Frankia Platin 7900GD - motorhome for PLN 800,000 - CampRest test
Imagine a motorhome, the basic equipment of which allows you to simply get in it, start the engine and set off on a long journey. Without having to retrofit it with any additional devices.
Imagine a luxury motorhome colloquially known as "Liner", but still in a compact size, not resembling a huge cruise bus. This is what the PLATIN model produced in the German FRANKIA factory is like.
I had the opportunity to test this motorhome for 3 weeks with my family at the turn of 2019/2020. We made this motorhome about 2500 km on highways and very winding and steep mountain passes, we moved around large cities and villages and we spent a wonderful Christmas and New Year's Eve in this motorhome.
A camper in a color other than white
At first glance, the color of the Frankia Platin stands out from other motorhomes. Originally named as Silver-ARROW (Silver Arrow) it looks more like a creamy coffee arrow, but looks very nice overall. In addition, this varnish does not show too much dirt, which can settle on long winter routes.
A motorhome on a Mercedes
I believe that this is the only correct chassis that fits this vehicle.
The 190 HP 3-liter engine with seven-speed automatic gearbox guarantees enormous driving pleasure and can handle it without any problems even on steep climbs with full load. The permissible total weight (GVM) of this vehicle is 5.5 tons.
The quiet and high culture of the engine's operation makes traveling in this large motorhome a lot of fun and the driver does not even think about when he will reach his destination.
This motorhome just flows on the road, but the Mercedes suspension ensures that the vehicle does not sway sideways and even on a winding road it is very confident and easy to drive.
When driving in the mountains, however, I missed a retarder that would be responsible for braking the vehicle with the engine on long and steep descents.
A large motorhome, but still in compact dimensions
Another thing that distinguishes this motorhome from other very luxurious motorhomes is its dimensions. It is very spacious inside (the height of the passenger compartment is 2.03m) but the outside dimensions are still neat. The total length of the tested model is 8m, which means that most campsites will have no problems with entering and positioning on a standard pitch. As is well known, it is not always easy to find large parcels at camping sites, especially in high season.
During our test, we did not have any situation in which we would have to give up parking due to a problem with parking in various parking lots, campgrounds or camper parks.
The external height is 3.1 m (without air conditioning) and at this height you need to pay attention to the height of the viaducts under which you drive.
The 5.5t GVW is also a huge plus here, as most entry bans for heavier vehicles only start at 7.5 tonnes.
Twin wheels on a single rear axle are another advantage, as the higher tolls on most roads are due to more axles and it is certainly more pleasant to maneuver a single rear axle in tight parking lots.
The twin wheel also performed very well in a snowy campground and that's probably why we didn't have to put any chains on the campground driveways where other front-wheel drive motorhomes had them on.
The quality of the interior
Frankia has been specializing in the construction of motorhomes over 3.5t since 1960 and since 1973 has been building motorhomes on Mercedes rear-wheel drive chassis, which is generally quite a challenge due to the drive axle that runs from the engine to the rear axle.
Users of Frankia motorhomes are rather used to the quality they know from Mercedes passenger cars or other very comfortable cars. Designers and employees from the German factory in Marktschorgast know exactly this and make sure that Frankia's customers feel as good and even better in it.
The fact that the GVM of most Frankia motorhomes (except for one NEO model) is above 3.5t means that the manufacturer does not have to constantly save on the weight of the materials used. This automatically translates into the use of stronger and heavier wood or thicker aluminum profiles instead of, for example, composite ones.
Connecting each element is specially glued with a soft fabric so that nothing accidentally starts to crack after the motorhome travels several tens of thousands of km on uneven roads. All fronts of the upper cabinets are attached not to the wooden inside of the cabinet, but to the aluminum frame, which is attached directly to the wall of the motorhome.
Great precision in the factory itself
Nobody is in a hurry at Frankia's factory. Production management is at a very high level there and the right amount of time is provided for each stage of assembly, and there is no way that anyone here would be stressed by the rushing assembly tape and did something inaccurately.
The factory deliberately limits the number of productive models to a specific number already at the stage of production planning for a given year, because they know exactly how much time they need to do everything so that the production line comes out with a gem, not a crap.
