This is the £70k tag-axle Comanche which flies Auto-Trail’s ‘Super Lo-line’ flag.
The Comanche comes with pretty much everything you can think of (from a solar panel to a microwave) as standard… except the Media Pack and leather trim of this ‘full house’ demo model.
Clearly Auto-Trail believe in giving the customer plenty of choice.
It’s a choice that extends to three derivatives of tag-axle, all measuring a massive 8.73m long, including this island bed Comanche.
Comanche comes with two long parallel settees for an open-plan feel but purely two-person travel, or the offside sofa can be replaced with a Double Dinette (offering pullman-type seating for four around a wall-mounted table) or Lounge Dinette (L-settee with removable section to offer two belted seats in the back). Whichever version you choose it’ll be based on a five-tonne, six-wheeled chassis with the 3 litre engine.
This vehicle weighs in at over four tonnes before you even start loading up for your travels. That said, the 3 litre engine never struggled.
Thankfully, the Media Pack now includes a larger display for the colour reversing camera. It’s worth thinking carefully about the places you plan to visit before buying a motorhome this big – parking it takes more room than you’d imagine.
Completing the modern image, the Comanche cab goes for plastic ‘aluminium’. Combined with the well-finished leather seats and standard features like cruise control, air-conditioning, and passenger airbag, it makes a decent job of hiding the Fiat Ducato base vehicle’s commercial origins.
You only have to step on board the Comanche for the first time to see why these big Auto-Trails have a loyal following; the whole motorhome gives an impression of uncompromised comfort for a couple on tour.
Turn to the left as you come into the vehicle and there’s a very open living area that, with the cab seats, could comfortably seat eight. Facing you is a well-equipped kitchen. Then beyond is the en suite bedroom, which can be closed off with a door.
Although the Comanche falls short of an IH coachbuilt’s gentleman’s club feel, this ’van feels really special. The lighting can be tailored to the mood with a remote control to dim the main LEDs.
Ordering the Media Pack is a bit of a no-brainer. The new touch-screen head unit is easy to use, whether you’re watching TV or a DVD or listening to the radio, and the 15-inch screen is well placed. All the while we found the Truma Combi 6 gas/mains blown-air heating perfectly capable of keeping the whole motorhome toasty warm.
The kitchen caters for all requirements, with the microwave, oven, three gas rings and mains hotplate. Lockers aren’t all positive locking. But cooks of all abilities will delight in this culinary department, which is pretty much as good as it gets in a motorhome.
The bed is a good size and it is oh-so-comfortable. The curved end of the mattress also allows an easy shuffle around the bed. And Auto-Trail have fitted over-bed lockers and wardrobes on either side, with a variety of lighting, a position for a second TV, a wind-up Heki sunroof, and at the foot of the bed, a cupboard with a laundry sack on one side and a mirror opposite.
Even better is the way the bedroom links with the washroom facilities. The toilet cubicle is on the nearside, while opposite is a really generous shower.
Open the toilet room door and it can close off the back half of the motorhome from the front, while a concertina screen can separate the toilet/shower from the bedroom.
This aspect of the Comanche is streets ahead of the washroom arrangement in the rival Swift/Bessacarr offering and would be enough to make us choose Comanche over its closest opponent.
Super Lo-line updates the look, and the layout beats the equivalent Kon-Tiki. Sheer luxury, although huge to drive.
Price from: £69,925
Travel seats (inc driver): 2
Dimensions: 8.73m L, 2.31m W, 3.03m H
Insurance cost: £352.50 *
Motorhome insurance cost based on 2011 Auto-Trail Comanche valued at £69,925. Fitted with manufacturers immobiliser and approved tracking device, kept at home behind 24 hour locked barrier at TD9 8ED. Motorhome owners – professionals over 50 years old with no claims, convictions or health conditions in last 3 years. 4 years no claims bonus mirrored from car policy and 2 years motorhome driving experience. Members of motorhome club doing less than 7000 miles annually. £250 excess applies. European cover £15 extra, European Breakdown £42 extra. Premiums include insurance premium tax at 6% and are correct as of 19.02.11.