How do you attract attention in the motorhome fraternity? In our case, we borrowed one of Trakka’s newest Trakkaway motorhomes (with the glue mostly dry) and drove 1600km from Sydney to a CMCA rally in Rockhampton, Qld. Onlookers came from everywhere.
The 850 is the latest (and longest) development in the Trakkaway range. It’s built like the 730 model, on a Fiat Ducato cab attached to an Al-Ko chassis; however, it’s longer than the 790, which is built on a Mercedes Benz or VW base. One of the main differences between this and earlier Ducato-based models is that the Al-Ko chassis has tandem axles. The current model also gives the Trakkaway 850 a GVM of 5000kg, putting it in Light Rigid truck licence territory. Its length of 8.52m (27ft 11in) is something to keep in mind when overtaking or turning corners.
Being straight out of the factory, I expected some stiffness in the engine and drivetrain, but this was not particularly noticeable. But its ability to keep up with the traffic flow was. The 3L, 115.5kW turbodiesel engine delivers the goods, and one of the interesting things about the six-speed AMT gearbox is that it’s actually smoother with larger motorhomes – gear changes are often more hesitant in smaller motorhomes.
Trakka leaves the driver’s cab mostly as Fiat finishes it, with the swivelling seats, cut-out cab and airbags for the driver and passenger. Items like power windows, mirrors, remote central locking and cruise control are standard. The only modifications are the leather upholstery, blinds, a reversing camera and reading lights.
The 850 is built very much in the Trakka style using vacuum-moulded panels with a high-gloss finish. The moulded Luton peak makes the 850 appear lower than its 3m (9ft 10in) height. There are external bins for items like the Thetford cassette and three 4kg gas cylinders, but the main external storage is at the rear, accessible via the rear door and the two locker doors on either side (the nearside door reveals the standalone barbecue, which sits on a detachable shelf). You can access this area from inside by lifting the bed, too.
Because it’s based on earlier designs, parts of the 850’s layout look very familiar. The forward section is dedicated to lounging and dining. Behind the lounge is the kitchen, and between that and the rear bedroom is a split bathroom. It’s all done in the Trakka style: leather upholstery, Euro ply and roller shutters.
Up front, Trakka has made best use of the Ducato cab seats. Both have room to swivel and fit in well with the sideways-facing lounges and the any-which-way table.
The arrangement can be used in many ways. I like how you can sit back in the driver’s seat with your feet up. The all-round halogen reading lights are useful wherever you sit. In one of the storage compartments is a 12V socket, but I reckon a 240V socket would go nicely there as well. Lockers line the walls above both lounges, and the area above the cab can be used for storage as well as a bed. A flatscreen TV is pole-mounted on the kitchen bench and can be seen easily from any seat.
The L-shaped kitchen comes with a Cramer three-burner cooktop and Smev oven with grill, and the setup works quite well. The bench cabinet contains three drawers, a floor locker and a slide-out, wire basket pantry.
Above the kitchen bench are two lockers; in between are the rangehood, 12V control panel, and the controls for the hot water, Webasto heater and air-conditioner. The Dometic 175L fridge and Sharp carousel microwave fill the space beside the doorway on the opposite side. The latter is at eye level and can be hidden behind a roller shutter when not in use.
Trakka favours the split bathroom arrangement, with the shower cubicle on the offside and the toilet cubicle on the nearside. This cubicle also has a corner vanity cabinet, wall mirror, soap holder, towel rail, a large window, and adequate privacy for changing clothes.
The windows in the rear bedroom give good all-round vision and ventilation, and the 850’s design and length have allowed for an island bed to be fitted. Other bedroom features include the bedside cabinets and side wardrobes. Under the mirror is a diagonal, three-drawer cabinet. There’s a twin powerpoint on the opposite side with a flatscreen TV above. As mentioned earlier, the bed lifts to provide access to the storage area beneath.
This motorhome was finished under time pressure (i.e., my departure date), but no manufacturing problems arose during our review. The extra length (600mm) of the 850 makes a real difference to the bedroom, where an island bed is fitted (rather than an east-west bed), while making little difference to its driveability (except when parking).
All in all, the Trakkaway 850 is a very classy and comfortable motorhome. - Malcolm Street.
Trakka, 9 Beaumont Road, Mount Kuring-Gai, NSW 2080, 1800 872 552, www.trakka.com; Read the full review in the February issue of Caravan World, on sale now!