When in 2016 I had the honor of sitting in the Motor Show Awards chapter and presenting the award to Jacek Jaskot (chief designer and constructor of the Globe-Traveler brand) for the Voyager XS motorhome model, I knew this car only from the fair and from conversations with users. Nevertheless, I awarded the award not only because of the high quality and applied solutions, but also for the work that Jacek put into creating a Polish brand, now more and more recognizable and appreciated throughout Europe.
In January 2017, I finally had the opportunity to see for myself how the shortest model of motorhomes from the Globe-Traveler stable works. In the text below, I will try to present my subjective feelings about using this vehicle in winter conditions.
The route and burning a motorhome
I went for the test with a friend who was not entirely convinced of the idea of caravanning, not to mention winter camping trips (and yet, after returning, he started looking for a suitable model for himself!).
After a quick analysis of the snow conditions in the Alps, we decided to go to Solden in Austria , where the wonderful Camping Solden is located under the main ski gondola.
During the whole route - Krakow -> Bielsko-Biała -> Solden -> Mayrhofen -> Szczyrk -> Krakow - we traveled a total of 2,300 km, and we spent 8 nights in the motorhome. The speed with which we traveled on the highways oscillated around 130-140 km / h, and the average fuel consumption on the entire route was 11.6 l / 100 km, which I consider to be a very good result. If someone prefers a more economical (and therefore slower) driving, it could probably go down to around 9 liters / 100 km .
Engine and driving characteristics
The tested Globe-Traveler was built on a Fiat Ducato with an engine capacity of 3.0 and 180 hp. Honestly, such an engine should be in every motorhome! The high weight of the car was not a problem for him. If I just wanted to overtake another vehicle, sometimes I didn't even have time to turn on the blinker, and I already had it behind me :).
I drive a smaller Opel Vivaro every day and I can safely say that the driving characteristics are very similar. Pathfinder sticks to the road superbly - there is no disturbing rocking, known from larger vehicles, when changing lanes faster or when overtaking trucks.
A novelty for me was the fact that the motorhome was equipped with an automatic transmission. I consider it quite convenient for such a heavy car, because when climbing hills I did not have to swing the lever and press the clutch every now and then. On the highway, when driving with the cruise control on, the gearbox would change gear by itself, if necessary. However, the Fiat automaton suited me best during the tour. If I would drive this car mainly around the city, I would definitely prefer a manual gearbox. It is worth noting that when going down the mountains, the car kept the right gear in such a way that the motorhome would not gain unnecessary speed, but also that you did not need to use the brake too much. With manual gearshift mode, the automatic gearbox had to think a little bit, but it's not a sports car, after all.
Interior layout, comfort and equipment
From the outside, the camper looks quite small and cramped, but as soon as we open the door, we will see a lot of space. It is largely due to the raised roof (proprietary solution), in which there are two roof windows, which provide great illumination of the interior. One skylight is in the living area above the table, the other above the bed, in the sleeping area.
Standard Ducato seats have been replaced with comfortable, swivel seats with maximum adjustment possibilities. They are trimmed with semi-leather upholstery in matching colors with the rest of the interior, with an embroidered Globe-Traveler wording. Right behind them there is a table and a double sofa, which can be used by two people. It has been equipped with seat belts and, what is important for parents of small children, the ISOFIX system, not often found in motorhomes , allowing for easy installation of child car seats.
Immediately behind the couch is the Thetford compressor refrigerator, which has been positioned above a wardrobe for jackets. We reach the wardrobe much less often than the refrigerator, and thanks to its positioning at the height of the head, there is no need to bend down too often to get, for example, a cold beer.
At the very end there is a French bed and a toilet connected with a shower, and the manufacturer has placed a kitchen area on the wall from the side of the sliding door. I consider the entire layout of the motorhome very functional. However, I think that in motorhomes of this type, two places to drive are completely enough and a good solution could be to increase the space in the residential part at the expense of a 2-seater sofa.
The additional equipment that could be found in the model we tested included a Fiamma awning with additional LED lighting, three solar panels, 50 W each, and an external shower connection. The latter is a very interesting solution for the summer - you can, for example, rinse the surfing wetsuit from salted water, wash your bike, or ... cool your neighbor on the next lot :).
