WITH IMPROVED CONSTRUCTION, higher specs and – for now at least – prices held over from 2014, the 2015 line-up from British motorhome manufacturer Auto-Trail definitely makes it one to watch.
Auto-Trail has historically tended to concentrate on the mid- to high-end of the motorhome market, with budget dalliances largely restricted to its Tribute range. That’s all about to change, however. With plans afoot to expand its nine-acre Grimsby factory within the next 12 to 18 months, Auto-Trail is gearing up for increased capacity in order to create a greater presence for itself in new market sectors. Inevitably, this means an increased focus on younger buyers, with a greater emphasis on the innate style and modern technology that these buyers demand.
In light of the company’s expansion plans, while familiar names such as Tracker, Apache and Frontier return for the 2015 model year, there are some new faces for Auto-Trail, including an all-new and great value coachbuilt range. Factor in the heavily revised X290 Fiat Ducato and it’s clear that much has changed within the brand for 2015. One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is pricing – Auto-Trail guarantees that prices will remain unchanged from 2014 levels until 20 October.
The big news this year is the launch of the all-new Imala range, which takes Auto-Trail into a whole new marketplace. Positioned below the existing Tracker line-up, Imala offers five different layouts and a wealth of options. All 2015 Auto-Trails are built on the heavily-revised X290 Fiat Ducato base vehicle, with the standard specification including Electronic Stability Control, hill-hold, rollover mitigation, hill descent control, Traction+ and speed-limited cruise control.
The new Imala range finally gives Auto-Trail a presence in the sub-£50,000 coachbuilt market, taking the fight to the likes of the Elddis Autoquest and Swift Esprit. End kitchen layouts in the Auto-Trail Imala range kick off with the twin-settee 615, with the 620 offering either a double or half-dinette on the offside. The 625 has a spacious U-shaped end lounge, and the French bed 715 is available with twin settee or settee/half dinette lounge configurations. The 720 has a parallel rear lounge in addition to its front settee and half dinette. All with the exception of the 625 are available in Hi-Line (overcab bed) or Lo-Line (overcab storage) guise; the 625 is Hi-Line only. All are built on 3500kg chassis (with a no-cost option to upgrade to 3650kg) with a standard 130bhp engine. Upgrading to a 147bhp or a 177bhp engine is available as a cost option, as is the ComfortMatic automatic gearbox, which is available on all engines. A £649 Media Pack brings with it a fold-down, 8.5-inch Avtex TV, a reversing camera and Bluetooth hands-free connection.
The V-Line, launched by Auto-Trail for the 2014 model year, makes a welcome return, with the standard body colour once again white, with metallic carbon black a cost option. 16-inch alloy wheels are standard across the range, with both the 610 and 620 warranting the unusual opening rear tailgate. The 610’s U-shaped rear lounge loses last year’s central chest of drawers in a bid to open up greater sitting space, but can be specified as a cost option. Both the 610 and the 620 now use a space-efficient 25-litre underfloor LPG tank, with all models available with a choice of five different upholstery schemes. An 8.5-inch Avtex TV/DVD player is fitted as standard.
Arguably the biggest change to Auto-Trail’s core Tracker, Apache and Frontier models concerns the metallic carbon black cab, which is now standard on all models. No changes have been made to the line-up, but all models benefit from the new high-spec X290 Fiat Ducato base vehicle, which brings with it a variety of traction and stability control features.
Worktops benefit from a new design and colour scheme, with improved locker lighting and backlighting to the wall splashbacks. As with other Fiat-based models within the range, cab improvements include re-designed captain’s swivel chairs, USB charging points, air con-cooled bottle storage and bigger road wheels.
Want more? Read our full 2015 preview of Continental motorhomes, check out our preview of the new 2015 ‘vans from Dethleffs and Sunlight, the new 2015 line-up from Carado and Hymer, the new ‘vans from Auto-Sleepers, the very latest from Slovenian brand Adria and German brand Knaus, and get details of the new Swift motorhomes for 2015.