Frankia is living up to its reputation for providing upmarket UK-friendly motorhomes with rear lounges, as these form the bulk of its new models for the 2018 season.

There’s also a nod to those who are taken by the company’s offer of truly off-grid touring with its Platin model – but at a slightly lower price.

Frankia is a German company based in Bavaria not far from Bayreuth, a town made world-famous by Richard Wagner. But despite having such hefty Germany credentials, its ultimate owner is actually French.

It is part of the Pilote SAS Group and Marie-Daniele Padiou, daughter of Pilote’s owner, is now into her second year as managing director of the company.

The headlines

All the new layouts for 2018 are in Frankia’s Fiat-based F-Line series, usually available as both low profiles and A-classes and in some cases – those with a Plus in their title – as an overcab.

The more expensive Mercedes-Benz-based M-Line continues pretty much unchanged in terms of layouts for 2018, although its A-class models get a new front profile.

The top-of the range Platin, which includes solar panels and inverters to increase considerably the time you can spend in your motorhome away from an electric hook-up, has been joined by the Titan, which offers near-identical facilities for those who prefer a Fiat Ducato-based vehicle.

The changes

The main new layout in the F-Line range is the 790 Plus. This repeats the popular layout featured in the current 740 Plus, but in an 8m-long body.

The layout in question is a rear lounge, a central kitchen and washroom, and two fixed singles that drop down over the cab to seal it off.

All that extra length has given the designers enough room to include a 2m-long longitudinal drop-down bed on top of the rear lounge.

Cleverly upholstered surrounds to this bed blend it in with the ceiling when it is in the ‘up’ position. The central LED light underneath it only comes on to light the lounge when the bed is fully wound up.

And as the settees underneath here can still be made into a bed using the pedestal table, this motorhome is effectively a six-berth.

The extra length also means that Frankia can provide a larger garage behind the rear lounge, removing the need for a step inside the ’van.

The same layout (minus the drop-down bed) is also now available in its shortest-ever format in the 7m-long F-Line 680 Plus, which will be coming to the UK via Frankia’s dealer, SMC, as an overcab and an A-class.

Also for 2018, the two-berth 640 SD, an end-bedroom model with a drop-down double over the cab, now comes with an enlarged washroom and a bigger lounge. This provides even more seating space when the bed is down.

This layout is also available in the Selection 65, part of a range that, by dispensing with a double floor, a ceramic toilet and other weight-adding features, aims to bring a Frankia below 3500kg so that anyone can drive one.

The M-Line range now has an new sleeker front profile with LED headlights to compliment the LED daytime running lights and a larger windscreen. The coach-style side mirrors have also been redesigned, to make them easier to swing out.

Alloy wheels are available on the M-Line for the first time. Frankia has incorporated spacers on the axle to widen the wheel track for a better external profile, an improvement you particularly notice on M-Line A-classes.

The Titan format, which is available in 7900 and 8400 layouts – with lengths over 7.5 metres – can offer exactly the same functions as the Mercedes-based Platin, except the ability to run air conditioning on the road.

Platins and Titans now come with Büttner battery technology. Platins now come with two 110Ah lithium-ion phosphate batteries. Büttner claims the 220Ah output they can provide as a result is a distinct improvement on the three AGM batteries that were being used before.

Büttner’s solar panels, meanwhile, are glued onto the roof rather than screwed, to avoid any risk of water ingress. The motorhomes are also pre-wired for the Efoy Comfort fuel cell – effectively a 12V generator.

In other news

More minor design changes across the board at Frankia for the 2018 season include removing the inner ‘gull wing’ on each cab seat to improve access to the cab, which now also includes a DAB radio.

Decals now come with a matt finish, replacing last year’s gold with a more muted champagne or silver.

Water tanks on most models are now a whopping 270 litres, while a separate compartment had been created for the self-winding electric hook-up cable.

Clever design touches we noticed on many models include a removable shelf that can extend the area around the washbasin.

Also, side wardrobes on island-bed models come with hanging rails that are pulled forward as the door hinge opens out, saving you having to lean right over to get your clothes out.