The Auto-Trail F68 follows on from the new-look range from the 2020 season – the first to ditch the ‘Tribute’ name. The coachbuilt range is built on a Ford Transit base vehicle, rather than the Fiat Ducato. That accounts for the lower price.
The motorhome is a two-berth with a rear U-shaped lounge. In the past that has been a fairly regular staple on just about every manufacturer’s range. Even now, the F68 is joining a fairly crowded market – although its closest rivals are considerably more expensive.
With a slightly longer overall length (6.8m, when ‘vans with this motorhome layout are often 6.6m or shorter), Auto-Trail manages to include some useful innovations, as you might expect from the ‘van that won the best 2 berth motorhome category at the Practical Motorhome Awards.
We headed to the Grimsby manufacturer and Trigano subsidiary to take a look at the model – the ‘van was £57,647 as tested.
Exterior and cab
The exterior of the F68 only slightly gives away the range’s (sort-of) budget origins. You get a cab in a choice of five Ford colours: our test model was magnetic grey, but you can also go for agate black, chrome blue, moondust or Kappor red. But apart from the decal stretching back to the kitchen window, the outside is fairly uniformly white. Our test model also came with 16-inch alloy wheels, which are a £860 cost option.
You do get an opening sunroof, while the connection for the hook-up is towards the rear on the nearside, away from any awning you might use. Our test model also included an external BBQ point that is part of the £1499 Lux Pack.
There are external doors to the area under the rear seats on both sides, and it’s much easier to reach these areas from the outside than from the inside, so they’d be useful for items such as outdoor furniture, levelling ramps and, of course, your hook-up cable.
Our model came with the £1200 option of a more powerful 170PS engine and Ford’s six-speed automatic gearbox (a further £1860). The Ford cab includes lots of useful cubbyholes for items such as your mobile phone and sunglasses. The Lux Pack also gets you a reversing camera, although on this model there is a clear view through the rear window. Cab blinds, however, are a £590 option which we would be tempted to go for.
Returning to the ’van was stress-free on our test model, thanks to the inclusion of an awning light. The switch for the interior lights is nicely low down as you step in, so you don’t need to clamber into darkness to find it.
The Lounge in the Auto-Trail F68
The rear lounge is roomy, with enough space for seven people, and it’s comfortable, with large base cushions. Two vents from the Whale heating system – one in the centre at the back, and one near the front of the lounge on the offside – should keep things cosy in winter.
The foldaway table, which comes out of its own storage slot just in front of this vent, easily has enough room for three places. The bracket for a TV immediately above this is made of the same light Salinas Oak that the furniture is built from, and not ugly black metal.
But we weren’t so keen on the large half-partition that is designed to create a distinction between the kitchen and the lounge. It’s so intrusive that it makes the lounge feel cut off. In fact, if you were to swing any TV out into the centre here, the lounge really would be cut off.
We also found it a bit of an obstacle if you prefer to clear everything off the table onto the kitchen worktop at the end of a meal, without needing to wriggle out from under the table. At least a mains socket has been cleverly placed here, so it could be shared between the kitchen and the lounge.
You only get a small rooflight over the lounge, but enough daylight comes in through the three large windows. At night, spotlights in the far corners and dimmable 12V striplights under all the lockers should help you clearly see what you are reading; ambient light is restricted to behind the lockers over the kitchen.
Sleeping in the Auto-Trail F68
With the comfy Flori upholstery, the two settees work fine as single beds and are long enough even for tall people.
The double bed relies on slats that come out half way across the space in the middle of the rear lounge. That does mean that, even with the bed out, there is still room for someone to sit on either side of the lounge. This would be ideal if one of you is an early riser.
But it does mean that you have to rely on infill cushions to go over that space. (If the slats came out the whole way you could possibly use one of the backrests.) The cushions in our test model weren’t the correct ones for that particular vehicle, so we can’t fairly comment on how effective they would be. But in our experience infill cushions tend to work best if they are hemmed in on all sides by something more solid – here, they sit at the end of the slats. You will also need to find a space to store them during the day.
That said, with the backrests not needed for the bed, you have very comfy headrests. The spotlights are easy to reach to turn off when you are lying down, and the main switch for all the other lights is only an arm’s length away. The TV bracket is excellently positioned for night-time viewing, too.
Kitchen in the Auto-Trail F68
The kitchen presents a slightly odd assortment of priorities. You get a three-burner hob, a combined oven and grill – ideal for some motorhome cooking – but no microwave (although there possibly would be room for one). Yet you also get a 142-litre fridge – which is huge for the food of two people. Our model also came with an Omnivent, which is another feature included in the Lux Pack.
The sink is an adequate size, as is the workspace, with the mains socket handily nearby. It’s all well lit, too, with a striplight and a large window.
Washroom in the Auto-Trail F68
Modern Auto-Trail washrooms are becoming easy to recognise thanks to their splashbacks in a refreshing minty green colour. The colour helps to freshen what can often be a dingy part of the motorhome, especially when, like here, there is no window – there is a rooflight, however.
