Avida’s Eyre motorhome stands apart from the rest of the brand’s range due to its slightly European flavour. Externally, it has a streamlined look and low height and, inside, the layout and fitout has a distinctively compact European feel about it.
There are two version of the Eyre available – one with a slide-out and one without, both with the choice of single or double beds.
In keeping with the European theme, the Eyre’s motive power comes from a Fiat Ducato MultiJet 180 with an X295 chassis, giving the motorhome a GVM of 4495kg. The Tare weight of 3408kg gives it a very generous load capacity of 1087kg.
On the road, the 3L turbodiesel pushes the Eyre along nicely, and the low slung body results in good handling. I have long been a fan of having the larger 3L engine in motorhomes, rather than the less powerful 2.3L turbodiesels that the European motorhome manufacturers seem to prefer.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
There are no surprises with the Eyre’s body construction. It is built using Avida’s favoured method of a welded metal frame for the walls, floor and roof, covered by a fully moulded fibreglass front and rear. This does a lot for the aerodynamic lines of the Eyre, along with fibreglass composite walls and a one-piece moulding for the roof, which ensures the roof is as water-sealed as possible.
This Eyre B7653SL has an offside slide-out and a good-sized external storage bin at the rear. This bin is actually the under-bed storage space but, with access doors on the sides, it’s a very versatile setup and offers storage for all manner of camping gear. The battery charger, 240V circuit breaker and 12V fuses are located in the nearside bin, and two 4kg gas cylinders are in the gas bin behind the driver’s door.
Dometic Seitz windows are fitted all around and the door is a standard Hehr model with a simple insect screen. Adding some style is the Skyview hatch above the driver’s cab; the benefit of this being that it can be left open when driving, thus reducing the buffeting effect you get with having the windows open, but still allowing good air flow.
The entry door is set about halfway along the motorhome and neatly splits the front living and dining area from the bathroom and bedroom in the rear. With an L-shaped lounge behind the passenger seat, part of the kitchen sits behind the driver’s seat with the rest fitted into the slide-out. In the rear, a split bathroom sits in front of the bedroom at the back.
Curved, Euro-influenced doors on the cupboards and overhead lockers are a nice feature, as are the muted colours, which, rather than looking drab actually add to the bright interior. It’s a useful design feature in a relatively confined interior like this one.
BEDROOM AND BATHROOM
In the rear, there are two bedding options available – an island double bed or two single beds. This Eyre B7653SL has the single beds and, in a way, I think they work better in this layout than a double bed would. To accommodate the under-bed storage, the foot of the island bed would sit quite high off the floor and would need steps on either side. With the single beds, there are still steps, but bed access is easier and there’s space in the middle for a wardrobe. Both beds have a reading light, shelf above the pillow, overhead lockers and a window to the side. Although many prefer a double bed, the single beds do make effective use of the space in this motorhome.
The split bathroom is a workable arrangement, with a shower cubicle on the offside and the toilet cubicle opposite. The toilet cubicle has a Dometic cassette toilet, a good-sized vanity cabinet and corner wall mirror. The curved door of the loo can be used to close off the bathroom and bedroom from the rest of the motorhome, which adds privacy. The bathroom areas aren’t exactly huge, but they are usable, and I think that’s better than a space-hogging bathroom at the expense of actual living space.
KITCHEN AND DINING
Because of the chassis height, the floor in the middle of the motorhome is set lower than the front and there is a small step up to both the front cab and the dinette. A little bit of care is, therefore, required when using all three seats. Both the cab seats swivel around, the nearside one meshing neatly with the Zwaardvis table behind the passenger seat. However, the driver’s seat is partially blocked by the kitchen bench when it is swivelled around. The area under the rear seat is nicely utilised by a couple of drawers.
A flatscreen TV is mounted on the wall by the entry door and given the layout of the lounge/cab seats, that’s probably the best place for it, but both viewers would have to be sitting in the cab seats to see it. A panel opposite the TV mounting houses the 12V control panel and the radio/CD player.
The bench behind the driver’s seat is part of the kitchen setup. With the slide-out extended, the kitchen bench forms a sort of L-shape. There’s a nominal amount of bench space including some behind the cooktop, and there is only one drawer because of the inverter/microwave oven under the cooktop. Additional storage is provided by the bench extension where both a round sink and separate drainer are fitted. Underneath, the cupboard is split with shelves on the rear side and a wire basket pantry on the seat side, which is a bit hard to get at. Extra shelves are fitted in the air space above the sink drainer.
Overall, the electrics are well set up with two 100Ah deep-cycle batteries, a 22A battery charger and 12V LED lighting throughout, including in some of the storage bins. Solar panels are an option but, given the Eyre is, like all Avida motorhomes, set up for self-contained travel, it’s definitely an options box I’d be ticking.
THE BOTTOM LINE
With its European styling and Australian build, the Avida Eyre B7653SL motorhome will be a winner for those who like a combination of the two, and the optional sleeping arrangements add custom flexibility for those who need it.
In some ways, the Eyre is a bit deceptive – its low-profile appearance gives the impression that it’s a small motorhome but, at 7.6m (25ft) long, it is not small at all. What it does offer is a compact but very liveable interior in an easy-to-drive package.
- Stylish looks
- External bin capacity and access
- Spacious kitchen
- Single bed layout
- Skyview hatch above cab
- Step up to dinette and front seats
- Swivelled driver’s seat blocked by kitchen bench
- Lack of drawers in kitchen bench
- Pantry is awkward to access if seats are occupied
The full test appears in Caravan World #555 September 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!