It will not be a surprise to anyone with an understanding of the New Zealand RV industry to learn that it has grown considerably over the last few years.
And not just in the lower end of the market either; there has been a corresponding rise at the top end as well, and in very recent times, the ceiling limit has been raised again.
Enter the Morelo Home 82 LS A class motorhome. All yours for a mere $365,000. Maybe, you are thinking that Jonas Ng, proprietor of an expanding Zion Motorhomes, has lost the plot.
However, he is simply adding to his already successful line-up of Dethleffs, Frankia and, most recently, Niesmann + Bischoff motorhomes by having a top-line range with a couple of interesting differences.
Unlike many a motorhome that arrives from Europe, the Morelo Home is built on an Iveco Daily chassis, and unlike many a motorhome that arrives from Germany, the habitation door is on the left-hand side.
That in itself is something of a surprise because the overall world market for nearside doors is relatively small, and it’s interesting that Morelo has taken that step as a first for the New Zealand market.
Since many imported European motorhomes are mostly built on a Fiat Ducato or to a lesser extent a Benz Sprinter, using an Iveco Daily is not a totally radical move, given it has a better load rating than the Ducato and an economic advantage over the Benz.
The three-litre Iveco twin turbo diesel delivers 151kW of grunt through its eight-speed auto gearbox. Aiding the ride comfort is the airbag suspension fitted to the dual rear wheels
On the road
At 8.2 metres long, the Morelo is not a small motorhome, and its sheer bulk is a little off-putting, but the reality is that it is surprisingly easy to drive.
It’s no wider than most motorhomes and the length mostly has to be kept in mind when overtaking and turning. The motorhome body, though, does sit quite low, and short length and deep undulations need to be treated with caution.
I have to say that once I had my head around the rather expensive machine I was driving, it was fun. Indeed, the airbag suspension improves the ride no end, the eight-speed gearbox is certainly better than the AMT six-speed from Iveco’s Italian stablemate, Fiat, and I really like the coach-style rear-view mirrors and reversing camera.
In addition, of course, from the driver’s seat, you get a rather stunning panorama of the surrounding scenery and the ability to look over the cars in front. The custom-made dashboard has been done rather well and all the instrumentation is close to hand.
Structurally, the motorhome body is built on a ladder chassis—one section lower behind the rear wheels to accommodate the large storage garage. For the overall bodywork, aluminium composite panels are used and that includes extensive use of XPS foam for heat/cold insulation and moisture resistance.
To further resist water ingress issues, the underbody panels are made from fibreglass. On weighty matters, the Morelo has a GVM of 5800kg, meaning a New Zealand car licence can be used.
A bit of trivia here: across the Tasman, those Aussies need a truck licence for this sized motorhome. With a tare mass of 4620kg, that gives an amazing payload of 1180kg.
From the outside, it is clear that the Morelo is not short of external storage capacity even with the dedicated bins for gas cylinders, electrics, and water utilities. I’d go so far as to suggest that if travelling with the bare camping essentials, then you might not need the huge rear garage area at all.
That, of course, is excellent for bikes (even the motor variety), golf clubs, snow skis, scuba dive tanks, and just about anything else you can reasonably think about.
It’s surprising what you get used to because, at the Zion yard, I initially walked around to the right-hand side of the motorhome to get in, but, of course, the door is on the other side in the conventional position.
In 8.2 metres of motorhome length, the designer has plenty of room to play with. Forward of the habitation door is the lounge dining area and just behind that is the kitchen area. To the rear, a split bathroom separates the general living area from the rear bedroom area.
The internal décor of my review motorhome was certainly in contrasting colours with a darker colour of the cabinetry and white leather of the upholstery. I suspect, though, at this price, choosing your own colours is certainly an option.
Certainly, the front area is well laid out, with a nearside sideways facing seat, a rear forward facing seat, and the two swivelling cab seats. The every-which-way table is quite stable and can be both expanded and pushed around to suit.
An item of interest is the front blinds. Both side windows are hand operated but the front blind is a push button operation and can be lowered from the top or when fully lowered, can be used as a daytime privacy blind by raising it half way.
Like the seat in front of it, the kitchen bench is also L-shaped, with the Thetford three burner hob against the wall and the double sink at front angles.
That allows for drawer and cupboard space underneath, although not much bench top area; both sinks do come with handy covers though.
Although this motorhome has a split bathroom, it can be closed off from both sides by fully opening the toilet cubicle door on the kitchen side and closing the sliding door on the bedroom side.
The shower cubicle is quite spacious, as is the toilet cubicle that comes with a cassette toilet, vanity sink, very large wall mirrors, and a good selection of storage cupboards.
Single or double beds
The rear bed area is a little unusual. Although it has two single 2000mm x 1030mm beds, they actually butt up against each other and it’s also possible to have a very large double bed.
An alternative layout to this one does offer an island bed, but I suspect for this arrangement, making the bed up for two singles is easiest.
Off the grid
A 280AH of battery capacity and 400-watt of solar generation gives the Morelo a good ability for remote camping. For those devices that require a 240-volt power, a 1600-watt inverter will be a handy item. Water capacity of 300 litres for fresh water and 200 litres for the grey tank ensures a good self-containment facility.
Given the price tag of the Morelo Home, you might just expect a feature-packed motorhome and that is what you get. An article like this cannot possibly do justice to the equipment level of this motorhome but it is very impressive.
Undoubtedly, the passenger-side entry door is a prime feature of interest but the prestige level of appointment and storage capability inside and out makes this one a luxury motorhome.
Morelo Home 82 LS specifications
|Vehicle make/model||Morelo Home 82 LS|
|Engine||3L turbo diesel|
|Approx. overall length||8190mm|
|Approx. overall width||2350mm|
|Gas||2 x 9kg|
Morelo Home 82 LS price (as reviewed): $365,000
- Purpose-built layout for left-hand entry door
- Payload capacity
- High level of appointment
- Front lounge layout
- Airbag suspension
- Certainly pricy
- Ground clearance
For more information on the Morelo Home LS motorhome, contact Zion Motorhomes (Auckland) on 0800 112 828 or visit zionmotorhomes.co.nz and UCC Motorhomes (Christchurch) on 0800 222 108 or visit uccmotorhomes.co.nz.