Andrew McPheeSee other motorhome reviews written by Andrew McPhee
Read Practical Motorhome's review of the well specced, four-berth Auto-Trail Apache 634U SE
The Apache is the same height as the rival Bessacarr E425, but due to a consistent roof height from front to back, its overcab looks more in proportion. Also, the thick GRP rear pillars set its appearance apart from the competition as being that little bit more crafted.
The water tanks are housed in a space between the two floors, and are also insulated.
The Apache’s door can be locked remotely along with the cab doors. It has two locking points, a small bin and an opening window.
Auto-Trail uses a detachable, flexible hose for the waste water point: it’s mounted behind the offside rear wheel. You get about one metre of travel, which is helpful when it comes to reaching otherwise inaccessible drains and the like.
The lounge has a rooflight and good electric lighting, and the Apache also has concealed lighting and frosted-glass corner lights on a dimmer switch. However, it suffers to a certain extent from the ‘corridor effect’ where the washroom forms a bulkhead into the living area. The sense of an enclosed space is quite overpowering, where the wardrobe and washroom face each other just behind the cab.
However, everything looks and feels opulent, with deep-coloured carpets, hardwood-framed locker doors and aircraft-style lockers.
The construction of the bodywork, where the overcab joins the main body, is neat and tidy, but there’s a cumbersome split-bed base that has to be slid out of the way.
Auto-Trail has provided swivel seats, which seems unnecessary, because the ’van a large lounge, although some buyers may prefer an additional chair.
On the road
There’s good access to and from the cab, thanks to decent headroom, and the cab is a reasonably driver-friendly place to be. There’s just one cup holder, but space in the door bins for 1.5- and two-litre bottles and a second locking glove box in the centre of the dashboard.
Power comes from Fiat’s 130 Multijet turbo-diesel, so the Apache never struggles to perform, even fully laden, and it’s comfortable to drive, thanks to its light steering. Also, the Ford suffers from a long, heavy clutch pedal in comparison to the Fiat.
There is a limited amount of rear through-view, however – the wardrobe and washroom behind the cab restrict vision.
Lounging & dining
The cushions are too deep to enable most people to recline comfortably against the back cushions with their feet on the floor. These cushions are also pretty flat, with reasonable if unexceptional support and no shaped corner cushions, but they offer an even surface when made into a bed.
There’s a small cupboard/sideboard, which is where the TV sits.
The wardrobe is big enough for a couple’s clothes for two weeks, and there’s also a shoe cupboard.
The aircraft-style lockers look smart and are something many ’vans at this price lack. The lower lockers are very small, but would be ideal for holding books, CDs, DVDs and other, similar items.
The Sirius also provides the best access to storage space with its three cantilevered seat bases, which are easy to open. The Bessacarr provides hinged slats (with no stays) and seat-base lockers, while the Apache and Goldstar offer removable slats and seat-base lockers.
In the kitchen, you get a full-sized cutlery drawer with four compartments (surprisingly, not all rivals can claim this) and a big storage space for pans beneath the oven.
In the washroom, the Apache has two towel rails, one long and three small railed shelves, and two cupboards – one above and one below the sink.
Dometic Fridge, 4-burner gas hob, Oven, Separate grill
Thetford C-250 toilet, Separate shower cubicle
The Auto-Trail is a fabulous-looking and really well-specified ‘van, and it's very well suited to winter touring. However, there are a couple of build quality issues.
- Superb styling inside and out; class-leading specification
- Small washroom lacks room for the toilet