KEA Dreamtime

By: Jill Malcolm


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At the Christchurch Motorhome Show KEA unveiled the enhancements it has undertaken in the four-berth motorhome it has romantically called “Dreamtime”

KEA Dreamtime
KEA Dreamtime

Specifications

Show goers were swarming all over the new-look Dreamtime and the Endeavour (six-berth) models at the show and I didn’t really get the chance to look closely or at length at what had been achieved.

"We were trying to get a message out there that KEA is now not just building motorhomes for rental business but also for sale new," says KEA’s New Zealand national sales manager, Steve Lane.

Back in Auckland, when we did the cover photography for this issue, I had the opportunity to have a good look through the new prototype Dreamtime that has been designed exclusively for the retail market – and I was surprised and impressed with what I saw.

The exterior of this 6.8-metre motorhome, on the new Ford Transit T430, has also had a stylish face-lift. The molded fibreglass shell, for instance, is ice-white and the subtle sweep of decals along its sides are in silver and black. Even the roofline is smartly set off with a railing that lines up with the roof of the Luton for a more streamlined look. A Majestic satellite dish is barely seen, and not seen at all are four flat, amorphous solar panels used to charge the six-volt house batteries.

There are three storage lockers on the passenger side of the vehicle, one of them roomy enough for two sets of golf clubs. The Fiamma awning is generous in size, and over the home door is a very effective exterior light.

Through the central-locking, split-screen entrance door, which has inbuilt insect and security screens, a renaissance has taken place. The interior layout has not significantly altered but the décor is sophisticated and co-ordinated with consummate care. The feeling of space has an immediate impact.

Large, tinted picture windows surround the U-shaped lounge and the colour scheme is unfussy and perfectly matched. My eye travelled easily from the blond beech cabinetry, with its brushed steel handles, to the granite-effect benchtop (generous in size). And there was not one jarring note between the two-tone suede-look macrofibre upholstery, the curtains or the felted Vertaface cladding on the walls.

The colours were a pleasing blend of caramel, milk chocolate and wine biscuit (my terms). The two seats in the cab have also been covered with the same material, which is just one more detail of the well thought out décor.

Another improvement in the Dreamtime is the upgrade to its entertainment system, with the installation of a fold away HD-compatible, 20-inch wide-screen TV built into the ceiling at one end of the lounge. Another screen, 19 inches in size, is installed at one end of the luton. A stereo system with outside speakers is a nice feature for outside entertaining.

The dining and sitting area can be easily configured as a very large double bed or two singles. For those who prefer it, the Dreamtime can also be built with a standard double bed with a table at the rear. Some people prefer this because they do not have to make up the bed each night. The Luton area is deep enough, but quite shallow from roof to mattress and although I would be happy sleeping up there by myself, I am not sure I’d want to with a partner (I’m not that keen on sleeping in any Luton). But I did try the mattress and it is very comfortable. I could see it as a good get-away-from-the-snoring refuge.

Basically for long-term travel, I see this more as a two-berth-that-is-capable-of-being-a-four-berth motorhome. Although it would be perfectly OK as a four-berth for a finite period of time.
The bathroom, with a fold down basin, shower and fixed toilet, is smooth surfaced, plain and looks easy to clean. I liked the large window set in to the outside wall – plenty of ventilation there.

The kitchen area is very adequate, and the pull-out pantry with stainless steel shelves is a really decent size. Adjacent to the sink is a standard four-hob stove-top, separate griller and range hood. A full size oven is optional. The sizes of the bench and the sink (both important points in my assessment of any motorhome or caravan) are more than sufficient. The under-bench fridge is 135 litres but you could have a full size if you were willing to forgo some of the cupboard space. It’s a twelve-volt compressor fridge but Steve told me that with top-up for the house batteries provided by the solar panels, a gas option is not necessary.

"The motorhome’s energy system is set up for easy freedom camping and to be completely summer self sufficient," he says.

Summer or winter, I felt I could really enjoy travelling in the Dreamtime. It’s a motorhome that provides space and comfort and does it in style.

2008/2009 new built specifications Ford Transit T430
2.4 litre-intercooled turbo diesel
Common rail fuel injection
Six-speed manual gearbox
ABS brakes
Electric mirrors and windows
80-litre fuel tank
Dual air bags
Dual rear wheels
Length: 6.8 metres
Width: 2.2 metres
Security and fly screen side door with central locking (unique KEA design)
Gas central heating
Air conditioning
Solar panels
Gas: two x 4.5kg
Pressurised hot water
Deep cycle house batteries (optional two or four can
be fitted)
Flyscreens on all windows
Safety deposit box (big enough for two laptops)
Fully insulated
Certified self-contained from the factory

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