When Sunseeker caravans merged with Noosa Off Road to form Vision RV and continue construction of the nuggetty NOR off road hybrids, the plan was always to expand into full height caravans. It took a while to bring that vision to life, what with COVID 19 and the resultant manpower and supply chain restraints.
But in late 2021, after months of design, testing and tooling the first 19’ 6” versions hit the market. Display models impressed punters at various shows with the same single-minded dedication to a timber-free construction as the original hybrids. Adding to the impact of the innovative designs was a collaboration with award winning indigenous artist, Darren Dunn, who rendered a traditional design for special models. The Waabiny artwork is differentiated with a black or white background depending on taste, and a donation towards Shoreline goes with each sale. Shoreline supports indigenous students with education and employment.
Over the last couple of years, we have seen big changes to the production facility. Vision has evolved from a small Noosa factory to an expansive new site at Coolum. The build process has been streamlined, new staff have been trained to speed production, and chassis construction has moved from Toowoomba to being built in house.
The Vision designed chassis is formed from 3.5mm thick 150 x 50mm Australian steel before being hot dip galvanised then fitted with Vision’s propriety tandem independent trailing arm suspension with air bags and shock absorbers. Load rated 17in alloy wheels are shod with high profile 285/70 Mickey Thompson offroad tyres. Vacuum controlled ventilated disc brakes bring the show to a holt. The hitch is Cruisemaster’s proven DO35, which offers superb safety and articulation on tough going.
To keep costs in check, the composite body is built offshore and is crafted into a robust monocoque shell that is extremely stiff, strong, and relatively lightweight. Unlike most caravans, the body can lift off the chassis as a separate component, meaning the chassis can be lighter because the body doesn’t rely on it for strength. The walls and roof are 30mm German composite panels with a 3mm fibreglass outer layer around a closed-cell polypropylene inner core of efficient insulation. German glue bonds the walls, roof, and Honeycomb floor into the permanent structure and the Vision 19 has the neatest edge joins of any composite van on the market.
The suspension is Vision’s own designed and engineered tandem trailing arm system with remote control air bags and Nitrocharger Sport Old Man Emu shock absorbers. The arms are 70mm tubular steel and offer adjustment for camber and toe in. The disc brakes need vacuum pump and actuator, so the Hydrostar system is in the driver side toolbox, allowing quick access for maintenance. On our drive through towns and bush tracks I was impressed with the smooth and efficient operation of the disc brakes. They are a big improvement over the haphazard operation of some drum systems I have experienced.
True to its timber-free philosophy, the internal furniture is all either aluminium with stainless steel fittings or Corian. The furniture frames are fixed to the walls and the door and drawer facings are laser cut, machine bent, and powder coated with a durable finish. Vision hasn’t turned their back on organic material altogether though. The lounge is quality leather sourced from the automotive industry, so as well as looking superior, it should last many years.
Three 90L water tanks and an 85L grey tank are positioned high under the van and the water and electrical leads are also installed where they are least likely to be hit by flying stones.
LOOKS THE PART
The 19’6” VX models feature family and couple’s versions and have well-proportioned lines for a sleek looking exterior. The vans ride high on the air bag suspension and the visible chassis rails, big tyres, twin spare wheels, and large front toolbox give it an unmistakable offroad impression that’s not all show. The front recedes over two angular sections for better aerodynamics, while the rear drops to a square shape with a small cutaway down low for better progress over steep embankments. It’s a conservative look shared across Vision’s full height range that should endure over time.
The Vision team’s years of bush travel experience and savvy engineering can be seen throughout with smart features that help ensure safe and comfortable travel. Often, it’s the little things going wrong that can spoil a trip, so the attention to detail throughout the VX is what will make a difference. We will get into that further along because it’s the build process and technology that finds the Vision in rarefied company.
Vision RV VX-19 Family
Colour choice is easy because the exterior walls come in one choice – white. You can add some individuality with variations of the graphics or the white or black background of the dreamtime display. On our review we had both versions of the artwork along and they add a home-grown appeal without being too extreme. Really, it’s a surprise Vision is the first company with aboriginal art as an option. At least the first I have seen. I really like the look and the acknowledgement. The vans ride high, as I appreciated when a double step was needed to climb aboard, and the electric operation entry step is a cool feature.
