Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £65,795 Berths: 4 Travel seats: 5 Length: 7.00m Width: 2.30m Height: 2.91m Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 600kg
Words & photos: Peter Vaughan
For the 2021 model year, Adria undertook a major revision of its popular Matrix range of low-profile coachbuilts equipped with drop-down beds (as well as the sister Coral line-up without the extra berths). However, the new look was initially only applied to the mid-range Plus spec and the flagship Supreme models; Axess versions carried on unchanged. Now, for the 2022 season, these more affordable models also get the facelift.
The new Matrix Axess models come in a single body length of 7m, with a choice of three layouts (DT with an end washroom and garage, no fixed bed; SP with a transverse rear double; and the SL seen here).
All three models have a 13cm-deep technical double floor (incorporating the fresh water tank), a white cab and a new sloping rear wall featuring LED tail lights. The vehicle shown here is also a continental-spec, left-hand drive vehicle, so will not be quite what you’ll see at your local Adria dealer.
Basis, of course, is the latest Series 8 Fiat Ducato (although a pre-facelift cab is shown in our photos) with the new 2.2-litre 140bhp motor as standard, as well as the lower Camping-Car chassis. It comes as a 3,500kg vehicle with a pretty generous payload of 600kg, but an upgrade to 3,650kg is optional.
You can also add the Fiat Luxury Pack to give you a black grille and headlights, black skidplate, alloy wheels, Traction Plus, a leather steering wheel, chromed air vents, the Uconnect 7in touchscreen and some brand-new Ducato features – the electric parking brake (which should be a boon to those who struggle with reaching down to the Fiat’s normal handbrake) and a wireless charging pod.
Although the Axess is ‘entry level’ in Adria terms, this isn’t a budget motorhome (for that, turn to sister brand, Sun Living). So, framed Seitz S4 habitation windows and a panoramic overcab sunroof are standard features, along with Adria’s Comprex construction bodywork and aluminium side skirts.
You’re also unlikely to ever see an example without the All Inclusive Pack, which adds bike rack mountings, cab blinds, an awning, Isofix for child seats in the dinette, cab and living area carpets, a heated and insulated waste water tank, 100Ah leisure battery, reversing camera, gas/electric Combi 4 heating and an entrance door with window, flyscreen, bin and central locking.
With its rear twin bed layout, the SL model also sports a generous rear garage with two large loading doors, two LED strip lights, tie-down hooks, 12V and 230V sockets and even drain holes for hosing out the area. Internal height is a bike-friendly 1.21m, while width is a maximum of 1.13m.
Inside, the front lounge has a nearside L-settee, which offers superior comfort to many rivals with just a simple half-dinette bench. There’s a small side seat forward of the offside habitation door, too, which makes a great footrest when reclining in the swivelled driver’s chair (with RHD). The table isn’t especially large and its white top reflects the light, which is generously supplied by the overcab’s opening rooflight on a sunny day.
Neat little reading lights are fitted above each of the cab seats and the settee. Mabel is the standard cloth upholstery, but leather (in a choice of two colours) is available as an option.
All Matrix Axess models get a new electric drop-down bed that lowers on wire cables, so it is bigger than before (now 1.98m by 1.22m, narrowing to 1.00m at the foot) and sits flush with the roof when stowed. Under the bed, the line of push-to-open top lockers flows neatly into the overcab shelves when the bed is raised but, when down, the drop-down double does obstruct the habitation door.
The kitchen is found amidships, aft of the entrance, and will be upgraded to include a Duplex oven/grill for the UK, as well as a chopping board cover for the sink and a removable drainer. It won’t, however, have the coffee machine shelf seen in our photos.
The galley may only have a two-ring hob, but there’s a small amount of worktop in front of the hob and sink as well as a very easy-to-use folding extension by the door. The kitchen drawers with pop-out handles feel like a premium touch, too, and the tall fridge has a 142-litre capacity.
Opposite the galley, behind a tambour door, is Adria’s Duplex washroom, which features a rotating wall to turn the toilet area into a good-sized shower cubicle with a separate, water-saving showerhead. Also included in this space are a clothes drying rail and an opening window, while water capacities are 120 litres (fresh, inboard) and 85 litres (waste).
Finally, three steps take you up to the twin beds in the stern – in a bedroom that can be closed off with a concertina screen. Bed lengths are generous, at 1.95m (offside) and 2.01m (nearside), while a pull-out panel and slot-in cushion turn the mattress area into a huge transverse double bed measuring 2.10m by 1.77m. Reading lights and USBs are mounted on sliding rails above the beds but, unfortunately, like so many other twin bed layouts, the cupboards here prevent you from sitting up in bed. Under the twin beds, clever slide-away doors reveal a large cupboard on the offside and a small wardrobe opposite.
With this latest Matrix Axess, Adria has created a practical and well-made low-profile motorhome that ticks a lot of boxes, thanks to careful detail design. It is usefully only 7m in length and has a sensible payload on a 3.5-tonne chassis, too.
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