Some very expensive caravans with some very classy layouts appear in the pages of this fine magazine, but unfortunately not everyone’s budget stretches that far. Our review caravan, a 5.64m (18ft 6in) La Vista Seville LE built by La Vista Caravans in Campbellfield, Vic, offers an interesting compromise.
It is designed in the flavour-of-the-year layout– i.e., front bedroom, full-width rear bathroom and everything else in between– but it’s been compressed slightly both in length and in terms of what has been fitted to keep both the price and weight down. It might sound like a cramped van but it’s certainly not the case– Queensland RV’s Dave Bellis is quite a big bloke and he moved in and out without a problem.
"We quite like this layout," Dave said, "and it has obviously attracted a few customers through the door because they like the La Vista style and the fact that it’s a van they can afford."
One of the wiser things to do in a caravan where space is at a a premium is to keep the general décor nice and light, and that’s certainly the case with our Seville. Its lightly stained cabinetry and white ceiling, along with two clear hatches, all add to the general perception of space. Large windows are fitted to the bedroom but not the van’s mid-section.
Many caravan manufacturers do the lighting features well these days and La Vista is no exception. Our Seville has fluorescents for general lighting and halogen reading lights for both the bed and dinette, all reasonably energy efficient while giving good light. Along with the three-way fridge, it means that parking without mains power for a few days isn’t too difficult.
BATHING AND DINING
The rear bathroom has an offside shower cubicle (with a door that’s a tad awkward to use), nearside Dometic cassette toilet and a small vanity cabinet in between. The latter comes with a contemporary washbasin, two-door cupboard and a wall mirror. A vent fan is fitted above the shower but not the toilet but I understand that future Seville models will have one fitted.
Larger bathrooms often mean smaller kitchens and that’s the case here too, though that doesn’t mean the kitchen isn’t fully equipped with a stainless steel sink, Swift four-burner cooktop/grill, a microwave and Thetford 160L fridge. To improve the benchtop space, the cooktop comes with a flush lid that can be utilised, of course, when not cooking.
Under the benchtop are two cupboards, a cutlery drawer, a much larger pots-and-pans drawer and a floor locker. There are three overhead lockers that also incorporate the AM/FM radio/CD player, hot water switch and water tank level gauge.
Opposite the kitchen, the L-shaped dinette and table are definitely large enough for two people. The L shape probably fits in better with this layout than a standard two-seat dinette might. There are the usual overhead lockers and underseat storage areas, but part of the latter is taken up by the wheel arch. A powerpoint is in the corner.
Up front, the 1.85x1.52m (6ft 1in x 5ft) innerspring mattress sits on a metal-framed and timber-slatted bed. There are the usual overhead lockers, side wardrobes with external mirrors and bedside cabinets complete with drawers and floor lockers. Powerpoints are fitted to either side of the bed.
In the corners at the foot of the bed are square cupboards– the nearside one full height, the offside one half. They offer more space than the more usual diagonal arrangement but also intrude into walk-around space– a compromise, really. Above the offside cabinet is a flatscreen TV that can be swung out to be seen from the dinette.
In terms of construction, La Vista has opted for something fairly traditional, with a timber frame, insulation and aluminium cladding. The windows are all Camec hoppers –
a tinted ‘bubble’ style
– and the door is, of course, the ubiquitous Camec security item. For the outdoors lifestyle there are two wall lights, a picnic table and Dometic awning to cover it all.
Supporting all of this is a DuraGal 100x50mm chassis that rides on tandem-axle, load-sharing, leaf-spring suspension. Two 95L tanks are mounted forward of the axles and two 9kg gas cylinders sit on the drawbar. Naturally, there is a front boot with the 100Ah battery, charger and other electrics, which probably take up a bit more than the usual space because of the generally compressed nature of the van. The light in the front boot is definitely an asset. The spare wheel is mounted at the rear on a bumper bar.
On the road, the Seville was a happy little traveller. Its ATM puts it in the Ford Falcon class of towing and certainly our Falcon tow vehicle had no trouble. The Tare of 1840kg means that a bit of careful packing is called for, especially if you travel with your water tanks full, but it’s not a major issue.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Seville’s full-width bathroom means that everything else has been squeezed a bit to fit. This has not made anything impractical, and merely shows the sort of layout compromise that can be achieved in a 5.6m (18ft) van.
La Vista has produced an agreeable van in the Seville. It has everything you might need in an on-road van, including facilities for camping without mains power or amenities, without destroying the budget.
Queensland RV, 248 Nicklin Way, Warana, Qld 4575, (07) 5493 4699, www.queenslandrv.com.au
For more about La Vista caravans, including your nearest dealer, visit
Words and pics Malcolm Street. As featured in Caravan World magazine issue 482, October 2010.