Trakka's latest VW camper van pushes multipurpose ingenuity off-grid
The Australian camper van innovators at Trakka are back with another slick VW-badged van built to explore city and country. This time, it's not the iconic Transporter platform they're working with but the larger Crafter. The full-size Akuna camper van family offers two different wheelbase options and three different floor plans. All models help maximize comfort and efficiency with handy solutions like off-grid solar and lithium power, available indoor/outdoor cooking and a power slide-away toilet.
The new Akuna was developed in parallel with the Mercedes Sprinter-based Jabiru that Trakka launched last year. It serves as a lower-priced, VW-badged alternative. Unlike the Jabiru, the Akuna currently only comes in front-wheel drive, but it packs the same meaty off-grid power system and multifunctional solutions as the Jabiru.
The A2M is the most compact of the three Akuna models, housing a two-seat, two-sleeper floor plan in a 236-in (599-cm) Crafter, the "M" standing for its 143-in (364-cm) medium wheelbase. To fit in the full floor plan with bathroom, Trakka relies on a transverse rear bed and fiberglass sidewall expansion pods with opening windows.
Trakka also conserves space with a "Switch Mode" bathroom with multi-position toilet. The toilet stores below the sink to clear the shower floor and slides out electrically when needed, helping to keep the wet cell compact and efficient while still offering everything travelers need from a bathroom.
The kitchen stands across from the bathroom, just in front of the rear bed. The van's diesel supply fuels both the cooktop and the heating/hot water system, eliminating the need for an LPG tank. The kitchen also has a stainless steel sink with drinking water filtration, under-counter storage, and a fridge/freezer across the aisle in front of the bathroom.
Our favorite option from the Jabiru also carries over to the Akuna: the indoor/outdoor fridge drawer that installs on the base of the kitchen block front-end. That fridge drawer comes as part of the available Al Fresco Pack that also includes an outdoor worktop with collapsible sink basin, outdoor faucet/shower and extra solar power. Trakka has changed it from a swiveling design to a fixed design to prevent interference with the screen door.
Trakka completes its floor plan with swivel cab seats that work as the sitting lounge and as the dining area, after installation of the removable table. Storage is available in overhead cabinets, drawers and below the bed.
Trakka gives the Akuna off-grid autonomy with a 200-Ah lithium battery, 200-W roof-mounted solar panels and an electronic control touchscreen. A series of 12-V and USB outlets let campers plug into that power, and an optional 2,000-W inverter adds the capacity to run 240-V AC appliances like coffee makers and blenders.
The Akuna A2M starts at an even AU$150,000 (approx. US$96,300), which, while not cheap, is AU$25,000 cheaper than its Sprinter Jabiru counterpart. The AU$155,000 Akuna A2 packs a similar floor plan but with a longitudinal double rear bed inside a 269-in (684-cm) long-wheelbase Crafter, and the AU$160,000 long-wheelbase Akuna A4 goes back to the transverse bed but adds two extra seats up front, sleeping two people but seating four at camp and on the road.
All three Akuna models are built on a Crafter with 174-hp 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder, eight-speed automatic transmission and 8-in touchscreen infotainment system. The $6,500 VW Plus Pack adds features like lane assist, adaptive cruise control and rear traffic alert.
Update: The text has been adjusted to note that the optional swivel fridge drawer has been replaced by an optional fixed fridge drawer for the Akuna. The photo of the swiveling fridge has been removed.