Nick Harding

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In the market for a high-quality end-lounge coach built offering you more than enough room for the whole family? Nick Harding tracks down one candidate.

Overview

To a casual observer, Apaches can look pretty much like any Auto-Trail - spread wheel cover at the back, recessed awning and those distinctive graphics.

The lack of a few exterior details - such as additional chrome - differentiates them from the more expensive and bigger Frontier, while inside, the Apache 700 offers a modern take on a floorplan that has always found favour.

It tops a line-up for 2019 comprising just three models; but as is the Auto-Trail way, there are variations in terms of roof (Hi-line or Lo-line) as well as travel seats (two, four or even six berths).

Three important upgrades for this season are new alloy wheels, more powerful 6kW heating, and a full cooker with dual-fuel hob.

Design

At 7.54m long, the 700 is roomy. It's no lightweight, either, tipping the scales at 3510kg, with Fiat's Heavy Ducato chassis meaning a 4250kg maximum weight - which give a pretty healthy 740kg starting payload.

Aspects such as the flat floor throughout add to the user-friendliness of the 700.

One slight anomaly is the Truma heating unit, which looks a little old-fashioned given the high level of kit elsewhere in this 'van.

Elsewhere, there are plenty of positives. Locker doors are easy to open. There's some great LED lighting (ambient and spot) and generously deep storage space in each settee base.

Lined curtains help with blackout and add to the level of cosiness.

Lounging & dining

At the front is a double dinette offering travel for up to four in our test model. As seating, it seems rather upright, despite the sculpted backrests. The side-fixing table has sliding adjustment.

Meanwhile the rear lounge's U-shaped seating affords great views on three sides, as well as all the facilities to watch TV.

Kitchen

The kitchen starts behind the cab and runs parallel to the dinette. It's not the biggest worktop, but it offers all the essential kit - Thetford cooker, Russell Hobbs microwave, sink with fixed drainer - and generous storage, with two lockers above, three drawers, and cupboard space below. You also get a 143-litre Thetford fridge with 15-litre freezer.

Sleeping

Undoubtedly, it's the rear lounge area that will prove the favoured night-time set-up, too. Slide-out slats make up the generous double bed.

A divider offers privacy in the rear lounge/bedroom. Up front, a double bed can be made from the dinette, although this is slightly more time consuming.

The Hi-line roof pod has ladder access, and a slide-out section for a double bed with generous headroom. The long roof light above should provide lots of ventilation, as well as light (it has flyscreen and blind fittings).

Washroom

The central washroom is offside. Typically Auto-Trail, there's a large shower cubicle, along with a fixed basin and Thetford cassette swivel-bowl toilet, plus details such as the hanging rail and rise bar in the shower.

Two shelved lockers - one high, one low - should be sufficient here. There's an illuminated mirror, plus a roof light above, and the only omission is a window.

Equipment

Don't forget to budget £1149 for the Media Pack (£1999 for Media Pack Plus). Another £900 for the 148bhp engine - or the £1920 on top of that if you want 177bhp - seems sensible money for what is a pretty hefty 'van.

You also get access to the My Auto-Trail online portal for owners, to keep tabs on your vehicle, and Auto-Trail Connect, which includes a Thatcham Cat 6 tracking system - although you'll have to subscribe to this.

All Apaches also come with a five-year habitation assurance, as well as 10-year body integrity back-up.

Technical specs

LayoutRear lounge
Sleeps6
Travel seats6
MTPLM4250kg
Payload740kg
Length7.54m24′9″
Width2.35m7′9″
Height3.1m10′2″
Engine (capacity)2300
Fresh/waste water135L / 85L
Leisure battery92 Ah
Kitchen Equipment
Thetford Fridge, 3-burner gas with electric hot plate, Oven, Microwave
Washroom
Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Truma Combi heater
Security
Immobiliser

Verdict

Auto-Trail has long been a favourite marque in the UK - and it's easy to see why.

PRACTICAL MOTORHOME SAYS...

The flexibility of up to six berths and the user-friendliness of that generous rear lounge, along with the usual high-level Auto-Trail specification, top the list of attractions for the Apache 700. You'll need to make sure that you have the relevant C1 category on your licence to drive this heavy motorhome, though.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Easy to open locker doors
  • LED lighting is great

Cons

  • Truma heating unit looks old-fashioned

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