One way to prove an off-roader is to chuck it in the deep end, as we found out.
By Anthony Kilner
The sun was shining brightly and the wind off Lake Mulwala was chilly. We were getting towards the end of a big day with Dean and Courtney Goudie, of Yarrawonga and Albury Caravans, when Dean headed through a deep-ish bog hole, the road tyres of the Colorado lost traction and brought the van and 4WD to an abrupt stop. Dean was unfazed about his predicament. After a couple of attempts to drive out to no avail we hitched up the winch from my Cruiser and hauled the huge package out of the muck. As I said, Dean was unfazed about being bogged, it does happen and being a solid, practical country lad, it’s often part of a day’s work. He also knew the van would handle this sort of rough treatment because Masterpiece built it to handle rougher treatment – full stop.
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Masterpiece Caravans is headed up by Remon Raffaello, and the company has been running since the start of 2016. Remon’s experience though spans many years, specialising in building off-road vans that are engineered to hang in for the long haul. Masterpiece focuses its builds to full and semi off-road vans for a reason – to service a growing market for tourers who want to get away from the blacktop and the increasing crowds to explore this great country of ours. Dean reckons that if the bottom fell out of the off-road market, Remon would sooner walk away from the industry rather than build an on-road version. This shows just how specialised Masterpiece is and where it is headed as a company.
In an exclusive for RV Daily, it’s time to check out the Oasis, a big van that’s going to earn a big reputation around the traps for its toughness.
I am going to start the external section with the disclaimer that I won’t have room for all the standard features and accessories that are fitted to this Oasis. I will say that I like the rugged look and I reckon it will do its intended job extremely well. Having said that it’s a damn big rig!
The backbone of the Oasis is a Supagal six-inch chassis with a two-inch raiser that sports a 3.7T Cruisemaster XT suspension system, with coils and twin shocks on each wheel. This would be one of the highest rating suspension systems on the market and built for a purpose. Mechanical gear includes 12-inch electric brakes, an AL-KO ESC system, plus 16-inch alloy wheels shod with tough 265/75R16 Mickey Thompson AT tyres. There are two spares mounted on the back bar next to two jerry can holders.
Underneath the chassis are the usual drop-down jacks and some neat wiring and plumbing with full shielding. There are two 62-litre drinking water tanks, one 95-litre water tank plus a 95-litre grey water tank. These tanks are protected by shields and there are gauges inside to keep tabs on the levels. Twin 200-amp Lithium batteries are mounted under the chassis just behind the suspension system.
Up front on the extended drawbar is a DO35 off-road coupling with a large 10-inch jockey and a mesh floor for wet sullage pipes and the like. There are two 9kg gas bottles and two lockers, one for the generator and the other for the slide-out barbecue included in the package. A great stone guard is fitted as well to keep the front of the van well protected. The Meranti timber frame has grey aluminium cladding paired with black checker plate, offering a tough-looking package. Double-glazed windows provided plenty of light and ventilation plus the triple lock door mounted toward the back of the van comes with an electric drop step to provide easy access.
There is a front locker and a large storage space at the back of the van, add in a picnic table, entertainment box topped off with some smart decals and the Oasis certainly looks the goods. The Oasis has left no space unused, packing an awning, air-conditioning and four 100W solar panels up on the roof – the list just goes on.
Anyone looking at a van that’s over the 100G mark is looking for a home on wheels with all the bells and whistles, and this Oasis offers exactly that. Stepping up into the Oasis the club-style dinette runs from the doorway along the passenger side, across the back wall then around the driver’s side to meet the kitchen. This space is huge and stylish with black leather seating, grey and black Roman blinds and a vast array of cupboards making good use of the available wall space.
On the driver’s side wall between the dinette and the ensuite is the cooking section of the kitchen, which includes a full-size oven, grill and rangehood with decent bench space available. Mounted on the wall in this area is one of the two 24-inch LED TVs. Between the bench and the fridge is a twin slide out pantry system and next to that is a large 2-door fridge-freezer. There are cupboards above and below the benchtops as well as numerous gauges and electronic units, including the impressive entertainment system to run the van. The space opposite this area has been well utilised, featuring a deep sink and an under-bench 4kg front-loading washing machine. The microwave is mounted in the overhead cupboards above the sink and rounds out a great space for preparing food, cleaning plates and washing clothes while touring.
A door in the middle of the van separates the living space from the ensuite and bedroom. Going through the door, the full-size shower room is on the left and the toilet and vanity unit is on the right. Both these rooms are attractive and well appointed and there is an amazing amount of room in both for ablutions. At the front of the van is the bedroom complete with queen-size bed with wardrobes either side and cupboards overhead.
Some interior features to mention include a range of hatches and fans in the roof, air-conditioning and a Dometic gas hot water system and combo heater. There is full, and I mean full, LED lighting throughout and USB chargers. The best part is I am only scraping the surface on the major features this van has to offer.
This van is big; it stands out like dogs’ you-know-whats. It is rugged enough to handle the rigours of some of the serious off-road touring we can encounter travelling Oz.
The interior is open, airy and light and is very well appointed – a huge plus. Oh, and did I mention with the bulk comes an amazing amount of interior space? This is a big classy van in which to go touring.
Body length: 7.2m (23ft 6in)
Body width: 2.4m (7ft 9in)
Tare weight: 3092kg
Price as tested: $106,990.00 drive away ex Melbourne
- Appliance spec used
- 3.7T off-road suspension
- Door to seal off the living
area from the ensuite
- Large separate toilet room
- Spacious dinette
- Multiple TVs and mounts
- Shower door hits
- Sheer size