I recently gave the X-Ception a serious hit-out near the base of Mount Warrenheip – an extinct volcanic pimple rising out of the flatlands east of Ballarat, Vic – and it passed the test with flying colours. Hitched to Bedggoods Motor Group dealer principal Barry Bedggood’s Colorado, it negotiated the twisting turns and knolls with minimal bounce and oscillation. Indeed, Franklin badges the X-Ception as an on-roader but also says it can take on dirt tracks and corrugations, if handled sensibly.
LAYOUT AND DESIGN
Externally, the X-Ception is an imposing sight courtesy of its ‘Diamond Silver’ aluminium body. The high-strength, double-ribbed cladding indicates it could tolerate a walloping, and I’m partial to the van’s body shape and its Mobicool Dometic double-glazed windows with integrated blinds and flyscreens. The windows push out and are sealed remarkably well to the outside, as the framework covers the external cladding substantially. I also liked the aesthetics of the black Perspex front window, with protector shade and smooth X-Ception decal, plus the high checkerplate front with silver stucco above, and low checkerplate sides.
It continues to receive my tick of approval courtesy of the Camec triple-locking door, external TV entertainment hatch, dual 90L water tanks with galvanised sheet metal protection, drop-down picnic table, two external speakers, illuminated grab handle, a common outlet for all waste water, and Narva LED external traffic lighting.
External storage is by way of an external rear hatch (which could hold a generator), a full-length tunnel boot and a checkerplate toolbox on the 150x50mm A-frame. Also up front are two 9kg gas cylinders, a protected water tap and a 3500kg 50mm ball coupling.
BEDROOM AND STORAGE
The front bedroom has an island bed, which lifts up to provide access to the storage space underneath, two reading lamps and a 22in LED TV on a swivel arm – for viewing from the bed or lounge. The mirrored robes offer excellent hanging space and there is all the expected storage courtesy of slide-out drawers and overhead lockers. It’s a well-ventilated area with sizeable windows and handy 12V Hella fans either side of the bed, which make for a more energy-efficient substitute on a balmy night to the Ibis 3 air-conditioner fitted to the van.
At the foot of the bed on the offside is a compartment housing the BM Pro Battery Plus 35 battery management system. Above that is a BM Pro monitoring display, 240V circuit breakers, hot water switch, water tank gauge, solar panel regulator and 12V fuses.
With cold winter nights on my mind, I thought gas heating would be a nice addition and, although not fitted to this van, the Truma UltraRapid stainless steel hot water system can be customised to include an integrated gas heating option.
It’s worth noting there is a total of six Narva ‘touch lighting’ LED downlights, with a dimming feature, in the kitchen and lounge areas.
The spacious rear ensuite invites relaxation, with a full-height, fully-enclosed fibreglass shower, china bowl vanity with a mirror, and a towel rail and toilet roll holder fitted to the back of the sliding door. There is also plenty of cupboard space and a recessed top-loading NCE washing machine. There are 12V extractor fans fitted over the Thetford china bowl toilet and the shower.
Meanwhile, the French-made, high-wear vinyl floating floor only adds to the X-Ception’s elegance and the van’s 2.03m (6ft 8in) internal height is also effective. The X-Ception is fitted with fibreglass batt insulation to the roof and styrofoam insulation to the walls.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Franklin X-Ception 206 R-C is a classy on-road tourer, capable of rougher tracks if handled with common sense. It is sleek and stylish from the outside and, once inside, the quality and class is also undeniable.
- Good lounge seating including slide-out footrests/extra seats
- Well-designed ensuite
- Spacious, quality interior
- Sleek and stylish exterior
- Power and water resources could be beefed up