At Christmas, New Year or any time, Trakka’s jet-black Trakkadu ABT has more on-road presence than any other camper…
by Mr & Mrs iMotorhome
Campervans are largely utilitarian vehicles; mostly white boxes packed with the essentials to keep you dry and reasonably comfortable on a short break away. Trakka’s Trakkadu range has always taken the campervan concept to its zenith in terms of style, functionality and quality, producing a range of models for everything from simple black-top touring to serious offloading. Well, almost everything.
Enter the Trakkadu ABT: A fully-equipped campervan for those chasing street cred as well as the wide open spaces. The Trakkadu ABT is designed to be as much at home in the office carpark, heading to the theatre or a winter alpine lodge as it is sunning itself by a summer beach or nestled near a quiet mountain stream.
Like all Trakkadus it features a seat-belt equipped rear seat that makes it a true four-seat family wagon. It also has a pop-top roof, awning, diesel-fired cooker, sink, fridge, bed-seat and plenty of storage space – like all Trakkadus – but as Trakka’s campervan flagship it has more. Much more.
German company ABT specialises in performance products for VW Group vehicles (think Audi/Volkswagen/Skoda/Seat) and includes the T5 Transporter in its lineup. Trakka has a long history of using German company Seikel's proven off-road components in the Trakkadu off-road range, so it comes as no surprise they should turn to another German specialist to give this Trakkadu very different appeal.
The basis for the Trakkadu ABT is a top-spec VW T5 with a132 kW turbo-diesel, 7-speed DSG auto and 4Motion all-wheel drive. Added to that the ABT package includes an aero body kit, 30 mm (1.2 in) lowered suspension and exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels with 45-series low profile tyres. Upping the ante, Trakka also specifies front side and thorax airbags, an uprated RNS510 stereo with satnav and reversing camera, full leather interior and a hot water system with rear external shower to complete a most impressive package.
The ABT also receives the upgrades that come with all Trakkadu 132 or 132 4Motion models: Front fog lights with cornering function, rain sensing wipers, auto headlights, rear speakers, cruise control, comfort pack (vanity mirrors, entry handle and insulation), leather multi-function steering wheel with trip computer, roof storage shelf, removable front and rear floor carpeting, two factory opening centre windows, colour matched bumpers, a 38-litre grey water tank and LED awning lights. Of course things like airconditioning, Bluetooth, ABS, stability control, front airbags, swivelling front seats and LED lighting throughout are also standard equipment.
Leaving Trakka’s office, Sally Berry’s parting words were, “Remember, this has the only nose cone currently in Australia.” No pressure…
Turning gingerly out of the drive – better safe than sorry – I was thinking about how well the ABT aero body kit and wheels integrate into the Trakkadu design. This particular vehicle, with its metallic silver roof and black body finish (metallic paint is standard) looks particularly ‘tough,’ but if you want to look a little less like the Secret Service or an English League footballer you can specify other colours.
On the road the Trakkadu ABT feels taught and ‘together’ but not overly harsh. Ride quality is a little on the firm side, as expected from the lowered suspension and meaty 245/45 R19 wheel/tyre combo, but nothing like you might expect. In fact the ride is just a little firmer than standard, but there’s a good chance you wouldn’t notice it if you weren’t aware. Handling wise it sits flat through corners – as you’d expect – and feels rather like a big go-cart, thanks to it’s wheel-in-each-corner design.
The combination of lowered suspension and front body moulding does mean you need to be more careful when negotiating driveways or uneven surfaces, but ground clearance is still a respectable 150 mm (6 inches) and you’d soon get used to where you could and couldn’t easily go.
The engine/gearbox combination works smoothly and effortlessly, with minimal noticeable engine noise except under hard acceleration. In all respects the T5 Volkswagen is a sophisticated European vehicle with a level of quality that would make it an easy transition for an Audi, BMW or Mercedes driver. This is probably Trakka’s target market, especially younger professionals with one or two kids and a company car deal that would cover a 5 Series Beemer or E Class Merc.
Trakka doesn’t expect the Trakkadu ABT to be a volume seller. It’s a hero product atop a diverse and accomplished model range that is already best-in-class. The ABT will appeal to urbanites needing to haul kids to school and do the grocery shopping, but who will value its unique abilities as a luxurious retreat at neighbourhood sporting events and an unparalleled family express when the ski slopes beckon.
Be it family wagon or campervan, the Trakkadu ABT is a bold statement and a striking departure from the everyday. It’s a campervan with presence that would make the ultimate Christmas present. Maybe next year?
- Trakka/VW quality
- ABT upgrades
- Standard equipment
- Street cred!
- Not an Outback explorer
- Not cheap, but you get what you pay for!
Click HERE to visit Trakka's website
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