In 2019, 690 motorhomes left the factory in Marktschorgast, which employs about 230 people - this is only 120 cars more than 2 years earlier, but this is only due to the introduction of new machines that improve logistics inside the factory and the production itself without affecting the loss of quality, which is placed in the first place, especially since 1990, when the Frankia brand was taken over by the Pilote Group.
A motorhome for an individual order
The fact that many motorhome components are designed and manufactured directly in the factory means that it is possible to customize not only the interior colors.
In Frankia motorhomes, you can first of all order doors and windows in a suitable width and location. The right height of the bed, kitchen cabinets or complete abandonment of windows on one side of the vehicle? No problem.
Of course, there is no total freedom, because some construction elements must be placed in specific places, but Frankia allows you to make a few modifications important for the end user.
The tested motorhome was very quiet and thermally well insulated. As I mentioned at the beginning, we traveled in a motorhome at the turn of December and January in various weather conditions, but it was a minimum of -10 degrees and a maximum of about +18. Usually it was coldest at night and that's when we were in the RV and we didn't feel any discomfort and our kids were running around the RV without socks and short-sleeved T-shirts.
The least isolated place, however, was the cab, and more precisely the floor under the dashboard itself. The rest of the cab was very well isolated and the heat curtains, which I will write more about in a moment, blocked the flow of colder air very well.
Double glazing not only in the living area, but also the side glass windows in the cab provide very good insulation and you could not even see any condensation on them all night long.
The walls and ceiling of the motorhome are made of GFK (outer side), aluminum and upholstery (inner side) pressed together under high temperature. Aluminum plays a very important role here in terms of internal acoustics, which I can really confirm - it was very quiet in the motorhome until I picked up my wife and two children from the airport ...
In such a luxurious motorhome, ALDE heating could not be missing, which fits this motorhome just as well as the Mercedes chassis. Noiseless and blast-free heating is perfect for winter conditions and does not dry the air. How it's working?
The heating system includes glycol heated with a 3 kW heater, which circulates throughout the motorhome and transfers heat to the inside of the motorhome using radiators located in different places of the vehicle.
The heat sinks are placed in strategic places where they function as a heat curtain and perfectly block the access of cold air from the windows, or have an isolated cab.
In the bathroom, there was a place for a standard radiator, such as you can find at home, where you could hang wet towels or clothes to dry quickly - no other heating in the motorhome will do that.
All the compartments and the garage were also heated with heat sinks, but unfortunately I missed the possibility of lowering the temperature in some compartments - it was especially problematic in the compartment where I kept my beer.
The ALDE heating itself has a heat exchanger, which means that when heating at standstill, glycol also circulates in the engine and after starting, we immediately have a warm airflow from the factory air vents in the dashboard. It works the same while driving - the engine heats up the glycol that circulates around the caravan and thus we do not use gas for heating while driving - a revelation!
The stove works additionally in 2 ranges, for 230V electricity from the mains and for gas, and thanks to extensive settings in the control panel, we can set the type of power supply to be prioritized and the computer will decide whether to use gas or electricity.
The same stove, of course, also heats the water in the boiler and does it very efficiently and quickly.
Kitchen in Frankii Platin
Very spacious cabinets above the kitchen and many drawers in the right sizes - that's what I remembered the kitchen at Frankia Platin, but what captivated me the most was the huge worktop.
The top has a cooker with two burners and an additional third burner, hidden under the cover, thanks to which the top is large enough if you do not use the third burner. In addition to the burners, of course, we have a large sink and a small trash can, hidden in the counter - this is a great solution that allows you to easily dispose of the waste generated during cooking. It also made it easier for us to sort bio waste.
On the other side of the motorhome there is a large fridge with a separate freezer (working in 3 modes - gas, electricity 230V and 12V). Above the refrigerator there is a place for a gas oven, which can be turned into a microwave oven at the time of ordering. Personally, I am in favor of the oven because we can use it without the need for an electric connection and I am a huge fan of crispy toasts for breakfast.
A sliding table in the living area
For the first time I saw a table in the living area integrated with the floor rails. This is a really great patent that allows you to move the entire table under the dashboard when you are not using it and thus gain a huge area on the floor.
