NEXTGEN BLACKLINE: REVIEW

Malcolm Street — 1 July 2016

Queensland dealer Green RV has recently introduced a new range of caravans to its product line-up, with the intriguing name of NextGen Caravans. NextGen might be the new kid on the block, but a look over its range suggests there’s a lot of experience behind the NextGen name.

LAYOUT AND DESIGN

The cabinetry work is generally square-edged, but is nicely offset by some end partitioning and the glossy finish of the cupboards. All the cabinetry work is CNC machine cut and it fits neatly together, as you would expect.

The Blackline is fitted with a front tunnel boot, which affects the inside cabinetry work around the 1.83x1.53m (6x5ft) island bed. In this instance, the gain is a shelf under the window, which nicely offsets the smaller bedside shelves and cabinets. Overhead lockers are fitted at the bedhead and there is under-bed storage available, but no additional cupboards at the foot of the bed.



Based on the manufacturer’s name, you might expect there to be something new or different in the body and chassis structure, but it’s actually all fairly conventional. A look under the caravan reveals a very solid looking chassis – 150mm (6in) drawbar and rails, along with 50mm (2in) cross members and similarly-sized raisers. Roller rocker leaf spring suspension is used for the tandem axles, shod with 15in alloy wheels. Up front, the two 9kg gas cylinders sit above a mesh rack than can be used for wet hoses or firewood.

Caravan front boots aren’t exactly a subject of great excitement but they do come in a variety of capacities, mostly determined by the shape of the van’s body. This one scores quite highly because it not only houses the battery, charger, fuse panel and breakaway power supply, it still manages to be spacious enough for storing your outdoor camping gear. The 12V fuse panel is readily accessible, although unlabelled. In addition to the boot, there is the aforementioned tunnel storage, which is square in shape and accessible from both sides. Other external items, like the corner stabiliser handle and wheel brace, are strapped up neatly out of the way.

All of the above adds up to a van with a Tare weight of 2325kg and an ATM of 2725kg, which puts it into the mid-to-large tow vehicle range. It’s certainly above the popular 2500kg benchmark, but it wouldn’t be a problem for the variety of utes advertised with a 3500kg towing capacity. Indeed, the Ford Ranger ute I was using on this test coped very well in all the towing conditions I could find.

BATHROOM

The Blackline’s bathroom comes with a good-sized shower cubicle in the nearside corner, a classy looking vanity cabinet complete with wash basin and wall mirror, and a front-loading washing machine mounted in the cabinetry above the offside cassette toilet. A minor issue here is that there isn’t a great deal of elbow room around the toilet area and the washing machine opens the wrong way, making accessing your freshly-washed clothes a little tricky.

THE BOTTOM LINE

If my review NextGen caravan is typical of the range, then it’s a good example of how the ever-expanding use of CNC machines in the RV industry gives a much better overall fit and finish to the cabinetry work.

MEASURING UP

Pros…

  • Interior fit and finish
  • External storage capacity
  • Comfortable dinette
  • Roman blinds on most windows
  • External colour scheme

Cons…

  • Washing machine and toilet in close proximity
  • Powerpoint under the table is awkward to get at
  • Heavy chassis

Tags

test_NextGen Blackline

Photographer

Malcolm Street