A few months back we took a look at Avida’s impressive Topaz model caravan, notable not only for its slide-out and motorhome-like quality interior, but also its ruggedised running gear, including a multi-terrain independent suspension system.
Sitting underneath the Topaz in the Avida range is the Emerald line-up, which offer the same high quality fit-out, construction method and degree of flexibility within the range.
Local distributor ALM Group has recently landed the first example; a 20-foot two berth configuration with slide-out for a centrally-positioned queen bed.
WHAT LIES BENEATH
The most notable difference between the two Avida lines is the suspension system the respective caravans rest on. The Topaz belies its Aussie manufacture by boasting full-spec CRUISEMASTER CRS independent suspension for real rough-road ability; the exact sort of independent suspension system you’d find on a 4x4 SUV.
The Avida Emerald range features standard style suspension, but there is still plenty of room around the wheels. The tester was fitted with touring-style tyres, but heavier tread could also be an option here too if that perfect camping spot lies at the other end of a 30km run on gravel.
Also the extra approach and departure angle clearance the Avida set-up affords could prove beneficial when out in the backblocks.
Much like its big brother Topaz, the Emerald is built on a tough hot-dipped galvanised chassis with AL-KO 10” electric brakes. The Emerald features Avida’s well-insulated, lightweight sandwich panel wall, roof and floor construction material, which the manufacturer says is hail and dent resistant.
CHOOSE YOUR ADVENTURE
There are five layouts of Emerald spec caravan available across 17-, 18- and 20-foot iterations. The 17-footer arrives in single axle format, while all other models are tandem axle affairs. The review model you see here is set up as a luxurious getaway for two, although there are three four-berth Emeralds and even a six-person model replete with bunk beds.
As well as offering up the perfect couples’ retreat, the Emerald CV6672 SL shown here might possibly also be the most cost-effective slide-out caravan around, with the added bonus of extra floor space at the touch of a button.
Because the queen bed is located ‘inside’ the slide-out, the dinette at the front of the caravan is generously proportioned, as is the bathroom at the rear. By sliding out the bed, walk-through access to the rear of the Emerald is great; there’s even the wall space available for a large cabinet opposite the bed where books, DVDs and other creature comforts for life on the road can be kept in exposed cubbies, or tucked away in good-sized cupboards.
Situated opposite the triple-lock entry door, the kitchen is a smart, modern-looking place for food prep, containing a three-burner gas hob, single electric cook top and gas griller combo unit, stainless steel range hood, 190-litre fridge/freezer and handy slide-out pantry. Bench space is ample and there’s even another cabinet on the right as you enter the caravan, providing for more storage and yet another surface below a tilt-and-extend TV bracket.
With a range of external fibreglass wall colours which can be matched to one of 13 external decal colours, 13 fabric collections and three benchtop colours, the Emerald proves the point that you don’t need to extend yourself to the very top of the range to get exactly what’s needed in terms of a layout and look perfectly suited to individual needs.
One of the other real bonuses here – obvious as soon as you step inside the Emerald – is its arrangement of large windows, which give the interior a superbly airy feel and great views out for occupants. The flush-mount aluminium frame, dual pane windows are fantastic at aiding air-flow, as is the roof-mounted reverse cycle air conditioner.
That light, airy atmosphere extends to the rear-sited bathroom too, which features a large roof hatch with a 12-volt fan, a large vanity with stainless steel basin, a separate shower and a large mirror.
The Emerald costs $86,000 off the shelf. While our review model on these pages featured a few extras, which put its on-road price up a bit, that standard figure is competitive for a caravan of this size and pretty good buying when you consider the lengthy list of standard items aboard.
As Andrew Fink from ALM told me when I checked out the Topaz earlier this year, Avida has been manufacturing high quality motorhomes for many years and a strong belief that it’s worth paying a bit more for a lot better is a build philosophy they’ve extended to their caravan range.
The top of the range Topaz is an undeniably good model; the perfect example of what a headline act ought to be. But if you don’t want to stretch the budget and don’t need the super-ruggedised off-road suspension set-up and ride height, then the Avida Emerald offers not only flexibility in terms of layout options, but premium-level fit and finish throughout for a cost-effective price.
- Premium fit and finish
- Good array of standard features despite its ‘mid-range’ stature
- Top-quality underpinnings provide for reassurance off the main highway
- Hard to pick anything here, unless there is more than two of you
For more information, call Auto Leisure & Marine Group: (07) 850 5512.