Italian for value?
A bit of style at prices that won’t break even our beleaguered banking system have always been the watchwords for Italian motorhomes coming to the UK. It has certainly been a highly successful 2016 for Trigano’s Roller Team brand over here – it had retailed 50 per cent more vehicles by week 44 compared to the previous year. That looks look set to continue, especially as it’s increased its dealers to 19, a higher than average number for an imported marque.
With its Zefiro range, it offers a starting point that many others can’t – Ford’s Transit chassis. Ford has nipped in slightly ahead of its rivals with its latest, Euro VI engines. As standard, you get a two-litre producing 130bhp and an impressive 385Nm torque figure, with Ford claiming 20 per cent better pulling power from 1,250rpm compared to the previous 2.2-litre.
The new units also claim lower emissions and improved economy by the same figure – nine per cent – thanks, in part, to using AdBlue fuel additive. Also big news is the fact that an automatic transmission option could be in production as early as January 2017.
As for what Roller Team adds, the converter has improved its XPS wood-free coachbuilding, now with GRP internal and external walls. Flush-fitting windows, are also beyond what you’d expect at this price level; as are features such as the opening overcab sunroof. Plus, as if to hammer home its advantages over its import rivals, all Zefiros will be offered with the habitation door on the UK nearside.
Warranties are impressive, too, at five years for the habitation side and 10 for the bodywork – although that’s restricted to the first owners only.
The 685 has an electrically operated drop-down double bed that can be set at any height you wish, although the accompanying ladder means you really only have two access heights. Note, also, the bed cuts across the doorway.
It might still prove more accessible than the twin rear single beds at the back though, as these are set high over a big garage.
The kitchen, washroom and wardrobe are ‘midships, with the former a space-efficient L-shaped unit that houses a three-ring hob, circular sink plus a grill/oven. Across the galley, there’s a Thetford narrow-bodied fridge with freezer and a useful deep drawer in its base that’s ideal for holding bottles upright.
The washroom facilities are split, too, with a decent-sized shower cubicle on one side and a toilet room opposite with fixed basin, upper and lower locker storage and an opaque window.
Sometimes, it’s hard to believe this is supposed to be a “budget” vehicle. Standard fittings have been further extended across the Zefiro range, with a 120Watt solar panel, flyscreen door and bike rack all being added to the inventory. Alternative upholsteries are also available, but there is just the one choice of furniture style – a dark wood offset by gloss white surfaces for the table, worktops and locker doors.
As ever, the “starting price” is never quite what it seems. Like every other Zefiro buyer to date, you’ll want to add the £999 Driver’s Pack (cab air conditioning, cruise control, passenger airbag, electrical mirrors with heating facility etc) to the initial £41,767 for the 685. Also seriously tempting is the £1,120 Thermo Pack, especially if you want to be that bit more protection in temperature extremes.
So at, £43,886? That’s still very much some bargain.
Verdict: Smartly made newcomer with an excellent specification for the money
Plus: XPS bodywork construction, improved kit for 2017, new Ford engines (and auto)
Minus: High-set rear beds
In-a-nutshell: A fine Ford for up to four
There’s more information on the Zefiro 685 on the Roller Team website. Find out more about insuring this or your current motorhome on our motorhome insurance discounts page.
Alternatives: Chausson Flash 627GA
Roller Team Zefiro 685 factfile
|Roller Team Zefiro 685
|Ford Transit, 2-litre, 130bhp, Euro VI
|7.45m L x 2.31m W x 2.90m H
|From £41,767 on the road
|Safety & security
|Electronic immobiliser, remote central locking to cab doors
|Automatic transmission (£tbc) 170bhp engine (£1,000), Driver’s Pack (£999), Thermo Pack (£1,120), Truma 6kW upgrade (£600), Midi-Heki (£275), cab separation curtain (£175), alternative upholstery (£250), removable lounge carpet (£200), TV bracket (£100)