owner Satisfaction Survey – which says it all, really.
Adria’s first A-class, the Vision, was well-received and sold well, too. It was only shelved when supply problems with the Renault base occurred.
The opportunity was seized to design a completely new replacement, using recently developed materials and construction methods.
The three-layout Sonic range was launched in the UK in 2011. All models stretched the tape to 7.4m (24’3.5″) and were built on the Fiat Ducato chassis-cowl. Common across the line-up was a front lounge, centrally placed kitchen, washroom and wardrobe, all ahead of a rear fixed bed or two, above a full-width exterior-access locker.
The Sonic 700 SP had a high-level transverse double bed located above a full-height garage. The Sonic 700 SL featured two easy-access and -egress longitudinal singles, while the Sonic 700SC boasted an island double.
All included four travelling seats and an additional drop-down transverse double bed above the cab.
The following year, 700 ST joined the line-up, with a European-style longitudinal corner double bed, just ahead of a palatial full-width rear washing/changing area with separate walk-in shower cubicle.
For the 2014 model year, the 700 identifier was dropped, with all models known as Sonic Plus followed by the model identifiers. Shortly afterwards they launched a flagship Sonic range Sonic Supreme, offering similar layouts to existing models but with added kit, along with lots of upgrades, including Alde domestic-style radiator heating, and independently sprung galvanised chassis extensions by Al-Ko.
Metallic silver coachwork was the easy identifier for Sonic Supremes. It wasn’t just the colour that was different – Sonic Plus used polyester cladding and Sonic Supreme opted for aircraft-grade aluminium cladding.
Previously, all Sonics were at 3500kg with a no-cost option of an upgrade to 3650kg available when new.
Adding kit over the years resulted in the payload becoming quite limited on some models. The Supreme’s Al-Ko underpinnings allowed for upgrades of up to 4500kg.
Confusingly – and fortunately for a brief period only – Sonic Supremes were badged as Super Sonics.
Late in 2015, Sonic Axess models joined the line-up as value-for-money entry-level alternatives, on the standard Fiat Ducato chassis-cowl.
Initially, various layouts were tried, mostly mirroring the Sonic Plus, but eventually these were reduced to just one, the shorter 6.99m (22’11.25″) Sonic Axess 600 SL.
The 600 SL featured two longitudinal single beds at the rear, which could be converted to an all-over double bed or arranged as singles for two adults and a child. This spec with this layout made sense, as it appealed to young families. In addition, it was at a licence-friendly 3500kg, but crucially also provided a respectable payload.
Think quality A-class and most will name Hymer, Niesmann+Bischoff, Dethleffs, Knaus, Pilote and so on. We are convinced Adria’s Sonic Plus/Supreme ranges are every bit as good – and owners agree with us!
What to look out for
Generally very reliable, but always look for a full service history and evidence of a recent engine drive belt change (2.3-litre models only; 3.0-litre models use a chain). Budget for replacing the hydraulic fluid if it is more than five years old. Check tyres – they are more likely to be past their use-by date than worn out. Group C1 driving licence is required for any above 3500kg MTPLM.
Sonics are not handed for the UK; the steering wheel is on the right-hand side, the cab door is on our nearside (passenger side) and the habitation door is on our offside, Check you are happy with the driving position: it can feel a little intimidating at first because of the wider cab and large windscreen. A meaningful test drive is essential.
Overall, they are well built, so walk away from any that look worn and may have been used for full-timing or rental. Unless the price is dagger-sharp, it’s better to wait for one that has been lightly used and much loved.
All else being equal, we’d always try to find one with top spec when buying any A-class. The Sonic 700 SP if you want to garage a motorbike or mobility scooter. The 700/710 SL for single beds.
The older 3.0-litre 160bhp engine was (in the author’s opinion) a smoother, more assured performer than the later 2.3-litre 160bhp, but the former was only to Euro 4. Not good in an LEZ.
What to pay
Early models from £45,000 (private sales). Those based on the X/290 (2015 production onwards) are easier to find because they sold like the proverbial hot cakes when new. That said, we did find two nicely priced early(ish) examples. Motorhome Depot (Inverness) has a 2014 Super Sonic with the big engine for £54,999. An ‘as-new’ (just 7655 mile recorded) 3.0-litre 2015 Supreme 710 SBC with ComfortMatic automatic transmission is for sale at PB Caravan Services. Asking price is £69,995. Equivalent brand-new today is approaching £95,000.
Or you could try…
There are no other volume Slovenian motorhome builders, so it would have to be an Adria Coral or Matrix low profile/Luton overcab coachbuilt. Closest to the Axess 610 is the Dethleffs Globus Active, built in Germany.
Those on more limited budgets should look at the extremely desirable (but older) Adria Vision A-class on Renault Master chassis-cowl.
- Adria Sonic (single rear-axle models) on Fiat Ducato and Fiat Ducato Al-Ko chassis-cowl
- Built 2011-present in Novo Mesto, Slovenia
- A-class (integral) coachbuilt
- Overall length 6.99m-7.52m (22’11.25″ – 24’8″)
- All four-berth with four travel seats
- Contemporary interior vibe
- King/Queen of the road driving experience
- Roomy cab
- High degree of owner satisfaction
- Limited payload on some 3500kg models
- Lack of kitchen worktop
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Metallic silver coachwork was the easy identifier for Sonic Supremes. It wasn't just the colour that was different - Sonic Plus used polyester cladding and Sonic Supreme opted for aircraft-grade aluminium cladding