Best coachbuilt without fixed bed - under £60k: Auto-Trail Tribute F60
The Auto-Trail Tribute F60 is the What Motorhome Awards winner of 2020, taking No.1 spot in the Best coachbuilt without fixed bed – under £60k – class. Find out why it was such a deserved winner...
If you want a classic British coachbuilt layout with an entry-level price tag, the obvious options have long been rivals from Elddis and Swift. Auto-Trail’s Tribute coachbuilts showed some early promise when they debuted way back in 2010 but it’s the all-new range for 2020 that should have the opposition worried.
Not only does this season’s Tribute range mark a welcome return to the Ford chassis after a period on the ubiquitous (and ageing) Fiat Ducato, but here is a break from more traditional Auto-Trail design, with a fresh, modern line-up of low-profiles.
There are only four models so far, but this F60 derivative is packed full of appeal if you’re seeking a compact two-berth.
Like all the latest Auto-Trail coachbuilts, the new Tributes come with a choice of cab colour. Blazer Blue is the non-metallic standard shade but you can have Chrome Blue, Agate Black, Magnetic Grey, Moondust, Diffused Silver or this stunning Kapoor Red as part of the Drivers Pack. If you’re brave, it can certainly make these newcomers stand out.
These don’t look like back-to-basics entry-level motorhomes, either, with a standard spec that includes cruise control, reach and rake adjustment for the steering wheel, remote central locking (including the habitation door), driver and passenger airbags, a trip computer and a proper spare wheel, rather than a useless can of gunk.
Of course, you’ll want to add the essential Lux Pack and Drivers Pack but, even with both on your shopping list, the F60 still leaves plenty of change from £50-grand. The Drivers Pack not only gives you the cab’s metallic paint but also electric mirrors, automatic headlights, front foglamps with cornering function (incredibly useful when pitching up on a dark campsite), a heated windscreen, the posher Trend-spec dashboard, colour-coded bumpers and side mouldings, and cab air-conditioning.
The Lux Pack enhances the spec still further with an impressive-looking Zenec Xzent 9.5in touchscreen display, which is such a focal point of the fascia and includes a motorhome-specific sat-nav. The reversing camera uses a separate screen (looking like a standard centre mirror) and the Lux spec also includes habitation kit such as a TV aerial, barbecue point, solar panel, Omnivent (with suck/blow fan over the galley), carpets and an upgraded door with a flyscreen.
If you want Ford’s excellent six-speed automatic gearbox, then that’s available, too (priced at a reasonable £1,740). And it’s worth noting that it’s possible to increase the versatility of the Tribute F60 by adding a drop-down bed and/or a half-dinette rear travel seat in place of the standard twin sofa lounge.
However you choose to specify your F60 model, though, it is properly compact. In fact, with an overall length of just 5.99m, it’s shorter than many van conversions. It’s well-proportioned, too, with a commendably truncated rear overhang and a wide rear track for optimum handling.
You don’t have to spend long behind the wheel to realise that the Ford cab adds massively to the Tribute’s appeal, especially as key rivals are Fiat/Peugeot-based. Here, the driving environment feels more car-like, higher quality, better ergonomically and the small-diameter leather-bound steering wheel and low-set driving position are the icing on this particularly tasty Victoria sponge. Take a test drive and you’ll be sold…
But it’s not just because it’s based on the Transit that we like the new Tribute. This six-metre motorhome really packs a lot into its diddy dimensions and there’s a flat floor right through the whole living area, with just a tiny step up into the cab.
The layout is key, of course, with a very open-plan feel in this standard side settee format. But it’s also about the décor, with very pale coloured furniture, a great selection of interior lighting and a big overcab sunroof all adding to the airy interior that seems to belong in a bigger motorhome. There’s a really wide aisle through the front lounge and the cab seats swivel easily to give you plenty of room to relax. Headroom is excellent, too – over 2m in the kitchen and entrance areas.
You can also convert the settees into a good-sized double bed (2.12m by 1.47m max), but a better option is to order the electric drop-down double, which measures 1.93m by 1.20m. Easily worth the extra £800, it means you can just turn a key and press a button at bedtime and enjoy a firm, comfortable one-piece mattress on a slatted base. And unlike some, the bed can be lowered right down as far as the seat height for easy, ladderless access.
Another aspect of the F60 that belies its low price is the washroom, which is also much larger than you’d expect in a six-metre motorhome. Running right across the rear, this space doubles up as a changing area as it includes the large double-door wardrobe. There’s also a good-sized separate shower that’s fully plastic-lined and has headroom for the tallest occupants, plus robe hooks and a towel ring, and plenty of storage for your toiletries.
So, you might expect the kitchen to have suffered, as a result. But no, here you have a three-burner hob and combined oven/grill, a generous amount of worktop, a huge (142-litre) fridge that requires no kneeling down to access and a large cutlery/implement drawer.
There’s good high and low-level kitchen storage, too, while locker space under the lounge seats is unusually generous, thanks to the Tribute’s Whale heating system being mounted underfloor. And external storage – so important for grubby outdoor gear, but often omitted from British budget motorhomes and campervans – features, too, in the form of a locker at the rear nearside (measuring 0.60m by 0.78m by 0.86m tall) as well as outside access into the nearside settee base.
With this new 2020-season range, Auto-Trail’s Tribute coachbuilts have definitely come of age. They look contemporary, very well-priced and drive brilliantly thanks to the facelifted Ford Transit and its wide-track motorhome chassis. The F60 is the star of this four-’van line-up and, with a price that can remain under £50k even with the vital options packs and electric bed, it blows its closest British rivals away.