The build of the Genesis 220MD bodywork is a little different to the usual. It has frameless construction, the roof and walls being single structural composite panels which consist of an insulative foam core between interior and exterior gel coated panels. Structural composite panel is also used for the one-piece floor panel.
Flat panels give the van something of a square look, especially from a rear view, but that’s offset to some degree by the top and bottom mouldings on the rear wall, which aren’t entirely decorative, having the functional essential of mounted taillights. Black and white with a few orange splashes seems to be the colour theme. Camec made the security door, and the all the windows are the usual double-glazed acrylic awning style. General body features include the front tunnel storage, picnic table, Carefree awning, and the necessary external power connections — 240V, 12V, USB charger, and TV antennas.
I understand that chassis construction isn’t riveting to many, but this one is a little different. Like many a chassis, it’s hot-dip galvanised and both the chassis and drawbar rails are 150mm x 50mm (6in x 2in). However both the drawbar and chassis rail are a one-piece item — there’s no welding to connect the two together. It’s not much, but I’m thinking that apart from a neat piece of engineering, it will save a bit of weight. On top of that, there are less than the usual number of 50mm x 50mm (2in x 2in) cross members.
All the water piping and electrical cables are strapped up neatly out of the way. Thinking long term, though, I do wonder about the braided electrical cable that just runs through bare metal holes in the cross members — appropriate grommets aren’t that expensive.
Riding on AL-KO Independent Rubber Suspension (IRS), the Genesis is fitted with 15in alloy wheels and, for stopping power, 10in electric brakes.
There’s no bumper bar fitted to the Genesis range, so the spare wheel is underneath the chassis, behind the entry doorstep. Whilst it’s a neat storage solution, access for those less agile might be problematic. That said, the alternative rear bumper solution can be just as awkward when lifting the wheel on and off.
Up front, the drawbar looks deceptively simple with just the usual fittings — ball coupling, handbrake, and centre mounted jockey wheel, plus a couple of 9kg gas cylinders and a mains pressure tap (unprotected).
A club style lounge faces the kitchen bench
As noted earlier, there are two family vans in the Genesis range. The alternative to this layout is the shorter 196MD van with an external length of 5.88m (19ft 3in). Both vans have a similar layout, just mirrored, but the prime difference is that the shorter and lighter van gets an east-west double bed (with the associated disadvantages) up front, not the island bed as in this case. It all depends on the tow vehicle — there’s a weight saving of over 230kg with the smaller van.
The rest of the 220MD layout is fairly standard for a family van. To the right of the habitation door is a club style lounge and facing the lounge is the essential kitchen bench. In the separate room in the rear, double bunks are fitted to the offside, the bathroom fills the nearside corner and there’s a cabinet in between, the lower section having a front-loading washing machine fitted and the upper section being a shelved cupboard. Like the external areas of the van, the internal colour scheme is mostly black and white with a few shades of grey. In addition to the ceiling lights and wall reading lights, the concealed strip lighting is a nice touch. There are of course light switches everywhere, but the master switch by the entry is handy.
Memories of family caravan trips from the 1970s had me thinking of metal framed, canvas bunk beds. Thankfully those days are long gone now and the bunk beds measuring 1.88m x 0.66m (6ft 2in x 2ft 2in) are most comfortable items. Each bunk comes with its own window, a fairly small one, a reading light and junior member essentials — 12V/ USB charger outlets. There’s not really room for a shelf but an iPad-sized magazine pouch/ net might be a nice addition. The lower bunk gets a decent storage area underneath, while the top bunk gets the rather basic ‘port hole’ ladder to clamber into bed
The other thing that did not come in a 1970s caravan was a bathroom, especially the full well appointed one that’s fairly standard in vans like this Genesis. Since it matches the bunk bed length, the bathroom area is slightly compressed compared to a full width arrangement, but there’s space for the Thetford cassette toilet, shower cubicle, and a small vanity cabinet with overhead lockers above. There’s a power point but it’s in a slightly odd position below the vanity cabinet level. The shower cubicle is large enough and has a very stylish-looking mounting for the shower hose, but the way the door opens does require a bit of flexibility.
