Downsizing isn’t a dirty word with the Paramount Micro
A small van with a full-size ensuite … is it a solo traveller’s dream come true?
Paramount Caravans has teamed up with Canterbury Caravans to create a 14-foot micro-van, aptly named the ‘Mini-Micro’, which they say is perfect for solo travellers. According to Colin Tobin, Managing Director at Canterbury Caravans, one of the most common scenarios they see when it comes to customers wishing to downsize, is when one half of a travelling couple passes away, and the person left behind is still young enough to travel but has no need or desire to deal with a bigger van by themselves.
That’s where the Micro comes in. The 14-foot body makes for a very nimble and lightweight van that couldn’t be easier to manoeuvre. We used a Ford Everest Ambiente to pull the Micro for this review, which was almost overkill, so you can imagine all the tow vehicle options you’d have! Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Micro…
The Micro is based on a SupaGal four-inch chassis with a four-inch frame featuring 2000kg-rated axles. It all rides on a capable seven-leaf suspension system and Goodride 225/70R15 tyres fitted on black alloy rims.
Underneath the Micro you will find twin 95-litre water tanks, mudflaps, stabilising jacks on all corners, some reasonably neat plumbing, and a 100Ah battery.
The insulated Meranti Timber body is clad with white and grey smooth aluminium and black chequer plate. It’s complemented by black fittings including the Dometic awning, picnic table, door and even the TV box, which features a black hatch with a carpet-trimmed interior.
The one-piece roof features heavy-duty vinyl for the pop-top and hatches for the main living area and the ensuite. There is a full-width gal tunnel boot, a drop-step, HV Sensor aerial and provision for solar. A rear camera is included in the package, along with twin external speakers.
Mounted on the A-frame you will find: twin 9kg gas bottles, an AL-KO jockey wheel, a 3.5-tonne coupling, a brass tap and an Anderson plug for powering the battery. Overall, the body and mechanicals are neatly built and all the mod-cons are catered for in this tiny but mighty van.
At the front of the van are two inner-spring single beds against the wall, with a decent-size cupboard between them. A slide-out table from this cupboard creates a dining room table while the beds double as the seats. While it’s a little tight, it’s a great space-saver. There are plenty of overhead cupboards for storage here as well. Windows on the sides and in the front wall provide light and ventilation, and curtains add to the cosy feel.
Under the beds there’s a little more storage, although the driver’s side bed also houses a Finch heating and cooling unit with ducting, a Dometic hot water service, the fuse box and Projecta battery charger. I think the wiring here could be a bit tidier.
On the driver’s side wall towards the back of the van is a handy wardrobe and yet more storage cupboards. Next to that is a Thetford 93-litre, two-door fridge freezer, which is a generous size considering the small space. Opposite the fridge is one part of the kitchen; this features a deep sink with flick mixer and water filter system, cutlery drawer, sponge drawer and plenty of storage under the bench for pots and pans. Above the bench is an overhead cupboard and an NCE microwave.
Across the back of the van is the main cooking and food prep area, as well as the ensuite, which is tucked in the corner on the driver’s side between the kitchen and the fridge. Next to the ensuite is a Thetford 3&1 grill with a large drawer underneath and an NCE rangehood above. An NCE radio entertainment unit is above that along with the RV Electronics water tank gauge.
From the cooker to the passenger sidewall is a benchtop with cupboards above and below plus a small window for light. The only thing I didn’t like here was that the slide-out pantry couldn’t be fully accessed with the entry door closed.
The ensuite is functional for the size and makes touring life for one person very easy. I didn’t mind the full-mirrored door to the ensuite for grooming purposes (it also gives the illusion of a larger space), but you might get a bit of a fright if you suddenly catch your reflection when you get up during the night!
I was impressed by the way the interior was laid out – the tiny van really makes the most of the available space. The overall look was simple and pleasing, thanks to the classic black and white colour scheme.
External length: 6.5m (24ft)
External body width: 2.44m (7ft 9in)
Tare weight: 1603kg
Price as tested: $49,990 plus delivery costs ex Melbourne
Website: Canterbury Caravans
Easy to tow
Easy to store
Great use of a small space
Excellent value for money
Slide-out pantry hits the door
A step-ladder is needed for the pop-top catches