Vision RV VX-19 Couples
Rather than checkerplate, which would detract from the smooth finish of the composite, the lower edge of the sides is coated in matt finish Speedliner, a thick Polyurethane paint, to protect from flying stones. Minor chips are easily repaired with a quick touch-up.
The extended A-frame supports a large custom toolbox with some significant features. Slides each side allow quick access for a generator and a fridge while shallow slides above will be great for storing often used items like hoses and tools.
Forward of the storage box is a second metal unit housing twin 4.5kg gas bottles and an elaborate water management system. Here we see examples of the Vision know-how. The forward face of the box slopes rearward to force flying stones away and stop them from bouncing back to the tow vehicle. Then, rather that create holes in the side of the van for water fillers, all the water inlets and valves are combined in this protected space, reducing dust ingress, and lessening the chance of stone damage to the water lines. Tanks are filled from a point inside a hatch on the driver side of the box, and the onboard pump can be used to draw from a water source. In more thoughtful features, a full-width tube holds poles and fishing rods, and a metal tray over the main box will be useful for either bikes or firewood.
The rear end has a sturdy bar with a pair of spare wheels as standard and there are rated recovery hooks down low on the chassis. On the driver side is a well-sealed hatch that can be opened when camped to give the fridge a bit more ventilation in hot weather. The picnic table on the passenger side folds down to reveal gauges for the water tanks and a controller for the air suspension, enabling the van to be levelled at rest or to be raised for travelling over rugged ground
ROOM TO MOVE INSIDE
Vision’s 17’9” couples van has been a huge success because of its nimble footprint and light weight. And while it suits those preferring the practical size for more extreme offroad travel, the new van brings that little bit of extra room where it matters most – at the dinette, on the kitchen bench, and in the ensuite.
At the entry, the three-way fiberglass door is a stylish and practical prelude to the classy interior. You might anticipate the timber-free design could be somewhat spartan, but it’s far from it. The powder coated furniture radiates a clean and up to date ambience that should be a refreshing change after a hard day on the track. The leather seats and highlights, as well as the Corian benchtops enhance a luxury vibe against the tasteful simplicity. Black doors and drawers under the kitchen bench help balance the design.
While layout stays inside the boundaries of accepted design for a van of this size, the expanses of white, the well-crafted fittings, and largest possible windows combine for a fresh and airy feeling. To the right of the entry is the ensuite; up front is the bed; and the central space has the cafe dinette and nearside kitchen. The dinette could handle four at a pinch, but a couple will spread out in comfort. Storage under the lounge is taken up with the battery and management system and there are handy USB points and reading lights. To the rear of the dinette is a 224L compressor fridge, which is generous in caravan terms.
Vision RV VX-19 light
The kitchen benefits from a Corian cover over the cooktop and full oven for added prep space and the stainless-steel sink with black tapware is right on trend. There are two basic colour options inside, and they are simply called the light and dark option. You can also add your choice of soft furnishings for some individuality.
Up front is a north-south bed with good access and a set of useful storage cupboards to the sides and overhead. Nooks for each sleeper at the sides have USB and storage for personal items. The ensuite up the back is a ripper with plenty of room to move in the main room and the moulded shower. You also get an external shower to freshen up before heading inside. The composting toilet is a Vision design that’s made in house and it’s a sensible inclusion in an offroad van where the restrictions of a cassette toilet can limit the length of off-grid camping.
The VX series comes with two power options. Standard is a Vision 300ah lithium battery, 2000w Enerdrive Inverter and 600w of solar through Enerdrive’s DC/DC and AC/DC chargers.
There’s also an option to upgrade to the Enerdrive 300ah battery, 2600W Inverter and 60amp ePower Smart charger.
As set up the van has almost endless electrical power. Used frugally, the water and gas for cooking and drinking could last a few weeks with a top up of shower water from a creek.
Our review headed into the Glass House Mountains from Sunseeker’s Sunshine Coast headquarters, giving us a good 300km mix of local, highway, and dirt road driving. Handling was impeccable behind the company Nissan Navara. We were pretty close to the slightly hefty 2760kg tare weight and the Nissan pulled willingly from the lights and up the many steep hills out in the bush. The ride was superb over the bumpy and corrugated sections of road and as I mentioned earlier, the disc brakes worked faultlessly and with heaps of stopping power when needed.
