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Adria Compact, first impressions

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As mentioned on another thread, I have recently replaced my 14 year old Knaus with an Adria Compact. As the first trip has now been completed, I thought that I would share my thoughts.

 

Choosing it was really a simple task. Whatever I bought had to be under 6 metres long for two reasons. First, its about the maximum length that I can park at home, and secondly, it goes in the "car" class on bridges and ferries. Very important to me for cheap passages as I travel to Denmark and Germany on a regular basis.

 

Generally, I'm pleased with it. Its a major step forward from the Knaus. Then again, with 14 years in between there should be! The first negative thing that I became aware of was the Instruction Book. According to the Dealer, they are only available in the language of the country in which the vehicle is bought new. In my case, Swedish. Thats not a problem for me, as I am fluent in the language. I can understand that it could be in some cases though. Credit due though, the Swedish is grammatically perfect!

 

Unfortunately, there are problems with the book. As an example. I wanted to find out how to switch on the underfloor heating. According to the book, the control was either in the "bed box" or garage. A little drawing showed me what I should look for. None of the three boxes near the bed had anything in, and neither did the garage. Hunting round, the control was eventually found in a little cupboard near the habitation battery. It did not even look like the drawing in the book, being just a single stage unit, as opposed to the three stage shown! I suspect that this problem is caused by the fact that Adria seem to use the same instruction book for all of their different models...Shame on them!

 

Then came the first trip. I was pleased. In comparison, it drives much more car-like, and is quieter and a lot easier on fuel, about 2/3 of what the Knaus used. I do feel though that with a bit of work done on sound insulation, it could be even quieter.

 

Arriving on the campsite, extending the slide out caused a bit of attention from others there. Even if I do think this is a good idea, Adria have actually made a serious mistake with it. Slide outs are known to have leak issues at times. To help alleviate this, there is an awning that extends with the slide out. During the night, there was a rainstorm, accompanied by winds. The awning hit the actual slide out so hard, it was like sleeping in a bass drum. Not very good.

 

 

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Interesting what you say about the manual. I live in Spain and bought an Adria Spanish caravan new and the manual was in English. It will be interesting to see what language that my Sonic manual comes in.

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Apparently, Adria are the best selling Motorhomes here, so I suppose it is possible that its just for this market. One other curious thing as regards the 185 page Instruction Book. The first 99 pages are numbered in the lower corners, nearest the spine. The remainder in the outer lower corners. No big deal, but nonetheless slightly irritating.

 

Incidentally, the supplied IB covers all Adria motorhomes, including the Sonic Plus range.

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After having made several trips, its time for an update, and a few opinions.

 

Whenever a prospective owner asks the question of "Which motorhome to buy?" the answers are nearly always the same. Either "payload" or layout." In my opinion, its neither of these. They should be "ask yourself what its going to be used for, and where you are planning to go." A motorhome used six month stay in Spain will be quite different to one used for a day trip to Blackpool...

 

Answering the what and where question gave not only the maximum dimensions (under 6 metres long,  under 3 metres high, and under 2,3 metres wide) which were suitable, but also layout and payload. Initially we looked at PVC's, but did not find a suitable one. So, we ended up with this Adria. It 5999mm long, 2750mm high, and 2120mm wide. That gives it the cheapest rate on ferries and bridges. Things that seem to used on every trip we make! Its also nice to know that we pay the cheap rate for a motorhome that is 6700mm when parked! Returning to the "max 2300mm wide, I'll bet very few, if any know where that is illegal. Clue: Its somewhere in the UK....

 

Since buying it, we have made 4 changes. The first was to remove the shower screen. That gave more space in the bathroom. The second (discovered on the first trip) was to make it easier to load and unload the cycles in the garage. I did this by welding up a special cycle rack. Third was to fit a Truma DuoComfort valve and gas filters. The Duo Comfort allows for an automatic gas bottle changeover. As we all know, gas always runs out at the most inconvenient time! :D The filters were because I know for a fact that there is a lot of "dirty gas" out there. Usually from the places that sell it cheapest! The fourth and final change was to fit what we call a "Cobra" to the handbrake lever.

 

The biggest problem encountered so far is down to the instruction book, which I mentioned in the first post. It really should be called a lack-of-instruction book. As an example. If I get up in the middle of the night, I like to be able to switch the bathroom light on, but none of the others. Initially, I found that all could be switched off apart from the two over the sink, and the two over the dinette. It seemed that the only way to switch these off was at the Control Panel. The problem was, if I did that, I could not switch the bathroom light on. I only found out by accident that the four lights were touchlights. Nowhere was this mentioned in the book!

 

As things stand, from the use it is put to, for us its the best one on the market. I just cant understand the reason its not more popular!

