PRACTICAL MOTORHOME SAYS…
It is, of course, a huge amount of money. But if you have the means to buy, and want to head off into the sunset on extensive, largely self-sufficient tours, this motorhome is going to be really hard to beat. The Plus layout, in particular, feels so much like home that you sometimes forget you are actually in a ‘van. You might want a dual-fuel hob or a larger oven, but that is just a quibble.
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Off-grid power sources; large amount of storage lockers
Small garage for size of vehicle
Can a motorhome with a 190bhp Mercedes-Benz engine be classed as green? Well, yes: Frankia really makes the most of said engine on its Platin models, including the new I 8400 Plus.
That engine is connected to a Büttner MT 1700 Si-K/Sinus inverter, which helps to recharge the two (yes, two) 110Ah lithium batteries. There’s also a heat exchange system for the interior.
There are no fewer than four 110W Büttner solar panels on the roof to keep the batteries charged. Those batteries are lithium, so they can carry on until they are pretty much depleted. They are less likely to have problems in extreme temperatures, and can be charged and recharged many times.
That all means you can spend several days in this ‘van without having to take power from the grid.
The Frankia may have a six-figure price, but it is designed to last, and comes with an 11-year water-ingress guarantee. That has to be good for the planet, too.
The motorhome was also the winner of the best motorhome over £80,000 at the Practical Motorhome Awards 2022, as well as making it onto the shortlist for the best motorhome for full-time living. We were sufficiently impressed to put it on our best motorhome round-up too, where we picked out the top models on the market.
The two lithium batteries and four solar panels means you can spend several days in this 'van without having to take power from the grid
The C-shaped lounge, which in our test model came with leather Moorgrey upholstery that is a £3760 extra, bears a striking similarity to Carthago’s Liner-for-Two, which this magazine had on a long-term loan last year.
It lacks that vehicle’s slide-out seat, but instead, as a £1550 extra in our test model, the front section of the settee can be converted into two travel seats.
You do get a TV fitted as standard, which slides out from what looks like a large cupboard in the lounge. Along with speakers under the lockers, there’s also a subwoofer below the settee. That does the business for surround sound.
The kitchen on our test model came with a Corian worktop as an optional extra. This includes covers for the sink, a bin, two gas burners and (a special Frankia feature) a third gas burner that has its own drainage hole for cleaning.
You get a Thetford Duplex combined oven and grill, two-way opening fridge and separate freezer. There’s a good amount of storage, including three big drawers and a cupboard near the door.
The central washroom is partitioned off back and front. The shower on the driver’s side is well lit, with two drains and a glass door. On the other side is a large mirrored cupboard and a ceramic toilet with a carbon filter.
The Plus layout includes two single beds that drop down over the cab, but when they are up, there is still room to turn the cab area into a second lounge.
To reach the drop-down beds, you slide out steps from one of the chests at the back of the cab. The second bed is easily made up by lowering the table and inserting one large infill cushion. You do have to remove the backrests to make the most of the bed’s length.
The rear-lounge layout means the garage is not quite as large as it might be, although it is still tall enough for a couple of bikes, and easily accessible.
Garage aside, there is loads of storage in this 8.6m-long ‘van. There are two wardrobes, with shelves and a hanging rail. There are also eight lockers around the lounge, plus two cocktail-style cabinets in the corners.
The floor includes three cubbyholes, a step in the entrance opens to reveal a boot locker, and with drawers inside the chests in the cab, that should be more than enough storage for four occupants. Plus, Frankia includes a clever compartment contains all you need to hook up.