Apache 725 SE with six-berth option to
delve a little deeper.
Washroom is posit
ively roomy
George Hinton finds little to fault aboard
this user-friendly, four-to-six-berth
Vehicle supplied
by: Auto-Trail VR
Ltd, Trigano
House, Genesis
Way, Europarc,
Grimsby DN37
9TU. Call 01636
704201 or see
brochure (October 2009) states:
‘For more than a quarter of a century,
the Auto-Trail name has been synonymous
with luxury. Our range of top-quality leisure
vehicles has a well-deserved reputation for
design excellence, functionality and being
user-friendly… built on the input of our
industry-leading design team and
maintained through a close relationship
with our customers and members of the
Auto-Trail Owners Club alike.’
68 The Caravan Club Magazine
Certainly, a first look at the 2010 range
impresses: all models feature low-energy
LED lighting with dimmer switch facility,
Seitz S5 flush-fitting windows
predominantly accompanied by pleated
blinds and flyscreens, dual-fuel cooking,
heating and hot water systems, an
exterior hot-and-cold shower connection
and gas barbecue point, large-bore waste
pipes, twin airbags and full-size spare
wheel in accessible rear locker.
Underpinning all this is a GRP-skinned
body with 40mm insulated walls and
45mm Styrofoam floors with vinyl
underside weather protection.
Auto-Trail has also followed AutoSleepers by setting up its own in-house
aftercare centre and NCC-approved
workshop that can carry out both
habitation servicing and accident damage
repairs. There’s even an online parts and
accessory shop at autotrail-online.co.uk.
We take a closer look at the prototype
The two largest Apaches, of which this is
one, sit on Fiat’s Ducato Maxi 40 Heavy
chassis to Camping Car spec, with a
Maximum Authorised Weight (MAW) of
4005kg. You therefore need to be certain
your driving licence covers you for more
than 3500kg vehicles. It’s big at 7.38m
(24ft 3in) long, of which 2.41m (7ft 11in)
is rear axle overhang, but with the Maxi’s
bigger 16in wheels filling the arches out
nicely, it looks just right on the road.
Standard equipment is the 2.3-litre
130bhp engine with six-speed gearbox,
the 3.0-litre 160bhp unit, with or without
six-speed automatic transmission, being
optional. With an unladen weight of
virtually 3500kg for the SE spec, which
adds recessed 4m awning, cab air-con,
home entertainment system and rearview camera, the 130 horses have to work
quite hard, but still get you up to 50mph
in 16.8 seconds.
It doesn’t feel underpowered, but
whether the 3.0-litre would find things
easier and prove more economical is open
to question, our 19.8mpg being entirely
trunk road driving, mostly at 50-65mph.
Mileage was only 500 at the start of our
test, so you would expect economy to
improve with use.
The ride is superb, despite Continental
Camping tyres with recommended
pressures of 79.5psi all round, helped by
the lack of rattles from the rigid body
construction and fit-out.
With no rear window, it’s handy that,
when reverse gear is engaged, the 2.8in
colour monitor in the dash radio/CD player
switches on within five seconds, giving a
close-up view behind, day or night. The cab
is smartened with Auto-Trail-branded
woodgrain effect décor to the centre
console and silver trims for the four air
vents. Externally, an Auto-Trail logo
replaces the Fiat grille badge.
There are only four seat belts as standard
for six berths – two rear-facing lap belts on a
steel mounting frame may be specified for
£295 extra, including a free layout
alteration, changing the L-shape settee to a
double dinette.
The immediate impression is of light –
thanks to generous windows and a Heki 3
rooflight – and warmth due to the Acer
woodgrain wallboard, which lines the entire
vehicle. Headroom is a good 6ft 61⁄2in
except in the washroom where you step
up 5in (though you step down again into
the shower tray).
Turn left for the first-class lounge
offering a two-person sofa on the left and
L-shape sofa on the right. Five can lounge
here in comfort, while the cab seats swivel
to provide two extra places.
Dining could be slightly problematic. The
725 is basically a four-berth, with the extra
double berth in the Luton a no-cost option.
However, the free-standing table supplied,
at 36in x 21in, makes it tight for four, let
alone six. Maybe a case for the continentalstyle expanding table design? There’s space
Cab seats swivel in comfy lounge
to have another table and indeed a 55cm
(21 ⁄2in) circular table on a ‘boom arm’
tubular support is optional (£140). It was
not provided but it is shown in the
brochure and looks ideal to serve
YO ? s
the reversed cab seats.
DI NOWrganisoef
Storage is the other big question
K -Trail oy tourshire
when accommodating six, but the
to hl lns
Au mont inco ory
Apache provides plenty of it as both
its fac
water tanks are below decks, freeing
all three seat bases for stowage. There’s also
the rear bunkroom base, which also has
Transverse double stretches to 6ft 7in
exterior access.
The central rear wardrobe, with
automatic light, has four drawers beneath
but, without positive catches, these could
fly open were you to put anything heavy,
such as books, in them.
At night-time, the pleated blinds
provide plenty of privacy. The
above-locker mood lighting, pioneered
by Auto-Trail in the UK and now
LED-powered, looks good, but once the
main, brighter under-cupboard LED lights
are fully on, the former adds little to
overall illumination levels. There are no
conventional ceiling lamps. Two reading
lamps house 15 bright LEDs apiece, while
the Luton berth has two directable halogen
spotlights and the bunks have a filament
bulkhead lamp each at their far ends.
