On several counts, this Majestic Knight SLX caravan review is definitely an interesting one. One being that like so many people in Australia, I have been restricted to home base for the last three months and so getting out and about, doing something like taking caravan photographs, is something of a novelty.
I also discovered along the way that others had been restricted to home base too — my chosen photo location wasn’t to be because the local council clearly hadn’t been out mowing the grass in any time recently!
However, others were more prepared. When I turned up at Sydney RV in Penrith to pick up my Majestic Knight van, the wash and brush squad had clearly been busy, and the van was sparkling clean inside and out and ready roll.
For my review van, I had several choices — readily available in the Sydney RV yard were a Knight SLX bunk van, a tandem axle 18ft 6in van, a 23ft club lounge layout, and the single axle 18ft 6in that I opted for. Whilst the club lounge van was tempting, it came with something of a weight penalty (ATM 3500kg) and I was looking for something a little lighter in weight, a category that the single axle fitted into very nicely. It having an ATM of 2700kg and a tare of 2332kg, thus giving a payload of 368kg. This isn’t excessive, I have to say, given the water tanks (2 x 95L), hot water heater (28L), and gas cylinders (18kg) will absorb 236kg before anything else is added in. Still, I chose this van because of the weight factor and that does mean being a bit disciplined about what is loaded on board before departure.
My tow vehicle was an Isuzu MU-X, a model several years old which has a maximum tow rating of 3000kg, meaning a loaded Knight 18ft 6in single axle is well within its weight capacities and therefore a good towing companion. Certainly, the 3L turbodiesel handled the van without any difficulties whatsoever and it made for a pleasant day’s driving.
When I had a bit of a poke around under the van, I must admit to being surprised — given this is not an offroad caravan — by what looked almost like a bit of over engineering in the galvanized chassis department. The main rail is 100mm x 50mm (4in x 2in) RHS and the similarly sized full length raiser, 150mm x 50mm (6in x 2in) RHS, forms up the drawbar. Cross members are the usual 50mm x 50mm (2in x 2in).
In the sub chassis area, there’s the usual amount of piping, cabling and in this case, grey water plumbing. For the most part, it’s neatly strapped up out of the way with minimal risk of road damage. It would be nice though — and Majestic aren’t alone in this area — if manufacturers came up with a better way of protecting the rather vital brake cabling, rather than just leaving wires and electrical connectors just dangling behind the wheel. Both the freshwater tanks are mounted forward of the axle while the grey tank is towards the rear. On the subject of the latter, it’s nice to see a grey tank fitted to an on-road van.
For the road hugging necessities, the Dexter Torflex independent suspension is fitted with 16in alloy wheels that are shod with All Terrain tyres and fitted with 10in electric brakes. For towing, the pointy end of the drawbar is fitted with a standard ball coupling.
First impressions do mean something and from the outside, the Knight SLX catches the attention. The mostly white aluminium composite body panelling is attractively finished with silver, black and green flashes. Naturally, no van these days is complete without a lower protective covering of black alloy checkerplate. External bin space is well covered by both a front tunnel storage and a large toolbox on the front drawbar. The offside box having both a top access and a side door with a generator slide-out. A little caveat here, but be aware of the tow ball mass when loading up the front area.
The external area of the van is well kitted out. There are the standard items like an Aussie Traveller security door and an awning from the same supplier, plus two LED wall lights and grab handle illumination by the door as well. In addition to the picnic table, there’s an entertainment unit with all the necessary attachments for a TV and two external speakers. Behind the van, the bumper bar has a mounted spare wheel fitted and installed in the rear wall is a handy external shower.
Slightly out of sight, unless you look up but giving good vision for the driver, is a rear-view camera. A monitor location for the driver is always a bit of challenge and certainly a reversing camera should never replace a good set of external towing mirrors.
Being a rear door entry, the layout has a somewhat familiar look about it. A full width bathroom occupies the rear area, the kitchen bench takes up most of the mid nearside wall space and an L-shaped lounge sits opposite, leaving the entire front area for an island bed. One of the benefits of this layout, particularly the forward-facing lounge, is that the foot of the bed doesn’t have a cramped feel around it.
Clearly for interior colours, the monochrome look is still ‘in’. That said, the interior of the Knight SLX is quite striking, yet still easy on the eye. Even the quite simple lounge has a touch of class about it. Ventilation is well assured in this van because there are two large roof hatches and large windows all round, particularly in the bedroom.
