Tribute was originally a name exclusive to a range of panel-van conversions by French manufacturing group Trigano, but in recent years it’s grown to include the Tribute coachbuilts produced by Trigano’s British arm, Auto-Trail. They’re UK-designed and built at Auto-Trail’s Grimsby-based factory, and here we solely focus on the coachbuilt Tributes.
The Tribute coachbuilts were launched at the February 2010 NEC show on a new, low-line Ford Transit chassis. We were so impressed that later in the year we declared the 620 our Motorhome of the Year for 2010. The Tribute coachbuilts have earned a reputation for their high-specification cabs and UK-friendly layouts in a competitively priced package.
For the 2012 season, the line-up has received a facelift with an eye-catching new external graphics treatment, plus the addition of two new low-profile models, which are set to be launched in the UK in February 2012.
What you need to know
The new yellow and black graphics scheme does a good job of better marrying the cab and caravan body. If some found the original Tributes a little commercial-looking at the front end, they’ll be pleased to see the addition of a colour-coded centre grill and lower bumper. Also, the aluminium extrusions between bonded walls and roof are now white.
The already impressive cab spec is improved for 2012. As well as cruise control, you get elements of last season’s ‘driver’s pack’ of optional upgrades thrown in for free, such as the passenger airbag and the heated windscreen.
The facelifted models will launch at the NEC with Ford’s Euro 4 engine, with prices starting from £34,015 OTR. We’re told that Euro 5 engines will become available from December 2011, which will see the 115bhp unit replaced by a torquier 125bhp version, with prices starting at £34,507 OTR.
Opt for the Sports Pack (£999) and you’ll get a wind-out awning, a rear sports spoiler with integral high-level brake light, a directional TV aerial, mains 230V blown-air heating, a dashboard upgrade, removable carpets and sports decals.
The four overcab coachbuilt layouts remain mostly unchanged for 2012: the 620 high-line features an end-kitchen with twin-dinette up front; the 625 a rear U-shaped lounge; the 720 a rear lounge and half-dinette up front. It’s just the 725 that changes: it gets a low-level bed as standard and the previous high bed over a garage becomes an option.
Internally, traditional wood veneers to the lockers replaces the cream of outgoing models, while the fridge is an 80-litre Dometic model.
We’ve yet to see the finished low-lines, but the artist’s impressions look impressive. The 615 measures 6.23m (20’5”), and features an end-kitchen, corner washroom and facing sofas. The 715 is 6.95m (22’9”) long, and features a rear French-style bed alongside a corner washroom, with kitchen amidships and half-dinette up front. Alternatively, facing sofas are an option for those who’d prefer this as a two-berth model.
Must-see new ’van: Tribute 620
We named the 620 our Motorhome of the Year, so the facelifted version remains the one to see. For young families who have their hearts set on buying new, it’s a cracking layout: the twin-dinette up front has two belted seats for rear passengers, and with the side sofa it makes for a comfy lounging and dining arrangement. Well specified and sharply priced at £34,535 OTR it’s a great alternative to Ducato/Boxer-based rivals.