Jam-packed and full of cream like the biscuit, but you’ll need big biccies to buy one
By Gary Tischer
Let me start by saying straight up, the Sunliner Monte Carlo is one luxurious motorhome. Now I’m not talking about comfortable seats and crisp air-conditioning, the Monte Carlo is a vintage Dom Pérignon of the RV world. Born and bred from an Aussie company with modest beginnings and over 40 years in the industry, the Monte Carlo is Sunliner’s flagship model. Externally it looks big, and on the inside you can definitely feel that size, however, externally it is actually a few metres shorter than a fairly standard 4WD and caravan combo and far more luxurious. Did I mention that yet? I think you get my drift.
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Sunliner manufactures a large range of motorhomes, campervans and fifth wheelers in its Melbourne factory. As manufacturing processes and technologies evolve, Sunliner incorporates the best of these in its new motorhomes.
The Monte Carlo enjoys this evolution and uses composite panels for its walls creating greater strength and durability while reducing weight at the same time. The body is crafted onto the Isuzu NQR 450 chassis, built for reliability, safety and with easy driving in mind, provided you have a Light Rigid vehicle licence.
The Monte Carlo is marketed as a “no compromise” RV and after spending some time with one – I tend to agree. After pulling up at our destination, there was no need to go outside. Just move from the cabin into the living area and operate the self-levelling system with the push of a button. Once levelled and locked, another button operates the four slide-out sections which creates a massive internal space. Take a cold drink out of the fridge and you are done setting up for the night, taking only a few minutes from start to finish. From sitting in the leather lounge deciding whether I watch a movie on one of the TVs or listen to the stereo, I can’t spot any compromises.
There are four different layouts available in the Monte Carlo. This review is based on the Monte Carlo MC3 which has four slide outs – two in the living/dining area and two in the bedroom.
My first impression after entering the Monte Carlo was “luxurious Tardis”. For those not familiar with Dr Who, a Tardis is something that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It is amazing how much space can be created with slide-out walls. There are too many inclusions to list them individually so I will just mention the luxurious (oops, that word again) items. There is the choice of three distinct finishes or styles and within these finishes, you still have the choice of fabrics and cabinetry inserts among others. Perhaps I’d go for the Nautique finish, inspired by the yacht interiors that belong to the cruising set.
Zoned living spaces are created through the clever use of sliding and bi-fold doors, which separate the living, bathroom and bedroom areas. These zones are each spacious and private in their own right. The ceramic toilet has its own vanity basin, storage areas and door. There is another sink and powder room facility next to the large shower, once the door between the bathroom and bedroom is closed.
In the kitchen there are drawers large enough for a full set of saucepans and other cooking utensils. The three burner gas stove, oven and grill is complemented by a microwave and coffee machine. In the ceiling above the kitchen is the air-conditioner and just above the floor, in the skirting, are outlets for warm air from the diesel central heating. Don’t worry if you are 250km from the nearest town power, there is a 3.6kVA on-board generator to supply 240V for the Monte Carlo.
The LED lighting is controlled by Bluetooth switches throughout the motorhome, which means that any light can be operated from a number of different locations. Above the queen-sized bed is an automatic two-way fan which is thermostatically controlled to either extract air from the Monte Carlo or draw in air from the outside environment. This is particularly good if you don’t like sleeping in air-conditioning.
There is a large electric awning to cover the outside entertainment area, which includes a sink, gas barbecue, fridge, sound system and another TV. There are numerous large storage areas accessible from the outside to store chairs, fold-up tables, fishing rods and a bike rack could be attached to the tow hitch at the rear. There are two 150 Ah deep-cycle batteries on board and 240W of solar panels on the roof. A 3000W inverter is also standard to power some of the 240V power items carried. There is room in the battery hatch to add additional batteries or management systems if required.
The 20-litre gas/electric system will supply the one internal and two external showers with plenty of hot water. There are 250-litres of fresh water on board and a 90-litre grey water tank. The Monte Carlo can be hooked up to town water pressure, therefore saving the tanks for when they are really needed.
As the motorhome is built on a commercial truck chassis, the vehicle is built to carry the weight and performs well with a six-speed auto gearbox which can be used in manual if you choose to. The Isuzu engine is a 5.2-litre turbo-diesel so is more than capable enough to keep it moving at motorway speeds. The safety features expected on a modern vehicle are all there, including airbags, ABS, and traction and stability control. The fuel economy is much less than what would be expected from a 4WD towing a large caravan.
There is no question that the Monte Carlo is a luxury motorhome. The internal space is huge and the fit-out is first class. Unfortunately, the majority of travellers won’t be able to afford the price tag. For those of you who can, you will be the envy of many.
Exterior length: 9.5m
Exterior width: 2.35m
Gross Vehicle Mass: 8700kg
Engine: 5.2lt turbo diesel
Price as tested: $312,000 on-road
- Luxurious without
- Very spacious
- Equipment provided
- Auto levelling
- Very good for
- Light Rigid vehicle
- Cost of purchase
- Only 2-wheel-drive