Atlantic caravans is a manufacturer that has been around for just on 10 years. Based in Campbellfield, aka the caravan manufacturing capital of Australia, Atlantic might get a bit lost among the larger players, but it produces a good range of caravans — road tourers, family vans and those suitable for off-road travel — or in other words, something for everyone.
Among that category comes the E-Series, a range of caravans aimed particularly at entry level buyers. My review van, an ES190-1MD, or E19 for short, came from Parravans Caravan World at Windsor, NSW. It’s a mid-door entry van with an external length of 5.9m (19ft 4in).
ON THE ROAD
Towing the E19 is my sort of driving, especially around the Windsor area. Most of the roads are just two lanes and in some places there are tight corners. The E19 is not an overly long van and with a Tare of just 2170kg, it’s a fairly light towing prospect. Certainly the Nissan Navara I was using had no difficulty handling the van and it didn’t bounce around on the tow hitch. The payload of 630kg is very good for a van this size and I’d suspect that most people won’t be loading up to that amount.
AROUND THE OUTSIDE
Aluminium cladding — just metal, not composite — was once used by just about every caravan manufacturer in Australia. That has changed somewhat, but Atlantic still has ribbed alloy cladding in white, which also used to be the default for most vans — nothing wrong with that, I quite like the white with a few decals.
Both the side and front walls have a lower waistline of black alloy checkerplate to give a bit of extra protection and offset the white of the van. I know black checkerplate is very popular, but it does look dirty very quickly, and on a warm day it can be hot to the touch, something I discovered when opening the alloy toolbox on the front drawbar!
Under the cladding is a Meranti timber frame with full insulation. One of the benefits of a mid-door caravan is that the awning covers the entrance with room to spare — no getting wet as you hop in and out.
Below the body line, I reckon that quite a few manufacturers use 150mm x 50mm (6in x 2in) RHS rails for no other reason than it looks good for the customers. Nothing like that here as both the main chassis rails and drawbar are made from 100mm x 50mm (4in x 2in) RHS, which keeps the weight down a bit. This is definitely an on-road van, so comes with the expected ball coupling and roller rocker, leaf spring suspension, alloy wheels with 10in electric brakes and a chassis ground clearance to suit the expected conditions. The water tanks are either side of the suspension mounts, and just in front of the offside wheels is the battery box for the two 100Ah batteries. Next to the battery box is an Anderson plug for connecting up extra solar panels if needed. Layout choices
Front bedroom, rear bathroom (FBRB) layouts are very much in vogue these days, in part because the two most popular features seem to be an island bed and a full width bathroom with room to move. The compromise is that both take up more space than alternatives, but that doesn’t seem to deter interest.
Atlantic’s E19 is a typical example of this layout but is made more practical by the mid-door entry, which is something of a space saver in shorter vans. With the bed at the front and bathroom at the rear, the mid area is taken by a nearside dinette and an offside kitchen.
Glossy finishes also seem to be the thing at the moment and that is certainly reflected (pun intended) in the E19’s interior colours. Dark grey for most of the cabinetry doors and white for the ceiling and wall. Even in daylight the effectiveness of the ceiling mounted LED downlights is quite obvious. Simple things like door handles and door mini gas struts can make a difference to the overall finish. The handles are stylish yet practical because it’s quite easy to get several fingers under them to open the overhead lockers, the doors or the drawers — it makes all the difference for those whose fingers aren’t quite as flexible as they used to be.
ROOM TO MOVE
In a van this length, an L-shaped lounge fits in well with the door entry and the front bed and there’s space enough to move around the immediate area without a problem. The lounge itself, upholstered in leatherette, has contoured cushions and is very comfortable. Measuring 1.33 x 0.5m (4ft 4in x 1ft 8in), the table is mounted solidly but can easily be rotated or moved up and down as needed. Above the lounge are four overhead lockers, a couple having shelves and the end one being where the AM/FM radio/CD player is located.
Across the way, the Dometic 186 litre fridge butts up against the bathroom wall, leaving the rest of the kitchen area for the cooker/grill and stainless-steel sink, while the Sphere microwave is fitted into the overhead locker space above the cooktop. The cupboard space isn’t quite as good as it looks, with the water heater and sink taking up space, but it still scores quite well and there are shelves built into the cupboards plus five decent sized drawers.
Hiding in one of the overhead lockers is a BatteryPlus35HA battery management system, along with the 240V circuit breakers and hot water/air conditioner switches.
Large windows and a marine style roof hatch give an open plan feel to the bedroom area. Indeed the 1.85 x 1.53m (6ft 1in x 5ft) bed looks smaller than it actually is, especially as it is surrounded by an impressive array of wardrobes, cupboards and overhead lockers. Mounted on a posture slate bed base, the innerspring mattress can be lifted up to get to the non-compartmented bed space. There’s no problem seeing in the dark here since there are four ceiling lights and a pair of reading lights.
FULL WIDTH BATHROOM
There was a time when a caravan bathroom contained a shower cubicle and cassette toilet but not much else. Vanity cabinets have gone from being just a simple wash basin to what we have here — a large wall mirror, pedestal wash basin, two door cupboard and a second cabinet that contains a top loading washing machine. The toilet was rather close to the washing machine cabinet, though. Additional bathroom features include two ventilation hatches and a couple of towel rails on the sliding door.
Mains power points seem to be something of a lottery between manufacturers but the E19 has them in all the right locations — by the bed, kitchen bench, dinette and in the bathroom, though doubles by the bed might have been nice and there is but one 12V/USB hub located in the corner by the dinette. For the TV viewers, the mounting and connection point is at the end of the kitchen bench overhead lockers.
For the 12V load, two 100Ah deep cycles batteries are supplied and are charged by both the BMPRO 20A mains charger and the two roof mounted 150W solar panels.
THE BOTTOM LINE
A close look inside and outside the E19 reveals it to be a well-appointed on-road van. It’s not particularly flashy but does have all the essentials plus several extras like two house batteries and a generous amount of power points and lights. Its other asset is that being a relatively light, the van is an easy towing prospect. I reckon it’s a very classy entry level van that might well suit a few old hands as well.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
Body length 6.56m (19ft 4in)
Overall length 8.56m (28ft)
Width (incl awn) 2.44m (8ft)
Height (incl ac) 2.83m (9ft 3in)
Ball weight 245kg
Frame Meranti timber
Cladding Aluminium high profile, white
Chassis Road Runner 100 x 50mm (4 x 2in) rails and drawbar
Suspension Load sharing leaf spring
Brakes 10in electric
Wheels 15in alloys
Water 2 x 95 litre
Battery 2 x 100Ah deep cycle
Solar 2 x 150W
Air-conditioner Dometic Ibis 3
Gas 2 x 9kg
Sway control No
Cooking Mobicool 4 burner & grill
Fridge Dometic RM4606 186 litre 3 way
Bathroom Dometic cassette and separate shower cubicle
Hot water Swift 28 litre LPG/electric
BMPRO Battery Plus35 HA
Trek battery and water gauge
Recessed cooktop and grill
Reverse camera kit
Drawbar toolbox with jerry can holders
PRICE AS SHOWN
To enquire about this caravan,
Parravans Caravan World
38–40 Mileham Street
Windsor NSW 2756
Ph: (02) 4577 5577