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1 hour ago, Scania said:

Whenever a prospective owner asks the question of "Which motorhome to buy?" the answers are nearly always the same. Either "payload" or layout." In my opinion, its neither of these. They should be "ask yourself what its going to be used for, and where you are planning to go." A motorhome used six month stay in Spain will be quite different to one used for a day trip to Blackpool...

For me personally I agree with this logic, we bought a 4 berth just for the 2 of us which gives us the extra room and comfort we wanted. We travel to Europe once a year so the various charges are not a major consideration and the rest of the year is spent mostly touring UK almost always Wildcamping so once the large Solar Panel was fitted we were sorted.

Lifestyle considerations I believe are most important and as we travel abroad to India and Canaries a lot the expenditure for both lifestyles is well balanced. The old MH has never let us down and over the 6 years we have owned it not a single regret.

Enjoy your Adria Scania :)

 

 

Brian

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20 hours ago, Scania said:

After having made several trips, its time for an update, and a few opinions. Since buying it, we have made 4 changes.

The first was to remove the shower screen.

The second was to make it easier to load and unload the cycles in the garage. I did this by welding up a special cycle rack.

Third was to fit a Truma DuoComfort valve and gas filters.

The fourth and final change was to fit what we call a "Cobra" to the handbrake lever.

You appear to have carried out your research well and the most important thing is that you have a motorhome that is ideally suited to the way you will be using it, so I hope it will bring many happy trips away.

I completely agree that the amount of time spent in the motorhome should be a major deciding factor when choosing a model. Ours theoretically is a six berth but there is one fixed bed. The other berths are achieved only by unfolding a side settee, and by rearranging a side dinette, so in effect we have a spacious two berth with options to accommodate occasional guests.

Regarding the modifications you have made:-

1. Removal of the shower screen clearly works with your layout, and the principle of obtaining more elbow room is always welcome in a confined shower space.

2. Our bikes are of the folding variety and we find that by pert folding them (ie releasing the handlebar clamps to allow them to swing down) the overall height can quickly be reduced to fit through the loading hatch. We carry the spare wheel in the garage, so the mounting for this provides a convenient place to fix the security straps for the bikes.

3. We have a large installed gas tank that is refillable from an LPG pump. The level is displayed within the MH and there is no reserve tank but I totally agree that a line filter is advisable if the source of gas supply is in any way suspect. I have always viewed automatic changeover systems with suspicion for two reasons. Firstly I do not fully trust them to change over, and secondly if they do and I am unaware of this, my first indication of low gas may be the emptying of the second cylinder. With this in mind, inconvenient as it may be, when we had two cylinders I preferred to retain manual control of the switch over.

4. Your fourth change has left me confused (it doesn't take much) but having Googled "Cobra handbrake lever" I'm none the wiser. What is the difference between that and any other handbrake lever?   

Gordon

 

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22 hours ago, bikerbri said:

... We travel to Europe once a year so the various charges are not a major consideration...

 

 

Brian

 

Just to give an idea of the amount of ferries and bridges used, the first three trips made used four ferry crossings, and eight toll bridges. Two of the bridge trips were made over the one in Denmark that was in the news last week, on which an accident sadly killed eight people.

 

3 hours ago, Gordon said:

 

...Our bikes are of the folding variety and we find that by pert folding them (ie releasing the handlebar clamps to allow them to swing down) the overall height can quickly be reduced to fit through the loading hatch. We carry the spare wheel in the garage, so the mounting for this provides a convenient place to fix the security straps for the bikes.

 

3. We have a large installed gas tank that is refillable from an LPG pump. The level is displayed within the MH and there is no reserve tank but I totally agree that a line filter is advisable if the source of gas supply is in any way suspect. I have always viewed automatic changeover systems with suspicion for two reasons. Firstly I do not fully trust them to change over, and secondly if they do and I am unaware of this, my first indication of low gas may be the emptying of the second cylinder. With this in mind, inconvenient as it may be, when we had two cylinders I preferred to retain manual control of the switch over.

4. Your fourth change has left me confused (it doesn't take much) but having Googled "Cobra handbrake lever" I'm none the wiser. What is the difference between that and any other handbrake lever?   

Gordon

 

 The ones we use are also of the folding variety, and we load them in exactly the same way. That is to say, by folding down just the handlebars. The problem was more finding a quick and simple way to secure them, that was also quick to remove them.

 

I'd love to have an installed gas tank, but its simply impractical. LPG pumps are still few and far between. I'm about an hours drive from the nearest ones, and both of those would mean a detour from my usual routes. This is really down to two reasons. First, there are very few privately owned vehicles that use LPG. Second, there are a lot of summer cottages that use bottled propane. In turn, that means its easily accessible at garages, building stores, as well as some specialist distributors. Bottles can either be exchanged, or refilled. I usually get mine refilled, as its cheapest. In regards to being suspicious of auto changeovers, I am as well. Especially when it seems that Truma seem to have dropped the DuoComfort from their range. Here at least, all that is available nowadays is the MonoControl and DuoControl. The latter will not fit mine due to the positioning of the MonoControl that it came with.

