One vehicle manufacturer has always been quick to point out that more European motorhomes are built on their cab/chassis than any other.
Although I haven’t seen it mentioned, I suspect a similar ratio applies with Australian-built motorhomes as well. So when I see Jayco building a new model on another brand cab/chassis—in this case, Mercedes-Benz—I sit up and take notice, especially when the graphics on the side of the motorhome echo the three-point star of the Mercedes-Benz badge.
Two things in particular make the Mercedes Sprinter an excellent choice—the superb 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic gearbox and the rear wheel drive. Along with the simple way the cab instrumentation is presented to the driver, these two features give the driver full confidence to tackle the journey ahead.
All the driver sees is a rev counter, a speedometer and a fuel gauge that includes the word ‘diesel’ clearly displayed beside the gauge. Just drive the Merc the same way you would an auto gearbox car. No special rules or procedures to be followed. Mercedes is the original ‘plug ’n’ play’ of the highway.
The cab interior is quite plain with a gloss-finished rubber mat on the floor and the Mercedes sun-visor/shelf fitting above each cab seat. These seats can be rotated to face the dinette and have the same black leather with silver stitching as the dinette seat.
I like having the habitation door close to the cab as it is in the 419. It’s a quick way for the driver to get in or out on the kerbside without disturbing the passenger. Inside, the dinette is opposite the entry. To the left are the cab seats. Turn right to pass through the kitchen then the bedroom and into the full-width bathroom across the rear.
The interior of the 419 is like a one-room studio apartment where the bedroom is part of the lounge. Extending the queen-sized bed slide-out moves the bed outwards around half a metre adding to the studio effect. Because it has a wider than normal concertina door, the doorway through to the bathroom is usually left open, making the studio apartment effect complete.
Fortunately, it’s a good-looking bathroom—full-width with lots of room. Centre stage, a freestanding oval handbasin sits upon a substantial two-door, three-drawer cabinet. Behind is a large mirror that makes the interior look twice as long as it is.
To the left is a Thetford swivel bowl toilet with a window above, to the right the shower stall. In an unusual move, the shower stall acrylic walls are the colour of milk chocolate instead of traditional white. It’s a bigger shower than most and has an extractor fan hatch in the ceiling.
All the cabinetry is medium dark brown timber veneer patterned laminate with gloss ivory doors and drawer fronts—timeless and understated. There are plenty of LED lights and a double 230-volt power point. Should you need one, there is space beside the bathroom cabinet to fit in the optional clothes washing machine.
In the 419, the second bed is built into the Luton over the cab. Accessed by ladder, a net is provided to stop the occupants falling out onto the floor. An unlikely event for adults but a real danger for children who are attracted to the ‘cave-like’ bed like nails to a magnet.
With an opening window and a reading light each side, it’s a snug spot to sleep if you don’t need to get up in the night. Lifting the bed makes it easier to move between the cab and the motorhome. A gas strut eases the lift load but if you are short, you will need something to stand on to be able to grab the bed to pull it back down.
A gentle warning here—Jayco has fitted the island bed with a luxurious pillow-top mattress. If you try before you buy, you might need someone with you to wake you up when it’s time to go home. With the slide-out extended, there’s room to walk past the bed but not when the slide-out is closed.
Note that the 1800mm long mattress has a bolster to extend the length of the bed and this restricts the amount of ‘walk past’ room when it is in place. There are a number of cupboards and drawers for clothes and personal effects, including a large cabinet opposite the foot of the bed.
Two 18.5-inch Sphere LED TV/DVDs are supplied as standard in the 419. Wiring for the bedroom TV is in the cupboard below the wall-mounted bracket. The other TV mounting is in the dinette.
There are still many Kiwis and Aussies who prefer a big kitchen bench. Jayco knows this to be true and has obliged, fitting a 1550mm long bench into the 419. Even though there’s a 370mm diameter sink and a four-burner hob set into the benchtop, there’s still room for meal preparation and serving.
A microwave, a range hood, and three cupboards are built into the cabinet above the bench and there is more storage below along with a Smev four-burner oven. There are two 230-volt power points at bench level and a separate filtered water tap beside the sink faucet.
Housed in the cabinetry opposite the bench is a Dometic three-way RM2555 150-litre fridge/freezer surrounded by more storage cupboards. Situated in the middle of the motorhome, where they are easy to access, these cupboards will be extremely useful, especially for those away on long road trips. This is a practical kitchen with more floor and cupboard space than you’d find in the average studio apartment.
Black leather upholstery with silver stitching sets the tone in the dinette. The seats are more upright than those in the lounge, as they serve as both passenger and dinette seats. Nevertheless, they are comfortable.
So are the cab seats. Although the white-topped table has a limited range of adjustment, employing the extension flap is sufficient to bring the table within reach of the cab passenger seat occupant.
There is a notice advising the table is to be removed and stored when travelling. Not something that would occur to a lot of us but on reflection, it is good advice.
Above the dinette is a cabinet for the second TV/DVD set that includes a slide-out bracket and all the wiring connections the TV requires. Moving the TV around on the bracket, you can view it from the kitchen or the cab seats but not from the dinette seats.
The two-piece entry door has an insect screen door that can remain closed while the main door stays open. Beside the entry is a narrow floor-to-ceiling cabinet containing two useful narrow cupboards plus a recess that houses the fire extinguisher.
In my Conquest days, I used the lower cupboard to store the toilet chemicals, a small selection of my most used spanners and screwdrivers, and a box of hose fittings.
Caters for Outdoor living
Outdoor living is a big part of the Australian RV lifestyle, and this shows in the way the 419 is set up. It has a five-metre-long awning stretching from the driver’s door to the back of the motorhome. Beneath the awning are an outside light, two weatherproof speakers, external 230-volt power points, a TV aerial connection, and a barbecue bayonet connection for LPG.
All essential ingredients are on-board for bringing outdoor living to life with sufficient water tankage, battery capacity, and solar recharging to sustain modest periods of freedom camping.
LPG bottles—one 9kg and one 4kg—have their separate kerbside locker and there’s another locker lined with galvanised sheet steel for carrying fuel canisters.
While there are a couple more small external lockers, there’s nothing large enough for a barbecue, folding table, or chairs. These will have to be carried inside the vehicle.
The Conquest Limited Edition 419 has a lot going for it—comfortable sleeping for four, a spacious bathroom, a nice big kitchen, and a tidy dinette all sitting on a Mercedes chassis.
The 419 and its twin bed sibling, the MS.25-6, will do well in the marketplace. As reviewed, the Conquest Limited Edition 419 retails for $184,995 including GST.
For more information, contact the sales team at South Auckland Caravans Ltd on (09) 271 3434 or visit caravancentre.co.nz.
The Conquest 419 Limited Edition specifications
Vehicle make/model: Jayco Conquest Limited Edition 419
Engine: 3L Euro 6 twin turbo
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Approx overall length: 7930mm
Approx overall height: 3300mm
Tanks: 75L fresh, 80L grey
Gas LPG: 1 x 9kg, 1 x 4kg
Price as reviewed: $184,995
- Built on a Mercedes-Benz chassis
- Excellent bathroom
- Wonderful kitchen
- An external hatch accessing internal storage would be better