When the first hybrids were introduced a few years back, Vision warned that the prices were set at an introductory level to get decent volume of the brand out in the market and that a more sustainable selling point would then be introduced. That time has come and the VX 19’6” hits the tills at $149,990. That’s a fair price in today’s market for high end offroad van. The reality is, competition in dual axle, offroad capable, composite construction vans with higher end electronics is pretty slim, so Vision have entered a very desirable market segment for savvy buyers.
HITS AND MISSES
- Stylish and roomy
- Top quality build process
- Long off grid ability
- None I could find
Vision VX19’6 Couple Ratings
Value for Money
A high end van with loads of features and quality inclusions. Well priced in its category
As good as it gets. Disc brakes and well sorted suspension and weight distribution combine for easy safe towing
Suitability for Intended Touring
This is a van for a couple to travel where they want in comfort
Timber free and solid composite body on a well-engineered chassis
The extra room in the 19’6” version make a big difference. This van will be easy to live with on long journeys
Especially with the upgraded option, only water supply will limit off-grid stays
The company lives on its great reputation for looking after customers
Lots of thought has gone into building a van that works and will last
Vision is gaining a reputation as one of our leading builders for good reason
Vision RV VX19’6” Couple Specs
Weights and Measures
|Body length||6m (19ft 6in)|
|Overall length||8.13m (26ft 7in)|
|Width||2.34m (7ft 7in)|
|Height||3.13m (10ft 3in)|
|Ball to tare ratio||5%|
|Body||30mm German-engineered composite walls and roof|
|Chassis||Hot dipped galvanised made with Australian steel|
|Suspension||Independent airbag suspension with ARB Old Man Emu Nitrocharger Sports shock absorbers|
|Brakes||Ventilated disk brakes|
|Wheels||17in load-rated alloys in 5 or 6-stud mount with 285/70 Mickey Thompson tyres|
|Water||3 x 90L freshwater tanks|
1 x 85L grey tank
|Battery||300Amp lithium battery|
|Solar||600w (3 x 200w panels)|
|Air-conditioner||Truma Aventa reverse cycle|
|Gas||2 x 4.5kg bottles|
|Cooking||4-burner Thetford internal gas cooktop, oven, microwave|
|Fridge||224L compressor fridge/freezer|
|Bathroom||Separate shower and composting toilet with adjacent wall-mounted NCE front-loading washing machine|
|Hot water||Truma instant gas hot water|
VisionRV VX19’6” Couple price as shown $149,990
Supplied by Vision RV
Vision RV VX-19’6 Family Van
Our review of the VX 19’6” range was a double whammy as we had both the couple and family versions along. This allowed us to appreciate both versions of the Waabini graphics and experience the differences in layouts. Externally, the vans only differ with the two windows to the rear of the driver's side, a forward door and minute details of some vents. The family version sported the white background of the Leumeah design, which looks more conservative and cleaner to my eyes.
Vision RV VX-19 Family
The essential difference is, of course, the layout designed for the many families finding their way to the caravanning lifestyle. And the 19'6" Vision Family Van packs in the essentials, but as you might expect in a relatively compact van, there are compromises. First up, the entry door moves towards the front, taking less of the usable interior space. Then, the parent’s bed must be configured across the front of the cabin to allow a decent size living space and the bunks. The east-west bed isn't a universal favourite because of the occasional need to crawl over a partner for access, but younger folk shouldn't find it too much of an obstacle.
Vision RV VX-19 Family
To better suit families, the dinette is an L-shape instead of the cafe style. It tucks up against the bed and will suit a family of four quite comfortably. A lengthways table assists access, and while smaller than the couple's version, it swivels and slides for easy access. The kitchen is reconfigured, with the stove and sink swapping places, but the overall area remains the same.
Vision RV VX-19 Family
Down the back, we see a set of bunks running along the driver-side wall and a bathroom lengthways on the opposite side. A washing machine and handy cupboards sit along the back wall.
Specifications are virtually the same, with a slight weight penalty for the family version, but on the road, the van is well-balanced and easy to tow.
THE NEXT STEP
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