When Fiat introduced its motorhome-friendly Ducato cab chassis and vans to the Australian RV scene, it didn’t take a company like Jayco long to understand the benefits. I mention this because until then Jayco had only been a caravan and camper trailer manufacturer. Clearly the Ducato opened some doors.
Since that time, the company has produced a good selection of motorhomes, both in its Conquest and Optimum ranges. Everything from the low-roof 20ft (6.09m) Conquest to the 26ft (7.92m) Optimum with a Fiat cab and an Al-Ko chassis with tandem axles is now available.
Different from most of the Conquest and Optimum layouts, our review Conquest (Layout-4 in Jayco terminology) looks like it’s been designed for the New Zealand market as well – it has the classic “NZ back” design, i.e., large club-style lounge/bed in the rear with windows all round, and a Luton peak bed.
The lounge is quite multi-purpose. It offers room for four people to sit around comfortably, can be used by two people to stretch out with their feet up, or made up into a 2.13x1.4m (7ft x 4ft 6in) bed.
Overhead lockers are fitted all round, as are shelves and downlights under the lockers. The entertainment unit is fitted on the side of the wardrobe and consists of a swivel arm-mounted flatscreen TV and an AM/FM radio/CD/DVD player.
There is under-seat storage and the nearside seat storage is also accessible from an external bin door. The rest of the nearside is filled by the kitchen bench. It comes with a Smev four-burner cooktop/grill and a stainless steel sink. The kitchen does not have a great deal of benchtop space but storage is reasonable, with six drawers, two cupboards and four overhead lockers. Powerpoints are fitted to either end of the bench and the rear one is handy for using at the table.
Part of the cabinet area, which takes up the offside area of the Conquest, is utilised by the Dometic 121L fridge which has an LG microwave above. Fitted alongside are two narrow cupboards, one of which has slide-out wire baskets, the other just shelves.
Occupying the space between the pantry and rear seat is a full-height wardrobe with hanging space, a drawer and lower cupboard, part of which is occupied by the hot water heater. There is a handy mirror on the inside of the wardrobe door.
As might be expected in a motorhome of this size, the bathroom isn’t particularly large, but it is still very workable, with a Thetford bench-style cassette toilet and fold-down vanity sink and shaving cabinet above. The fold-down sink is a particularly good idea because it does not take up an excessive amount of space but is still of a useful size. There is, of course, a variable height flex-hose shower with flick-mixer taps.
Fitting into the space between the door and the driver’s cab is a small, full-height cabinet with cupboards and shelves. It blocks the swivelling passenger seat a bit but that’s the compromise of extra storage. Actually, the swivelling seat offers a family member (or anyone else) a private little reading spot! The cab curtains draw across the cab, but I’d prefer them to draw around the cab windows.
The Luton peak bed measures 2.1x1.3m (7ft x 4ft 4in), has a ceiling height of about 584mm and only one roof light.
As in the rest of the Jayco fleet, the Conquest 4 has an aluminium frame and a wall structure that consists of vacuum bonded layers of fibreglass, ply and polystyrene foam. The cab surround is moulded fibreglass and the insulated floor has a timber frame that is sandwiched together with polystyrene foam.
External bin storage consists of a locker for two gas cylinders (one 9kg; one 4.5kg), plus a small locker mid-offside and a larger rear nearside door that accesses the under-seat area.
The 160 Multijet Ducato comes with a 115.5kW 3L turbodiesel engine coupled to Fiat’s six-speed AMT gearbox. That combination handles the weight of the Conquest without difficulty. In addition to the usual Fiat items like cruise control and power everything, Jayco has fitted a handy reversing camera. The standard LED running lights are also noteworthy.
As mentioned previously, with its rear lounge setup the Conquest 4 is somewhat different to many layouts. It offers an alternative for couples who like to watch the world go by, and for families who need room to breathe and a flexible layout.
– Malcolm Street
Jayco Sydney, 63-67 Glossop Street, St Marys, NSW 2760, (02) 9623 1971, www.jaycosydney.com.au
For more information, including your nearest dealer, visit www.jayco.com.au
Read the full review in the September issue of Caravan World with Motorhome World!