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A COMPOSITE BODIED, LIGHTWEIGHT VAN FOR YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE

Venture far afield in this new ZONE RV

Words and Images gary tischer

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Having reviewed a ZONE RV off-road caravan on the beach at Teewah about a year ago, I was interested to see its latest offering for a slightly different market. The Venture Series is a good opportunity for those wanting a premium-built caravan but are not intending to go off-road or remote. Many people don’t need an off-road caravan but would like to feel confident on uneven country roads.One of the big differences that sets ZONE RV apart from other manufacturers, both traditional and composite, is that the internal cabinetry and componentry are all bonded to the body of the van. This produces a very strong and durable construction that is also very light. ZONE RV owner’s Matt and Dave have years of experience successfully constructing multi-million dollar yachts. You can be sure that the ZONE RV caravans have similar technologies and will stand up to the rigours of Aussie roads. Having seen the punishment dealt out to yachts in the ocean, I’d be pretty confident that the people who have built these yachts can put together a van that will go the distance. Okay, so the pedigree is great but what about the van, do I have to call the toilet the “head”? Nope, the ZONE RV van is well designed for living on the land with comfort and ease.

 

The outside

For a start, it looks good. Sleek and stylish, with a great combination of form and function. The chassis is the same solid Aussie-made frame as the off-road version but sits 100mm lower. Up front is the DO35 hitch, twin gas bottles and big square tool box for storing large and long items. I like the use of the Trail-a-Mate jack instead of a winding jockey wheel. The spare wheel is mounted under the van rather than on the rear. Suspension is the Vehicle Components CRS-Coil, suited to country touring but not designed for rough corrugated roads. Suitable dirt roads are likely to be designated ‘Open – all vehicles’. If you plan to do extensive outback travel on dirt roads, it may be best to go for the off-road version as road conditions can vary considerably.

The monocoque construction provides for a very neat underside of the van, giving easy access to all components when servicing. The reinforced 100L fresh water tank and 100L grey water tank are well placed for keeping the van balanced. Although you may never see them, there are thin roof-mounted solar panels giving 100W of input to the batteries for those times when you may be without plug-in power. A large Dometic awning provides heaps of shades while being easy to set up. A drop-down table near the door is large enough for food and drinks. It also has power available in both 240 and 12V, as well as TV and audio points. It would be a perfect spot to watch those unmissable sporting matches with a few friends.

 

The inside

When you climb the two electric entry steps into the ZONE RV, you are met by the 190-litre fridge/freezer offering you something cool. Right of the fridge is the small but well-equipped bathroom complete with separate shower and toilet. A large vanity basin with quality fittings sits under the large, well-lit mirror. There is also plenty of storage available in here. Next to the fridge is a large slide-out pantry. On the ceiling is the Truma Aventa reverse-cycle air-conditioner to complement the great thermal characteristics of the composite walls, floor and roof. As you walk towards the front of the van, the kitchen on your left has a three gas burner and one electric cooktop with a gas oven and grill below. Overhead is a 23-litre microwave with three large cupboards to its right. There is a nice amount of bench space and a wonderfully deep kitchen sink. Below the benchtop, there are three drawers and four cupboards providing an excellent amount of storage space. At one end of the kitchen is the wall-mounted TV that can swivel to be watched from bed or the café-style lounge. A drop-away table has 240- and 12-volt outlets above it along with the controls for the Fusion entertainment centre. Large Dometic double-glazed tinted windows allow the light in while letting you enjoy the outside view. Let’s hope you find a great campsite like we did. The bed is a full queen innerspring bed with storage underneath. More storage is next to, and above the padded bedhead.

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