Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £157,990 Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Length: 7.86m Width: 2.30m Height: 3.18m Gross weight: 5,500kg Payload: 1,031kg
Words & photos: Peter Vaughan
Have you ever noticed how German brands like to pinch words from the English language? Bürstner Harmony, Dethleffs Pulse, Knaus Sky… they sometimes seem a bit random, don’t they, even if they stop short of full-on bonkers – unlike Japanese car makers with the likes of the Daihatsu Naked or the Nissan Big Thumb (we’re not making these up!). So, there’s something quite refreshing about the new Titan Next from Frankia – they haven’t just opened the Oxford English Dictionary and stuck a pin into the page, for the company admits this is a preview of its next generation of motorhomes.
For now, though, the Titan Next is just a single special edition model. Being a Titan, it’s built on a Fiat Al-Ko chassis (there’s no Mercedes Platin equivalent) and the only layout available is the I 790 GD, which means it’s 7.9 metres long (rounded up a bit) and has a twin bed floorplan.
Other 790 models in the range come on a 5-tonne tag-axle chassis, with the option to upgrade to 5,500kg but, for the Next, the heavier gross weight is included at no extra cost – resulting in an impressive payload of over a tonne on this six-wheeler chassis. You’ll be grateful for that when you see the size of the garage, complete with Frankia’s trademark top-hinged rear hatch in addition to the usual side loading door.
The standard engine, meanwhile, is the new 2.2-litre 160bhp unit, mated to the nine-speed automatic transmission. Also featured are ESC, Traction Plus, Hill Holder, cruise control, cab air-conditioning and twin airbags, while Frankia adds an Alpine multimedia unit with DAB radio, sat-nav and a 9in touchscreen that’s also linked to the twin-view reversing camera.
Sticking with the ‘Next’ theme, Frankia says this new 2022-season model “takes self-sufficiency to the next level.” That’s because it’s the first model in the company’s range to get the new Thetford Indus toilet system, which we’ll forgive you if you haven’t heard of, because so far it’s only been seen in Bürstner’s latest Elegance A-class flagship.
Frankia says that the Indus system will give you up to seven days of independence from site/
emptying facilities. This is mated to automated and efficient use of water and additives, real-time information on remaining capacity and emptying points, as well as easier and less frequent discharging.
The Indus toilet adds its own chemicals automatically, with the vehicle carrying cartridges designed to last, on average, 28 days. There’s no cassette to carry manually to an emptying point and, instead, a single discharge of both black and grey waste in one go at a conventional drive-over emptying station.
Inside the vehicle, you’ll spot the more domestic appearance of the lavatory, along with its soft- closing lid. There are still separate grey and black tanks (105 litres and 45 litres, respectively, in the Frankia) but, here, it’s the grey water (not fresh) that’s used for flushing. When it comes to emptying, the Indus module avoids any potentially unhygienic touching of toilet parts, as it is simply extracted from the side of the vehicle and placed over a suitable grey water drain.
Then, further emphasising this motorhome’s off-grid potential, the Next comes with a 250-litre inboard fresh water tank, two 120Ah lithium batteries, three roof-mounted 110W solar panels and an inverter.
But this isn’t just a Titan with a new loo. It shows off a new exterior look, too, with more white, less black, but still a recognisably Frankia appearance. Inside, there’s also a change, with the introduction of Visby White furniture in place of the previous oak option.
But despite all these cosmetic revisions, this is still a Frankia doing what Frankia motorhomes do best, so it has an 11-year water ingress warranty, an Alde central heating system, Thermo Guard Plus side walls, a heat exchanger and underfloor heating, plus of course the 35cm-deep heated double floor.
There’s a stepless floor through the interior, plus interior headroom of over 2m, too. Then, there are the extra features of this special model, including LED headlights, an additional charger, an Alphatronics 32in flatscreen TV with Dolby surround sound speaker system and Teleco satellite dish, and a kitchen with ‘Coffee Corner’.
Inside, the 790 GD layout is not new but it feels open and spacious, thanks to the combination of side sofas in the lounge and a straight kitchen. The aisle here is wide and, with the A-class cab featuring optional top lockers on this show model, rather than the usual drop-down bed, it somehow feels even more roomy. The luxurious leather trim shown is an extra cost option, though.
The long galley is featured here with the standard German-market hob and an oven above the 153-litre two-door fridge/freezer that can be opened from either side. However, we’d expect most UK customers to order the full slot-in domestic-style cooker with its separate grill and oven. Either way, you can expect plenty of drawer-based storage as well as high-end Corian-style worktops, while the dark glazed glasses cabinet over the rear end of the kitchen completes the spec.
Of course, the generous shower sits opposite the toilet compartment, aft of the kitchen, with the latter boasting multiple mirrors and an Alde radiator on which to dry your towels. The black backlit shower tower and washroom mood lighting ensure that these areas are not short of style.
The layout concludes with super-sized twin beds above the garage – they’re 1.95m and 2m in length, according to Frankia, while the bedroom is also generously equipped with storage, including a slide-out wire basket under the nearside bed and a pull-out wardrobe beneath the offside bed. Excellent bedroom lighting includes flexible wand reading lights for each berth, while storage pockets alongside the head of each bed serve for reading matter and odds and ends.
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