Frontline Adventurer VW T6: Review
Designed especially for lightweight travel, the Frontline Adventurer VW T6 is the perfect getaway vehicle to hit the road in – whatever the conditions may be.
Compared to motorhomes, campervans now make up a much smaller percentage of the market, but there are still some experienced specialist builders, such as Frontline Campers, around. And Frontline’s owner Peter Farrugia recently completed his latest campervan – an Adventurer based on the very new VW Transporter 6 van.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUTION
Although Volkswagen describes the T6 as a new model, the changes might not be obvious unless you’re a very keen VW enthusiast. While the body changes are relatively minor, there’s more emphasis on vehicle safety and driver and passenger comfort items. In Australia, where distances are long and driver fatigue can be a problem, this is no bad thing.
Items such as the driver alert system (fatigue detection), multi-collision braking, rear park distance control and driver and passenger side/curtain airbags are all welcome additions. As are the radio/CD player with Aux/USB/SD input and the leather, multi-function steering wheel with audio, Bluetooth and multi-function display controls. Not to mention the driver’s seat height adjustment and lumbar support.
Of course, the new VW still comes with its amazing turbodiesel, either the 103kW engine or the more powerful 132kW power house. Just to put that in perspective, it’s the same power rating as Fiat uses in its Ducatos – which are used for much larger motorhomes.
In the case of our review Adventurer, it’s built on a VW 4Motion (all-wheel drive) van and so only comes with the more powerful engine and the seven-speed direct shift gearbox. Such a hardship!
So does the VW move along with all this horsepower under its bonnet? It certainly does. But all that power is not just useful for moving rapidly down the highway. In rough-road or offroad situations, there are times when having plenty of power under foot is extremely helpful. I have to say that it made negotiating rough terrain very easy, even at relatively low speeds.
There’s no gas cylinder bin fitted to this van because it comes with a methylated spirit-powered cooktop and the fridge is a 12V compressor Engel. With this particular layout there are a couple of alternative arrangements for the two-burner Origo cooktop.
In this case, the cooktop is fitted to a slide-out above the fridge, directly behind the driver’s seat. An alternative is to have a small cabinet fitted behind the passenger seat, with the two-burner cooktop and a cupboard. The advantage of this second arrangement is the cooktop can be used inside or outside, and the cupboard offers additional storage. The disadvantage is it takes up more space inside the van. The choice is yours, but I suspect the alfresco catering style will appeal to many travellers.
THE WRAP UP
Like Volkswagen with its new T6, Frontline has not made any major changes to this latest Adventurer. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s much to be gained from making small improvements to an already successful design and that is precisely the case with this Adventurer.
HITS AND MISSES
- Great vehicle to drive and versatile in many road conditions
- Quick to set up
- Designed for lightweight travel
- Pop-top adds good air flow
- No need for gas cylinders
- Central 12V panel
- Limited interior space
- Small water tank
- Methylated spirit stove slower than gas
FRONTLINE ADVENTURER VW T6 SPECS
Weights and measures
- External length 5.29m (17ft 4in)
- External width 1.9m (6ft 3in)
- Internal height 2.05m (6ft 9in)
- Travel height 2.13m (7ft)
- Tare 2200kg
- GVM 3000kg
- Base vehicle Volkswagen T6
- Engine 2L turbodiesel
- Gearbox Seven-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG)
- Max power 132kW at 4000rpm
- Max torque 400Nm at 1500-2000rpm
- Brakes ABS, EBD and ESP
- ventilated disc
- Water 55L
- Batteries 1x100Ah
- Solar Optional
- Air-conditioner No
- Gas No
- Cooking Dometic Origo two-burner methylated spirits
- Fridge Engel ST90F 85L
- Microwave LG
- Toilet Optional Porta Potti
- Shower External
- Lighting 12V LED
- Hot water Optional
- Porti Potti and storage door; microwave and powerpoint; van striping larger graphic; 17in alloy wheels and offroad tyres; lift kit suspension 35mm; 4Motion all-wheel drive 132kW TDI 7 DSG automatic
Price as shown
- $86,790 (on-road, NSW)
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The full test appears in Caravan World #549 May 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!