Read the Practical Motorhome Tribute T-720 review to find out how good this motorcaravan, designed and built in Grimsby, really is

Overview

Tribute coachbuilt motorcaravans, produced in Grimsby by Auto-Trail, have made an impact on the budget motorhome market since their launch in 2010.

This successful range numbers five models – two low-profiles and three overcab coachbuilts – all with popular layouts and at super-competitive prices.

Designed and built in Grimsby, Tribute features layouts and designs that are favoured in the UK. Its coachbuilts go head-to-head with the likes of Escape by Swift Group and Autoquest from Elddis.

One difference from its rivals is Tribute’s use of the Ford Transit as its base vehicle. This one is a wide-track version that offers more stability on the road. Highly regarded by many motorcaravanners for its driving characteristics, the Transit features cruise control and similar goodies as standard. This gives buyers a genuine alternative to the Escape’s Fiat base and the Autoquest’s Peugeot, which are essentially the same vehicle.

With prices starting below £40,000, Tribute coachbuilt motorhomes appeal as ideal starter ’vans for couples new to motorcaravanning, or as large affordable multi-berth motorhomes for families.

The T-720 falls into the second category. This six-berth overcab coachbuilt with four travel seats was launched in 2010 and has evolved gradually, but faces stiffer competition from improved Escape and Autoquest models.

To find out how the latest model responds, we took one to Woodhall Spa Country Park in Lincolnshire for our expert live-in test and verdict on the Tribute T-720. This model costs from £39,955 on the road, but the version tested would set you back £41,454 on the road.

Design

Yellow, silver and black exterior graphics help the Tributes stand out against the competition. Colour-coded side skirts give the T-720 a clean look, and the curved dark window surrounds combine well to the sweeping effect of the graphics. Our test ’van was fitted with the £1445 Sport X pack of extras, including alloy wheels and awning.

The interior is dominated by birch-finish cabinet-work, granite work surfaces and table tops. These contrasting tones combine attractively to give the T-720 a contemporary look, while the upholstery’s cream-and-grey pattern with grey leading edges will hide the rigours of family touring.

Design flourishes are limited, but the chrome locker handles, coupled with subtle positive catches, belie the T-720’s budget ’van status. This sophistication is reinforced by LED ceiling strip lights. Ample natural light floods inside via rooflights and a plethora of large windows.

The comfortable rear lounge is a pleasant place to spend time. The gold-
and-grey colour scheme goes well with the cabinetwork.

On the road

The Tribute T-720 motorhome is built on a Ford Transit, with a 2.2-litre, 140bhp Euro 5-compliant engine and six-speed gearbox, so it has enough grunt to tackle hills, while returning economy figures of around 33mpg.

At 60mph, the engine will happily cruise in top gear at 1600rpm, although you’ll have to work the gearbox regularly on undulating and winding country roads.

The car-like Transit cab offers a commanding driving position with good visibility, largely unobstructed by the A-pillars.

The ride is comfortable, perhaps a little softer than you’d get in a Peugeot Boxer or Fiat Ducato base vehicle. The Transit exhibits more body roll than its rivals when tackling sharp corners. The set-up of the suspension and the conversion’s build quality keep noise from the habitation area at an acceptable level.

The lack of facing seats in this floorplan allows passengers in the two travel seats to enjoy a generous amount of legroom. Unfortunately, the seat back attitude is bolt-upright, without contoured backrests, so they may not be the most comfortable seats for long journeys. The seatbelts’ height cannot be adjusted.

The T-720 has high-impact GRP scratch-resistant sidewalls, 40mm sandwich construction walls and roof with polystyrene insulation core. The 45mm sandwich construction floor has a Styrofoam insulation core. There's a 10-year body warranty.

Lounging & dining

With both front and rear lounges, the T-720 offers the best of both worlds for families on tour. Children and adults can sit back and relax separately and congregate in one lounge or the other.

The T-720’s front seat area comprises a half dinette with side-facing sofa. The front swivel seats can be rotated and the table extended to include extra diners; this area accommodates four adults and two children for meals. The rear lounge has parallel seating for four.

Both lounges work well, but the front lounge offers the most flexibility; it also benefits from a large rooflight and offside window, so you can enjoy great views to go with the bright and airy interior.

Kitchen

The nearside kitchen galley, which is above the rear axle and to the right of the habitation door, is well proportioned and specified. Three gas burners, a combination oven and grill and a microwave oven (fitted as part of the Sport X pack) provide ample options for cooking. They’re joined by an 80-litre Dometic fridge with a separate freezer, a rectangular sink with mixer tap and two surface-mounted 230V sockets.

