Fresh out of the box, we review the striking Winton 18, which is the first full-size caravan from Ezytrail.
I first had this van described to me late last year, verbally, no pictures at that point. So when the Winton 18 was realised and ready for review, I thought I’d maintain the surprise right up until the last moment. The original description contained some of my personal favourites in terms of design, so we thought it a good idea to capture the initial reaction on camera, for what it’s worth! And hey, we’ve not been getting out much recently. (You can watch that clip here.)
There’s no escaping the impact of fresh design, and the Winton 18 has taken a rapid departure from what Ezytrail is known for. As we said, the Winton 18 is the first full-size caravan from Ezytrail. The Ceduna models launched last year were smaller than this van but were also design variations on the Parkes, without a pop-top.
The 18 designation is actually the interior length, and the Winton 18 is in fact, 23 feet long. It appears to ride high and tall. The dimensions are governed by shipping container constraints. Ezytrail manufactures in China and has kept the width to 2275mm to accommodate itself on the trip to Australia. However, that led to exploring design cues used in motorhome execution, something that becomes more evident on the inside. Although you could be forgiven for thinking of the four-wheeled and motored RV when standing behind the Winton 18 given the styling and moulded bodywork. The height, though, of 3050mm has allowed plentiful storage on the inside, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The Winton body is constructed in high-quality aluminium FRP sandwich panels that offer clean lines and great insulation and while strong, contribute to a lighter offering from Ezytrail, known for more heavyweight chassis and construction.
The lightweight approach is used further with the new F3 chassis that underpins the Winton 18. It’s made from 3mm Q345 steel and galvanised like its F5 stablemates, but the F3 uses C-section to achieve a lighter overall chassis. It means that together the Winton enjoys a low Tare of 2100kg and obviously fits in with Ezytrail’s direction for the Winton 18 as an on-road tourer. That said, it offers a lifetime structural warranty on F3 chassis and drawbar for use on Australia’s gazetted roads; think roads on Google/Apple maps, and you’ll be covered.
The drawbar features a single 9kg gas bottle cradle, the 50mm ball coupling – no word yet on whether Ezytrail will offer a hitch option, such as the McHitch – and the breakaway battery box/cable, plus on this early version, a rather uninspiring jockey wheel. These features may already be subject to change. You see, the Winton vans currently in Australia are the first-run production versions and the one we saw was only trucked out of Victoria with hours to spare before the latest lockdown. So there were a few things of note in terms of quality control.
Underneath and outside
In another departure from the rest of the Ezytrail fleet, the Winton 18 rides on twin axles, with seven-leaf, single shock, roller-rocker suspension, not the independent Ezyrider suspension. The 18 travelled on our test with a very compliant, unfussed ride; no choppiness, no unruly behaviour and the camera crew following made a point of commenting on how flat the van rode, despite undulating roads, speed bumps and roundabouts. On either end of the twin axles are 15-inch alloy wheels with 235/75R15 LT tyres with a highway pattern, and there’s a single alloy underslung spare, with no chassis-mounted hardware at the back.
Keeping the spare wheel company underneath are two 80-litre fresh water tanks either side of the axles. While Ezytrail has thought to add a town water inlet as standard on the Winton 18, we’d be interested to see if the pipework to the tanks’ outlets remains, because even on an on-road van, where they are currently they look vulnerable. Four drop-down stabiliser legs and a deep, two-tread drop step that pins closed complete the below deck components.
As for external storage, you’re a bit spoilt for choice. Upfront, the aero-style nose cone lifts on gas struts to reveal a shelved boot that extends to either side of the van with a checker plate floor and drain holes. Around on the nearside, there’s a locker before you reach the new Aussie Traveller entry door. That’s followed with a picnic table that closes without the need for keys, to aid quick deployment for those fast roadside snacks, before you reach the rearward storage chamber that almost requires a caving licence to explore. The space is LED-lit, accessible from both sides of the van and occupies the whole sub-bedroom-floor area. While you might be thinking that it’d be convenient to access the space from above, within the van, you can (just) but besides that, you do have a whole other level of storage under the bed itself; double stacked.
Ezytrail provides the option of a Dometic slide-out kitchen to be installed in the boot, which will weigh less than 50kg, and that may suit your needs but as it stands the boot is a colossal boon. With or without the external kitchen, your outside living is covered by a Sunburst Eclipse, 3.5m roll-out awning, which we didn’t roll out on the day as the wind would have sent it to New Zealand, in contradiction of the overseas travel ban.
What’s in the box?
