Caravan Review: Provincial Estate family bunk van

ByAnthony KilnerJuly 2, 2020
5 MINUTE READ
Caravan Review: Provincial Estate family bunk van

This 22-foot Provincial Estate family bunk van is set up for semi-off-road touring with a rugged suspension system and looks. It’s designed to get the family away with plenty of comfort for all. While having the right mechanical and exterior package is critical for getting away safely, the interior has been a real focus for this van.

Provincial Estate, bedroom

The inside

The Estate has a rear-mounted door that allows easy via a two-tier drop-step. Stepping up into the van, across the back wall is a good-size floor-to-ceiling storage cupboard and drawer system for clothes and other gear families need. Next to the cupboard are two bunks. Both bunks feature a window, light, USB charger and NCE 10.1in roof-mount DVD player with headphones to save parents from the noise. There’s also a storage pocket at the foot end of the bunks and a removable safety rail to stop kids falling out of the bed. A hatch above the walkway and top bunk helps provide plenty of natural light and airflow to this area.

Lifting a hatch allows access to under-bunk storage and that’s also accessible from outside on the driver’s side. Clever. A wall at the head-end of the bunk where it meets the sidewall of the van allows for a large 190-litre, Dometic two-door, two-way fridge to be fitted between the bunks and the dinette. Next to the fridge and running along the wall to the ensuite is a very comfortable leather-look, L-shaped dinette. The drop-down swivel table can, by utilising a cushion, provide another bed if needed.

Provincial Estate, dinette

There’s useful storage in overhead lockers, with one set up as an electrical space. Included in this cupboard is the switching for the fridge and a Swift 28-litre, gas/electric hot water system. A BMPRO Genius battery management system is fitted alongside a Voltech 30-amp solar controller that manages the twin 170W solar panels. All the power gets funnelled into twin 120-amp/hr batteries mounted under the chassis. There is also an RV Electronics water gauge to keep track of what’s in the two 95-litre fresh tanks and 95-litre grey water tank.

Provincial Estate, BMPRO Genius

Opposite the dinette is the kitchen. There’s not tons of bench space in this van, however, the dinette table is convenient as a part of the prep space, and it’s handy for kids wanting to help whoever is cooking in the kitchen.

The kitchen is fitted with a recessed Swift 3&1 gas/electric cooker with oven and grill near the van’s entrance door. This stove sits next to a deep sink, which includes a good-size draining board. There’s a standard flick mixer tap as well as a water filter and excellent storage under the benchtop. Against the ensuite wall, is a handy slide-out pantry. All the overhead doors (throughout the van) feature piano hinges and double struts for durability and secure closing.

Also in the overhead cupboards, is a Sphere touch control rangehood, Sphere microwave and a Furrion entertainment system connected to a Furrion 24-inch HD/LED TV. There are TV brackets in the living room and the master bedroom with twin internal and twin external speakers.

In the centre of the Estate is a walkway through to the master bedroom. Sliding doors to the kitchen and the bedroom offer excellent privacy. On the right side, facing the front of the van is the toilet room. This space has a Thetford swivel toilet, ceramic bowl on the vanity unit and mirrored cupboards above it. There’s also an extra overhead cupboard above the vanity cupboards. Under the bench is a wall-mounted Daewoo Mini washing machine which could come in very handy for kids getting grubby while exploring the wilds of Oz.

Provincial Estate, bathroom

On the left side, the shower is roomy and bright with plenty of space. The master bedroom at the front of the van provides a queen-size bed with innerspring mattress and a padded bedhead running up to the overhead cupboards. There’s a cool rain-sensing hatch above the bed and large windows for light and plenty of ventilation.

Provincial Estate, under-bed storage

Storage is plentiful in this small space. There are as mentioned overhead cupboards, mirrored doors allow access into a hanging space where there is a cupboard and drawer on each side of the bed. Under the wardrobe section is a storage niche on both sides, each fitted with a 240-volt socket with a USB charger. There’s good under-bed storage, plus a small corner cupboard on the driver’s sidewall to the corner of the ensuite; very practical use of space.

Other appliances in the van include a Dometic Harrier reverse-cycle aircon unit, AntennaTek LPDA TV aerial and LED lighting features throughout. A lot is happening on the inside of this van yet, the practical layout and overall build quality are spot on. It’s a neat interior for sure.

The outside

The exterior of this Provincial Estate is very smart. I liked the grey on black finish, and there’s a lot to take in after that first glance. The package starts with a four-inch Supagal chassis with two-inch raiser and a six-inch A-frame. On the A-frame, is a Cruisemaster DO35 off-road coupling, tap, AL-KO jockey wheel, mesh floor and twin 9kg gas bottles. The gas bottles are well protected by a mesh stone guard that also features flaps to minimise stone damage from the vehicle. A new style storage box houses a generator on one slide and a BBQ on the other slide, over on the passenger side. This BBQ can be connected to the handy gas bayonet.

Tuff Ride suspension

Mechanicals underneath includes a Tuff Ride independent trailing arm suspension with dual shockers on each arm. Twelve-inch electric brakes handle the stopping while an electric stability control system and a Breaksafe unit add to the safety levels on-road. Alloy rims are shod with 16-inch, 245/75R16 Mudzilla tyres and boost the rugged look.

The body starts with a Meranti timber frame, fully insulated and featuring aluminium cladding for a neat finish. Black chequer plate is used extensively as a functional product as well as dressing.

Around the body are plenty of double-glazed Euro-style windows, two picnic tables, an entertainment box, an external shower, full-width tunnel boot, twin jerry can holders and twin spare wheels on the rear bumper. There’s a reversing camera, lots of LED lighting and an Aussie Traveller awning provides plenty of protection from the elements. I should point out that the optional protection package, for semi off-road use, had been added.

Provincial Estate, VW Amarok

Verdict

Overall this van was very neat and tidy. It’s a small van for the gear jammed into it, and that makes this van practical for touring. Provincial Caravans provides the original purchaser with a five-year nationwide warranty, which incorporates a year’s manufacturer warranty followed by a one-year structural warranty plus extended warranty, that’s five years total cover, and according to Melbourne City Caravans offers excellent coverage for peace of mind. For a smidgeon under $75k, there’s a lot of van. This is a proven package that works and could well provide the family way more in the adventure stakes, which is priceless.

Brief Specifications

Body length: 6.8m (22ft)

Body width: 2.35m (7ft, 7in)

Tare weight: 2891kg

ATM: 3500kg

Price as tested: $74,990 drive away ex Melbourne (Optional underbody protection kit is extra)

PROS

  • Amount of standard gear for the price
  • Serious touring suspension
  • Clever use of interior space
  • Good-size bunks

CONS

  • Hatch in the roof above the bunk (was fixed by relocating)