Pleated curtains for the windshield and side windows - unfortunately, the Dometic solution turned out to be not fully tested, because the cassette in which the blind in the passenger door is hidden, covers quite an important part of the mirror , which should broaden our view of the so-called dead zone. However, as we learned from the manufacturer, a different solution will soon appear in the new models.
Automatically folding mirrors - like a gimmick, but it can be very helpful when driving through narrow streets or, for example, when entering a ferry. Heated seats, not quite a useful solution in a motorhome , because in winter we warm the interior all the time, so the seats don't have to cool down. And in the summer, even more so, this solution is unlikely to be used.
A mosquito net has been installed in the sliding door, which is certainly very useful during summer trips. All side windows (in the sliding doors, above the table and the rear bed) are tiltable, which is very important when cooking in a motorhome, especially in winter, when you do not want to cool the vehicle too quickly. Each window has also been equipped with a mosquito net cassette and a thermal curtain, which protects the vehicle very well (especially in summer) against rapid heating and which is quite important - it looks pretty cool.
It is also worth mentioning that the motorhome turned out to be thermally very well insulated and therefore it was also very well soundproofed. It was much quieter when driving than in my Opel Vivaro.
Even when the outside temperatures reached -15 degrees Celsius at night, we felt no discomfort. The Truma Combi 6 Diesel heating turned out to be very efficient (it effectively heated the interior of the motorhome and heated the water in the boiler) and would probably work even at much lower temperatures. He deserves a round of applause for the fact that Jacek Jaskot has chosen this type of heating . This is an ideal solution, especially in motorhomes operated in winter, because thanks to the diesel fuel supply, we do not have to worry about where to replace or fill the gas cylinder.
As for fuel consumption, during the 3 days of stay at the campsite in Solden, about 8 liters of diesel fuel disappeared from the tank, while the interior was constantly heated to a temperature of 22 degrees C. At the same time, friends from another motorhome managed to use an 11-kilogram cylinder with gas. It is true that at the campsite there was no problem with the replacement of cylinders, but if we plan longer stays outside the camping, we must take a few such cylinders with us, and this will reduce the amount of space available in the trunk and what is most valuable - the permissible load!
As for the sleeping area, the tested Globe-Traveler had three places to sleep, but with two people on board, there was no need to unfold the third. The main, fixed bed with dimensions of 190 x 123 cm is the so-called French bed, located in the rear part of the motorhome, right next to the wall. For one person it was perfect, for a couple it would also be enough, but there is nothing to dream about comfort straight from a home bed. The mattress itself was very comfortable and placed on springy ribs, which allowed for a good night's sleep.
The second bed is a folding bed with a very interesting structure - designed and patented by a Polish manufacturer. Entering the motorhome, we think we see lockers for clothes hanging on the side wall, right under the ceiling. But when we open it, we will see that there is a mattress with extendable aluminum elements. In this way, we can very easily create a bed that unfolds over the table and the cab over the width of the entire car. A very important information is that after unfolding this bed, you can sit at the table without having to bow your head. It worked very well in practice - when my friend didn't even think about getting up early, I, downstairs, could work on the computer.
The top bed is 11 cm (187 x 134 cm) wider than that in the rear of the vehicle, but due to its positioning it is quite difficult to insert the sheet, which can be problematic if you have to do it every day. The solution, although very interesting, in practice will probably work better as an additional bed for children than for adults.
The kitchen area has everything you could need in a motorhome, including a two-burner gas stove and a sink. Under the stove there is a cupboard with two shelves, and under the sink there are two more spacious drawers, which can easily accommodate all dishes and pots, a pack of water, and even other necessary things or food products. Right next to the sink there is a small washbasin - not really useful for me , because personally I would prefer to arrange this space for an additional table top. However, I understand that some people may be more comfortable brushing their teeth elsewhere than in the dishes. I think that when ordering a new vehicle, this convenience can be dispensed with.
