You take the High way
It almost amounts to something of a shake-up to its flagship Frontier range for 2019. Auto-Trail has announced HB versions of its Delaware (here) and Comanche models. That’s HB for high bed, with the island bed in each raised to optimise storage space in the garage areas below.
The Delaware is a single rear axle model (the bigger Comanche has a tag axle), but it’s still a sizeable 8m-plus in overall length. Like all Frontiers, this is a serious motorhome!
It’s all based on a combination of Fiat’s ever-popular Ducato with Al-Ko chassis extension. Fiat’s 148bhp engine with six-speed manual transmission are the standard offerings. They should suffice for most folk, but 177bhp power and Comfort-matic automatic transmission.
The cab gets the usual Frontier adornments, padded steering wheel and leather gear lever, right through to air conditioning and stereo upgrade.
You can order your Delaware with anything from two to four berths. There’s the option of half-dinette seating to take the number of travel seats up to four. Another option, this time at no extra cost, is the choice of Lo-line or Hi-Line overcab variants.
Here, if you like, we have the “basic” Delaware HB – and probably what will be the most popular version – Lo-Line with twin settees. The leather upholstery shown here is a £1,399 extra – an interesting complement to what has become a classic Auto-Trail interior style: medium-wood furniture finish, two-tone curved locker fronts, chrome handles etc.
Overhead at the front, an extra-long opening sunroof really does let the daylight flood in, as well as providing super ventilation when needed. If keeping warm is the priority, however, Delaware models now have the upgrade of Alde central heating – it’s a “wet radiator” system last deployed by Auto-Trail at least a decade ago, but it offers what many consider a preferable ambience and all-round cosiness compared to rivals.
Moving on from the lounge, there’s an L-shaped kitchen unit on the offside. It’s very space efficient, its shape allowing room for Thetford’s latest cooker – dual-fuel hob, separate oven and grill, plus a floor-level pan store, and a microwave oven directly overhead – which has an in-built fan that comes on as soon as you open the hob lid (there’s also an electric fan in the vent overhead). The sink has a permanent drainer and inset top, with the added protection of acrylic splash panelling. Again, thanks to that L-shape, there’s comprehensive under-counter storage.
Across the corridor is a Thetford fridge/freezer with a generous 167-litre capacity.
Moving back, there’s a step up to the shower cubicle (offside) and toilet room (nearside) that act as en-suite facilities to the island bed at the back. The shower cubicle is larger than average, but the riser bar is set a little low. It boasts double doors, a small roof vent, chrome corner trays and a single plughole.
It’s the toilet room’s solid door that can also be used to offer privacy between the bedroom and the rest of the living quarters. Features in here start with a swivel-bowl loo and fixed basin, with storage from two lockers and some shelving.
The Delaware saves its star feature to the end, literally, with a bedroom dominated by an island double. As mentioned, it’s set high, but with fixed steps at each side to ease access. Its height from floor level, plus the presence of lockers overhead, has only one key downside – it means you can’t sit fully upright, despite the luxury of a padded headboard.
There are, however, his and hers wardrobes, with bedside ledges and cubby lockers.
Storage is a key factor throughout. That large garage area has access from both sides and includes lashing points on its floor. Plus, there’s a selection of lockers directly under the bed area, as well as pockets on the back wall – ideal for smaller knick-knacks.
A skirt locker along the offside opens to allow access not just to storage, but also the two leisure batteries, mains hook-up point, waste water dump valve and more.
Inside barely lacks for luggage room, either, with extensive overhead lockers as well as various other cupboards, plus the settee bases. Just as well the payload is close on a tonne.
Luxury? Yes. Affordable? That, of course, is up to you…
There are savings to be had though if you add the Auto-Trail Connect, and pay for the Cat 6 approved tracking system subscription. Such owners can save 27.5% on a Caravan Guard motorhome insurance policy. Find out more about Auto-Trail Connect here.
Verdict: All the luxury, with more storage
Plus: Top-drawer specification, roomy layout
Minus: You’ll need C1 on your driving licence
In-a-nutshell: Sleep well
There’s more information on the Frontier range on the Auto-Trail website. Find out more about insuring this or your current motorhome on our motorhome insurance discounts page.
Alternatives: Adria Coral Supreme 670 SC, Knaus Sun TI 700 MX, Rapido 7096F, Swift Kon-tiki 625
Auto-Trail Delaware HB factfile
|Model||Auto-Trail Delaware HB|
|Base vehicle||Fiat Ducato Maxi/Al-Ko|
|Dimensions||8.04m L x 2.35m W x 3.03m H|
|Berths||Two (up to six)|
|RRP||From £73,444 on the road|
|Safety & security||Electronic immobiliser, remote central locking, ABS and EBD, EBA (emergency brake assist), twin airbags, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguisher|
|Key options||Media Plus Pack (£850), Comfort-Matic automatic transmission (£2,040), 177bhp engine (£2,820), rear travel seat for two (£825), alternative upholstery (from £125), rear corner steadies (£160), rear protection bar (£195), bike rack (£395).|