Not every retiree wants to go on the road permanently, some just want to hop from one destination to another and back home again. And, in that respect, the aptly-monikered KEA Nomad 2+1 three-berth is ideal for those who like to roam from place to place. It’s also perfect for a couple with one child wanting to hit the road for a couple of weeks, or even grandparents wanting to take a grandchild away for a short holiday.
The Nomad’s base vehicle, a 2.2L turbodiesel Mercedes 313 LWB Sprinter, proved a super-smooth ride as I roamed the local tourist attractions including the Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk, Seymour Railway Heritage Centre, through the quaint township of Tallarook and also the Seymour Heritage Drive towards the Australian Light Horse Memorial Park and the Great Victorian Rail Trail.
And with a seven-speed fully automatic gearbox, the agile Nomad has more than enough grunt, distributing maximum power of 95kW at 3800rpm and maximum torque of 305Nm at 1200-2400rpm.
I thought the Nomad was a pleasure to drive with its ergonomic swivel seating, which is also afforded to the passenger. And the driver’s cabin has generous storage capacity with heaps of nooks and crannies for all your roadtrip gear.
Mine was only a short tour, but the Nomad has the capacity to hit the bitumen and beyond for more than a few days given its battery (1x105Ah), solar (1x80W) and water levels (1x90L fresh; 1x110L grey). And all of this is complemented by a roof-mounted Aircommand Sparrow reverse-cycle air-conditioner, with a 2.4kW cooling capacity, and a gas hot water system. However, I found the Nomad’s external storage lacking somewhat.
KITCHEN AND DINING
I was stationed at the tranquil Big4 Seymour Holiday Park – along the picturesque Goulburn River – which does boast a comprehensive camp kitchen. But, courtesy of the Nomad’s external slide-out barbecue, I easily whipped up an impromptu meal of lamb chops with a side-dish of salad. And the separate cooking plate ensured everything was cleaned and put away in a jiffy. It bodes well for easy catering on the road.
Further to that, an external table with fold-down leg, to assist with meal preparation, is packed neatly away just inside the rear doors and, when needed, slides into position on the kerbside wall of the van.
I also appreciated the safety aspect of a single 9kg gas cylinder being concealed in a driver’s side hatch.
But I could just as easily have cooked up my feast in the Nomad’s compact and cleverly designed internal kitchen with its Dometic three-burner gas cooktop, sink with filtered water tap, 100L Waeco fridge-freezer and 700W Tiffany microwave. The galley also has excellent storage capacity, with user-friendly slide-out drawers, while a pantry cupboard is ideal for non-perishable items. And I reckon the additional flip-up benchtop space is a real winner.
BEDROOM AND BATHROOM
The Nomad’s dining area quickly converts into separate sleeping quarters to make up the extra berth. First, the rear lounge, with minimal rearranging of the seat cushions, becomes a cosy double bed (2000x1780mm). Meanwhile, a passenger seat with a table behind the driver’s cabin can be changed into a sideways-facing single fold-down stretcher-type bed (1850x800mm) that would comfortably accommodate a teenager or small adult. This seating and de-mountable table arrangement also allows you to catch up with any work commitments along the journey, which certainly came in handy for yours truly.
The Nomad has a smart and spacious interior, with a bathroom with shower-toilet combo, washbasin and a 12V hatch. And there’s also a deep compartment (robe) that’s made to measure for hanging clothes.
In-house entertainment is provided by a satellite television, built-in DVD player and AM/FM radio/CD player.
THE BOTTOM LINE
You could live or stay anywhere you want in the Nomad. It’s a quintessential home-away-from-home, albeit for relatively short stints.
But I really liked its attention to detail and innovation, resulting in an external cooking facility (rare in a motorhome), intelligently designed internal kitchen, and pragmatic bedding configuration.
Obviously this KEA meets its brief, and will appeal to those who want to skip from campsite to campsite. And I reckon downsizing motorhoming retirees and a multitude of young couples (each with a little tacker in tow) will be queueing up to secure a quality RV at an enticing entry-level price.
HITS AND MISSES
- Rear bedroom/rear lounge
- Entry level price
- Cleverly designed compact kitchen
- Comfortable and easy to drive
- Extra bed
- Panoramic side windows
- Slide-out barbecue
- Limited external storage
- Small fridge capacity
Weights and measures
- Overall length 7m (23ft)
- External width 2m (6ft 7in)
- Internal height 2.1m (6ft 11in)
- Travel height 2.75m (9ft)
- Tare 2800kg
- GVM 3550kg
Price as shown
The full feature appeared in Caravan World #567. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!