Truma’s S3002 5kW convector with
Ultraheat is located just aft of the doorway
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
below the angled dresser. The 10-litre
Truma boiler is located beneath the bottom
£47,463 OTR
bunk, while the front nearside gas locker
2287cc Fiat/Iveco Multijet (3.0-litre
holds one 13kg plus one 7kg cylinder.
157bhp engine £1810; 3.0-litre plus
Soft furnishings are in attractive shades
Comfortmatic auto gearbox £3167)
of beige with leather-look coffee-colour
130bhp (97kW) @ 3600rpm
piping. Upholstery is plump 6in foam
236lb/ft (320Nm) @ 2000-3000rpm
and very comfortable for sitting and
6-speed manual, FWD
sleeping on. Substantial anti-condensation
7.38m (24ft 3in)
panels in woodgrain finish are found
(19ft 3in) from dash; 4.86m (15ft
beneath both saloon windows, while the
111⁄2in) behind cab
wood plank-effect vinyl flooring has
Overall width
2.72m (8ft 11in) inc mirrors
honey-beige bound-edge over-carpet in
3.05m (10ft)
three sections, running into the cab.
1.99m (6ft 61⁄2in)
The 4 x 35W entertainment system
(80 litres)
is excellent, with rear stereo speakers
90% fuel,
as standard, while the through-roof
100% water)
aerial can be adjusted with the TV
4005kg (78.8cwt)
picture in sight. For other mains power
510kg (10cwt)
needs, there’s a socket facing the cab on
the nearside sofa base.
The ride is superb,
helped by the lack of
rattles from the rigid
This is pretty well equipped, the full-size
Spinflo Caprice III cooker having one
electric disc and three gas burners, >>
Travel seats
4 (6 opt)
NCC approved
Club insurance: 0800 028 4809 • Info: auto-trail.co.uk
January 2010 The Caravan Club Magazine 69
getting rid of it would allow a large
mirrored splashback to be installed.
There’s a high-level cupboard beside the
mirror and a shelved cupboard below the
basin. Other fittings are the towel rail high
on the forward-facing wall, tissue holder
below and double robe hook on the door,
all chrome-finished. Nice thing is, there’s
space to move without falling over the loo.
To the rear, the one-piece acrylic
shower cubicle has a double-fold door, but
only a single drain at the rear. A chrome
riser rail carries a slim, pencil-type,
rub-clean showerhead that gives a good
spray without excessive use of water,
controlled by a single-lever mixer.
Temperature remains stable and the
pressure is fine. A small moulded shelf
below the mixer is adequate for small
bottles of shower gel. The only other
fitting is the 30-LED striplight at the back.
Kitchen offers plenty of storage space
with a reasonable amount of
worktop either side. The 14in
Four seatbelts as
diameter stainless sink, with metal
mixer tap, has a small (7 ⁄2in!)
with the cooker also
half-moon shaped drainer with loose
Time to unwind!
has a three-speed
inset cover in two pieces matching the
two-way fan.
granite-effect worktop.
There are coated wire fitments for
crockery in both roof lockers and a large
tambour-doored roof locker above the sink
Open the proper lever-handled door and
looks designed for a microwave oven,
step up to the heated, carpeted washroom.
having a 13A socket waiting. There’s a
The flat-topped Thetford C250 toilet, fed
second socket in tandem with the light
from the main tank, gives an extra surface
switch and cabin dimmer at the back of the
to rest things on with lid closed. The 14in
worktop. Kitchen lighting is the only real
oval basin, in matt stone-effect plastic, is
criticism, the single LED strip above the
below the large window, which has a shelf
cooker doing nothing for the sink area.
and angled mirror above it. Unfortunately,
Two generous low-level cupboards are
this is so high my wife could not see into it
complemented by two drawers plus a
at all! The window is clear, so the blind has
cutlery drawer and there’s another huge
to be kept almost-closed for privacy. As the
cupboard above Thetford’s 150-litre
Mini Heki rooflight gives ample light and
fridge/freezer. A wind-up roof vent in line
air, the window is really unnecessary –
70 The Caravan Club Magazine
The main saloon bed is a transverse double
measuring 6ft 7in x 3ft 8in at the foot,
though 5ft 7in at the top.
However, having the L-shape settee
that converts to a travel seat makes it a
pain to convert to a bed. First you have
to pull the two slatted sofa bases towards
each other in the aisle, having removed
the cushions from the offside. The
slatted base that bridges the travel seat
footspace is substituted by the longer
table, then the cushions can be replaced.
Dismantling should be a simple reversal,
but the sliding slats of the offside front
portion tend to twist, then jam.
The Luton (6ft 7in x 3ft 10in) is
easy: pull the sliding base section back to
cover the cab cut-out and flop the
folded 4in mattress open, at some
point having retrieved the alloy
access ladder.
Bunks are both adult-sized
(6ft x 2ft 3in), with 24in
headroom for the top one, 28in
for the bottom. Each has its own
small window at the opposite end
to where the lights are fitted,
while the mattresses are
comfortable 4in jobs. A second
alloy ladder is provided.
Apart from two loose screws, the Apache
725 appeared really well-made and offers
many features intended to please the user
and make life easier. However, it does need
to make a few more concessions to those
around 5ft in stature! What did the
brochure say again? ‘... a well-deserved
reputation for design excellence,
functionality and being user-friendly.’
Right on! Well done Auto-Trail.
Bearing in mind the high specification,
even with the return to 17.5% VAT, it
represents good value for money. n