CATERING FOR THE FAMILY
Apart from a set of bunk beds, probably the most essential item in any family caravan is a decently sized fridge, like the Dometic 188L three-way that butts up against the bedroom/bathroom wall. Good kitchen storage is a nice item to have. That’s a bit limited by the bench length, but there are three drawers of a good size, two cupboards, and two overhead lockers. All of these have been fitted around the microwave oven, four-burner cooktop/grill, and stainless steel sink. In other words, a typical but well-appointed kitchen.
Will four people fit around the otherwise very comfortable club lounge/diner? I suspect it would depend on their size, but an extra chair in the aisle might be handy. There are three deep overhead lockers above the diner, so shelves might be good for effective space use.
The parents’ personal space looks a bit asymmetrical because of the somewhat different window sizes. The nearside one is somewhat smaller due to the position of the awning arm. The glossy grey finish on the overhead lockers and side wardrobes certainly looks the part, as it does the rest of the van. Each bed occupant gets a pillow cubby fitted with the power essentials — 240V, 12V, and a USB port. There isn’t a bedside cupboard for the offside bed occupant but that’s because that’s where the 28L hot water heater is. It’s also where the HWS switch is located — handy when lying in bed, but otherwise a bit of a bend. There’s a small cupboard fitted to the offside wall at the foot of the bed. While it’s useful storage area, it also makes getting around the bed corner a bit awkward.
Mounted on a posture slat bed base, the 1.98m x 1.53m (6ft 6in x 5ft) mattress can easily be lifted to get to the storage space underneath. It’s mostly free space, apart from the battery charger, solar panel regulator, and breakaway controller mounted on the tunnel storage wall. Any adjustments to any of those items will require a little bit of dexterity clambering under the bed frame.
The 12V power system is quite simple, there’s a 120Ah deep cycle battery, a 25A mains multistage charger and a 170W solar panel. Above the fridge is where the locker devoted to the electrical essentials is located with items like 240V circuit breakers, battery and water tank monitors, and the radio/CD player. The latter is rather a basic unit, but it does have the essential 3.5mm socket for mp3 players, plus a Bluetooth connection.
ON THE ROAD
My tow vehicle on this occasion was a borrowed Isuzu MU-X with a 3L turbodiesel. I quite like the MU-X; it’s a vehicle for those people who desire a station wagon rather than a ute but still want many of the features of something like the Isuzu D-Max. Usual caveats here on checking out towing weights, payloads, and Gross Combined Mass (GCM) before towing anything. My borrowed MU-X was of the older generation having a 3000kg maximum towing mass, so the Genesis just fitted under that when fully loaded. However, with a family on board, I’d be a little bit careful about using the full payload of the van. The latest generation MU-X has an increased maximum towing mass of 3500kg and a GCM of 5750kg.
A five-year structural warranty is provided with the Windsor Genesis 220MD
Apollo does spell out its warranty in some detail — five years on the structure, three years on the body and interior, and three year roadside assist. All components, individual manufacturer’s warranty.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Windsor’s Genesis has certainly been fitted out with all the necessary essential items for family travel, though I would imagine that for long term stays in any given location, a full annexe would be desirable. The van is well priced to suit a family budget yet won’t require a heavy-duty tow vehicle — something of a consideration in these environmentally sensitive times.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
Body length 6.85m (22ft 6in)
Overall length 8.38m (27ft 6iin)
Width (incl awn)2.44m (8ft)
Height (incl AC) 2.96m (9ft 8in)
Ball weight 220kg
Cladding Composite fibreglass
Chassis 150mm (6in) drawbar and main rail, hot dipped galvanised
Suspension AL-KO Independent Rubber Suspension (IRS)
Wheels 15in alloy
Water 2 x 95L
Battery 1 x 120Ah
Air-conditioner Dometic Ibis 4
Gas 2 x 9kg
Sway control No, available as AL-KO ESC option
Cooking Thetford 4 burner and grill
Fridge Dometic RUA6408X 188L 3-way
Bathroom Thetford cassette toilet and separate shower cubicle
Hot water Swift 28L, gas/electric
PRICE FROM $67,990
- External picnic table
- External TV point
- Water filtration
- TV 24in
- Tunnel storage
- Bed side USB points
- 2 x 9kg gas cylinders
- Washing machine
PRICE AS SHOWN $79,990
9/20 Lemko Place, Penrith NSW 2750
Ph: (02) 4722 3444