Andrew McPhee

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Find out how the TEC FreeTEC 718 Ti performed in the Practical Motorhome review

Design

Built on a Ford Transit chassis, the 718 Ti has very clean lines. Its gas locker is housed in the garage, along with the electric hook-up point. The graphics are boldly presented with red, white and blue flashes on pale grey side panels, topped off by a white roof.

The ’van is designed for the UK market with the habitation door on the nearside. There is an electric step which sits quite low and makes access to the living area easy, even for those with mobility issues.

We were impressed with the heating in this motorhome. The blown-air ducts all appear to be in just the right positions and the bathroom was the temperature of a sauna in no time at all.

The 718 has a decent-sized garage. It is well-lit, has a good number of anchorage points, is accessible from both sides of the ’van and benefits from the heating being ducted into it – great for keeping the area aired and for drying off your walking boots.

On the road

The 718 has Ford’s 2.4-litre TDCi engine with a six-speed gearbox on the Transit 350L chassis. Forward visibility is fine but the door mirrors are smaller than those on, say, the Fiat Ducato, and subsequently are not as effective. The lack of a rear window also meant that reversing the FreeTEC was difficult. The absence of a reversing camera on the basic version is regrettable.

The cab area is great. The steering wheel is small and sporty, and everything you need is within easy reach. There are plenty of storage pockets and drinks holders and the secondary 12V charging point is well concealed. Air-conditioning, electric windows, CD player, cruise control and electric mirrors all come as standard, and the dashboard is finished with ‘platinum’ vinyl trim. The cab doors do not have central locking, though.

Driver and passenger seats both swivel easily and 
are fully adjustable for height and rake.

Lounging & dining

The lounge/dining area is small but there is adequate room for two people. With the cab seats swivelled, four adults can be seated (at a pinch). The table is adjustable in height and direction and there is also an infill extension.

The seating in the dinette area is L-shaped and there is a pair of three-point seat belts. One of the cushions and base boards is removable to allow legroom in front of the inner seat when travelling.

The foam seats are comfortable and none of the cushions slid around in transit. The upholstery fabric is serviceable blue denim with grey and beige strips (known as the Birmingham design). It may not be to everyone’s taste but the material looks hard-wearing (other colour options are available). All the windows are fitted with blinds/flyscreens and curtains.

Behind the passenger seat is a small cupboard, pre-wired for a television. However, the positioning of the cupboard does not allow all the dinette occupants to view the screen comfortably. An adjustable arm supporting an LCD TV would have maximised the viewing options.

The lighting in the 718 is superb. There is a centre light consisting of three halogen bulbs, and two tracked, fully-adjustable spotlights above the bench seat. There is also a halogen light over the habitation door and another above the coat hooks. The living area also benefits from a large Seitz roof vent – it can either be popped open or wound up – and this allows lots of natural light to flood the area.

The lounge area in this motorhome has bags of storage space. There are three lockers above the lounge seats and loads of open-shelf storage above the cab, too. And even with the cab seats swivelled, you can easily reach the dashboard drinks holders.

The removable curtain, which fits neatly around the cab windows (with press studs), is a nice touch and far more effective and user-friendly than, say, fixed curtains hanging down at the side.

Kitchen

The L-shaped kitchen is quite small but very usable. There is not a lot of worksurface, although we did manage to prepare meals without too much juggling. There is a Cramer three-burner gas hob, with a glass cover, but it doesn’t have electronic ignition and the hob’s layout wouldn’t allow for three large pans to be used at the same time.

The stainless steel sink is nice and deep and the monobloc tap folds down into it when the glass top is in place. However, the water pump is quite noisy and there is no dedicated draining area for dishes.

Unlike many Continental ’vans, the 718 has a small Spinflo oven with an integral grill, which should appeal to the UK market. It is set low down, below the cutlery drawer, which is far safer for shorties than those positioned at eye level.

There is plenty of storage space here, with a large pull-out racking unit suitable for tins, vegetables and other foodstuffs. There are also two shelved cupboards positioned above the hob, and a drawer underneath the oven.

The kitchen is set off by an efficient fan above the hob, with two integral halogen lights. There is also a three-pin socket and a 12V outlet, both of which are set adjacent to the fan. The high position of the sockets means there are no trailing wires to worry about while you are cooking, and all sockets (four) throughout the motorhome have neat, modern, rocker switches.

The large fridge with separate freezer is at an ideal height (located on the opposite side of the ’van, next to the washroom) and below this is another large cupboard.

Sleeping

The sleeping area is the star attraction in this motorhome, with two fixed single beds which make up into a double. The beds are positioned above the garage, and there are two deep steps up to them. Each bed has a side window, and a foam mattress a good 15cm deep.

However, we noticed that the mattresses were slightly overhanging the slatted bed frame and that the material on their undersides quickly began to show signs of wear and tear.

There are a total of ten small cupboards around the top of the bedroom area, and a large cupboard below the base of each of the beds. One of the top cupboards has a three-pin socket and is wired for a TV aerial. There is a shelf running across the total width of the ’van above the beds so there’s plenty of space for books, glasses and night-time drinks.

Also in the bedroom area is a small push-up roof vent and a good level of lighting: two adjustable spotlights and some really moody, ambient lighting which shines out from behind the small headrests.

To convert the single beds into a double you just use the two infill cushions (stored in a shelf above the bed). Once made up, the bed is very comfortable. You need the provided ladder to get into it, and it is very steep, which makes access awkward – a slightly longer ladder would solve this problem.

Washroom

The washroom is rather small for this length of ’van but the circular shower area has a sliding door which pulls right around to protect the rest of the washroom from spray. The floor can feel rather slippery, even though it is grooved.

A small, modern, acrylic washbasin sits on a shelf and there are mirrors on two sides. The storage space around the basin is sufficient for a couple and there are tooth mugs and ‘tidies’ incorporated into the corner, above the basin.

Our biggest gripe in the washroom was the swivel loo. To use the facility with the door closed you'll have to swivel the base through 90 degrees and sit with your feet in the shower tray. The toilet does not feel particularly stable: ours seemed to tip slightly when in use, and it was mounted quite high up.

There’s a three-pin electrical socket positioned directly outside the washroom and it is ideally placed for the use of a hair-dryer in front of the large mirrors. And, although there is no window, the roof vent lets in a good amount of light to supplement the excellent level of artificial lighting.

Overall, it’s a good-looking washroom but we are not convinced how user-friendly it would be in the long-term.

Storage

Storage space is second to none, and despite the presence of a good-sized garage, TEC has not compromised on interior spaces. There is a three-quarter-length wardrobe with a hanging rail, which is more than adequate for two people on tour. Its interior light could be brighter – at night it is difficult to see inside easily.

The garage is a real asset, and houses the gas locker as well as some extra shelves. Sadly, although the garage is a large space, there’s no access from inside.

Technical specs

Sleeps2
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload350kg
Length7.39m24′3″
Width2.32m7′7″
Height2.92m9′7″
Waste water110L
External Options
Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill, Extractor fan
Washroom
Thetford C-200 toilet, Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Truma Electric/Gas water heater

Verdict

A high-quality motorhome which will appeal to the more mature motorcaravanner.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Large fridge; good level of natural light throughout living area; excellent interior lighting.

Cons

  • Gas hob has no electronic ignition; TV cupboard not well placed; washroom too compact, with toilet in awkward position.
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