14/10/2021 Share this review   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Motorhome review: Auto-Trail Expedition C63

b74e5756-3d7a-44ba-90a7-3cb81304fd49

Key Features

  • Model Year : 2022
  • Class : Overcab Coachbuilt
  • Base Vehicle : Fiat Ducato
  • Engine Size : 2.2TD
  • Maximum Weight (Kg) : 3500
  • Berths : 4
  • Layout : End Kitchen

The Verdict

Value for money is a strong card with this new Auto-Trail and you won’t really miss most of what’s been omitted to keep the price down. Meanwhile, the C63 layout is a classic that still has appeal, thanks to its super-sized lounge. With a separate shower, too, this Expedition could suit both couples and young families and make a great alternative to buying used

AT A GLANCE

Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £46,995 Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Length: 6.34m Width: 2.35m Height: 3.16m Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 570kg

Pros
  • Super-sized lounge
  • Sub-£50k price tag
Cons
  • Unvented seat/bed bases
  • Awkwardly hinged sink lid

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION

Model Year
2022
Manufacturer
Auto-Trail
Class
Overcab Coachbuilt
Range
Expedition
Base Vehicle
Fiat Ducato
Engine Size
2.2TD
Payload (kg)
570
Belted Seats
4
Maximum weight (kg)
3500
Price from (£)
46995
Length (m)
6.34
Width (m)
2.35
Height (m)
3.16
Berths
4
Main Layout
End Kitchen
Price from (€)
Campervan Test Date

DETAILED REVIEW

 

 

 

Words and photos: Peter Vaughan

Page contents

 

Introduction

The word ‘new’ is, perhaps, overused and the term ‘all-new’ is one both motor and motorhome industries find hard to resist. So, here we are testing a ‘brand-new coachbuilt range’ (Auto-Trail’s words) based on the New Ducato (Fiat’s description) but, as we’ll see, there’s plenty here that’s very familiar…

So, let’s start with the Series 8 Ducato, of which this is the first example to get the MMM test treatment. It looks very like the previous Fiat, doesn’t it? Its maker says that the grille is new but, by the time an Auto-Trail motif has replaced the bold new FIAT (all caps) branding, the change is subtle, to say the least. And, as an entry-level model, the Expedition doesn’t benefit from new full-LED headlights that are said to be 30% brighter.

 

What’s included

All the Series 8 models get new engines – as advertised by the Multijet 3 logo on the offside front wing – in order to meet the latest Euro 6d-Final emissions standard. Power outputs still offer a choice of 120, 140, 160 or 180bhp, with Auto-Trail opting to fit the 140bhp motor as standard across its coachbuilt range (except the tag-axles, which get the 160 unit).

Irrespective of their potency, the new motors are downsized from 2.3 to 2.2 litres, although torque here remains at 350Nm. If the new capacity sounds familiar, it’s because these ‘new’ engines are shared with the sister Peugeot Boxer and Citroën Relay vans. They are said to be more economical and more refined than the previous Fiat Multijet 2 engines, something that our readout of 32mpg (without any motorway miles) and our ears would agree with.

More obvious are the changes inside the cab, where the redesigned door trims have more convenient recesses for bottles, pens, etc. Then, there’s the smaller-diameter steering wheel (plastic here) connected to electric power steering rather than the previous hydraulic set-up. That allows for options such as a Lane Control system (not fitted here) and also makes the steering noticeably lighter, although not with as much feel.

 

The six-speed manual gearbox is ‘new and improved’ and we certainly found it light and easy to use. The dials are different, too, although this entry-level Auto-Trail doesn’t, of course, get the 7in Full Digital Cockpit. Instead, it’s the 3.5in black and white TFT display on which you can only see the needles of the speedo and rev counter until you turn the key and it all lights up like Christmas.

The rest of the fascia looks familiar, bar the new style of fresh air vents – the hard, cheap-looking plastics remain. Auto-Trail doesn’t offer any of the new Fiat infotainment systems on the Expedition, instead adding an Xzent radio with Bluetooth and 6.5in touchscreen as a £349 option.

There are plenty more new optional Fiat features (none of which are featured here), from a wireless connection to your phone to Autonomous Emergency Brake control and cornering lights, but the standard Ducato spec has been enhanced to include Crosswind Assist (working above 40mph) and Autonomous Post Collision Braking.

Keeping things simple on this budget-priced motorhome, the only chassis option is alloy wheels. It’s worth saying, too, that the Expedition is based on a standard-height chassis, which feels much less planted on the road than a typical low-profile on the lowered chassis.  

 

Pricing

Just as the new Ducato is, maybe, not quite as innovative as Fiat would like us to believe, there’s a lot of carryover from previous Auto-Trails in this new Expedition coachbuilt.

