Caravan Reviews Reviews

Aussie long-player Millard buys a new coat

A composite smooth body construction marks a change in the Toura range

Millard is one of Australia’s oldest caravan brands and the company has started to reinvigorate its models, such as the Toura, with the option of a smoother cladding in place of the more traditional ribbed aluminium components that has been part of the Aussie caravan industry for more than 50 years.

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The Millard signature aluminium frame is still used, as is the 27mm one-piece fibreglass roof/front panel, but ribbed aluminium has given way to 3mm aluminium composite side and rear panels.

The smooth composite-panelled body is an option across the range, and adds about 70kg to the weight of the van but makes it more rigid. The cost of the composite walls/roof over the standard aluminium sheet cladding is $3000. The new model also has the new Toura decals, which were introduced early in the year.

The standard price for the 23-foot Toura Lux on which this van is based is $79,000 (although this van was shortened to 22 feet at the customer’s request).

The A-frame would be well-suited to a Weight Distribution Hitch, if you wanted to have one fitted

Options fitted to this particular caravan include two 150W solar panels, a second 100Ah battery, 16-inch (instead of 15-inch) alloy wheels, custom front aluminium tool box with generator slide, full oven, external shower, E2400 Truma Gas Heater, additional third roof hatch, DO35 coupling, ESC Anti-Sway System, leather interior, external gas bayonet, heavy-duty bumper bar with centre bike mount bracket, grey water tank and level gauge, and of course the Alupanel smooth sides.

This particular caravan was ordered by a New Zealand customer and was about to be shipped across the Tasman after we reviewed it.

Not only has this van been customised with a 22-foot rather than 23-foot body, but a third ceiling hatch has been fitted in place of the ceiling-mounted reverse-cycle air-conditioning. The prices noted above include air-conditioning (and therefore two hatches, not three).

All the electronics and switches are easily accessed in the one place

The Millard’s galvanised chassis has 6in x 2in RHS longitudinal beams with 4in x 2in lateral supports. The A-frame – also 6in x 2in RHS – supports the checker plate aluminium toolbox and two 9kg gas bottles. The A-frame looks well set-up for a Weight Distribution Hitch, with a centre-mount jockey wheel. The chassis is built by Millard in-house at its Ingleburn, NSW factory.

The brakes are 10-inch electric while wheels are 16-inch alloys fitted with all-terrain tyres. The suspension is the Cruisemaster CRS independent trailing arm set-up with coil springs and one shock per wheel. This is promising for ride quality, shaking the van around less than with leaf-spring suspension.

While this is not a dedicated off-road van, it is reasonably well protected underneath if you do any dirt road forays. The plumbing is tucked up out of harm’s way and the two 90-litre fresh water tanks (and one 90-litre grey water tank) are shielded from stone damage by galvanised sheeting wrapped around them. Even the external tap, riveted to the A-frame on the offside, is shielded from stones kicked up by the tow vehicle with a piece of checker plate.

The rest of the chassis and its offshoots are pretty standard, really: the rear bar supports the alloy spare wheel, and at the nearside front of the body, there is a gas bayonet outlet.

External storage is covered off with a tunnel boot (accessible on both sides of the van) and the toolbox on the A-frame, plus a sturdy checker plate fridge/gennie slide.

Speaking of storage, there’s a decent payload with the Toura: with a Tare weight of 2480kg and an ATM of 3300kg, you have 810kg of payload to play with. Even if you’re running with two full water tanks (190kg) and 18kg of gas, you still have 602kg of payload left.

With tonnes of prep space and storage in the kitchen, cooking on the road will never be a chore

Outdoors living is made more comfortable with the standard awning, a picnic table and a 240V outlet, a coax connection and a 12V socket AUX connection. There are also two LED strip lights (as well as a small coach light built into the handle adjacent to the door).

Once you’ve powered down the fold-down stair and opened the two-piece security door, you’re presented with a bright, spacious fit-out.

The layout here is the front island bed, centre bathroom and rear dinette/kitchen. People either love or hate centre bathrooms but the key thing here is that it is not the only layout Millard offers; there’s a multitude of choices including the popular front bedroom/centre kitchen-dinettte/rear bathroom layout.

Starting up the front, there’s a bedroom that offers plenty of natural light though large front and side windows and the ceiling hatch – all of which are opening and are screened/meshed – and with plenty of space to walk around the sides of the bed. There’s a queen-size bed (measuring 1920mm x 1560mm) that lifts on gas struts to present a large if relatively shallow storage space – although no more shallow than most vans with this set-up. The optional Truma gas heater unit fitted to this van sits in a compartment within the under-bed area.

There’s a small table at each bedside and plenty of storage options, including small cupboards in the bedside tables to a long drawer just above each table, cupboard hanging space above that and then two lockers above the bed.

There’s an LED reading light at each side of the bed, plus a two-pole 240V outlet and a USB port on each side too.

The rear U-shaped dinette has enough room to get around its adjustable table and six could sit comfortably around it. There’s a two-pole 240V outlet and USB/12V AUX sockets at the forward wall of the dinette area, plus an LED reading light on each side of the dinette window.

You can never have enough food preparation space in a caravan and the layout in this Millard gives the cook a mountain of room. Not only do you have the small space to the rear of the three gas/one electric cooktop lid but also on the cooktop and the sink with the cooktop bench lid closed and the sink cover fitted. Then you have the large bench space opposite on the nearside.

This model comes with 16-inch alloy wheels

There’s plenty of storage lockers above bench, plus cupboards (and a full-height pantry) below on the nearside kitchen bench. On the offside there are six relatively long and deep drawers plus two more storage spots below those accessed via hatches.

The Dometic 190-litre fridge is on the offside adjacent to the bathroom and the microwave is mounted above the nearside kitchen. This is a common place to fit a microwave in carvans, but it is not ideal when trying to retrieve hot liquids out of the unit.

Some vans just don’t have enough room in the ensuite but this isn’t one of them. There’a heap of room to move here.There’s a large mirror, a large porcelain sink and plenty of space on the vanity unit to spread out your toiletries in the offside bathroom while the nearside shower cubicle is one of the biggest you’ll see in a van.

All the read-outs and switches to run the van are housed in one spot, on a panel just inside the door of the fit-out. There’s an RV Electronics read-out for the fresh water tank levels and battery SOC and separate switches for all the key electrical equipment in the van.

The two 100Ah AGM batteries sit in a checker plate protected cradle under the offside of the van. Water is heated up with a 28-litre Suburban gas/electric unit.

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