It’s well-documented that Evernew Caravans emerged from humble beginnings in 1963. So, when Dani Bib took over the marquee brand in 2017, he adopted a “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality.
Dani and his professional team have delivered that maxim to the letter! Consequently, he’s retained Evernew’s ‘boutique’ caravan-building status.
His first bespoke project at the helm of Evernew was the E800RT — as its moniker would suggest, purpose-built to handle ‘rugged terrain’ — and the E800RT’s Evernew DNA was unmistakable. There was a high attention to detail and quality craftsmanship, and symbolic, standout white cladding that first became a company emblem in the early ’70s.
Dani’s maiden offering exhibited all the traits that have made Evernew Caravans a popular brand for nearly 60 years. It was an offroader built to last and gave off an impression of being a genuine pocket dynamo off the beaten track.
Little wonder Dani stands by his claim that Evernew-built caravans will last more than 30 years. “They’re still going around, so the proof is in the pudding,” Dani said. “It’s testament to the quality workmanship of our factory staff, including some that have been with the company for more than 20 years.”
But with the E800RT design behind him, and numerous hours at the R&D table, Dani is now releasing a much tougher sibling, the single-axle full-height E800 RTX28, which won RVMAP’s 2019 People’s Choice award.
I recently tested the 5.3m (17ft 5in) pocket rocket which ticks the boxes for adventures on roads less travelled.
It has a lightweight 2250kg tare and a 2800kg ATM, meaning you can play with 550kg to take away all your off-grid essentials. And it’s a well-balanced caravan, as experienced thanks to high winds prevailing during the test. The van travelled as straight as a die and in harmony with its tow-tug — a Nissan Navara ST-X supplied by Preston Nissan.
The E800 RTX28 is ruggedly handsome given its pristine white aluminium flat composite cladding and new aesthetic decals, while the meranti frame, with 300mm spacings, gives the van extra strength. But the real seal of approval lies in its bulletproof underpinnings and more than generous capacities.
It rides on a heavy-duty G&S hot-dipped galvanised chassis, with a 150 x 50mm boxed steel main chassis bearers and drawbar reinforced for 4WD towing, and Cruisemaster 2800kg ATX suspension with King Coil springs and 46mm Piggyback monotube dampers. It’s a light-footed little ripper with 265/75 R16 General Grabber all-terrain tyres on 16in MPC ‘Grid’ alloy wheels, Dexter DSC sway control, and a Cruisemaster DO35 V3 offroad coupling offering amazing articulation.
Evernew has also ramped up its off-the-grid capability with dual 95L freshwater tanks protected by aluminium checkerplate guards and connected via a water filtration system and added a 95L grey water tank with bypass valve. All internal drains also have either an S-trap or hepvo valve fitted.
But it’s the ‘power station’, concealed under the cafe dinette seating, that blew me away — an all-Enerdrive setup comprising a 200Ah B-Tec lithium ion battery, 40A AC Smart charger, 40A DC2DC charger/solar regulator, and EPRO Plus battery monitor with shunt. An additional 150W roof-mounted solar panel completes the power configuration, while there is an external Anderson plug for portable solar panel input and a 50A Anderson plug to charge batteries while in transit.
ON THE OUTSIDE
Ever proactive, Evernew has added a Swift three-way slide-out barbecue and exterior shower, which can only increase convenience and practicality while out woop woop. But I’d also like to see a toolbox and generator slide, to complement the galvanised tunnel boot.
The van’s aerodynamic front assists with fuel efficiency, and it’s an offroad fortress with high checkerplates, a steel frame shade mesh stone guard, and heavy-duty 600mm x 300mm lower mudflaps, perched ahead of the twin 9kg gas cylinders with regulator. Plus, there’s a mesh tray (ideal for carrying hoses, wood or the like) on the A-frame, jerry can holders, mains tap, work light, and a Manutec jockey wheel which can be mid or side-mounted.
The nearside, with low checkerplate trim panel, comprises a premium Camec three-pin locking security door with stainless steel mesh, Dometic A&E rollout awning, fold-down picnic table, manual pull-out entry step, TV point, 12V socket, gas bayonet, LED annexe light and illuminated grab handle. There’s an extra-large hinged external vent door for the fridge and a rangehood vent on the offside, along with lockable water fillers and gauges.
Stunning white Alucobond commands a fair whack of the rear wall which also features high level ancillary stop-tail/indicator lamps on a black Alucobond panel, twin lens reversing camera, LED worklight, and a spare wheel on a 100 x 50mm four-stay bumper.
Other external highlights are the Savvy Level caravan levelling system and additional underbody protection. Plus, Evernew’s insulation of choice are household Pink Batts for the dome roof, which means water will always run off.
Internally, the E800 RTX28 exudes pizazz and pragmatism. I gravitated to the kitchen which exemplifies off-grid living complete with a 190L Dometic RUC6408X compressor fridge-freezer, recessed Swift gas/electric stove/grill that increases the genuine Laminex benchtop space, 25L NCE stainless steel microwave, Swift 12V dual fan rangehood, sink/flick mixer tap/drainer, and water filtration.
Above the sink is an overhead cupboard concealing a 24in flat screen NCE TV/DVD combo on a mounted swivel-arm bracket, along with a double power point and Dometic LPDA200 TV antenna. A premium Fusion Apollo 770 stereo head unit, with dual internal and external speakers, supplements the in-house entertainment.