There is quite a step to get into the room itself, but the square sink is large and solid, with a well-lit mirror behind it. There is a towel ring behind the door, and a toilet roll holder.
The shower, once you step into it, has perfectly decent headroom, and enough room to move around in to get a good lather. But it only has one drainage hole, so you might need to spend time making sure the motorhome is level.
Storage in the Auto-Trail F68
The slightly longer length of this motorhome has clearly allowed the designers to include more clever storage ideas. The best example of this is the set of small shelves and cupboards you find immediately behind both the driver’s seat and the passenger seat in the cab. You have to move the seats right forward to access them fully, but that should be no problem once you are parked up. In fact it makes better use of what would otherwise be redundant space. These shelves then provide you with extra space for storing small items of clothing right where you need it, next to the wardrobe and the washroom.
In fact, if you think you can’t stretch to pay the extra for cab blinds (or perhaps you don’t fancy having to clamber into the cab to pull them closed), we might be inclined to retrofit a little curtain rail along the side of the pelmet shelf here, and put in some of your own curtains. Either way, you get a great dressing space.
The wardrobe is a good size, although you are probably going to have to stow the infill cushions for the bed in here. What at first appears to be another cupboard under the wardrobe is a place for the fuse box, because the gas bottle locker takes up the rest of the space.
You get six large overhead lockers around the top of the lounge, all of them with a shelf inside. There are also two nicely lit cubbyholes either side of the cab, should you need overflow space.
The underseat areas are a different matter. They are mostly clear, but there are no internal access flaps to reach them. So to get to them from the inside you really need to remove all the base cushions, and the slats too, as these slats just lift off – they aren’t hinged. We’d be tempted not to bother, and leave this area for outdoor equipment. With just two of you, there should just be enough room for clothes elsewhere.
Kitchen storage, on the other hand, is good. There are two overhead lockers, without any racks inside them, and a large cupboard under the sink with a pull-out cutlery tray and a shelf. The pan lockers under the fridge and the combined oven and grill are also a good size.
The washroom is equally adequately fitted out, with a large cupboard under the basin and a choice of small open and larger covered shelves above it. There are also racks for gels in the shower.
There are some impressive items included as standard on the F68, such as that huge fridge, daytime running lights, a steel spare wheel and cab door speakers. Heated mirrors are part of the £1499 Drivers Pack, while the reversing camera comes with the similarly priced Lux Pack.
But there are strange omissions too, such as no microwave, even as an option. The ambient lighting isn’t as comprehensive as you’d think either.
Still, the splashback in the washroom helps to lift the feel of the room considerably, and the extra storage behind the cab is very useful.
Ideally, we’d like to have seen slats that hinge up, or at the very least internal access flaps to the underseat areas. An option of a microwave might be popular, too. But the F68 comes in at a great price, and its rear lounge is wonderfully comfortable and spacious. The shelves in the front mean you almost get a dressing room, too – and all in a motorhome that is under 7m long.
If you’re still looking for some more ‘van inspiration, our guide to the best motorhomes is well worth a look, as we run through the standout currently options on the market.
• Great to drive
• Comfortable rear lounge
• Bright and spacious washroom
• Clever cab storage
• Settee slats are not hinged
• Half-partition between lounge and kitchen gets in the way
• No microwave – even as an option
You are on the lookout for a classic British motorhome for just the two of you, only with just a little bit more space to move about in and welcome people in for a meal or drinks when you are on tour.
- Chassis Ford Transit
- Engine 2.0 litre 170PS Euro 6 (130PS as standard)
- Power 170PS @ 3500rpm
- Torque 390Nm @ 1750rpm
- Transmission Six-speed Select Shift automatic gearbox (six-speed manual as standard)
Cab speakers, daytime runnning lights, multi-function trip computer
GRP scratch-resistant side walls, acrylic-capped ABS side skirts, GRP high-gloss roof moulding, full vinyl underfloor protection. 40mm insulation on roof and walls, 45mm on floor. High-security entrance door with central locking, waste bin, flyscreen and Auto-Trail umbrella. Blinds and flyscreens to all habitation windows and rooflights
Lounging and dining
U-shaped rear lounge with foldaway table, 12V under-locker LED dimmable lighting and reading lights, TV bracket
Three-burner gas-only hob, combined oven and grill, 142-litre fridge
Rear double: 2.10 x 1.48m, or two singles: 2.06 x 0.7m (offside) and 1.88 x 0.7m (nearside)
Whale Heat Air space and Expanse water heater, with new control panel, steel spare wheel
Or you could try these…
- Bürstner Lyseo TD 644 Harmony Line -Slightly longer, with more luxurious fittings, and a garage and rear travel seats
- Auto-Sleepers Broadway EL -This Peugeot-based rear lounge model is shorter than the F68 but very cosy, and a better kitchen.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, why not get the latest news, reviews and features delivered direct to your door or inbox every month. Take advantage of our brilliant Practical Motorhome magazine SUBSCRIBERS’ OFFER and SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER for regular weekly updates on all things motorhome related.
|Shipping Length||6.80 m|
|Engine Size||2300 cc|