We praised it a lot, especially when traveling with kids in winter, when we sat inside the camper more often than outside because they just had a bigger playground. Unfortunately, since 2020, Frankia has departed from this solution. I hope it will come back someday if only as an option.
For the first time I also saw a Dometic 360 camera installed in a motorhome. This camera allows us to see in real time what is happening around the entire motorhome - it looks as if a drone with the camera pointing downwards is flying over us all the time and displays the entire motorhome on the screen.
It works very well when maneuvering in tight parking lots, but also reduces the blind spot to zero. The image quality may not be similar to what we can get in popular sports cameras, but I believe that it is sufficient.
See how this camera works when stationary: < LINK >
Stabilizing props in the motorhome
This is something that I would definitely not give up when buying my private motorhome. Especially with such a heavy car, leveling with overrun washers can be sometimes even impossible, and this solution gives us great convenience. One click is enough and the motorhome levels itself within a few dozen seconds and remains stable throughout the stop.
Unfortunately, I could not connect to the support controller using a special application that I downloaded to my phone. The application was supposed to work as a remote control and I missed just that - to be able to extend the supports from the driver's seat. Starting the stabilization was quite a pain as it only runs while the engine is running. When driving alone, you have to run a bit, and when driving with children, make sure that no one gets behind the wheel at this time. Such a remote control would also be useful when performing camper-service, because the stabilization system helps empty the gray water tank by tilting the motorhome to one side.
Service hatch in Frankia motorhomes
In every car, be it a passenger car, truck or motorhome, there are elements of equipment without which it will be difficult to do with the operation of the vehicle. In a motorhome, such basic items are a fresh water refueling hose and a cable that allows you to connect the motorhome to electricity at a standstill.
Frankia used a special service hatch in each of her motorhomes, in which she installed these items permanently. This is a great solution because the electric cable pulls out of the camper's wall like a cable from a household vacuum cleaner.
The fresh water refueling hose is permanently connected to the tanks and it is enough to unroll it from the service hatch and connect it to the nearest tap.
Draining the dirty water is also done from the same hatch by connecting a flexible drain hose that we can lead to the drain grate.
This is a great solution, but the electric cable could be a bit longer because 2 times during our test I had to use an additional extension cord to connect to the electricity (each time I was missing 2-3m of cable).
As in many motorhomes, also in Frankia Platin there are many lighting solutions. Thanks to the wide range of settings for each lamp, we can illuminate or dim the appropriate places in the motorhome and create the right conditions for work or evening relaxation with a glass of wine.
Garage with side and rear opening
A large garage door that opens at the back of the motorhome and an additional door to the garage on the right side is something that distinguishes Frankia from other motorhome manufacturers. Thanks to these wide doors on the rear wall of the motorhome, we get very easy access to all things carried in it.
The garage itself may not be very large and at the beginning I was afraid that it would be difficult for us to pack all our things (chairs, table, 2 additional gas cylinders, bicycle trailer, sledge and 5 plastic ROBUSTO boxes with a capacity of 50 liters) but everything was included no problem. In combination with many other compartments where you can hide various things, there is enough storage space.
Huge bathroom, shower and toilet
The toilet and shower are located at the rear of the vehicle just in front of the bedroom. A large shower with dimensions similar to those of the "home" ones is located on the right side of the motorhome, and the toilet with sink is on the other side.
A ceramic, not a plastic toilet shows that the manufacturer really does not have to worry about weight and uses very solid products everywhere.
Above the sink you will find three cabinets hidden behind the mirror, which surprised me very positively - in the shelf of one of the cabinets there is a 230V electric socket, of course integrated with the inverter. There are also additional, very deep cabinets under the sink.
As I wrote earlier - there is a standard radiator connected to the ALDE heating system on the bathroom wall.
Lockers for clothes
There is a lot of space for storing clothes in this motorhome, which in our case turned out to be perfect. We had to have a lot of different clothes because during our trip we experienced all 4 seasons in the temperature range from -10 to +18.
Next to the fridge is a huge wardrobe with shelves and hangers and a huge mirror on the inside of the door. Under the beds in the back of the motorhome, there are my favorite wardrobes, because they are retractable "cargo" cabinets in which there are no standard shelves, but there is only a bow to hang clothes. This is a great solution, thanks to which our clothes will not crease and access to them is very convenient.