 

As some will be aware, the handbrake lever on Fiat based campers is a bit low. To make it more ergonomic, I fitted the "Cobra." As can be seen from the photo, it makes things a lot easier. Would it be legal in the UK? 

 

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That's definately a lot of crossings for a trip and for you a major consideration.

Other than Toll Charges I am only faced with a single ferry trip each way across the channel as I tend to head for France & Spain only.

Good planning and costings are important when venturing abroad and hopefully your choice of MH and changes made will make for many happy trips.

 

Brian

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Hi Scania,

Regarding LPG supply, I completely understand your reasoning. Fortunately I have five outlets within ten miles of my house and three more under twenty miles from home on routes that I frequently use, hence my decision to run the last four cars on LPG/petrol. The installed LPG tank for domestic services on our present MH was there as standard, as was our previous MH but that also had an additional large capacity tank to supply the engine too. I do believe you're right that the number of LPG users in the UK is diminishing and forecourt pumps are becoming fewer consequently future supply outlets may become a problem. That said, the last time we filled the MH LPG was last summer and since then we have used around half a tank so there is no urgency to refill.

I like the look of your "Cobra" handbrake extension, and I'm sure it must be more convenient when driving. I don't know for sure but I cannot see any reason why there would be an issue in fitting the same to a UK vehicle, after all various adaptions can be fitted perfectly legally to make life easier for disabled drivers, so why not for the rest of us. A couple of years ago I had a drive in a "reverse steer" Jeep. ie turning the steering wheel left made the vehicle turn right. This was on private land but turned out to be surprisingly easy after a few minutes practice. Apparently it was also totally road legal too and was frequently driven between venues in that condition.

I'm not aware of any standard that says how a parking brake should be operated. Our MH has a foot operated parking brake that is released with a small toggle switch below the dashboard. Our Volvo has a simple push lever on the dashboard to apply the electric parking brake that is released by simply pressing the accelerator pedal if in "Drive". Our MG has a standard handbrake lever between the seats, so I have to remember three ways of using the parking brake, and when my in laws had their camper, the handbrake lever on that was on the opposite side of the drivers' seat, next to the door, like yours.

Gordon.  

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On ‎2019‎-‎01‎-‎06 at 14:39, bikerbri said:

Enjoy your Adria Scania :)

 

 

Thanks for that, bikerbri. I hope we all enjoy our Motorhomes, and have many happy trips in them.

 

 

On ‎2019‎-‎01‎-‎09 at 21:58, Gordon said:

 

I like the look of your "Cobra" handbrake extension, and I'm sure it must be more convenient when driving. 

 

The Cobra does make the handbrake a lot more convenient to use, especially in situations where it is needed to be applied/released a lot. Some of our testers dont like the fact that to release, the arm has to be pushed forwards rather than backwards as is most common. They seem to get a bit embarassed when unable to release it! :blink:

 

On ‎2019‎-‎01‎-‎09 at 21:58, Gordon said:

I'm not aware of any standard that says how a parking brake should be operated. Our MH has a foot operated parking brake that is released with a small toggle switch below the dashboard. 

 

Foot operated parking brakes are common on a few american vehicles. Quite often, they can only be released by applying the footbrake and putting the shifter in "D" from "N" on autos.

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The handbrake extension is available in the UK and providing that it is properly attached I cannot see anything under type approval or con and use regs that would prevent it being fitted in the UK. However, in Spain I think I would not pass its ITV (MOT equivalent) with it fitted.

 

They are in fact called Kobran Motorhome Handbrake Extenders and cost £65 from https://www.outdoorbits.com/kobran-motorhome-handbrake-extender-p-173.html

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12 hours ago, Scania said:

Some dont like the fact that to release, the arm has to be pushed forwards rather than backwards as is most common. 

I don't see a problem. It would just be something you would get used to, in the same way as some vehicles have indicator stalks on the left of the steering wheel, while others have them on the right ;) 

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On ‎2019‎-‎01‎-‎13 at 04:34, Gordon said:

I don't see a problem. It would just be something you would get used to, in the same way as some vehicles have indicator stalks on the left of the steering wheel, while others have them on the right ;) 

 

I dont see a problem either, its just that our equivalent of your MoT testers do! :D I might explain our system if anyone is interested. You lot dont know how lucky you are!

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On 14/01/2019 at 18:05, Scania said:

I might explain our system if anyone is interested.

Let me guess - no modifications and everything working perfectly as if brand new? 

 

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1 hour ago, Gordon said:

Let me guess - no modifications and everything working perfectly as if brand new? 

 

That's what it is in Spain, can't even fit LED bulbs in indicators for instance if they weren't fitted when it was made. Same make and model and tread pattern on tyres and so ti goes on. You don't know how lucky you are in the UK. Although it looks to be tightening up there too.

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