In common with many manufacturers, this year Tribute is treading a fairly conservative path for the coming season, limiting major changes to a modest facelift for the T-669 and T-670 van conversions carried over from 2015, and a new top-of-the-range T-736 coachbuilt.
Tribute is the value brand that Trigano sells in the UK; the group’s flagship marque is Auto-Trail. The van conversions are comfortably cheaper than even the new value-oriented V-Line SE, and the price of the new T-736 is a full £1000 less than the cheapest and smallest Imala, as revealed in our Auto-Trail 2016 season preview.
Both Tribute van conversions are carried over from 2015, with no changes to their respective end-lounge and end-transverse-double-bed layouts.
However, there’s a new look to the outside, including a rejigged brand identity (including the words ‘Tribute by Auto-Trail’ on the rear panel and an Auto-Trail badge on the radiator grille). The external graphics and soft furnishings scheme have also been updated for 2016.
It’s a similar story on the coachbuilt front, where new cab colour and new graphics are the most obvious changes from 2015, together with a new glazed habitation entrance.
The only genuinely big story to emerge from Tribute for the 2016 model year is the launch of a new T-736 coachbuilt, available in low- or high-line body options and based on the 130bhp X290 Fiat Ducato on a 3500kg chassis.
What’s interesting about this newcomer is that it brings a six-berth contender to the party, with the option to upgrade to six fully belted travel seats – a motorhome that can both carry and sleep six people is something of a rarity.
As standard, the T-736 comes fitted with a pair of lounge settees and an offside half dinette, but buyers can also opt for an offside Pullman dinette, with either two or four travel seats, albeit on the upgraded 3650kg chassis.
All models, however, stick with the huge U-shaped rear lounge, which is a long-standing favourite among UK buyers. Prices start at £42,995.
In other news
Both Tribute van conversions come with improved interiors, including ‘Tabatha’ soft furnishings and a new Triplex oven. LED lighting has been upgraded, and both models get a microwave and 96-litre fridge with removable freezer fitted as standard. Impressively, both warrant a wide-screen reversing camera and three-speed roof extractor fan.
The T-736, meanwhile, can be specified with a tweaked £1499 Driver’s Pack, which now includes metallic silver paint and cab air conditioning, along with such existing extras as cruise control and a variety of traction-control systems.
Practical Motorhome’s star ‘van – Tribute T-736
This is the only new model added to the Tribute range for 2016, but it really is a star in its own right. As fixed-beds continue their relentless march through the motorhome industry, it’s a refreshing change to see a large coachbuilt fitted with a spacious and welcoming end lounge, separate from the front lounge.
The layout options are impressive, too, meaning this is a motorhome that should have appeal across the board for couples and families alike. You get the choice of retaining the front dinette or going for a Pullman-style four-seater for improved dining, or to keep those four passengers safely belted while travelling.
A motorhome that can both carry and sleep six people is something of a rarity