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Nick Harding takes a closer look at a keenly priced compact coachbuilt
Moto Trek has been building Peugeot-based coachbuilt motorhomes and van conversions since 2012, steadily growing a UK-wide dealer network. We took the Xplora FDB for a full week of testing and touring. It’s a straight two-berth compact touring vehicle offering all the facilities you’d expect at a competitive price.
Within the limitations of an overall length of 6m it’s amazing what you can achieve with clever coachbuilding. The FDB here is a variation on the usual transverse end bed formula, offering a particularly generous washroom but a smaller-than-expected lounge area.
The windowed habitation door and opening sunroof over the cab are premium pointers. Standard fittings also extend to a 120W solar panel on the roof and a wind-out awning. Future models will come with alloy wheels, too. Meanwhile, the underslung gas tank saves on interior space.
At under 6m long, there’s the shortest of tail overhangs – you’ll appreciate that when driving (less sway), and when performing tighter cornering and parking manoeuvres. At 2.25m, the Xplora is narrower than many coachbuilts and there’s a decent enough payload of 600kg.
Peugeot still only offers a manual-transmission gearbox for its Boxers. It offers a pleasant enough gear-change action, but with the standard 138bhp engine, you need to stir the six cogs a bit when it comes to heading uphill, especially when you’re close to fully loaded. Go steady and you’ll easily better 30mpg.
As well as offering a high sitting position and substantial door mirrors, the Xplora has a reversing camera/rear-view monitor that allows you to always keep an eye on what’s behind. There were more rattles than we’d hoped for when on the move, despite our suppressing of the grill pan and most of the other usual culprits.
As already mentioned, there’s a transverse double bed at the back, set over a small garage area (it won’t take bikes, but is handy for outdoor chairs, barbecues, etc), while the kitchen and washroom sit midships. There’s still space for a small lounge at the front, comprising the cab seats on swivels and a small inward-facing settee on the offside. It’s an arrangement you’ll be hard-pressed to find from any other larger-scale manufacturer.
A free-standing table on a pedestal leg completes the lounge space, but it’s set rather high, while the cab seats are a different height from the settee. A 16in TV/DVD player is sited so you can watch comfortably from either cab seat, and there are additional sockets should you wish to watch television in bed. Moto Trek offers a choice of furniture finishes and upholsteries should you want to personalise your vehicle.
The Cooltouch mattress is some 2.01m (6ft 7in) x 1.22m (4ft) by our measurements and 9-10cm thick, sitting on a solid base. There are windows at either end of the bed, which isn’t the greatest idea. They’re set low, too, so unless you’re very short you’re going to come into contact with them while lying down. There’s a single-switched reading light either end of the bed, plus a strip light under the locker across the back wall. Upper walls are padded on all three sides, adding to a feeling of cosiness. Although the bed isn’t set particularly high (you can sit upright, but note the window comment), you’ll want to use the hook-on ladder to ease entry and exit.
Slightly unusually, the sink is to the right of the cooker, which might suit some folk better. However, there’s only space for a drainer when the hob lid is down. The cooker itself is a Thetford Triplex featuring three gas burners of different sizes and a combined oven and grill.
Under the sink is an Isotherm compressor fridge with freezer. It’s another fitting that’s not quite the norm – it’s more commonly seen in campervans than coachbuilt motorhomes.
The pull-up power dock of mains socket will always come in handy. There’s also a Russell Hobbs microwave oven (the more traditional loose plate design) at a height that should be okay for most users.
Storage space is generous – there are plenty of lockers and drawers – but worktop space, either permanent or otherwise, is at a premium.
While most users will find the kitchen a tad cramped, the same cannot be said of the washroom. A full-height tambour door slides back for easy access, and the light comes on automatically.
It’s a common complaint, but the shower tray really would benefit from a second drainage hole. And a riser bar would be better than the single fixing point for the showerhead.
There’s a curtain to pull all the way around when showering – it’s up to you whether you enclose the countertop basin and/or Dometic swivel bowl toilet with ceramic bowl. A soap tray, toothbrush mug and mirror complete the washroom inventory.
It was good to see a fire blanket (in the kitchen) and fire extinguisher as well as the usual smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector (the latter in the same locker as the Truma Combi 4E). Other neat touches include the fact that the light comes on automatically in the garage when you open either of the side doors, while the fresh and waste water tanks have the same 75-litre capacity.
Although there are a few niggles (many of which Moto Trek is addressing), the Xplora is keenly priced and pretty well equipped.