Leaping into the driving seat of Trakka’s Volkswagen T6 Trakkadu is always something I look forward to. As someone who remembers the free spirits running around in VW T2 conversions in my younger years, there is a sense of nostalgia about it. Then there is the whole driving experience, because the current generation VW vans are a vast improvement on those T2s of yesterday, both technologically and space wise. Trakka always tries to match the quality of its camper conversions to the VW, so it was with keen anticipation that I took the Trakkadu with the Plus Pack fitted for a spin.
Trakka offers the Trakkadu with two VW engine options, either the 2L 103kw/340Nm turbodiesel or the more powerful 132kW/400Nm unit. Just to put the latter in perspective, that’s the same power/ torque ratings as Fiat uses in its Ducato cab chassis, which are frequently used in much larger and heavier motorhomes like Trakka’s Trakkaway 700. The other mechanical option is VW’s 4Motion AWD van, tailored to the keen adventurer. To distinguish between the two engine options, Trakka uses the torque figures – just to be different – so we have the Trakkadu 340 and the Trakkadu 400. Which I guess looks better than the 103 or the 132! For this review, I checked out the 340, which like all the Trakkadu models, comes with VW’s seven speed DSG automatic gearbox.
ON THE ROAD
Not far from the headquarters in Mount Kuring-gai, at least as the crow flies, is the little hamlet of Spencer, which happens to be on the junction of Mangrove Creek and the much larger Hawkesbury River. To get there by road takes a little longer than the crow, mostly because of Mangrove Mountain and Wisemans Ferry Road. However, that did provide us with an interesting test route, with the combination of freeway and narrow, hilly and winding roads. Being slightly higher than what you’d find in a normal car, the driver’s seat offers a commanding position of what is going on outside, including the rear via the external mirrors. All the expected controls and instrumentation are close to hand and the VW drives with precision. Although it’s a commercial vehicle, it is fitted with all round independent coil spring for a well handled, smooth ride. The 103kW turbo-diesel was very responsive as I expected. The seven speed gearbox certainly is a smooth performer. In the very nice-to-have department, Trakka has replaced the standard VW radio with a multimedia unit that includes a rear view camera, App-connect and Bluetooth.
One of the more obvious features of any van conversion is the poptop roof and if one is fitted, the awning. In this case, Trakka did a seamless job with the low-profile roof and not a half bad one with the awning as well. Indeed, if the awning colour matched that of the composite body, it would not be very obvious at all. The awning, by the by, is electrically operated. The switch is located on the pillar behind the passenger door, which is easy to find once you know! Trakka doesn’t do a full rising roof, instead it’s hinged at the rear, which makes it very easy to lift into position. Screened windows are fitted to the front and side walls, so there is plenty of light and airflow. I particularly liked the zipped sleeves that neatly hold the roof walls in position when the roof is down. Just remember to unzip the sleeves before lifting the roof. Given the cooktop is diesel fired and the fridge is only 12V, there’s no need for a gas cylinder compartment, so the only obvious body fittings are the water filler and power connections.
Inside the Trakka is compact but functional
Being somewhat smaller than a more conventional motorhome, the living area is conservative but it’s more than adequate for what it is, and makes it versatile around town.
Both cab seats swivel around, there’s a kitchen bench/wardrobe unit along the offside, a day/night lounge seat mid van and a large shelf built into the van roof in the rear. With the roof up, the large screened windows offer plenty of ventilation. A standard VW opening window is fitted into the sliding door and above the kitchen bench on the opposite side – it’s very useful if the weather is poor but some ventilation is still needed.
In an interesting development, Trakka has replaced the normal window curtains with integrated blinds and screens, even on nonopening windows, including the rear door. That might sound a bit odd but it looks neat and works very well. Also supplied is a rear door annexe that can be used as either a shower room or just to screen off the rear door area and still have the door open. Lightweight Euro Ply is used for all the cabinet construction. General storage is a bit limited but there’s both a good sized wardrobe and under shelf area in the rear, as well as the kitchen cupboard area.
LOUNGING AND DINING
Many travellers will probably live alfresco but inside, both the swivelling cab seats and the rear seat offer plenty of room to stretch out – at least for two people. Even with the bed made up, there’s still seating for two in the cab seats. Simple is how you’d describe the Trakkadu’s catering facilities. It comes with a Webasto diesel-fired cooktop, an underbench Waeco 80L fridge to keeps things cool and the stainless steel, glass lidded washing up bowl. General storage consists of three drawers and a purpose built storage with both plate and cup racks. At the forward end of the bench above the fridge are the Trakka electrical control panel and the Webasto cooktop controls. I like the electronic control panel – everything neat in one place. A clipon table can either be fitted to the kitchen bench and be used at both front and rear seats or used outside, by clipping on to the sliding door.
Making up the 1.95x1.25m (6ft 5in x 4ft) bed is simply a matter of folding the headrests back and releasing the seat back by pulling on the centrally-located strap. The seat can be moved forwards and backwards a fair bit, so it is quite easy to fill the gap between the folded down seat back and the rear shelf. At first glance it appears to have very few interior lights, but the opposite is true. The light fittings are discrete, with all the LED lighting integrated into the panel work. Not only does it look neat but it works very well too. Most of the light switches and controls are fitted into the curve cornice between the walls and roof. It’s an interesting idea that once you know where to look, works very well. The main touch-panel control is located at the forward end of the kitchen bench.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Many CMCA members might look at the Trakkadu and think it’s not really a motorhome at all. And it really isn’t. However, for its designed purpose, it passes brilliantly. Lightweight tourer, tick. Weekend escape machine, tick. Around town transport, tick. Day-use van, tick. Emergency overnight accommodation if you’ve had one wine too many at your friend’s house, tick. Easy to park and manoeuvre, tick. Easy to set up camper, tick.
The Trakkadu passes the Fit for Purpose test without any trouble at all and as a bonus, it’s a fun drive as well.
There’s a good sized wardrobe and under shelf area, as well as the kitchen cupboard area
Tags: Review Trakka Trakkadu VW Volkswagen
Written: Fri 01 Sep 2017
Printed: September, 2017
Model Trakkadu On Road 340 (Plus package)
Base vehicle Volkswagen T6 LWB
Tare weight 2360kg
Engine 2.0L turbodiesel
Gearbox 7-speed DSG
Brakes ABS Disc
External length 5.29m (17ft 4in)
External width 1.9m (6ft 3in), incl awning
External height 2.06m (6ft 9in)
Internal height 2.1m (6ft 11in)
Bed size 1.95x1.25m (6ft 5in x 4ft 1in)
Cooktop Webasto diesel cooker
Fridge Waeco 80L 12V compressor
Lighting 12V LED
Solar panels Opt
Hot water Engine heat exchanger
Water tank 55L
Grey tank 30L
Gas cylinders Opt
PRICE AS SHOWN
$99,000 (on road, NSW)
9 Beaumont Road
Mount Kuring-gai, NSW 2080
P 1800 872 552