Roller Team 694 | Europe style on a Kiwi budget
Author: Malcolm Street Date Posted: 22 June 2018
Words and pics by Malcolm Street
About three years ago the RV Super Centre started to import the European Roller Team motorhomes from its British rental affiliate ‘Just Go’. Some make their way to the THL rental fleet, while the rest become available in the RV Super Centre sales yards in Auckland and Christchurch. There are three model line-ups in the range. Recently, I was handed the keys of an Auto Roller 694.
From the outside, the Auto Roller 694 , a motorhome with a length of 6.76m (22ft 2in), is quite a snappy looking motorhome and that’s the same inside, with a very practical layout given the external length. Certainly the front area has been designed for very relaxed living and overall, the motorhome has a great deal of Italian panache about it and best of all it is very reasonably priced!
But let’s get down to details.
Built on a Fiat Ducato cab chassis, the 694 has a 2.3 litre turbo diesel engine which delivers a maximum of 96kW of power and 320Nm of torque through Fiat’s six speed AMT gearbox. They are generally easy driving machines. I’d like the more powerful of the Ducato engines being a bit of a rev head, but it does cope with everything except the steepest of hills.
The motorhome is built with a composite wall and roof structure. The walls having an external covering of fibreglass with laminated plastic for the inside and Styrofoam and extruded plastic in between. Both the Hartal door and Dometic acrylic double glazed windows are familiar items. A feature that many European motorhome lovers will appreciate is that the habitation door is on the kerbside.
There are three external hatches, one for the offside gas cylinder bin and toilet cassette and one at the nearside rear that gives access to the underbed area. It’s large enough to contain camping chairs, all the necessary hoses and power leads and, if needed a small BBQ. Given the under bed location, plastic bins are a good idea for wet items.
Stepping inside the 694 reveals quite a roomy layout. Forward of the entry door is a neat looking dining/lounge area in which both the cab seats swivel and there’s a forward facing two person lounge behind the driver’s seat. To the left of the door entry, a sideways facing lounge fills the space.
It’s an Italian built motorhome, but like many in Europe, it has the so called French bed, ie one fitted into a rear corner. That’s not quite as attractive as an island bed, but it does have the bonus of being able to fit a bathroom into the rear area as well. The mid area is then devoted to the necessary kitchen facilities.
The 694 is actually a four berth motorhome. There is the rear bed measuring 1.96m x 1.25 – 1.00m 6ft 5in x 4ft 1in – 34ft 3in) and then up front, by a bit of manoeuvring around of seat bases and cushions, the dinette can be made up into a 2.16m x 1.16m (7ft 1in x 3ft 10in) bed. Not quite adult size, but good for the junior members. Like any good motorhome bedroom area, the rear bed comes with the necessary reading lights, overhead lockers and ventilation from both a well sized window and a roof hatch.
Beside the bed, the combo bathroom offers a separate shower cubicle, cassette toilet and vanity cabinet with wash basin. A great feature is that the shower cubicle is in the rear with folding doors, so the front floor area can be kept relatively dry. Given the size of the bathroom area, the amount of cupboard and shelf storage space is quite surprising. Both a ceiling vent and a window provide ventilation. It’s not oversized but I reckon this bathroom is a good example of an efficient use of space by having just enough room to move without being cramped.
What would a European motorhome be without an L shaped kitchen bench. This simple little design trick might not look much, but it does add valuable storage and bench top space to the overall kitchen. Fitted into the bench top are both a three burner cooktop and a square stainless steel sink. No drainer but a plastic drainage tray is easily added. In addition to the overhead Lockers, the under bench storage consists of a couple of cupboards. On the opposite side of the walkway, the Thetford 149 litre fridge is a good capacity for either a family or a couple planning some remote camping.
Taking full advantage of the swivelled cab seats, the dinette area will seat four people comfortably. Not all tables in motorhomes are noted for their steady mountings but this one, which can be easily lowered for bedtime use, certainly has a solid feel about it. Worth a mention is the big Skyview hatch above the front area. It certainly brings in plenty of natural light, but does have a blind if things get a bit too warm in the midday sun. There’s a fitted flat screen TV too, but it’s not immediately obvious. It’s fitted into the overhead locker above the nearside seat and lowers down for viewing. So easier to see from the right hand side seats.
LED light systems have taken over the RV world, being the efficient, low energy devices that they are. The Auto Roller comes fully equipped with a range of downlights, reading lights and strip lights – all very effectively placed. Mains 230V power points are fitted in the kitchen, bathroom and lounge areas. Above the habitation door inside is where the main control panel is located – handy for both arriving and departing.
Extra content/specs if required:
The Bottom Line
Spacious front area
Very stable table
Corner bed (if you like island beds)
Lower powered Ducato engine
External storage only under rear bed.
TV viewing locations
Manufacturer Roller Team
Model Auto Roller 694
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
External length 6.76m (22ft 2in)
External width (incl awning) 2.31m (7ft 7in)
External height 2.9m (9ft 6in)
Internal height 2.08m (6ft 10in)
Base Vehicle Fiat Ducato Multijet 130
Engine 2.3 litre turbo diesel
Max Power 96kw@3600rpm
Max Torque 320Nm@1800rpm
Gearbox 6 speed AMT
Brakes ABS Disc
Fresh Water 100 litre
Grey water 105 litre
Battery 1 x 100AH
Solar panels No
Air conditioner No
Gas cylinders 1 x 9.0kg
Hob Dometic 3 burner & Thetford Duplex grill/0ven
Fridge Thetford N3150 149 litre three way
Bathroom Shower cubicle and Thetford cassette toilet
Hot water Truma Combi 4E