Malcolm Street - Caravan World Field Editor
Majestic Caravans has been around for the past 20 years or so and builds a range of caravans with varying lengths from 4.9m (16ft) to 6.9m (22ft 7in) and is suitable for semi-offroad and offroad travel, depending on whether it’s the Knight SLE or the Navigator range.
The Knight SLE, with a length of 5.95m (19ft 4in), sits in the middle of the length range and is a couples van. With an ATM of 3200kg and a tare mass of 2461kg, the Knight SLE is a manageable van and one that a dual cab ute can easily handle.
Designed with a rear door entry, the van has a length that is ideal for the layout, the somewhat familiar front island bed, mid lounge and kitchen, plus a rear bathroom. It's a layout with room to move.
Built for semi-offroad use, there is nothing too complicated about the suspension, it being AL-KO Roller Rocker springs fitted to the tandem axles. Pedders shock absorbers are fitted to all the wheels to assist the van handling. There's a simple ball coupling at the pointy end, which I favour when hitching up if you don’t have a useful reversing camera! Semi-offroad use is a little vague in definition but according to the Majestic team, "drive according to the conditions" is an excellent recommendation to follow.
Although the wheels have beam axles, there's still a good ground clearance under the van, including the grey water tank. One way to determine the quality of a van build is to have a good look at the bit that is not so easy to see — underneath the van. It will often tell you a lot and in this case, there didn't appear to be anything hanging down that shouldn't be and all the bits that were hanging down were well strapped up.
In many ways, the Knight SLE is a product of refined development rather than being hugely innovative. That said, some features stand out. Many are quite practical, like the inward-facing drawers under the seats. Slightly less space-efficient but much easier to get to than wrestling around with seat cushions. I liked the removable shelves in the overhead cupboard, the ensuite light switch above the bed and the midget-proof mesh in the windows. All are simple items but designed to make life on the road more comfortable. I appreciated the BMPRO battery management system located in an overhead locker. It takes up storage space but is a much more practical location when tracing faults rather than in more awkward places that some manufacturers use.
Tim van Duyl - Caravan World Creative Director
A while back I was at AL-KO talking about suspension with an engineer. What did we agree on? Roller Rocker leaf suspension has unfairly lost the love of the market and it should not have. I love it. It has a simplicity that means it is reliable, easy to repair and it rides really well.
Under this Knight is exactly that and when towing it with a New Gen V6 Ranger, it put a massive smile on my face. I’m not suggesting independent suspension lurches too much (actually, some do in my opinion) but leaf suspension rides flatter and lower, two things people who want to do big km on the road will appreciate. The thing is this van is semi-offroad rated so it should be able to handle some bumps. Guess what? It does that too. Towing the Knight up and down Mount Donna Buang on the outskirts of the Yarra Valley was fantastic and reminded me of how fuss-free a tow can be.
The layout in the Knight is perfect for a couple looking to spend equal time in and out of their van. It has plenty of space in the rear ensuite, a decent lounge that will take four at a pinch and an island bed up front. This is the most popular layout in vans for a reason, it works. The Knight might not come with lots of technology that people seem to think is mandatory these days, it comes with enough to get you on the road and if you’re sensible, it has enough.
The fridge is three-way so will run off the LPG bottles when off-grid and with two 9kg bottles, you will struggle to run out. The lights are all LED, so even though it runs AGM batteries, they’ll last weeks doing just the lights. You won't be able to do much more than charge phones and run a CPAP machine but that is enough.
At a holiday park, the fridge will switch over to 240V meaning only your hot water needs gas and you’ll be able to fire up the fan-forced oven and Houghton AC which were pleasant surprises to see. I see the Knight SLE as a van that is meant to be used over long periods of time, one that although won’t do all the in-vogue things like run your AC or microwave off-the-grid, it will be comfortable and for the money you’ll save forgoing all these extras, is actually a pretty worthwhile proposition.
John Ford - Caravan World Editor-At-Large
In the current market, the Knight's $82,990 price tag is good value. Prices for vans have skyrocketed in the past few years as components and energy prices escalate, so the Majestic is now in the entry-level price range for a van of this size. The van on show is your quintessential Australian couple’s tourer meaning it’s a 19ft 6in van — the most popular size — with a tried-and-true rear door and front bedroom layout and Roller Rocker leaf spring suspension, all of which combines to arguably the best setup for an on-road tourer.
