Here’s a big Kiwi motorhome that could also do well in Australia...
By Malcolm Street
Traillite is a New Zealand manufacturer that has been in business since the 1950s. It offers a wide range of motorhomes; from large van-based Roadcrafts to mid-range Base Camps and top-line Landmarks, on a range of European and Japanese base vehicles. In short: Something for everyone! For this review I thought I’d give myself allusions of grandeur and start with the top-of-the-line Landmark Oakura 67X.
Traillite’s Landmark Oakura is built on an Isuzu NQR500L cab chassis and measures an impressive 8.7 m (28 ft 6 in) long. Built on a steel chassis above the Isuzu, the Oakura’s body has no frame. Instead, walls are made of a sandwich panel construction that consists of Alufiber, foam core and ply wall lining. Just in case you are wondering, Alufiber is an external finish that consists of a layer of fibreglass with a thin layer of powder coated aluminium on the outside. Included in the offside wall engineering is a slide-out that is opened easily by an internal switch.
In keeping with a number of other manufacturers, the Oakura is fitted with a Camec triple lock security door and Seitz hopper windows, which come complete with integrated blinds and insect screens. Being a large motorhome, there are plenty of external storage bins, including a large rear boot, although some like those at the front nearside are dedicated for the house and vehicle starter batteries, whilst the adjoining one contains two 9.0 kg gas cylinders. Further along the nearside, out of a bin there, slides the essential stainless steel BBQ. What looks like a storage bin under the slide-out is actually the truck diesel tank filler. It’s often quite hard to include a bit of style into a motorhome body like this but the moulded front and rear shapes, along with a silvery grey paint scheme and stainless steel wheel covers all add greatly to the external look.
There’s no doubt that this motorhome is built for extended stays. It provides a massive 565 litres of fresh and 400 litres of grey water storage, whilst the 280 W solar panels will certainly keep the 520 amp hour AGM batteries charged up. An1800 W inverter is wired up to all the 230V power points, ensuring that basic mains devices can be used. One oddity is the toilet cassette, which only has a holding capacity of circa 20 litres. That does seem to be rather a limiting factor and anyone considering extended stays should certainly be thinking about a larger black tank facility.
All this means the Landmark Oakura weighs in with a tare weight of 6150 kg and a GVM of 8700kg, which gives a massive load capacity of 2550kg (don’t forget that a full water tank will weigh 565 kg). The GVM also means a Class 2 licence is required.
ON THE ROAD
This is certainly not a small motorhome and being a light commercial vehicle it’s more truck like than car like to drive, compared to its Euro competitors. Don’t let that put you off though; once I positioned the seat where I like it and adjusted the steering wheel, it proved a no-stress drive. All controls and instrumentation are reasonably well placed, as are the rear view mirrors – both external and the internal – which double as the rear view camera. This is quite a heavy motorhome but the 139 kW 5.2-litre diesel was a willing performer on all but the steepest hills. That also happened to be where the six speed automated manual transmission (AMT) was also a bit hesitant. Like many of its ilk the AMT tended to dither a bit between the lower range gears, which was when manual mode came in handy.
Seats in the Landmark Oakura have been upgraded to Italian leather to improve ride comfort, as has the front suspension, with upgraded shock absorbers to give less bounce and more accurate steering. In short, although the Isuzu is a truck, it’s a much improved truck in terms of road handling. I mention that because in terms of driver/passenger comfort the European trucks definitely have the edge over the Japanese and luxury motorhomes with a Japanese chassis usually don’t have a luxury cab and ride to match.
One other thing I should mention is that the cab chassis has a 24 V DC electrical system. That is not really a problem, except if something like a GPS is plugged into the12V socket and becomes erratic in its function! In the rear, the house batteries operate on conventional 12 V DC.
In a 8.7 m (28 ft 6 in) motorhome you’d certainly expect a spacious interior, even without a flat-floor driver’s cab, which is certainly what you get. Given the light colour scheme with almost no contrasting colours, you also get a very bright interior that’s remarkably easy on the eye. All the cabinetry work is well finished in either a lacquer paint or Melamine over light board (a type of MDF). Whilst the overhead lockers all have decent sized grab handles (similar to the kitchen drawers) with spring opening struts, the bedroom door catches were the small button style and I wonder how arthritic fingers cope.
Being about half way down the motorhome the entry door neatly divides the interior, with the living area towards the front and the bathroom/bedroom at the rear, leaving the amidships space for the kitchen. In addition to the fitted window screens, Roman Blinds are fitted all ‘round.
Certainly bright by day, the interior is effectively lit by night with LEDs being a mixture of downlights, reading light and concealed strip lighting: bright light when you need it and mood lighting when you don’t. I liked the electrical control panel directly above the entry door, which is a handy location when going in and out. A couple of nice non-electrical touches are inside the entry way: the lighted grab handle and the shoe locker built into the top step.