Since the heating in the motorhome does not require gas connection, we do not have to carry a large and heavy gas cylinder with us to power the stove. If you are not planning a big cooking, a small bottle weighing 5 kg should be enough.
The bathroom is located right next to the bed in the rear part of the vehicle. It is one, compact room consisting of a toilet and a shower in one. The size wasn't great, but it wasn't too claustrophobic either - you could take a shower without any major problems. The downside was the lack of a towel rail.
An additional thing that I would improve in the bathroom is a wooden insert for the shower tray. It would be good if you could remove it while you shower.
Lockers and trunk
Lockable shelves for clothes inside the living area are located around the French bed, and under them there are very useful, open shelves for various small items. Right under the fridge is a wardrobe for hanging clothes. As for the capacity of the clothes lockers, I think it is ideal for two people. However, if you would like to travel in a larger group, some clothing would have to be kept in the trunk.
During the winter test, we did not have with us such items as a table, camping chairs, a bicycle trailer for a child, a gas grill, etc. However, I am afraid that if I put it all in the trunk under the bed, unfortunately the loading possibilities would soon end. Let's not forget, however, that the model designation - XS, indicates that we are not dealing with the XXL size.
I also missed access to the trunk by simply raising the bed, but the manufacturer assured me that such a solution could be ordered.
Globe-Traveler Pathfinder is a very high quality vehicle. When it comes to the construction and driving characteristics, I can safely evaluate it at 10 points on a 10-point scale. However, I believe that the XS model is too small for 4 people to move it. I would be in favor of having it factory-adapted for two people, and the space for additional armchairs and a fold-out bed to be adapted, for example, for more storage compartments. The roof, which was created especially for this model, looks very interesting and does not adversely affect aerodynamics or increase fuel consumption.
Unfortunately, the weight of the ready-to-drive vehicle is not too low - a motorhome with a full tank of fuel (120 liters) and a full tank of clean water (120 liters) weighs 3,280 kg. So if you plan to take more luggage, it is better to travel with only a partially filled tank of clean water, so as not to exceed 3,500 kg of the permissible total weight of the vehicle. I must add here that the aforementioned weight applies to this particular, tested specimen equipped with an automatic gearbox, a 3.0 engine (180 HP) and extensive accessories. The new Fiat engines achieve the same parameters with 2.3 engines and if we decide on a much lighter manual gearbox, we will easily gain an additional 100 kg of load capacity - ensures Jacek Jaskot.
I can recommend this model to anyone who likes to move quickly while maintaining low fuel consumption during their journeys. I also recommend it to those who plan frequent ferry trips, because with this body length (599 cm), you can still get at lower ferry rates.
- - quality of finish and details,
- - driving characteristics,
- - compact dimensions,
- - low fuel consumption during lively driving,
- - insulation and soundproofing,
- - Truma Combi 6 Diesel heating.
I would like it more if:
- - the trunk was a bit larger and it was accessible through the bed,
- - the folding bed locking system was compact and did not require a steel key,
- - the passenger window blind did not cover the mirror,
- - additional hangers for jackets and towels were installed,
- - the weight of the vehicle was reduced by 100 kg.
Taking into account the needs of people who would like to have more space, we will soon test another model from the Globe-Traveler stable for you, this time with larger dimensions. Anyone who would like to see the tested motorhome and other models of this manufacturer should visit the Motor Show in Poznań (from April 6 to 9, 2017).
Camping in Solden
Taking this opportunity, I would like to briefly describe the amazing place where we stayed during our stay in Austria. It is a very nice family camping run by a young boy, Lucas. His grandfather created this place in 1961.
The campsite underwent a major renovation in 1993 and has been regularly improved and equipped with new amenities since then. There are 100 lots for caravans, campers and tents on its territory. Skiers can use the free equipment storage, shoes and clothes drying room, and after a day on the slopes they can relax and warm up in free saunas.
The location of the campground is very good, especially for skiing. We are only 200 m from the main gondola station, and the nearest bakery (where you can buy fresh bread in the morning) is approx. 50 m from the campground. However, I recommend booking in advance, even in the winter season, as the camping was almost full. For more information, visit https://www.camping-soelden.com