It was love at first sight for this pair of Auto Trail Delaware owners…
by Jack ‘n Jill (not their real names!)
After much weighing up of the pros and cons of motorhome v caravan, we decided to go down the motorhome track. We were actually looking in the second-hand market when we called into Sydney RV Centre. After going through a few second-hand models we were shown the new British-built Auto Trail. We weren’t really considering a new vehicle and left confused as to what to do. A long drive home allowed us to discuss the pros and cons of new v second hand, but by the time we arrived home we’d settled on the new Auto Trail. The vehicle costs a lot more than we had budgeted, however, we had over six months to save the difference as it had yet to be built. So it was back down to Sydney to have a test drive and put down a deposit. After the test drive, we were positive we had made the right choice.
Purchase day arrived and after a few hiccups with the handover, we left Sydney at 5 pm on a Friday afternoon. From that moment the vehicle has been super. We have had a few great trips up and down the coast and down to the Snowy Mountains over the past few years and have added a few extras, and completed some modifications to it.
What we love about our Auto Trail • It certainly drives like a car and has great economy. There is plenty of power with the 3-litre turbo diesel and automated six-speed manual. It feels stable on the roads and corners well. The front-wheel drive has not been an issue so far (even though we were warned that it could be) and the engine is very quiet compared to others we test drove
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• It came with 2 x 9 kg gas bottles, which is more than enough gas for two people. It has two house batteries (one which we installed) and a solar panel, which allows us to free camp for reasonable periods without worrying about power. All the lighting is LED, which hardly uses any power. The only things we can’t run while free camping are the microwave and air conditioner
• External storage is fantastic! There is a back locker (side to side) that easily takes a double sized slat table, four chairs, another small table, barbecue, mats, shadecloths, fishing rods, beach umbrella and spare tyre! There are other smaller external storage areas that house hoses, drainage pipes, tool boxes, etc
• Internal storage is super too. To date we have not really required the use of the storage under the bed as there is ample elsewhere throughout the interior
• The internal layout is for two people and so we have a swing out table that centres between the two swivel driving chairs and two couches on either side of the van. There is also a stand alone table that we haven’t required yet
• The kitchen is small but we have a system where we both are able to use it at the same time. With a full oven, grill and four hotplates we are able to cook most meals we have at home (although most of our cooking is done outside with the barbecue and an outdoor convection oven). The three-way absorption fridge is plenty big enough for us, and the freezer compartment allows us to fit 15 meals of meat, etc. The fridge has an external fan
that cuts in automatically on hot days to allow it to keep working efficiently
• The toilet and shower are on separate sides of the van. The shower suits us, however a larger person might struggle moving around in it. There is a door that closes off the toilet and also the bedroom and shower, to allow for privacy
• The bedroom has a double island bed with bedside tables and plenty of storage for clothing
• There are numerous windows and large roof hatches to allow for great airflow and light. However all of these come with full built-in shade blinds if darkness is required
• It comes with pull up carpet. We have chosen to leave the carpet in the bedroom, but have pulled it up in the rest of the van as vinyl is easier to keep clean. This also makes it easy to replace the carpet in the future as the pieces could be taken in for exact measurement
• There are plenty of internal `hidy holes’ that allow us to safely store wallets, jewellery, etc
• There is an entertainment system operated via the dashboard with a drop down TV screen between the front seats. If needed the screen can be seen from the bed, too.
• It has reverse-cycle air conditioning as well as ducted internal heating, which comes from the hot water system if required. Both are really efficient
• When we pull into a site we can be fully set up with awning, furniture, power, hoses/drains etc in about 10 minutes. Pack up time is about 15 minutes.
What we have added • The motorhome came with a good sized water tank and a great pump However there was no attachment to connect to a hose when in caravan parks. We have since added this, with the appropriate reducers
• The Omnistor Awnings are not as robust as those used in Australia, so we have purchased an anti-flap kit and extra torsion bars to give it a bit more strength. We have also added additional poles to tie down the awning more securely. We don’t
Top to bottom: From pelmet shelves to an under-seat tray, towel drying rails (just like Polly’s!) and even a slot for the breadboard, Phil and Julianne seem to have thought of everything…
really like the current system where the guide ropes are over the leg joints of the awning – it could create problems with the joints later on
• We added a digital TV in the bedroom, which was easy as there was a 12 V outlet and aerial socket provided
• We also added a stereo radio in the bedroom
• We are planning to add fold-down stabiliser legs, like the ones on caravans, to the rear of the vehicle.
Issues • The only real issue we have with the Auto Trail is the rear overhang. We are so used to it now it is second nature to attack
any driveways/speed humps at an angle. Probably if we had our time again we would have gone for the extra foot in length which then allowed for a double axle at the rear and hardly any overhang
• The overhang also makes it a bit costly to attach a tow bar, so to date we don’t have one
• The water heater is under the bed. Sometimes during warmer weather we have to turn it off at night as it gets too hot. This isn’t a problem the next morning as it only takes about 10 minutes to heat up.
Overall we really enjoy being in our Auto Trail, we just wish we had more time to spend in it!