There’s oodles of storage space for cooking appliances and culinary items, while the premium gloss acrylic splashback was a standout — perhaps the only thing missing was a pull-out pantry. Also, architectural tapware would have increased the galley’s spiffy look.
A low-profile reverse cycle Aircommand Ibis 4 air conditioner is centrally located between the living room and galley.
Directly opposite the kitchen, the living zone is a cosy affair highlighted by the high-quality genuine NSW hide leather cafe dinette and trifold table. However, footrests would serve to increase comfort and relaxation. Block-out curtains and pelmets offer a touch of class, while leather magazine holders will appease diligent bookworms.
The spacious front bedroom featured a locally manufactured luxury queen-size innerspring mattress (6ft 2in x 5ft) on a lift-up base on gas struts, along with a full-height padded fabric bedhead. There’s copious storage courtesy of the mirrored wardrobes with drawers below — indeed there’s so much, one could take away all their travelling finery. I appreciated the panoramic views provided by the Dometic Seitz DLux double-glazed windows with built-in flyscreens and block out blinds.
There’s plenty of light and ventilation within the boudoir courtesy of QLED reading lamps, 12V Sirocco fans and a Ranger skylight hatch centrally located towards the front of the bed.
I also must mention the gloss acrylic finish to the van’s custom-built piano-hinged cabinetry – sheer eye-candy!
In my mind, the rear ensuite — albeit serviceable — could be dollied up. Once again, I’d like to see the inclusion of architectural tapware, and a pedestal bowl instead of an oval china vanity basin. However, the curved vanity benchtop and Slimline lighting are somewhat trendy, and there’s a good-sized mirror and a full-height Laminex splashback.
I do like the convenience of a deluxe one-piece full-height fibreglass shower module and Thetford C263 ceramic bowl toilet. But, the bathroom is sans a washing machine, which would be a godsend in down-and-dirty off-grid expeditions.
Meanwhile, hot water comes on steady, hot and strong via a 28L Swift HWS with stainless steel tank and temperature limiting valve.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Evernew’s all-new E800 RTX28 reveals an unwavering design intent to produce a true offroad caravan at an extremely competitive price point with all the bells and whistles, and this ultra-tough pocket rocket meets the brief with the addition of luxuries and technology that far exceed cosmetic changes.
AGELESS AND EVERNEW
Evernew’s construction methods have been proven for nearly 60 years with its modus operandi being a continuous improvement philosophy to test new products, new materials, and new production techniques — enter the all-new E800 RTX28, with a strengthened heavy-duty G&S chassis and world leading Cruisemaster ATX suspension.
Evernew’s head honcho, Dani Bib, says his company continues to work closely with G&S Chassis to design and produce a specialised chassis that will withstand the most rigorous torture Australia’s outback roads have to offer.
Underbody protection has also been increased to offer additional security for more vulnerable components.
Evernew has endeavoured to incorporate as many safety and security features as practically possible in the RTX28, including Dexter DSC stability control, gas detector, smoke detector, and twin lens rear view camera. Additional side indicator lamps have been fitted as well as high level stop/tail/Indicator lamps at the rear. Security lighting is fitted to all sides of the van (including front and rear) and are operable from inside the van.
Evernew has been extremely selective with appliances, which include Swift stove and grill, Dometic RUC6408X compressor fridge-freezer, premium Fusion marine Apollo 770 audio system with external sound box, microwave oven, 24in LED TV, Ibis 4 inverter reverse cycle air conditioner, roof skylight and Dometic double-glazed windows.
Bib says the E800 RTX28 — a beefed-up version of the E800 RT — is an expansion of Evernew’s current RTX range of vans (RTX35 & RTX40), with the full offroad segment being approximately 90 per cent of its production.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
Overall length 7.55m (24ft 9in)
External body length 5.3m (17ft 5in)
External body width 2.49m (8ft 2in)
Travel height 3.05m (10ft)
Internal height 1.95m (6ft 5in)
Ball weight 210kg
Frame Meranti (300mm spacings)
Cladding Aluminium flat panel composite
Chassis G&S heavy duty, hot-dipped galvanised
Suspension Cruisemaster 2800kg ATX with King Coil springs and 46mm Piggyback Monotube dampers
Coupling DO35 (3500kg) V3
Brakes Dexter 12in electric
Wheels 16in alloys, with 265/75 R16 all-terrain tyres
Water 2 x 95L (fresh); 1 x 95L (grey)
Battery Enerdrive 200Ah B-Tec lithium ion
Solar 2 x 150W
Air conditioner Aircommand Ibis 4 reverse cycle
Gas 2 x 9kg
Sway control Dexter DSC
Kitchen Slide-out barbecue
Cooking Swift gas/electric stove, with grill
Fridge Dometic RUC6408X compressor 190L
Microwave NCE 25L
Bathroom Thetford C263 ceramic bowl cassette, with deluxe one-piece fibreglass shower module
Washing machine No
Hot water Swift gas/electric 28L
PRICE AS SHOWN
$82,998 (on-road, Victoria)
To enquire about this caravan, please visit evernewcaravans.com.au/spec or phone (03) 9459 7516