The Penthouse is a large van targeted at those determined to live comfortably on the move. It’s not a lightweight, and doesn’t pretend to be. You’ll need a substantial vehicle to haul it around: the weighbridge put the ball weight of the empty van at around 230kg, and the Tare 2250kg (with some water in the tanks), while the manufacturer allocates an ATM of 2600kg to the van.
To carry the weight, Traveller builds its own 150mm chassis, equips it with a seven-leaf tandem greasable bushes, loadshare beam axle suspension and adds 15in spoked alloy wheels with 235/75 R15 tyres, each rated at 925kg load capacity. The chassis carries two 80L shielded water tanks, which have gauges inside the cabin, drop-down corner jacks and a slide-out entry step. A pair of 9kg gas cylinders is mounted on the A-frame.
In this van, the island bedroom is at the front, the kitchen is located on the nearside with the dining/lounge area opposite, and the bathroom/laundry is full width at the rear. Being a full height van, Traveller has taken advantage of the high walls, and fitted cupboards extensively both high and low. The lead-light glass-fronted windows over the dining area cupboards are striking.
Cabin construction of the Penthouse is conventional timber framing with coated aluminium external sheeting and panel interior sheets. Try as I might, I couldn’t fault the cabinetwork for fit or finish.
When I saw my first Travellers at Echuca, one of them seemed to have every colour of the rainbow. It wasn’t my cup of tea. But the review van was very different, with muted pastels throughout the length of the unit in a most appealing way. All fittings are complementary and easy on the eye.
Living in this van would be no chore. The benchtop is long – it stretches 2.2m and who would complain about that? Along its length are the deep bowl sink and drainer plus a full stove with oven and griller. For rapid cooking a Samsung microwave is installed. A Dometic 2553 150L three-way refrigerator is opposite the sink on an elevated base for user convenience.
Plenty of under-bench cupboard space is offered, and the cupboards are about as uncluttered as is possible. I’d prefer some of the shelf space to drawers, which don’t require getting onto the floor to see what’s at the back.
The dining table folds up out of the way and leaves the two seats uncluttered for relaxation. For outside food preparation a drop-down table and a pull-out barbecue have been installed.
The bedroom, which has a privacy curtain, boasts a full-size island bed that will accommodate a tall person. The bed can be compacted if needs be as it has an adjustable base and a bolster section as part of the pillow-top innerspring mattress. A bedcover with identical pattern to the van upholstery is part of the package.
The shower, toilet and vanity are sectioned off from the main cabin by a sliding solid door. A Dometic front-load washer installed in the wet area provides close to complete independence.
Entertainment comes in the form of a CD/stereo AM/FM with four ceiling speakers as well as a pair of weatherproof external speakers under the awning. A Conia LCD TV with inbuilt DVD player on a wall bracket is standard. Some additional support for the TV might be advantageous over bumpy roads. A Winegard roof antenna feeds signal to the TV.
Climate control is afforded through wind-out Galaxy windows, a ceiling Four Seasons hatch plus a Seitz hatch with inbuilt shade curtain and a 3.3kW Aircommand rooftop reverse cycle air-conditioner.
More airflow for hot weather comfort is available through the screen section of the two-piece TriLock door, and it’s shady under the full-length awning (included). Electricals are generous – there are 13 user-accessible powerpoints inside the van plus the outlet under the awning, 15 low-voltage halogen lamps and a fluorescent light in the shower, and three incandescent awning lights.
The low voltage circuit is fed by a 25A charger and a pair of batteries. Provision for solar power adaptation is included.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Instead of a front boot Traveller elected to provide a front tunnel, accessible from both sides, in this particular van. The tunnel gives more internal space for the same overall length. A front boot is available if desired, but that will change internal dimensions.
If I have conveyed a sense of approval, that’s inevitable. It’s a van that impresses.
- The excellent floor plan
- The quantity of amenities
I WOULD HAVE LIKED:
- Pot drawers instead of some of the shelf cupboards
- A swing jockey wheel instead of clamp style
- Protection for the PVC drainage plumbing at rear
- That it’s well finished
|External length:||8.1m (26ft 7in)|
|Internal width||2.4m (7ft 10in)|
|External height||3m (9ft 10in) including air-conditioner|
|Internal height||Internal 2m (6ft 7in)|
|Tare||2250kg (weighbridge, with some water in the tanks)|
|Chassis||Traveller 150mm box section|
|Suspension||Seven-leaf greasable bush springs, loadshare tandem beam axles|
|Fridge||Dometic 2553 150L three-way|
|Cooking||Swift four-burner cooktop (three gas, one electric), griller, oven and external barbecue|
|Gas||2 x 9kg bottles|
|Lights||12v halogen, fluorescent and incandescent|
|Battery||2 x 120AH 12V|
|Hot water||Gas/electric remote start|
|Freshwater tanks||2 x 80L|
|Air-conditioner||Aircommand 3300W reverse-cycle|
|Price (as reviewed)||$68,990|