It's built on a timber frame, which keeps initial costs down, and it seems well insulated against the weather. With an all-up weight of 3200kg, you can tow it with a relatively economical twin cab ute, so travel costs are reasonable. There’s enough self-sufficiency to get into free camps or unpowered sites, so more savings can be had.
Overall, against competitors in this price range the Majestic scores well for value on quality of finish and quality inclusions.
I like Majestic’s no-nonsense approach to the event. Here’s a van couples can afford, and it will take you to most places on a lap around Australia without blowing the budget or sending any weighbridge staff along the way into hysterics. The van’s lines are clean and well balanced with the modern smooth sides that composite aluminium achieves. The build is the same as their offroad Navigator series but without the independent suspension. And while the Knight is essentially a semi-offroad tourer, it will make it into most national parks, where it can take its place in camp among some pretenders who never get far offroad in their half-million-dollar offroad rigs. Sometimes less is more.
Allison Watt - Caravan World Deputy Editor
Majestic has been building caravans in Australia for more than 20 years so they must be doing something right.
The Knight sits atop a Proline 4in DuraGal chassis finished with acrylic lacquer — the same chassis is used in Majestic’s offroad Navigator model — with AL-KO Roller Rocker suspension.
The frame is meranti timber, common in caravan construction because of its light weight and flexibility. There are plenty of naysayers when it comes to meranti frames, but the reality is that it keeps caravan manufacturing costs down and is the reason why Majestic can deliver the Knight at the entry-level price point.
Walls are a composite construction, and the roof is a one-piece panel of insulated fibreglass. The floor is marine ply hardwood, and all internal furniture and cabinetry is CNC cut in-house.
The Knight has fully tinted windows to keep the interior cool. Outside there is a galvanised tunnel boot, jerry can holders and a lockable toolbox with slide for a barbecue or generator.
Majestic offers a five-year nationwide warranty in which a third-party provider ‘Integrity Warranty’ will put the owners in touch with the nearest repairer should they need assistance while out on the road.
The Knight SLE is described as a semi-offroad and has enough water, solar and battery capacity to enable you to travel down a dirt road for a few days, or as long as your water will last. It has two 105A AGM batteries, two 170W solar panels, BMPRO battery management system and two gas bottles for cooking and the three-way fridge.
Water capacity is good with two 95L freshwater tanks, one 95L grey tank, filtered tap and jerry can holders to carry extra water and eke out another day or two off-grid.
You won’t be taking the Knight along WA's Gibb River Road, nor will you be able to go bush for long periods of time. But if you are happy to spend most of your touring on the bitumen and spend a few days free camping on the banks of a river or at a music festival or the like, you will be more than comfortable.
Majestic Knight SLE 19.6 Specs
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
|Overall length||8.6m (28ft 2in)|
|External body length||5.95m (19ft 6in)|
|External body width||2.4m (7ft 10in)|
|Travel height||2.95m (9ft 8in)|
|Internal height||1.99m (6ft 6in)|
|Cladding||Aluminium composite, roof one-piece fibreglass, furniture CNC Router cut all plywood|
|Chassis||Acrylic lacquer painted 4in chassis (3mm steel) extended A-frame 6in (4mm) steel|
|Suspension||AL-KO Rocker Roller spring suspension, and Pedders shock absorbers|
|Coupling||AL-KO 50mm ball|
|Brakes||12in electric drum|
|Wheels||LT285/75R16 10PLY All Terrain 16in|
|Water||2 x 95L fresh tanks with mains fast filler, 1 x 95L grey tank|
|Battery||2 x 105Ah AGM BMPRO battery plus HA with Trek Display|
|Solar||2 x 170W with solar Anderson plug on chassis|
|Air-conditioner||Webasto top trail Ct24 Houghton Belaire 3400|
|Gas||2 x 9kg and gas bayonet|
|Cooking||Thetford four-burner cooktop with grill and fan-forced oven|
|Fridge||Thetford 175L two-door AES|
|Bathroom||Rear separate ensuite — separate shower/ceramic toilet/black sink and taps/LED 12V exhaust hatches|
|Washing machine||Top loading washing machine|
|Hot water||24L Swift gas/electric|
Majestic Knight SLE 19.6 price from $82,990
P: 1300 873 510
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