Long haul

We tested Trakka’s 2010 Trakkaway 850 over a 1600km jour­ney.

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We tested Trakka’s 2010 Trakkaway 850 over 1600km

How do you at­tract at­ten­tion in the mo­torhome fra­ter­nity? In this case, we bor­rowed a 2010 Trakka Trakkaway 850 mo­torhome and drove 1600km from Syd­ney to a CMCA rally in Queens­land. On­look­ers came from ev­ery­where to check it out.

The 2010 Trakkaway 850 was 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 Du­ca­to­based mod­els is that the Al-Ko chas­sis has tan­dem axles.

But this wasn’t the first Trakka with tan­dem rear axles I’d seen. Many years ago, while driv­ing through Arthur’s Pass on the South Is­land of New Zealand, I played with a pro­to­type de­vel­oped in con­junc­tion with Trakka’s NZ arm. That mo­torhome was built on the ear­lier ver­sion of the Du­cato. But this Du­cato pro­vides a very dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence.

Apart from any­thing else, it 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.

DRIV­ING EX­PE­RI­ENCE

I ex­pected some stiff­ness in the en­gine and driv­e­train as I headed north, 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. Fuel con­sump­tion came in about 16L/100km, and that was achieved at a re­spectable pace.

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. I had to care­fully ma­noeu­vre it in the car wash to rid the nose of bugs.

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.

SPA­CIOUS IN­TE­RIOR

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 Zwaard­vis any-which-way ta­ble.

The ef­fec­tive 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 that 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 pole­mounted 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 slide­out, wire bas­ket pantry. I like the el­e­vated shelf above the main bench – it’s great for stor­ing keys and bat­tery charg­ers.

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 went for a split bath­room in the 850, with the shower cu­bi­cle on the off­side and the toi­let cu­bi­cle on the near­side. The lat­ter cu­bi­cle also has a cor­ner van­ity cab­i­net, wall mir­ror, soap holder, towel rail, a large win­dow, and ad­e­quate pri­vacy for chang­ing clothes – es­pe­cially use­ful if you pre­fer to leave the blinds open at night when it’s hot.

The win­dows in the rear bed­room give good all­round 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 pow­erpoint on the op­po­site side with a flatscreen Trakka mo­torhomes are usu­ally high tech and to make life eas­ier.

THE BOT­TOM LINE

and com­fort­able mo­torhome.

Words and pics Mal­colm Street

Clock­wise from top: Roller- shut­ter doors, leather trim and Euro- style ply are hall­marks of a Trakka in­te­rior; a 175L fridge with mi­crowave above sit just in­side the entry; a prac­ti­cal kitchen setup.

Top: The el­e­vated shelf on the kitchen bench gets the thumbs up. Above: An is­land bed is fit­ted in the rear.

Above: The split bath­room lay­out works well.

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