Australian Motor Homes and Caravans has been a Condor caravan dealer for some years now. I believe this is due to the fact that although Condor isn’t one of the larger caravan manufacturers, it still offers a good range of caravans – both on-road and offroad. In addition to that, there’s a good selection of family caravans. AMH & C’s Paul Van Leeuwarden was keen to show me one of the latest Condor offerings, an Ultimate Family Design, UFD for short. Mostly because it was not a two or three bunk model, but one with four bunks. In other words: plenty of accommodation for a large family.
To fit four bunks and an island bed into a van like this, requires decent external length, in this case, 7.47m (24ft 6in). There aren’t any surprises in the layout of the UFD, at least in the front half. Like many a van, the island bed has pride of place up front, leaving the mid-section for an offside kitchen and nearside dining area. It’s the rear area where things are a little different. Most two or three bunk vans have a slightly downsized bathroom area, but in this case, there’s a full-width bathroom across the rear of the van. This leaves enough space in front of the bathroom for two sets of bunk beds
What’s interesting about the arrangement of the bunk beds is that it’s not quite symmetrical. They are all the same length at 1.8m x 0.66m (5ft 11in x 2ft 2in), but the two lower bunks are set at different heights. The nearside one is set at a conventional height with floor lockers underneath that are also accessible from the outside to give an extra bit of external storage. However, the offside lower bunk is raised to allow for both a two-door cupboard complete with shelves. This additional perk gives a very handy bit of shelved storage and also houses a front-loading washing machine, something more often found in the bathroom.
All the bunks have reading lights, magazine pouches and USB charger points. Windows are fitted to all the bunks, except the top nearside due to the awning. A point of note is that a decent aluminium stepped ladder is supplied, which is much more comfortable on the feet than the more usual plywood cut-out arrangement. A sliding door at the bathroom end and a concertina curtain at the other means the bunk bed area can be closed off from both ends at night. It’s also possible to get this bunk bed layout with six bunks, instead of four. However, this would mean sacrificing most of the storage facility in this area.
One of the benefits of a forward door entry is that it results in extra walking space at the base of the island bed. Measuring 1.85m x 1.53m (6ft 1in x 5ft) the bed has large windows on either side and a decent sized roof hatch in the ceiling above. Overhead lockers and side wardrobes comprise the bedside cabinetry. A simple yet effective addition are the pillow cubbies that can be accessed from the side and the front of the cupboards. In addition to the natural lighting, the ceiling lights are well placed and there are the usual reading lights.
In order to fit all the features in, the bathroom has been slimmed down but it is still quite user-friendly. Fairly conventional in design, it has a shower cubicle on the nearside and a Thetford cassette toilet opposite. Fitting into the remainder of the rear wall area is a well-appointed vanity cabinet, complete with a pedestal wash basin and a large wall mirror. Three overhead lockers, three drawers and two cupboards offer a very generous storage area. A slight shortcoming of the rear bathroom is if junior members are in bed early, then they are likely to be disturbed by family members walking through to the rear bathroom later at night.
BANC DE CUISINE
An L-shaped lounge/diner is pretty much de rigueur in any family caravan, mostly for ease of access. Complete with a 1.02m x 0.46m (3ft 4in x 1ft 6in) table, it’s going to be a bit squeezy for a family of six, so an extra couple of chairs is going to be essential. Extra features include reading lights at either end, a magazine pouch and a mains power point and 12V charger outlet tucked into the back corner.
Across the walkway, the kitchen area offers full facilities, as might be expected. Located in the rear corner is a Thetford three-way,199-litre fridge, a decent size for any family. Fitted into the kitchen bench are both a stainless-steel sink and drainer, alongside a Swift four-burner hob with a grill and separate oven underneath.
The overhead locker houses an NCE microwave oven that adjoins the locker where the BMPRO Battery Management System is to be found. While this is a logical location, it does mean the kitchen is limited to a single overhead locker for storage. This is somewhat compensated for by the under-bench storage which comprises three drawers, a cupboard, two floor lockers and a wire basket pantry. All the drawers have ball-bearing runners.
Mounted at the forward end of the overhead lockers is a TV bracket, allowing viewing from the bed or diner seating opposite; however, finding the optimal TV angle for an entire family viewing is a bit problematic.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE
At the heart of the electrical system in the Condor van is the previously mentioned BMPRO Battery Plus35-II-SI Battery Management System (BMS). It’s designed with a 20A multistage battery charger, an inbuilt solar PWM regulator and distribution board with 10A and 15A outlets that are connected up to a 100AH AGM battery and a 120W solar panel. Fitted to the chassis rail by the battery box is an Anderson plug for additional portable solar panel connection. USB charger points are fitted throughout the van. It is a simple but effective electrical setup.
