Caravan World reviewed the Essential Grant Cruiser Family Series II at Rosedale in Gippsland, 185km east of Melbourne. I towed the van with a new press vehicle – a Toyota HiLux (see breakout) – and it travelled like a dream. The caravan’s 2060kg Tare didn’t even raise a sweat from the SR5 4X4 double-cab pick-up with its 2.8L turbodiesel auto engine. And I doubt it would have been troubled even with the 400kg payload on board.
The Family Series II has been updated and has an impressive array of standard inclusions for the price, including metal-sided kitchen drawers, three bedside drawers either side of the bed, 190L Dometic three-way fridge-freezer, 150W solar panel, Dometic roll-out awning, Aussie Traveller double-glazed push-out windows with integrated blinds, Camec entry door, Aircommand Ibis 3 reverse-cycle air-conditioner, Annahide upholstery, enhanced cupboard furniture and latches, and a gal-lined tunnel boot with large access doors.
LAYOUT & DESIGN
Internally, the van is contemporary and swanky, and there’s a welcoming sense of affluence as you step inside. I really liked the interior colour scheme – particularly the upholstery, benchtops, splashback, cupboard doors and bunks, and I thought the ‘Boston grey’ flooring was a real eye-catcher and blended perfectly with the interior aesthetic.
The lavishness starts in the well-lit front bedroom, complete with a caravan-queen-size bed that abuts the front wall (there is no front boot), lift-up under-bed storage and robes either side of the bed offering excellent hanging space. There are also three overhead lockers, dressers either side, reading lamps, and good-sized windows. And above a corner cabinet on the offside is a 24in NCE full LED TV/DVD combo on a swivel-arm bracket, which offers easy viewing from most areas of the van.
An elegant and functional kitchen is situated directly opposite the front entry door. The head-turners are the white quartz benchtops and a Luce splashback that runs the full length of the kitchen. In terms of practicality, there’s a recessed Thetford four-burner combo, grill and full oven, and a rangehood above the post-form rolled benchtop. There’s also a large, deep-bowl stainless sink with drainer plus a chrome flick mixer tap and filtered water tap. Meanwhile, storage abounds within the kitchen cabinetry, which comprises quality hinges and stylish positive-locking door latches with gas struts.
Adjacent the kitchen is the 190L fridge-freezer, with an NCE microwave above. Underneath the fridge is a 12V water pump concealed in a compartment.
Directly opposite the kitchen is a spacious living area highlighted by a four-seater L-shaped lounge adorned in Annahide bonded leather along with a rectangular, single-leg table. As is the case in the bedroom and kitchen, there’s ample storage here in several overhead compartments, as well as under the lounge, accessed via hatches at either end.
The rear bedroom and ensuite area really comes into its own in the family stakes, with double bunks (1.88x0.69m/6ft 2in x 2ft 3in) on the offside, and an ensuite with a frosted glass entry door on the nearside.
Entry to the rear bedroom is via a sliding, Lotus-style concertina door, to maximise privacy and allow you to stay up past the kids’ bedtime! Between the bunks and the ensuite are four slide-out drawers and a shelved robe, ensuring no wardrobe malfunctions for the ‘tin lids’.
The ensuite maintains the swish standard inside. It boasts a fibreglass-mould shower (also with a frosted glass door), Dometic porcelain bowl toilet, rectangular ceramic vanity basin with a large mirror and strip lighting above, double towel rail and toilet roll holder, and adequate LED lighting and storage.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This splendid on-road family tourer certainly meets its brief – affordability, indulgence, practicality and quality. And with its double bunk layout and large living space, the van will comfortably accommodate a family of four.
At $55,990 (plus on-road costs), it is perfectly priced for the family needing a comfortable and memorable holiday with a sprinkling of luxury.
- Sensibly priced
- Large living space
- Luxurious interior
- Lots of internal storage space
- Limited external storage
- No provision for a slide-out barbecue or TV entertainment hatch
The full test appears in Caravan World #554 August 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!