Lighting is plentiful, too; in addition to an LED strip running along the underside of the overhead lockers, there’s a rooflight above the kitchen to allow cooking odours and condensation to leave the ’van quickly, plus a large window behind the cooker and sink.

The position of the galley makes for an efficient use of space; everything is close at hand for cooks, and you don’t have to turn around to load or unload the fridge, for example. However, anyone preparing meals will impede access to the rear.

Sleeping

With three double beds from which to choose, the T-720 offers a real choice at night: retire straight away to the fixed overcab double, or make up the bed in the front or rear lounge.

All the beds are generously proportioned, so if the children insist on taking
the overcab bed, as they generally do, then mum, dad, grandma or grandad still have some good options in reserve.

The overcab sleeping area offers generous headroom. Access is easy but will be tricky if the lounge double bed is made up. The overcab double bed measures 2.08 x 1.38m (6’9” x 4’6”), making it the largest in the ’van. It has a comfortable mattress, too. In addition to a small window on the nearside for natural light, the overcab sleeping area has an electric light at the offside end.

Both lounges are simple to convert into beds. At the front, start by dropping
the table at the knee and then rearrange the dinette cushions to fill the space. Next, the side sofa slides to meet the half-dinette and forms a double bed across the width of the motorhome, measuring a very respectable 2.08m x 1.22m (6”9’ x 4”).

The rear bed is the same length but wider – 2.08m x 1.35m (6”9’ x 4”5’) – and
is made up in a similar way: pull out a slatted base from the box on the rear wall and arrange the seat cushions so they are flat and fill the available space.

Washroom

The T-720’s offside midships washroom is compact but perfectly usable. As you enter through a wooden door with a domestic-style handle, you’ll find a small handbasin flanked by a swivel cassette toilet, to the left, and a separate shower cubicle. A drying rail for wet towels and clothes makes the shower very practical for family use. The fully lined cubicle also boasts a holder for shampoo and shower gel and a bi-fold door so you can splash away, but a wheel arch takes a nibble out of the space available for the shower tray.

Illumination comes from a large frosted side window. The over-locker ambient lighting and the pleasant overall styling make this washroom feel more upmarket than you’d find in many budget ’vans.

Storage

There are more than enough overhead lockers to go around in the T-720: six lockers in the rear lounge, four in the front, two in the kitchen and one in the washroom. They all have positive catches and attractive chrome-effect handles.

Below the kitchen’s worktop are a cupboard with shelves between the oven and fridge, a cubby under the oven for pots and pans, and a cutlery drawer.

A three-quarter-length wardrobe sits between the washroom and travel seats, atop the gas heater. There’s storage under the rear lounge seats, too, and that on the nearside is accessible from outside.

For £39,955 you can start your holidays in the T-720 straight away, using the cruise control, which comes as standard.

Our testers say the only essentials missing from the standard kit list are electric heating and a microwave oven. If your budget stretches to a further £1499 for the Sport X options pack, you can add these two items. The pack also includes cab air conditioning, alloys, an awning, a reversing camera, a windscreen blind and an external gas point.

With so much added value, the pack looks like a must-have. If not, then you can just have an awning fitted – it’s probably the one thing you need to add to a budget family ’van.

With a respectable payload of 550kg, the T-720 is fully prepared for the demands of family touring. There’ll be plenty of room to load up to the 3500kg MTPLM, the threshold below which the Tribute can be driven with an ordinary car licence.

Technical specs

Sleeps6
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload550kg
Length6.95m22′10″
Width2.27m7′5″
Height2.94m9′8″
Waste water65L
External Options
GRP sidewalls
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Washroom
Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Truma Electric/Gas water heater

Verdict

With its distinctive yellow-and-grey graphics, the Tribute T-720 is a looker. It performed well in our Live-in test with extra comfort from the optional – but excellent value for money – Sport X pack.

Large families can’t go wrong with this layout’s three large double beds, proper kitchen and very usable washroom, all in a coachbuilt that is less than 7m long.

Prospective buyers of a budget ’van would do well to consider the Tribute T-720.

Competitive on price and spec, it has a further ace up its sleeve: the highly regarded Ford Transit, which brings a car-like cab, good driving stability and excellent reliability into the equation.

Conclusion

Pros

  • We really love the sociable front lounge with its six seating positions and handy dining table extension
  • The Ford Transit is a highly regarded base vehicle and the Tribute’s special wide-track chassis makes for good handling and stability on the road

Cons

  • A Truma gas heater is standard kit in the T-720
  • It’s a shame that blown-air distribution is a cost option, as part of the Sport X pack
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