The build of the Condor UFD will sound very familiar to anyone who has been around the caravan industry. Supporting the van is a box section galvanized chassis with 150mm x 50mm (6in x 4in) rails and drawbar. An additional feature is the 50mm x 50mm (2in x 2in) raiser above the suspension mounts. Being a tandem axle van, the suspension is quite a simple setup using AL-KO™ Roller Rocker springs. The 38.1cm (15in) alloy wheels have 25.4cm (10in) electric brakes fitted.
Keeping the bodywork all square and shipshape is a Meranti timber frame. Giving the van a slightly distinctive look is the corrugated aluminium cladding used for the side walls and, differently, the flat aluminium cladding for the roof, front and rear. Even though the Condor is not an offroad van, black alloy checkerplate covers the lower areas all-round the van. External storage consists of a front tunnel boot with doors on both sides plus a nearside bin door that opens to the under-bunk space. An Aussie Traveller security door is fitted, however, when fully open it does block the front window. External speakers, a picnic table, external gas bayonet connection and the awning make up the outside living items.
ON THE ROAD
The Condor UFD is an easy towing van – I was driving a Toyota LandCruiser – but it’s a bit longer than most vans in this category. The ATM of 3200kg and the Tare Mass of 2480kg give a good payload of 720kg but with a large family on board, the van is a bit above the capacity of something like a dual-cab ute and a safer towing proposition is a LandCruiser or similar sized vehicle.
Condor Caravans CUSTOMER CARE
The warranty offered by Condor Caravans, something not to be found on its website or brochure, is 12 months. However, Australian Motor Homes and Caravans (AMHC) will add another 36 months, making it a total of four years under warranty Australia-wide. If repairs are necessary, AMHC will organise these at the nearest service centre to where the caravan is located.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Condor has certainly done well with this design, and it is well suited to a family of six. This type of layout also applies well to workers who live in remote locations for extended periods and need transportable accommodation. At the time of writing, several of these vans were available for immediate delivery, despite the industry shortages.
HITS AND MISSES
- Six berth van
- Bunk bed layout
- Full width bathroom
- Decent fridge size
- Relatively small family dining area
- One bunk without a window
- With family on board, needs a large tow vehicle
CONDOR ULTIMATE FAMILY DESIGN 24FT RATINGS
Value for Money : 7.5
Van certainly not in the budget category but price rises are affecting everyone
Towability : 8
Easy towing but needs heavy duty tow vehicle
Suitability for Intended Touring : 8.5
Family tourer and well kitted out for mostly on-road touring
Build Quality : 8
Few blemishes but otherwise quite well built. Quite a good-looking van.
Liveability : 7.5
Generally, quite well laid out but lounge/diner on the small side
Self-sufficiency : 7.5
Has enough battery and water capacity for limited overnight stays but doesn’t have a grey water tank
Customer Care : 8.5
Four years warranty on the caravan, appliances as per OEMs. The warranty isn’t mentioned on the website
Innovation : 7.5
It’s a fairly standard van build with the layout being the obvious talking point
X-Factor : 8.5
Certainly, it has to be the quad bunk bed arrangement, with cupboards and washing machine fitted beneath the bunks on one side
Condor Ultimate Family Design 24ft Specs
Weights and Measures
|Body length||7.47m (24ft 6in)|
|Overall length||9.64m (31ft 8in)|
|Width (incl awn)||2.46m (8ft 1in)|
|Height (incl AC)||3.0m (10ft)|
|Cladding||Aluminium, ribbed sides|
|Chassis||Galvanised, 150mm/6in rails and drawbar, 50mm/2in raiser|
|Suspension||AL-KO™ roller rocker, tandem axle|
|Brakes||25.4cm (10in) electric|
|Wheels||38.1cm (15in) alloy|
|Water||2 x 95L|
|Battery||1 x 100Ah|
|Solar||1 x 120W|
|Air-conditioner||Dometic Ibis 4|
|Gas||2 x 9.0kg|
|Cooking||Swift 4 burner hob, grill & oven|
|Fridge||Thetford N4208A 199L, 3 way|
|Bathroom||Thetford cassette toilet, separate shower cubicle|
|Hot water||Swift 28L gas/electric|
- 50mm (2in) raiser
- External shower
- Entry step
Condor Ultimate Family Design 24ft price as shown $95,060.00
Supplied by Australian Motor Homes
THE NEXT STEP
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