Chris Michel really understands caravans and exactly what his customers want to do with them.
He has a passion for caravanning that has extended beyond holidaying with the family as a child to a career in the industry that saw him involved with many brands before establishing his own high-profile Freedom RVs dealership in Caloundra on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
Freedom RVs is a Roadstar dealership, but Michel wanted to see his personal experience in the industry reflected in his own caravan line. The result is Sunseeker Caravans, which are built by Titanium Caravans in Melbourne, Vic, to his specifications, but are sold predominantly to Queensland customers. Sunseeker’s difference is clearly in the detail that comes from this extensive experience.
Chris feels a certain responsibility towards his customers, particularly those buying their first caravan who need to be guided through the type of van and the options they will need for extended holidays and travel. So Sunseeker's are ‘turnkey’ caravans that require very little optioning up for a life on the road – they have a high spec to start with.
LAYOUT AND DESIGN
In the case of the 1920kg Tare weight, 5.33m (17ft 6in) internal length (5.47m/18ft external) Mirage Sport, which retails for $64,990, it starts with its robust Australian steel underpinnings manufactured by Melbourne’s FP Chassis, which is predominantly an offroad specialist.
The 16in alloy wheels shod with meaty 265/75R16 light truck tyres, 12in electric brakes with offroad magnets, and stone shielding for the A-frame-mounted water tap are other top-spec details that round off the impressive adventure travelling equipment of the Mirage Sport.
A hail and water leak resistant one-piece fibreglass roof and fibreglass composite front and rear, smooth Alucobond aluminium composite wall cladding over a rot-proof aluminium frame, substantial checkerplate stone shielding all-round and the use of H-mouldings for expansion joints in addition to corner J-moulds, gives you every confidence that this is a caravan designed to survive many rough-road trips over many years.
Another thoughtful feature is the simple tap that allows you to fill your water tanks while connected to mains water, rather than having to insert a hose into a separate filler point.
Of course, if you are travelling off the beaten track you will need to be self-sufficient for free camping or national park stays for several days and the Mirage Sport comes equipped with a 120Ah AGM battery fed by a single 150W solar panel and controlled by a MPPT solar regulator for this purpose.
BEDROOM AND STORAGE
The interior storage space is also good, with lots of room under the lift-up bed and in the overhead cupboards that line the walls.
All the power equipment, from the solar regulator to the water level indicator, the switch for the Suburban gas water heater and the iPod-friendly sound system with its two internal speakers, are all tucked away in an overhead cupboard. So there are none of those really bright LED lights shining in your face when you are trying to sleep.
The Aircommand Ibis air-conditioner is a good unit that doesn’t protrude too far into the interior, maximising headroom.
Inside, the extra-large double-glazed windows, cafe dinette and drop-down (rather than recessed) step make the interior feel quite spacious and roomy.
It’s all relatively conventional, with the front island bed, central galley and dinette, and rear separate shower, toilet and laundry. But there’s a good reason for this: it’s a layout that works well for long-term travel.
Okay, there’s not a lot of bench space unless you count the four-burner stove cover, and the ensuite is not overly roomy, despite its space-saving Daewoo Mini 2kg front-loading washing machine mounted on the rear wall. But this is a compact, fully equipped single-axle caravan with all the benefits of the lighter weight and manoeuvrability that this format offers. If you want more space, you’ll have to wait for the new 5.64m (18ft 6in internal) tandem-axle Mirage due out mid year.
Finally, there are two towel rails on the back of the sliding ensuite door. That’s worth mentioning, as many vans only come with one.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This is a well-built and equipped compact dirt road caravan designed by someone who understands caravanners and their needs, as evidenced throughout the van by the many thoughtful details and inclusions.
- Many thoughtful details
- Quality construction
- Compact size and weight
- Well-equipped for the price
- Only one AGM battery
- Plastic waste piping could be better protected
- No stone shield on the A-frame