The model name was introduced last season on a pair of campervans that surprised with their affordability. Now, there are Expedition coachbuilts, too – a range of four overcabs (Auto-Trail calls them Hi-Lines), three of them measuring 7.25m and this more compact C63 kicking off the line-up at 6.34m long.

More importantly, this model has an on-the-road price of £46,995 – to which there are no essential packs to add. That’s almost £10k less than the smallest Imala, with which the C63 shares its overcab moulding, overall length and interior layout, as well as its construction and insulation. It also undercuts all models in the Swift Edge range and all but the smallest 5.70m Elddis Autoquest.

Externally, it has steel wheels, no roof bars and a habitation door without a window. There’s no choice of cab colour, only pale Expedition Grey, but you still get an electric step and flyscreen for the door, as well as the traditional branded brolly. There’s an external hatch into the nearside under-seat locker and brackets for a bike rack, too.

You’ll almost certainly want to add a reversing camera, and maybe an awning, but the external design doesn’t shout ‘basic spec’ too loudly. Even the waste water drain has a sensible, large-bore outlet. Both fresh and waste water tanks are underslung, which will need consideration in the winter, though. Inside, there are no carpets and there’s no super-sized rooflight (two small ones sit over the lounge and galley, with a bigger vent in the overcab), while cab blinds get relegated to the refreshingly short options list and stick-on screens are provided instead.

There’s no choice of décor, with light Salinas Oak contrasting sharpy with the dark charcoal upholstery. More shades of grey feature on the floor and top lockers, so you might want to brighten things up with some scatter cushions.

Over two decades ago, when I first became a full-time member of the MMM team, the C63’s layout would have seemed commonplace. Now, it is without a direct rival in the ranges of Bailey, Elddis or Swift. Auto-Sleepers, ever the traditionalist, maintains a similar floorplan in its Broadway range but at a very different spec/price level to this new Auto-Trail.

Of course, the Expedition coachbuilt range also includes the more fashionable island bed, a transverse bed/garage model and a family-friendly version with twin lounges. This is the compact offering in the range, not that you’d necessarily notice when you step aboard. 

 

The layout

With no fixed bed, a very generous and open front lounge and extra-large windows on either side, the C63 belies its modest dimensions. It comes as standard with the ‘LD’ lounge seen here, but the offside L-settee can be swapped for a pullman dinette at no extra cost. Either way, this is a four-berth ’van with a corresponding number of travel seats.

It’s the lounge that is central to the model’s appeal, with a straight settee of more than 6ft long on the nearside and a barely shorter L-sofa opposite. Swivel the two cab chairs (trimmed to match and with twin armrests apiece) and you have room for at least eight humans here. If there are only two of you, the passenger seat turns far enough for you to put your socks on the sofa but, regrettably, this isn’t possible with the driver’s seat because of the bulkhead.

The table (950mm by 580mm) isn’t so super-sized and will require you to sit on the edge of the seats to reach your grub, but it’s a free-standing unit that’s wobble-free and can be stowed away alongside the fridge.

Lighting is not in short supply, although it’s always a shame not to have reading lights over the cab seats.

You do get LED strips under and over the top lockers, however, and spotlights at the rear end of each settee (plus USB ports on the offside). Net curtains are fitted at both of the side windows, too, and the blinds (surprisingly) are the more expensive, pleated type. There’s lots of under-seat storage, most of which is fairly easy to access from above, and you’ll find the Truma Combi 4 E gas/electric boiler under the rearmost part of the long sofa. 

 

The kitchen

No television bracket is provided, nor any aerial, but the surface above the fridge could be an ideal spot for your TV, with a 230V socket fitted. You won’t have to use kitchen gadgets here, though, as the main galley area has a pull-up power tower with a trio of three-pin sockets.

Of course, the kitchen is primarily across the back wall, where you’ll find the three-burner hob and combined oven and grill, as well as plenty of high and low-level storage, including two drawers (one fitted out for cutlery).

There’s a little worktop alongside the sink, but it’s the area over the fridge that ensures that the chef is not short of preparation space.

It didn’t seem dark in the galley, despite the loss of the glazed door (coat hooks are fitted instead), but the fridge is quite modestly sized and has the basic push-button ignition on gas. Much more inconvenient than that is the odd, side-hinged sink lid that gets in the way when washing up. 

 

The washroom

When washing yourself, it’s a huge boon to find a proper separate shower in a layout like this. It’s a good size, too, with generous headroom, a clothes drying rail and bifold doors. You’ll have to rely on the window behind the washbasin to let out the steam, though.

The other downside of this washroom is limited storage and the fact that the slim top locker needs a fiddle rail or straps to keep its contents in place. There’s no such criticism of the capacity of the wardrobe alongside, however, and there’s a useful shelved cupboard below, too. 

 

Sleeping

Then, when it comes to lights out, you have a choice of sleeping spaces, simplest of which is just to use the settees as lengthways single beds. Do that and the nearside bed is 1.86m long, while its opposite number measures virtually the same once you’ve removed the travel seat backrest.