Apart from the rather deep windows, the bedroom area looks quite standard. Measuring 1.85m x 1.5m (6ft 2in x 5ft), it has good walk around room on both sides even with the little diagonal cupboards on both sides. Around the bedhead, you get the full complement of cupboards, overhead lockers and bedside drawers. The shelf space isn’t that great, but the pillow cubbies make up for that. In addition to the 240V and USB outlets, there’s also the surprising addition of a wand light within the cubbie space. Something that’s probably a little less disturbing than the reading light for the other bed occupant, should a midnight excursion be necessary.
In a van this size, the dining area isn’t going to be that spacious but there’s certainly room enough for two people to sit in comfort. The table itself is well-sized and mounted on a Nuova Mapa telescopic leg, making it both sturdy and easily adjustable when required. There’s a reasonable amount of under seat storage but apart from the single drawer, it’s fiddly to get to because the seat cushions and ply bases (not hinged) need to be lifted. Hopefully it was an omission that the 240V and USB charger was just left dangling and not strapped up safely out of the way as it should have been. Given the limited space above the kitchen bench, the three overhead lockers are definitely a handy item.
The kitchen facilities are all where they should be. Fitted into the bench top is a four-burner (three gas, one electric) cooktop and a large rectangular sink and drainer. Apart from the flush lid for the cooktop, there isn’t a great deal of bench top space when actually cooking. Part of the under-bench space is taken up by grill and oven, leaving the rest for a single cupboard, three drawers and a wire basket pantry. In the air space above, there is but one half-sized overhead locker, the remaining cabinetry being occupied by an NEC microwave
A look through the bathroom area reveals that it’s not oversize but does have all the basics, including a top loading washing machine, something that was once a bit unusual but much more common these days. Said washing machine takes up part of the vanity cabinet, the rest is fitted out with drawers, a cupboard and a storage compartment adjacent to the pedestal wash basin. Above the vanity cabinet is a full-sized wall mirror and above that are two overhead lockers. Occupying the rear nearside corner is a shower cubicle with room to move, leaving the space on the opposite side for the Thetford ceramic cassette toilet. In a mostly spacious bathroom, elbow room is a bit tight around the toilet.
Throughout the van both 240V and 12V/USB outlets are mostly in logical places. A battery box for the 110Ah deep cycle battery is fixed to the front offside chassis rail and the two 170W solar panels are mounted in the usual position on the roof. Behind the offside wheel, there’s an Anderson plug connection for additional solar panel capacity. It’s all controlled by a BMPRO battery management system with its touch panel control located in the kitchen overhead locker.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Single axle caravans seem to be a bit more in vogue currently with a number of manufacturers having them on their books. Majestic’s Knight SLX is a good example of the genre. It’s a good looking van and has a reasonably spacious interior with all the essentials. In addition to that, although it’s payload isn’t excessive, the ATM of 2700kg doesn’t require a heavy-duty tow vehicle, thus keeping the cost of the overall towing package down.
ON REVIEW DAY
Thanks to the Blaxland Crossing Wallacia Caravan Park for the photo location and assistance. It was certainly a quiet and peaceful area.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
Body length 5.7m (18ft 6in)
Overall length 8.14m (26ft 8in)
Width (incl awn) 2.44m (8ft)
Height (incl AC) 3.05m (10ft)
Ball weight 184kg
Frame Meranti timber
Cladding Aluminium composite
Chassis 150mm x 50mm drawbar, 100m x 50mm rails and raisers, galvanised
Suspension Dexter Torflex independent
Brakes 10in electric
Wheels 16in alloy
Water 2 x 95L
Grey water 1 x 95L
Battery 1 x 110Ah
Solar 2 x 170W
Air-conditioner Houghton Bellaire 3400
Gas 2 x 9kg
Sway control No
Cooking Thetford 4 burner, grill and oven
Fridge Thetford N614E.3F 182L, 3-way
Bathroom Thetford cassette toilet and separate shower cubicle
Hot water Swift 28L gas/electric
PRICE FROM $64,531
- Extended A frame
- Tool box with generator slide
- 2 x 110Ah batteries
- Water filter
- 95L grey water tank
- Chequer plate sides
- External table
- External speakers
- AT tyres
- Ceramic toilet bowl
- Fan forced oven and grill
- Tunnel boot
- Reversing camera
PRICE AS SHOWN $71,990
9/20 Lemko Place, Penrith NSW 2750
Ph: (02) 4722 3444