We took the Zone RV’s ZV-20.6, the first of Zone’s new Venture series for a spin in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Zone RV designed the new series for those keen to tour on the bitumen and to venture onto the gravel from time to time. Managing Director Matt Johns reckons it’s ideal for those who want to try a little remote travel while avoiding the really harsh stuff. With that in mind, we hit the road to see if the ZV-20.6 met its promise.
On first glance, the Zone RV ZV-20.6 has a closed cell composite body with Panelock bonding technology that offers a seamless front, roof and rear composite panel construction which helps to form a modern, state-of-the-art appearance. It’s a construction style that the Zone RV team imported into their manufacturing from their experience in the marine industry and a standard that Zone RV maintains in this range.
CHASSIS AND SUSPENSION
Underneath, the 150x50mm chassis appears well made with RHS Duragal Steel Chassis, laser cut CNC folded members and Epoxy Chassis Shield protection to ward off corrosion. What’s more, the Vehicle Components CRS-Coil Dual Axle 3300kg suspension is ideal for the type of touring this rig is designed for. The suspension includes internal polyurethane bump stops that provide a much higher secondary rate of suspension before the coil spring becomes coil bound making this suspension ideal for outback roads.
On the downside, Zone RV don’t offer airbag suspension upgrades for this range. That’s bad news for anyone who otherwise likes the range but wants high end all-terrain suspension. Nonetheless, this suspension is quite reasonable for soft 4WD touring. Up the front, the drop-on DO35 hitch is a popular and successful hitch with the versatility to accommodate off-roa ding adventures. Considering the rig also boasts tandem axles and Dexter Electronic Stability Control, it’s a versatile and easily towable caravan.
The downside of taking an early look at a van that’s an early release of a new range is that, more often than not, its presentation is a little under done. While the first impressions were on par with expectations that are synonymous with Zone RV’s growing reputation for quality, the front side opening toolbox presentation was disappointing.
It featured no compartments or in-built shelving. However, Matt Johns said the box on the rig we tested was still a work in progress and the box would soon feature a gen set slide-on on one side, and gear tray on a slide-on the other side of the box.
Storage-wise, the exterior featured a front tunnel boot and, other than the toolbox, no other external gear storage. On the upside, the exterior boasts a drop-down table access to entertainment plugs, twin gas bottles and plenty of water storage. Water storage includes 100L of fresh water storage and a 100L grey water holding tank.
A comfy dinette with cloth-upholstered seating that compliments the cloth-upholstered bedhead is just part of a kit that draws an audible sigh out of you as you enter. Just the same, it’s important to look for those things that make life on the road easy and comfortable. First up – at the entry, the steps are electronic meaning there’s no need for awkward twisting and tugging to set up the steps just to get inside. Of course, when it comes to feeling comfortable, a good air-conditioner is key. The Zone RV rig comes with a reverse cycle Truma Aventa air-conditioner. It’s a good unit that caravanners typically say is a more efficient cooler than heater. Nonetheless, with 1700W of heating power, the energy saving heat pump function ensures a pleasant on-board temperature while dehumidifying and cleaning the air.
The kitchen is a reasonably standard arrangement, found in many contemporary caravans currently on the market. However, a quality stove, cooktop and microwave combo combined with adequate benchtop is enough to keep a wayfaring gourmet satisfied. What’s more, well-built drawers and cupboards mean you’re not likely to pick up a splinter while searching for the can opener. Better still, the drawers are self-closing. It’s worth remembering that Zone have populated the kitchen with cupboards with shelving rather than drawers to keep weight to a minimum. It’s a reasonable compromise for those happy to organise their kit in something like well-sealed plastic containers. Not all storage options are stripped bare. There is a very handy slide out pantry by a sizeable fridge freezer.
There’s nothing more likely to put a damper on a road trip than a frustratingly small shower. Although the ensuite includes plenty of storage, a reasonable-sized vanity, a quality toilet, it skips what is arguably the most important part of what makes for a worthwhile ensuite – the size of the shower. For an over-sized chap like me, a shower that fits properly around me is essential.
At the other end of the caravan, the bed is bliss. Laying here, surrounded by the tasteful bedroom livery is sensational. It’s as welcoming and comforting as a spring breeze on the last day of winter.
Power-wise, the electrical kit in this caravan is worthwhile. While, the power system includes a single 120AH AGM battery package, 240V charger, 30A DC-DC charger and solar management together with a 100W flexible lightweight solar system, the real impressive thing here is the fact that unlike other brands, electrical wiring is not a haphazard web but a sophisticated, insulated loom like a motor-vehicle wiring loom.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This is a chic, stylish rig that, while cut back by comparison to other Zone RV luxury vans, is a capable, comfortable van that should spark the interest of anyone with the financial wherewithal to cater for its price tag.
HITS AND MISSES
- A sizeable available payload
- Ample water storage
- Stylish interior design
- Sturdy chassis and drawbar
- Small ensuite
- No drawbar tap
- Limited external storage
Weights and Measures
|Overall length ||8.1m (26ft 6in)|
|External body length ||6.24m (20ft 5in)|
|External body width ||2.5m (8ft 3in)|
|Travel height||(9ft 8in)|
|Internal height ||1.98m (6ft 6in)|
|Ball weight ||165kg|
Price as shown
$ 88,900 2017 (drive away Qld)
The full feature appeared in Caravan World #569. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!