Alternatively, you can pull the seat bases together to create a super-long transverse double bed. The reader who contacted MMM recently bemoaning motorhome bed sizes for tall occupants would have no issues here. What might be noted, though, is that the seat/bed foam isn’t as comfortable or as high-quality as in more expensive models and only part of the bed is on a slatted frame (the nearside settee has a plywood base).

The overcab bed also has a solid base, so you might need to think about stacking the mattress sections when the motorhome is in winter storage. A more pressing matter could be that access to the upper berths is challenging if you also use the downstairs double, as the ladder cannot then be deployed.

The 70mm-thick mattress in the luton is probably best suited to kids, especially as the curved roofline restricts headroom towards the front of the ’van. Ventilation is good up here, though, with that large rooflight, while lighting is on the offside only via a small LED strip. In the daytime, the rear part of the bed can be tipped up to allow an easy walk through to the cab but the gas struts used to support the bed base both became detached on this early example (something that is now being addressed).

 

Did you know?

We have created a fully searchable library of every issue of MMM from January 2012.

Our archive partner provides the searchable database to help you find, download and read any and every issue instantly, on any device, on any topic, wherever you may be, including the latest editions!

Why not try searching for more great motorhome articles now?

Motorhome supplied by

Auto-Trail VR Ltd

Tel: 01472 571000

auto-trail.co.uk


Insurance: £305.80
Tel: 0800 975 1307

shieldtotalinsurance.co.uk
For quote details: motorhome.ma/QuoteInfo


Breakdown cover
Tel: 0345 366 6579
camc.com/mayday

 

 

 

Chelston Motorhomes


Chelston Business Park
Wellington
Somerset
TA21 9JE
http://www.chelstononline.co.uk
[email protected]
New and used motorhomes, service centre, accessories, finance. Mobility Vat-free and driving & access adaptions.

Elite Motorhomes Ltd


Thorpe Road
Banbury
Oxfordshire
OX17 2QY
http://www.elitemotorhomes.co.uk
[email protected]
Sales, finance, accessories. Base & habitation service & MoT.

Erwin Hymer Centre - Travelworld


Valley Drive
Stafford
Staffordshire
ST16 1NZ
https://www.motorhomes.co.uk
[email protected]
Erwin Hymer Centre Travelworld are proud to have firmly established ourselves as one of the UK’s leading motorhome dealerships with a stunning showroom based near Stafford just off junction 14 of the M6. With the largest array of premium German brand motorhomes in the UK market, they are perfectly placed to meet the current unprecedented demand for Carado, Dethleffs, HYMER and Niesmann + Bischoff vehicles. With more than 40 years and as a family-run business, our dedicated, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic team is ready to answer any questions to help unlock the perfect travelling companion for you and your family.

Marquis Motorhomes (Devon)


Lee Mill
Plymouth
Devon
PL21 9EG
http://www.marquisleisure.co.uk
[email protected]
Auto-Sleepers, Auto-Trail, Benimar, Benivan, Elddis, Majestic, Mobilvetta, Randger new motorhomes. Base & habitation service & repairs.

Premier Motorhomes & Leisure Ltd

Premier Business Park
Main Road
Chichester
West Sussex
PO20 7BU
http://premiermotorhomes.uk
[email protected]
Auto-Trail, Chausson, Dethleffs, Hymer, HymerCar. The south's complete motorhome centre. Sales, servicing & accessories.

Simpsons Motorhomes


Suffolk Road
Great Yarmouth
Norfolk
NR31 0LN
http://simpsonsmotorhomes.co.uk
[email protected]
Simpsons Motor Caravans is one of Britain's most trusted and respected motorhome dealers. Base & habitation service, repairs & MoT.

Spinney Cheshire


Knutsford Road
Holmes Chapel
Cheshire
CW4 8HJ
http://www.spinney.co.uk
[email protected]
New motorhomes. 8-bay workshop. Accessory shop. New caravans. Parts & aftersales.

West Country Motorhomes (Brent Knoll)


Bristol Road
Brent Knoll
Somerset
TA9 4HG
http://www.westcountrymotorhomes.co.uk
[email protected]
West Country Motorhomes based in Brent Knoll, Somerset, have been supplying quality motorhomes for over 40 years, we are recognised as one of the largest independent motorhome retailer’s and proudly claim to be ‘The UK’s Premier Dealer’.

Abbey Caravans

285-291
Shore Road
Newtownabbey
Co Antrim
BT37 9RW
http://www.abbey-caravans.com
[email protected]
New Adria caravans. New Auto-Trail, Escape, Roller Team, Tribute motorhomes. Used sales. Habitation service & repairs.

