The Supreme Territory has earned a solid reputation as a well-built and value-for-money offering, something backed up in our own travels by the number we have spotted around the country. So when the opportunity arose to put one of these compact touring vans through its paces, we were keen for a closer look.
Our test rig was the 1660 T1 with cutaway tail – a 16-plus footer with ensuite, air-conditioning, a unique entertainment system and plenty of other goodies. With good living space and a manageable on-road footprint, it’s the perfect length for people new to caravanning.
The company makes it quite clear that the van has not been designed as an all-terrain vehicle. Rather, it’s built to explore graded roads into national parks and to sustain only mild corrugations. A sticker prominently placed inside the front boot reminds you of this.
That said, the undercarriage looks purposeful enough with a 6in PermaGal chassis, a galvanised floor for extra protection, two shielded 80L tanks and that cutaway tail, allowing plenty of clearance. Adding to the artillery, our test van was fitted with optional independent coil suspension and 16in alloy wheels.
Starting from the front, you’ll find a Hyland coupling, twin gas cylinders, a stainless steel mesh tray between the drawbar, mains connection water outlet, a twin-door front boot, single window with stone cover and plenty of checkerplate in contrasting colours.
The front nearside boot contains a battery box, fuse distribution blocks, the Camec breakaway system and a Baintech three-stage battery charger to keep the batteries topped up when connected to 240V. There is still plenty of room for other equipment such as tools and camp chairs. I’d loved to have seen the Territory fitted with an Anderson plug, though.
On the nearside, a large Dometic Sunchaser awning, picnic table and gas bayonet cater for entertaining. Two external speakers allow the tunes to be heard outside, as do the audio visual options, with a pivoting TV bracket, power and sockets hidden behind the small external hatch.
Entry to the van is via a full-height door with separate security door. The interior fitout is well executed, with cherry veneer cabinetry, beige leather, floorboard veneer, silver venetians and contrasting trim imparting a luxury feel. The cupboards are all 12mm, glued and screwed for rigidity.
The kitchen runs across the front of the van with the ensuite in the front offside corner. The dinette and table are on the mid-nearside and the queen-size innerspring bed runs north-south at the rear.
In the kitchen, you’ll find a black glass surround around the stainless steel sink, a mixer tap, stainless steel 12V rangehood and an oven with combo four-burner cooktop and grill. A Dometic three-way 150L fridge provides ample cooling capacity and a 22L microwave supplements the other cooking facilities.
I was unsure about the benchtops and tabletop due to their plastic-like finish but Dave Martin from Supreme confirmed the company had invested in new machinery that would lead to bigger and better things in this respect.
Lighting is plentiful, with a smattering of 12V LED downlights and a fluoro light above the sink. Although most are activated via the main light switches, many are also individually switched, so you can alter the light output to suit your mood or power limitations.
There is a reasonable amount of cupboards and storage space throughout the van, although some appliances take up cupboard space, such as the gas-electric hot water service, water pump, plumbing and entertainment system.
The ensuite is well-integrated with external cherry veneer panelling. Inside, the white fibreglass all-in-one unit contains a Thetford cassette toilet with china bowl, corner vanity, adjustable-height shower, skylight and exhaust fan.
The L-shaped dinette offers comfort and good proportions with room to stretch out. There is under-seat storage and two drawers for access, plus overhead storage.
Although a TV is not fitted as standard, coaxial cabling is supplied to the cabinet next to the fridge and a Wineguard antenna is fitted to the roof. Our test van featured a Fusion No. 8 DVD/CD/MP3/radio with four internal speakers and a high-speed 150Mbps wireless router for surfing the net, enclosed in the cupboards above the TV port. The voltmeter, 12V kill switch and gas hot water controls are also found here.
Corner wardrobes with mirrored doors, bedside tables and drawers, plus overhead storage, surround the queen-size bed. Large Camec Jupiter wind-out windows on either side of the bed provide plenty of natural light, while the tinted acrylic screens reduce UV glare. The bed lifts with the assistance of gas struts to access further storage.
While the interior height is 1.98m, the raked nose results in a reduced height of around 1.92m in the kitchen, potentially posing a challenge for tall chefs and kitchen hands.
On the road, the 260kg unladen ball weight made its presence felt, even during our short strop across Adelaide city and into the hills, but our Pajero diesel tug had no trouble moving the mass (1889kg Tare). With a touring payload, however, the ball weight will restrict the choice of tow vehicles to the larger 4WDs such as LandCruisers and Patrols with higher ball weight capacities.
Otherwise, the van performed faultlessly, with the independent coil suspension massaging out the bumps across Adelaide suburbia and into the hills.
THE BOTTOM LINE
For touring, there are only a few extra boxes to tick. If it were mine, I’d add a second battery, Anderson plug, DC-DC charger with solar regulator, some solar panels and a TV.
Otherwise it’s packaged to please, with an attractive fitout, entertainment options, ideal dimensions, and some dirt road aspirations.
Spirit, Territory and Getaway (STAG) is the owners’ group for Supreme Caravans, named after the represented models. Formed in 2004, the group has about 80 members from all over Australia who are invited to participate in at least one annual muster sponsored by Supreme.
Founding member Dalton Neville administers the group, welcoming new members and gathering information on vans, modifications and additions for the group’s database. A newsletter is distributed periodically including trip reports, new products and problems experienced and how they were solved. There is no forum or website, though.
To rub shoulders with other Supreme owners, contact Dalton at email@example.com for more information.
- The stylish interior
- Compact dimensions
- Entertainment package
I WOULD HAVE LIKED...
- A roll-top bench finish
- Less ball weight so that it could be towed by ‘smaller’ vehicles
- An Anderson plug fitted as standard
Originally published in Caravan World #512, March 2013.