On a tour of the Goldstream factory a couple of months back, I noticed an interesting van on the production line. It was compact and low and, although it was yet to be completed, I could see great potential, especially when I noticed it boasted heavy-duty suspension for offroad capability. It turned out to be the pop-top Mini and while Goldstream RV includes it in its pop-top caravan range, it straddles the line between caravan and camper.
Goldstream RV, based in Pakenham, Vic, has an enviable reputation for quality build and innovative design. Its CNC-crafted furniture and the new composite cladding give its creations a modern, clean look. This flat cladding over the meranti timber frame provides greater weather sealing at the corners than a traditional raised profile covering.
LAYOUT & DESIGN
Our review van came with the optional offroad package that features 1600kg leaf springs with heavy-duty shock absorbers on a beam axle. Also included are a beefier 150x50mm chassis and 15in wheels for a combination that lifts it an extra 150mm for a more robust look and, more importantly, better ground clearance.
Goldstream RV’s signature blue and silver splashes along the sides lend the Mini a cheerful feel and the glossy, flat aluminium sides combined with the more sculptured lines of the durable polypropylene rear moulding create a cohesive and balanced impression.
A moveable plastic step helps entry and the three-way security door has a roller on top to avoid damaging the annexe during use. Inside, the setup is roomy and all the comforts of home are laid out and ready to go.
All the CNC joinery is a perfect fit and the modern flush finish and light toned colours give the interior a real lift. Mushroom upholstery and beige curtains match well with the oak furniture while the Imperial laminate covering on the benchtops, splashback and fridge tie everything together with a warm organic quality.
BEDROOM & STORAGE
A double bed runs east-west across the rear. This space saving arrangement doesn’t suit everyone so there’s a twin bed option that probably won’t be universally accepted either, but it does provide choice and eliminates crawling across your partner in the middle of the night for a call of nature. I found the innerspring mattress comfortable and plenty long enough, even if the width isn’t over generous.
Internal storage isn’t usually a big feature in pop-tops as there is nowhere for the high cupboards found in a full-height design. The Mini is no exception, but let’s not be too critical in light of its compact size. Good use is made of every available space including under the dinette seats, under the bed and in cupboards on the walls wherever there is enough room without compromising access and appearance. Carrying capacity is a pretty generous 360kg.
The cosy eating area is a cafe-style nook across the front and while ideally suited to a couple, it could also accommodate a couple of kids or occasional guests. Families with smaller children will like the fact the table can drop down to make a bed by moving the cushion backrests into place.
To facilitate a full array of kitchen appliances into a compact space the galley occupies both sides of the central section, with a mini grill under a bench on the nearside and the main cooking facilities opposite. There you will find a microwave under the bench and, for off the grid adventures, the cooktop has three gas burners with a 12V rangehood and the 93L fridge has three-way power.
To maximise space for food preparation, there are hinged lids to cover both the cooktop and a stainless steel sink with its voguish flick mixer tap. Water is supplied from a 59L tank under the chassis through a 12V pump or via mains pressure.
Although some campers enjoy cooking outside, I consider an internal kitchen more useful for its convenience and the fact it’s out of the weather. Personally, I’d carry a Weber baby Q and a small table for alfresco dining.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Where the 12’ Mini wins out is in its ease of use. It’s fast and simple to set up, light and compact to tow and has most of everything needed for a quick getaway. The minimal amount of vinyl in the pop-top will quickly dry if it gets wet and while storage isn’t huge, there is enough space for the essentials.
Its light weight means it can be easily towed behind most medium-sized vehicles and to save on initial purchase price, there’s the standard version if offroading isn’t your thing.
The price as tested is $37,750 and drops to $32,000 for the basic model, and because Goldstream RV is a well-respected company, resale value is good.
- Easy and light to tow
- Stylish looks and quality build
- Quick set up
I would have liked...
- A hot water system
- More articulation
The full test appears in Caravan World #539 July 2015.