I tumble outta bed and stumble to the kitchen, pour myself a cup of ambition. Yawn and stretch, and try to come to life.
Jump in the shower and the blood started pumpin’, out in the street the traffic started jumpin’ with folks like me on the job from nine to five.
Workin’ nine to five, what a way to make a livin’... Well, not on this day!
Snapper Cam Inniss and I recently hit the bitumen in a KEA Retreat 4-Berth motorhome, descending upon the picturesque hamlet of Flinders on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula.
We set up atop a cliff, adjacent to Flinders Golf Club, overlooking Bass Strait.
At this point, I reckon a few hackers deliberately hit wayward tee shots so they could take a closer look at the fully self-contained Retreat, an ex-rental from RV Sales Centre in Braybrook, Melbourne.
It soon became obvious that the 7.2m (23ft 7in) Retreat relieves the pressure of urban working life. In fact, I no longer felt like a step on the boss-man’s ladder.
With all due respect to Cam, the only downside was that I wasn’t touring with family or friends, enjoying the region’s many delights, including beaches, scenic drives, arts and culture, and heritage.
So, as I’ve asked in previous reviews of RV Sales Centre’s ex-rental fleet, who buys it? And why is it good value?
RV Sales Centre national marketing manager, Dave Boyte reckons the KEA Retreat is a versatile and flexible option, as its spacious house offers a myriad of different setup layouts and bedding options to ensure that every need is met.
"Luxuriously appointed with soft-touch materials and plush cushions, the spacious and homely 'Multi' will keep you feeling at home no matter how far from home you are," he tells Caravan World. "It also features a large bathroom with sink, toilet and shower.
“The layout allows for a U-shaped lounge at the rear and also a second living area at the front which makes it very popular. You feel like you have a lot of space in the house with a generous internal height.
“It’s a great starting price at just $66,990 driveaway for the standard option and $73,990 for the larger fridge conversion.”
The KEA Retreat is part of THL’s core rental fleet and the 2013 model tested displayed just over 220,000km on the odometer.
The Retreat’s base vehicle is a Volkswagen Crafter 100, with a VW-supplied 2.2L turbodiesel engine and automatic transmission.
With a 3740kg Tare and 4490kg GVM, this ex-rental motorhome delivers maximum power of 100kW @ 3500rpm and maximum torque of 300Nm @ 2000rpm. And its fuel consumption came in around 13L/100km.
Externally, the KEA Retreat glistened with its high-tech vacuum-moulded composite panel construction (with full insulation) and moulded fibreglass luton peak.
A rear storage hatch on the nearside easily accommodates sullage hoses, power cords, camping chairs and the like. And a Cvana awning provides essential shade during the hotter months.
Meanwhile, on the offside, there’s a lockable bin for a 9kg gas cylinder, and a hatch for the LPG shut-off valves. And at the rear is a reversing camera.
The Retreat also boasts an impressive power supply comprising a smart battery management system, 2x110Ah maintenance-free deep-cycle house batteries, and a 120W solar panel.
Water capacities include a 140L fresh water tank and a 150L grey water tank, which is welcomed for off-grid scenarios such as venturing into national parks.
Step inside the Retreat and you’re treated to two entertaining areas, and the swivel driver and passenger seats offering extra living space.
I admit that I’m taken by the U-shaped rear lounge that converts to a double bed. This zone also emits plenty of light and ventilation, and the tinted glass window provides a panoramic vista.
There’s abundant wraparound overhead storage, and the venetian blinds add some panache to the interior styling.
Just forward of the rear lounge/bedroom is a full ensuite complete with full-height shower cubicle and Thetford cassette toilet. There’s also adequate storage above and below the vanity basin.
Adjacent to the ensuite is additional storage capacity, including a small wardrobe for hanging clothes.
The galley has the necessary requisites for a chef on the run — Smev four-burner cooktop and grill; 175L Waeco three-way fridge/freezer; Nero microwave; sink, flick mixer tap and drainer; and a two-tier wire basket pull-out pantry. And once again, the storage theme is quite strong.
A second living zone features a comfortable cafe dinette, with headrests, that can convert to a single bed (in essence making the Retreat a five-berth configuration). The house batteries are located under the seating, and there’s an array of LED lighting — under the overhead cupboards and ceiling-mounted.
Immediately left of entry is seating, with a dedicated electrical suite above comprising monitors, gauges and switches for the battery, lights, fridge, rangehood, water heater, water pump, water tank and media.
Above the doorway is a Sphere TV/DVD monitor on a swivel-arm bracket. It’s a fully automatic satellite TV system, and the Retreat also has an electronic safe as security for your valuables.
A two-berth arrangement exists in the luton peak, which has reading lamps and windows, and the cabin features include swivel seats, central locking, driver’s airbag, air-conditioning, LCD screen, and a Kenwood AM/FM radio/CD player. It also has convenient storage nooks plus a privacy curtain separating it from the living zones.
The Retreat also comes with gas heating and hot/cold pressurised water. And there's a roof-mounted Aircommand Sparrow air-conditioner for additional climatic comfort.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you're in the same boat with a lotta your friends, waitin' for the day your ship'll come in, then the KEA Retreat 4-Berth is a motorhome where the tide's gonna turn and it's all gonna roll your way.
So, forget trying to get ahead on the ‘mouse wheel’, and indulge in this RV that puts leisure foremost in your mind.
There's a better life, and you dream about it, don't you? Workin’ nine to five? Not a way to make a livin’!
Even Dolly Parton would be impressed.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
Overall length 7.2m (23ft 7in)
External width 2.8m (9ft 2in)
Travel height 3.4m (11ft 2in)
Internal height 2.1m (6ft 11in)
Base vehicle Volkswagen Crafter 100
Engine VW-supplied 2.2L turbodiesel
Gearbox Automatic transmission
Max power 100kW @ 3500rpm
Max torque 300Nm @ 2000rpm
Brakes ABS disc
Fresh water 140L
Grey water 150L
Solar 1 x 120W
Air-conditioner Aircommand Sparrow
Gas 1 x 9kg
Cooking Smev four-burner cooktop
Fridge Waeco three-way 175L
Toilet Thetford cassette
Shower Full-height fibreglass cubicle
Washing machine No
Batteries 2 x 110Ah
Hot water Gas/electric
PRICE AS SHOWN
RV Sales Centre
9 Ashley Street, Braybrook, VIC 3019
Ph: (03) 8398 8848