Up front, the offside slide-out adds a considerable amount of interior space and allows for different style lounges on each side. In the slide-out a slightly odd shaped club lounge sits under the window and a round table sits centre stage. It’s not particularly large, but for maximum flexibility it has an any-which-way Zwaardvis mounting on a single pole. Another slightly unusual feature is the ottoman. Whilst I can see it’s uses, I’m not particularly keen on large loose objects whilst travelling because it’s a bit hard to store easily (not to mention a potential hazard in an accident - Ed).
On the opposite side, a day/night lounge can be used for sitting or easily folded down into a bed for overnight visitors, so there’s plenty of room for lazing around. Fitted into a nicely designed cabinet above the driver’s cab is a 32 inch flat screen TV that is easily seen from either lounge by two people with their feet up. Both the DVD player and the roof mounted satellite dish are connected to that TV, while a second 18.5 inch TV is mounted in the bedroom. Just in case all that entertainment is not enough a Fusion radio with iPod connectivity is fitted into the overhead lockers above the nearside lounge.
There are two other points of note with the front area. One is the slightly unusual feature of the washing machine that is fitted into the cabinet between the entry door and the nearside lounge. Not exactly a living area feature but being fitted on its own little slide-out, it is quite easy to use. The other point of interest is that the front area can still be used with the lounge slide-out closed up.
TIME TO EAT
For some reason it is not necessarily so that large motorhomes have largish kitchens. In fact it’s often the opposite. However, the Oakura kitchen defies that trend. It does of course have all the expected items along the main bench – Thetford Caprice stove with four burner hob, grill and oven alongside a stainless steel sink (sans drainer). It also has a moderate amount of bench top working area and seven drawers of various sizes, some with items like built in bins and cutlery trays.
Above the bench are a couple of lockers. One of the interesting inclusions in the Oakura fitout is a six piece cutlery/crockery and glasses set, some of which is stashed in the aforementioned lockers. Located on the other side of the walkway are those other kitchen essentials – Dometic 190-litre fridge with Panasonic inverter microwave above. Given the totally self-contained design of this motorhome, it’s not surprising that a three way fridge, which can be run on gas, rather than a 12V compressor fridge, is fitted.
AFTER HOURS/KEEPING CLEAN
With this layout, the bathroom and bedroom have been designed so they can be closed off from the front area. That is quite simply done by fully opening the toilet cubicle door. The bathroom is split with a quarter round sliding-door shower cubicle on the offside and the toilet cubicle on the opposite side. The latter is fully kitted out with a Thetford cassette toilet, vanity cabinet with contemporary wash basin, large wall mirror, door fitted towel rails and two good sized cabinets. I liked the snappy looking tap fitting and soap dispenser. The shower cubicle also comes with a soap dispenser, along with a variable height flexible hose shower and an extendable towel rack.
In the rear of the Oakura, the island bed is the centre piece. The innerspring mattress measures 1.78 m x 1.53 m (5 ft 10 in x 5 ft) and can be extended to 1.9 m (6 ft 3 in). I suspect it depends very much on how you travel but to me the bedroom area wasn’t quite long enough. With the bed mattress unextended there was just enough walk around room but extended there wasn’t. Sure the bed could easily be extended each night but I’d have to settle for a slightly shorter lounge area or a slightly longer motorhome because that would be an irritation for me. As I said it depends on how you travel and what you are happy with. Also how tall you are, because the bed is certainly wide enough.
Built into the bedhead are the usual selection of overhead lockers, side wardrobes and bedside cabinets. To get under the bed the metal framed, posture-slatted base can be lifted easily enough, but that is not really necessary because most of the space is taken by the side drawers and external rear bin. I liked the large windows on either side that give a good cross flow of ventilation.
WHAT WE THINK
I have to admit that I have not had a hard look over a Traillite motorhome for a number of years and during that time there have been a considerable number of improvements. The manufacturer has established valuable brand loyalty during that time and it’s not hard to see why: The flagship Landmark Oakura 67X Series is some motorhome. It’s one of Traillite’s best sellers, which is an interesting fact given some of the financial uncertainties in the world today. Especially as it does have a starting price of NZ$288,524 and our review model had a considerable number of extras fitted, bumping that up even further.
What is surprising is that the Oakura has a free camping water/battery capacity that is better than most Australian motorhomes built for long distance remote travel. It also has almost every conceivable luxury fitted and I’m sure that if something isn’t, then given the load capacity there’s no reason why it couldn’t be! Motorhome travel at its best, I reckon!
- Spacious layout
- External storage
- Fully self contained
- Kitchen storage
- Front lounge layout with slide-out
- LED lighting
- Upgraded cab seats
- Small push buttons on doors
- Toilet cassette capacity
- Isuzu AMT gearbox
Click HERE to visit the Traillite website.
Click below to download a PDF of the full test, including specifications, photos and contact details.
iMotorhome Roadtest - Traillite Landmark 2013 (1778 KB)
Here's a big Kiwi motorhome that could easily be at home in Australia...