Men look, but ultimately it is women who buy caravans.” That’s what industry stalwart Chris Michel deduced from his experiences running Sunseeker Caravans on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
This savvy shines everywhere in the Sunseeker caravans that Michel has made specifically to his requirements by a leading Melbourne caravan builder.
For a start, Michel believes instant interior appeal counts a lot with women. So clean, high-gloss cabinetry is important, as are post-form rounded benchtops that project a ‘finished’ look. And for buyers who want to make the van their own, there are 30 different benchtops, 15 different cabinet finishes and 15 different floor coverings to choose from.
An angled kitchen that offers great daytime storage for things like a jug, toaster and coffee machine without compromising prep or plate-up space, is also a winner.
Michel believes a kitchen needs a large window, so that preparing meals won’t cut you off from the rest of the family. Huge double-glazed windows all round, combined with white walls also make a difference – even in the bedroom – as they flood the caravan’s interior with light and make it look larger.
Many of today’s travellers insist on an ensuite with a separate shower and toilet, a workable vanity, plus a washing machine. If you don’t, perhaps the next prospective owner of your caravan will!
But the trick here, which can only come from experience, is to pack all these features into an efficient working space. So you need to have knee and elbow room around the toilet for good anatomical reasons, there needs to be a large mirror and light above the vanity bowl (ideally china, not glass, as Michel feels glass always seems to look dirty), with a single mixer tap, plus bench room alongside for things like a toiletries bag or shampoo and conditioner.
The separate shower cubicle needs to be large enough to turn around in, with its door latched securely while you are travelling. And a good-sized hot water service of 20L-plus is a necessity if two or more of you want to do the dishes and enjoy a decent shower.
Finally – or for some travellers, primarily – there’s the bedroom. If the van has a front or centre door, you shouldn’t stumble over the bed when you enter and your place of rest should be easily accessible from both sides for easy bed making, entry and exit. It takes experience knowing where to locate the door and sometimes this may mean a small compromise on available bench space.
A Four Seasons roof hatch above the bed is a great idea for ventilation in tropical regions without letting in too much of that early northern Australia morning light, while if your caravan builder has placed a ‘toilet switch’ thoughtfully next to the bed that you can turn on before stumbling through the caravan in the early hours to answer a call of nature, you’re on an absolute winner with many would-be buyers.
While some prospective customers will focus on the inside, others might poke around outside and underneath.
They may look for things like a sturdy DuraGal chassis, with a pair of 9kg gas cylinders with rubber protective rings and a stone-shielded water tap on its 150x50mm A-frame, with a separate mesh shield below. A centre-mounted jockey wheel is often appreciated, so that a load levelling hitch can more easily be fitted.
Those who slide underneath should be pleased to see that vulnerable plastic pipes are tucked safely out of impact harm behind a shielded rear water tank. If they’re slightly disappointed to see a low maintenance roller-rocker leaf spring tandem suspension made for on-road touring conditions, they’ll probably be pleased to see an option box for AL-KO’s new trailing arm Enduro Outback independent coil spring and twin telescopic shock absorber suspension, if they are planning to venture off the beaten track.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the new $68,990 (ex-Caloundra) Sunseeker Mirage 19ft 6in touring caravan.
Understanding the practical needs of caravanners and delivering them in a well-priced package is an art in which Caloundra’s Sunseeker Caravans excel.
HITS AND MISSES
- Many thoughtful details
- Quality construction
- Overall space and packaging
- Ideal for long-term touring
- No USB phone chargers next to bed
- TV bracket awkwardly placed
- adjacent to van entry
Weights and measures
- Overall length 7.8m (25ft 7in)
- External body length 5.95m (19ft 6in)
- External body width 2.5m (8ft 2in)
- Travel height 2.98m (9ft 9in)
- Internal height 2m (6ft 7in)
- Tare 2120kg
- ATM 2720kg
- Payload 600kg
- Ball weight 180kg
Price as shown
$68,990 (drive-away Caloundra, Qld)
The full test appears in Caravan World #560 2017. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!