Covi SuperShow review

By: Bill Savidan , Photography by: Bill Savidan

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Bigger, brighter, and better than before, the 2017 Covi SuperShow offered something to everyone

Major players Jayco, TrailLite, and RV Super Centre (winners of the award for the Best Big Stand) had breathtaking displays of products. Jayco covered the caravan field from the 25ft Silverline 25.78-5—7.75 metres of slideout luxury—to the humbler 5.335-metre Starcraft 16.51-3. TrailLite’s extraordinary motorhome display ranged from the imported entry-level Benimar Terossa 481 at $122,000 to their jewel in the crown Oakura 554 at $250,000 plus. RV Super Centre’s huge stand disguised the fact they displayed nearly every product they sell. Their eye-catcher was the new Voyager. Built into a Renault Master, it offers a drop-down bed in a panel van.

For motorhome buyers, the choice was endless. Integrated (A class) models were to the fore. SmartRV displayed the Hymer Starline 680 and 690 and Acacia Motorhomes had the new Frankia Platin Series on display. DeLuxe Group Blenheim countered with the Pilote G740C, and

Paul Cooke from RnRV won hearts with the Cathago 51 QBS liner class. All were stunning examples of the modern integrated motorhome.

Showing the Kiwi flag were Coastal, Diamond, Kiwi Autohomes, and newcomers, ACM Motorhomes. Coastal exhibited their latest—a Mercedes-based Paragon 820, beautifully finished with a grey and burgundy paint scheme. ‘New kid’ ACM showed their 7.5-metre  Platinum Edition, also on Mercedes, which included a full-sized keyboard in its fit-out, reinforcing their claim they ‘build to client’s requirements’.

Caravan buyers, too, had more choice than ever, with 14 or so brands from New Zealand, Australia, the UK, France, Germany, and Slovenia. New Zealand-made Leisure Line and Zephyr were on show with Country RV (Mt Maunganui) while RnRV (Albany) exhibited the Southern Star. Swift Caravans were available on three stands: Merit RV highlighted the Voyager 694, while Country RV and RV Super Centre exhibited five models from their exclusive Lifestyle range.

RV Leisure from Nelson made the journey north and along with RV Super Centre, showed the Elddis flag. Among the ‘vans’ were the new Elddis motorhomes on a Peugeot cab/chassis. They looked good. From Australia came New Age—a brand not seen before in New Zealand. Black and white inside and out, they present a tough, practical demeanour. Their Big Red BR20BR top-of-the range model comes in at $95,000, including ORC. Auto Leisure & Marine Group (ALM) showcased the 2017 models from both the Jurgens and Avida.

CentralRV, Taupo, impressed with a display of its full range of Dethleffs caravans from entry-level C’go and mid-range Nomad to the classy Exclusiv. The Adria Altea 552 Sport from the RV Shop (Mt Maunganui) stood out with its contemporary Swedish interior. The Caravelair Allegra 470 (Euro RV) appealed for its ‘Kiwi lounge’ at the front and practical kitchen. The newly arrived Tabbert caravans (ALM) will give Dethleffs a run for their money.

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But for quirkiness, the Eriba Triton 420 by Hymer (SmartRV) got the nod. It has changed little since its introduction in 1961. Around 1200 are built each year and they are rarely available second-hand. They also have a cult following in Europe.Camper trailers have a small but growing following in New Zealand.

On show were Road Chief Trailers with their Teardrop caravan. Nearby was the biggest small RV at the show, the Flagstaff Mac. At one stage, there were eight people inside the Mac listening to a sales pitch and there was room for more.

Road Chief also had a 6x4 camper trailer on show retailing for under $7000. Buy just the tent for around $2000. But the most innovative RV at the show was the Canadian-built Alto pop-top camper trailer. Alto describes it as "aircraft-inspired, lightweight, aerodynamic, and durable". Add to that ‘light-filled and different’ and you have some idea of what the Alto offers.

Kiwi builders of panel van conversions were out in force. Six had products on display. The largest, from Diamond Motorhomes, in a long wheel-based three-litre Iveco van had separate toilet and shower cubicles, twin settees that convert to beds at the rear, and a good-sized kitchen, all for $139,990. Country RV had two offerings: their Sovereign Adventurer—a Foton panel van conversion at $87,490—and the larger Pioneer built in an LDV van for $99,990.

RV Shop (Mt Maunganui) and Wendekreisen (Auckland) also use LDVs, starting at under $90,000 while Transtec (Thames) use Fiat six-metre vans starting at $134,800. Kea is on Mercedes with their Nomad at a competitive $124,990, including ORC. All these products are professionally built and beautifully presented.

If crowd numbers are a measure, equipment suppliers had a good show.

The team at RSE featured the Fiscan Smartpower system that centralises all things electronic on an RV for simple, user-friendly monitoring and control. It’s the way of the future. Dometic featured a battery/solar panel/fridge cold kit for off-the-grid campers. Entry level starts with a 44amp-hr battery/80 watt panel/CF18, 18-litre fridge/freezer for $799. Larger kits are also available.

Golf tragics got the surprise of the weekend from RV & Marine Supplies. They featured QOD, arguably the world’s lightest, most compact electric golf trundler. Selling at $1395, it is bound to be a winner. After all, an RV is by far the best way to visit New Zealand’s many and varied golf courses.    

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