Above the bed, as standard, there are many cabinets placed around the bed, but their capacity is as large as the entire motorhome.
I'm not an audiophile, but I like the music playing just fine in the car. In Frankia Platin it is done at the same high level as the entire motorhome housing.
The factory-made MBUX multimedia system from Mercedes was supplemented in the living area by high-quality ALPINE loudspeakers and a subwoofer. In this way, high-quality music does not have to be enjoyed only by the driver and passenger, but also by all people sitting in the rear part of the motorhome.
This is of course standard on the PLATIN model, and the entire sound system is immediately integrated with the television, which is also included in the basic equipment package.
Beds in Frankii Platin
Frankia PLATIN in the GD arrangement means two separate beds in the back with the possibility of connecting them, thanks to which we get a huge bed across the entire width of the motorhome.
At the front of the motorhome there is an equally large bed, electrically lowered from the ceiling. You could say that this is a standard solution in many other motorhomes, but Frankia has gone a step further and you sleep on this bed alongside the motorhome and not across it as is the case in other vehicles.
This way, if someone wants to get out of bed, they don't have to jump over the other person.
Of course, each bed uses the Froli system described in this article < LINK >
Electrical system in Frankii Platin
I am not some expert in the field of electrics and I approach the topic with zero-one, i.e. either something works or not.
Everything works perfectly at Frankii Platin thanks to an installation made by BÜTTNER ELEKTRONIK, which has specialized in solar systems and electrics for recreational cars for over 30 years.
In Platina, we receive the highest quality electrical package as standard equipment, which allows us to be highly independent in terms of energy during travel and stops away from civilization.
4 solar panels with a total power of 440 watts, 2 lithium batteries with a total capacity of 220Ah, a 1700W sine wave inverter powering each socket with 230V voltage and chargers with amplifiers ensure that we never run out of electricity on board and the parking batteries are recharged at an express pace.
A special computer integrated with the entire installation constantly checks the demand for electricity by each device in the motorhome. For example, if while driving, we turn on the air conditioning in the residential part, the installed booster will provide the right amount of electricity from the alternator to make such air conditioning work without any problems.
Traveling in a motorhome with a GVM over 3.5t
As it has been known for a long time, the problem with overloading motorhomes with a GVM up to 3.5 tons is quite big. We constantly have to limit the number of things we take with us and in the end, we are driving a motorhome more or less overloaded so often ...
Overloading the motorhome can end up with a fine and an order to get rid of excess weight. It may also end with the insurer failing to pay the compensation, accusing us that the cause of the accident (even not our fault) was an overloaded motorhome.
With motorhomes with a GVM of over 3.5t, the above problem is eliminated and gives us a really calm mind when traveling - and this is what the holidays are all about.
However, we must have a category C driving license, but it is not difficult and the whole course can be done within 1-1.5 months.
Driving a motorhome with a GVM of over 3.5t also involves additional tolls in some countries. Unfortunately, each country has a different pricing policy and it is difficult to give the exact costs of each kilometer in Europe, but I believe that these are not amounts that could affect purchasing decisions. The more that we will not do 30,000 km a month with a motorhome ...
When buying a motorhome for myself, I will definitely choose a vehicle with a GVM over 3.5 tons.
Video from our test
At Frankiei PLATIN, I liked it
- High-quality building
- Mercedes Sprinter chassis
- ALDE heating
- Solar and electric system from BÜTTNER ELEKTRONIK
- Huge kitchen
- Table sliding on rails
- Service hatch
I would like it more if
- In the registration certificate in the position owner, there was - Piotr Kozłowski
- The ALDE heating grilles in the floor were a bit stronger - these started to bend a bit during the test
- The driver's seat could have lowered a little more
- The windshield had slightly better ventilation
- The Mercedes navigation immediately had a map for vehicles with a GVM over 3.5t
Campers of this manufacturer are available in the CarGO offer! from Poznań .
The main driver, founder and the brain of CampRest. He is the one who runs the whole mechanism, implements new ideas faster than he is able to invent them. He used to be a professional driver and have run his own freight forward company - as you can see, he has always been drawn to sleep in the car;) He likes to drive large motorhomes and encourages you to get a C driving license and buy motorhomes over 3.5 tons.