Andrew McPhee

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Make sure you read Practical Motorhome's expert Frankia A820BD review

Overview

The A820BD is an extravagant overcab model from Frankia’s Luxury Class range. Opulence alone is not enough, though, manufacturers must first get the base right, and it’s certainly hard to fault this base vehicle.

The A820BD is fitted with Fiat’s 2.8-litre JTD engine which sends ample power to the ’van’s rear axle.

The luxury element of the Frankia’s design is evident in its spacious dinette. On the ’van we tested the round-edged table had a wine rack cut into the leg. There were also soft fabrics covering the sofas and captain’s chairs, while for just over £400 extra you can have an even more luxurious Alcantara trim. Six can dine in comfort, but you can squeeze in an extra guest.

More indulgence comes in the form of a huge, 2m-long, master bed at the rear. The mattress is really comfortable, making the bed a great place to stretch out. The overcab bed is good, too, as the mattress is supported by slatted frames.

However, the Frankia is not just about power and opulence – its exterior is aesthetically pleasing, too. The subtle grey graphics combine style with a rather understated modesty.

The vehicle has many practical features, too. There’s the mammoth garage which boasts easy access through the rear and side doors and also through a hatch in the living area. The garage side sill is low enough to load bikes, and ramps are supplied to ease the loading of heavier items such as motor scooters.

When it comes to cooking, the Frankia’s kitchen doesn’t disappoint. An oven, complete with four-burner hob and extractor hood takes centre stage, while the area around the worksurface has been thoughtfully designed with extra hooks for tea-towels.

The oval shower room has a chrome shower head, long-handled taps, a wire tray for toiletries and three large mirrors. But what really sets this model apart from the rest of the pack is the craftily hinged wall which combines the shower room and toilet area to make one joint space.

However, we did note one drawback on the A820BD and that was the rather spartan nature of its cab. There are other motorhomes almost half the price of the A820BD, and built on the same Ducato 18 base, which come with many cab features as standard. We were taken aback not with what the Frankia cab featured, but rather what it didn’t. For example, cab air conditioning was an expensive addition at £1116. Other niceties such as electric windows and central locking come free but automatic transmission is not an option, and neither is cruise control.

Make no mistake, though, the Frankia A820BD is a well-designed ’van with a quality finish, thanks to the use of excellent materials. Overall, we feel that couples seeking some deserved luxury, on a sturdy and powerful base, should seriously consider this Teutonic tag-axle ’van.

Technical specs

Sleeps6
Travel seats4
MTPLM4500kg
Payload757kg
Length8.25m27′1″
Width2.3m7′7″
Height3.02m9′11″
Waste water120L
Kitchen Equipment
4-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Washroom
Thetford C-250 toilet
Heating
Truma Gas heater

Verdict

Apart from the lack of toys in the cab, there’s much to enthuse you about this van – the bed’s fantastic, thought has gone into the kitchen design and the roomy dinette is great for lounging.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Huge, cosy bed; interior styling; huge garage; thoughtful kitchen

Cons

  • Basic, poorly specified cab
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