Caravan design is quite simple: you build a chassis, add a set of wheels, build a body on top and it’s more than halfway there. Well, more or less. There are a few other minor details to decide on, like how long the van body will be and where the entry door might go. Both these things will affect where the axles are located, and where items like the water tanks should be installed so, apart from anything else, the ball weight is not excessive.
All that helps to explain why the wheels on one of Option RV’s latest caravans – 5.64m (18ft 6in) Traction Limited Edition (LE) – look to be set further back than normal in the van’s body. In this case, it’s the length of the van (loaned to use for review by Queensland dealer Caravan World) that, in part, determines where the axles are, but the internal layout also plays a role. It’s a front island bed setup with a full-width rear bathroom and a very practical forward entry door. The door is located by the bedroom and saves about 0.6sqm in caravan living space (when compared to a similarly-sized rear door van). That might not sound like much but it definitely improves a caravan’s interior space and makes this van very liveable.
LAYOUT AND DESIGN
The Traction LE’s interior has a very contemporary look with white walls, glossy dark cabinetry and benchtops, plus two-tone leather upholstery on the dinette. Everything seems to be built and finished well – the larger doors have piano hinges and the drawers have steel sides. By day, the large windows create a very bright interior and, by night, the multiple LED lights (downlights and reading lights) kick in.
The van’s body is quite stylish and, underneath, has a timber frame with insulation and an outer aluminium composite wall cladding. Keeping with current trends, the front and side walls have a lower waist of satin black alloy checkerplate, which matches the gull-wing toolbox.
The Traction LE is clearly designed for remote travel and, to that end, it comes with two 110Ah deep-cycle batteries, two 150W solar panels, a 50A Anderson plug and a 40A charger for when you’re hooked up to mains power.
On the towing front, the caravan has a Tare weight of 2340kg and an ATM of 2840kg which does give it a good load capacity of 500kg but also pushes it into the larger tow tug arena. Certainly, the LandCruiser I was driving had no trouble with the hills and dales around the Sunshine Coast hinterland and the set-back axles made for a very stable towing proposition.
BEDROOM AND STORAGE
The front bedroom certainly has an open feeling about it and, at 1.9x1.52m, the island bed is slightly longer than the average caravan bed. There is no front window in this van, but the Mobicool windows on either side of the bed are large enough to allow for good airflow, and there is the added bonus of a large, marine-style hatch above the bed.
Like any good caravan, the bed, which comes with an innerspring mattress, has a decent bedhead of storage including overhead lockers, wardrobes, bedside cabinets with drawers and a decent shelf. At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be any reading lights but there’s actually a couple of downlights subtly fitted under the overhead lockers. And while part of the under-bed space is taken up by the front tunnel boot, you can lift the metal-framed, posture slat bed base for access to a decent amount of storage.
It might be just me, but I think that a bathroom, being a pretty confined space, should always be well-ventilated, and this one fits the bill with vent fans above both the shower and the cassette toilet, along with a small window in the offside wall. The bathroom has a classy vanity cabinet setup with a large wall mirror and a top-loading washing machine hiding under a flush lid. Fitted into the offside corner is a small wardrobe offering both hanging space and a drawer below.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Option RV is a family-operated caravan manufacturing business which, being on the smaller side, could get lost in the mass of Victoria’s many manufacturers. However, its vans, like this Traction Limited Edition, manage to stand out from the crowd due to their great build quality, creature comforts and excellent value for money.
- Smart-looking van
- External storage capacity
- Light, bright and stylish interior
- Good space around the bed
- Comfortable dinette
- Decent sound system
- Powerpoint locations
- Small kitchen
- Lack of drawers in the kitchen
- Under-seat areas are fiddly to get at
- Lack of elbow room in the loo
- Ball weight could be an issue