BC Motorhomes

Border Cars Ayr
Heathfield Road
Ayr
Ayrshire
KA8 9HE
http://www.bcmotorhomes.co.uk
[email protected]
Auto-Sleepers, Auto-Trail, Carthago, Dethleffs, Roller Team, Swift new motorhomes. Motorhome hire, base & habitation service & repair.

Brownhills


A1-A46 Junction
Newark
Nottinghamshire
NG24 2EA
http://www.brownhills.co.uk
[email protected]
Adria, Auto-Trail, Elddis, Rapido, Swift new motorhomes. Sales, parts, accessories, restaurant.

Catterick Caravans


Catterick Bridge
Richmond
North Yorkshire
DL10 7JB
http://www.leisureworldgroup.com
[email protected]
New and used caravans & motorhomes. Awnings, finance, insurance, spray clinic. Accessories. Habitation service & repairs. Caravan & motorhome storage.

Continental Leisure Vehicles


Cross Hands Business Park
Swansea
West Glamorgan
SA14 6RE
http://www.continentalcaravans.co.uk
[email protected]
New and used caravans and motorhomes, accessories and servicing. Adria, Auto-Trail & Bailey motorhomes.

Cranham Leisure (Upminster)


Old Gailey Park
Upminster
Essex
RM14 1TJ
http://www.cranham.co.uk
[email protected]
New and used caravans and motorhomes for sale. Base and habitation servicing. Also branch at Chelmsford.

Danum Motor Company Ltd


Doncaster Road
Doncaster
South Yorkshire
DN6 0AD
http://www.danumleisure.com
New and used motorhomes for sale. Base and habitation servicing. Accessories, spares & rental.

Davan Caravans & Motorhomes


Goosey Lane
Weston-super-Mare
Somerset
BS22 7XA
http://www.davan.co.uk
[email protected]
New caravans. New motorhomes. Habitation service.

Dolphin Motorhomes Hampshire Sales

478
Bursledon Road (A3024)
Southampton
Hampshire
SO19 8NH
http://www.dolphinmotorhomes.co.uk
[email protected]
Motorhome dealers. Accessories. VAT-free mobility vehicles. Habitation service. Elddis & Swift dealer specials.

Don Amott Leisure Kingdom


Egginton Road
Derby
Derbyshire
DE65 5FJ
http://www.leisurekingdom.co.uk
New motorhomes. New caravans. Finance, workshop, accessories, tents, trailers. CaSSOA Gold award.

Oaktree Motorhomes


Gin Close Way
Awsworth
Nottinghamshire
NG16 2HH
http://www.omcmotorhomes.co.uk
[email protected]
Used motorhome sales.

Perthshire Caravans


Dundee Road
Perth
Perth and Kinross
PH2 7SR
http://www.perthshire-caravans.co.uk
[email protected]
New motorhomes, caravans, holiday homes & accessories. Service & sprays.

Richard Baldwin Motorhomes


Wakefield Road
Halifax
West Yorkshire
HX3 0TP
http://rbm.co.uk
[email protected]
Auto-Trail, Elddis, Swift new motorhomes. Service centre and bodyshop, accessory shop. Mobility VAT-Free vehicles.

Threeways Motorhomes Ltd


Faenol Avenue
Abergele
Conwy
LL22 7HT
http://www.threewaysmotorhomes.net
[email protected]
New and used caravans and motorhomes for sale. Tribute and Roller Team for hire. Base and habitation service and MoTs.

Todds Motorhomes

Todds Mobile Leisure
Coote Lane
Preston
Lancashire
PR5 5JD
http://www.toddsmotorhomes.co.uk
[email protected]
New and used motorhomes, after-sales and accessories. Mobility VAT-free motorhomes.

Tyne Valley Motorhomes


Byermoor
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear
NE16 6NS
http://www.tynevalleymotorhomes.co.uk
[email protected]
Auto-Trail, Chausson, Elddis, Hymer and HymerCar new motorhomes. Service, warranty work, accessory fitting. Motorhome storage.

West Country Motorhomes (Swindon)


Turnpike Road
Swindon
Wiltshire
SN26 7EA
http://www.westcountrymotorhomes.co.uk
[email protected]
New and used motorhomes. Motorhome rental, service and accessory fitting.

White Arches Motorhomes


Higham Road
Wellingborough
Northamptonshire
NN8 2DU
http://www.whitearchesmotorhomes.co.uk
[email protected]
New and used motorhomes. Base & habitation service, repairs & MoT. Finance.

Wilmoths Motorhomes


Guildford Road
Godalming
Surrey
GU7 3BU
http://www.wilmothsmotorhomes.co.uk
New and used motorhomes. Base and habitation service and MoT.

Wilmoths Motorhomes

12
Rochester Street
Southampton
Hampshire
SO14 5QW
http://www.wilmothsmotorhomes.co.uk
New and used motorhomes. Base and habitation service and MoT.