Given their number and size of the windows, I was hard-pressed not to peer in, but I resisted the urge until the camera was rolling. Climbing up on the new entry step, which confidently spans the big drop to the floor, the two-piece, security screened entry door is the same design as used in the Ezytrail Parkes Mk2 hybrid vans. What’s not the same though, are the two plastic retaining clips meant to stop the door catching on the wind. They’re flimsy, and are fiddly to use around the awning arm, and need a re-think.
Once inside, you’re greeted with a very new look. To the left, is the club lounge, apparently the largest on the Australian market. Framed either side by a decent-size window, the front-end focal point is trimmed in leatherette – colour palettes TBA – surrounds the adjustable dining table and is lit from above by the moon roof, with roller blind, and plentiful powered lighting options. It’s a great space.
Throughout the space, though, the use of curved surfaces from the outward rolls of the overhead storage locker banks (lots) to the whole ensuite external wall, brings the Winton 18 right up to date, with a European flair. Again, I draw comparisons to a motorhome interior, it’s not a traditional caravan design, and it’s all the better for it; it flows.
Behind its curved entry door, the ensuite is large, lit by the biggest window practicable for the space, and features a large, backlit dress mirror. The Thetford cassette loo is a swivel bowl, so you can sit and look out of the window, and there are overhead storage options to keep things dry within the moulded shower unit. The shower curtain is no doubt useful but seems a bit lost in there. A powered roof fan draws air in or out to suit your environment.
The kitchen comprises a Swift three gas, one electric cooktop, and grill, although you can option up to a full oven. The sink to the left and the cooker have prep-top covers, with the sink version offering a mobile cheeseboard … maybe. Interestingly, among all the new curves, the tapware here is square. In what’s bound to be corrected, the extra flip-up extension to the benchtop (over the entry door stairwell) will need moving inwards, to not foul the door handle as it did in our version. A rangehood fits under the overhead cupboards.
The kitchen has lots of drawers, and one of the deeper ones could possibly provide an optional home to a microwave if you need one. Opposite, a very slimline black Thetford compressor fridge freezer, sits atop more drawers. This fridge may or may not be the final production unit supplied.
And that leaves the primo space at the blunt end. Ezytrail has stuck with the king-size bed, and while some may ask for an island, it’s not possible for the container-width explanation at the beginning of the review. As you look at the bed from the kitchen, there are numerous drawer faces beneath the triple-density foam mattress, and, as mentioned, lift the mattress for more storage. Along either side of the bed, the bodywork provides a full-length shelf, and there are 12V and USB chargers are the foot of the bed. The TV occupies the off-side wall on the fridge bulkhead. We’ve mentioned it before, but the 24in HDTV should be a slot-in DVD unit, but the head unit for the stereo and default DVD player is on the wall above the fridge, so the remote works with your head still on the pillow.
Massive windows mean a view is guaranteed from your repose, and there’s an overhead 400 x 450mm skylight, which is also upgradeable to a bigger unit. For alternative airflow, the Winton 18 has a roof-mounted Dometic Harrier air-conditioner.
Of course, the Winton needs a power source, and it’s all located under the club lounge. Twin 100 Ah AGM deep-cycle batteries are overseen by a standard Projecta PM300 battery management system, with a control panel above the main door. This panel also allows control and visuals for the water tanks and lighting, and the hot water is tapped courtesy of a Truma 14-litre Ultrarapid gas/electric set-up.
There’s no denying that Ezytrail has broken the mould with the Winton 18. It’s a highly-stylised caravan that offers huge storage in a lightweight package. While the Tare is 2100kg, the ATM is 2500kg, upgradeable to 2750kg and a corresponding payload capacity of 400-650kg. The interior is refreshing, and the club lounge means you can enjoy the interior space of an Ezytrail model in a new way. The van couldn’t have more light and ventilation. There is talk of a bunk version of this van, and other possible variants but, right now, the Winton 18 works for me. You’ll have to go and see if it works for you too.
Ezytrail Winton 18 Twin
ATM 2500kg (to 2750kg)
Payload 400kg (to 650kg)
Ball weight 240kg
Max ball weight 300kg
Axle load limit 2800kg
Price as tested: $56,990
For more information, click here
We must say a huge thank you to the Coledale SLCC camping reserve, right on the sea at Coledale, NSW. Park manager, Nicole looked after us and will look after you too. Set just off the Princes Highway and right next to the sea, with a beautiful beach, the camping area is small on size – it gets popular – and big on views. And has a maximum 28-day stay! You can check it all out here but please contact them for availability beforehand!