United 4 Campervan

By: Malcolm Street, Photography by: Malcolm Street

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The United 4 motorhome certainly has enough grunt to handle the mountain roads and long downhill runs of Wanaka

United 4 Campervan
United 4 Campervan
  • Fuso is surprisingly easy to drive
  • Excellent internal storage
  • Generous sized kitchen and bathroom
  • Diesel-fired heater works very well, day and night

Soon after arriving in Christchurch and a briefing at the United Campervans depot, I was on my way south to Wanaka in this United 4.

Engine and power

It did not take me long to appreciate the virtues of the Mitsubishi Fuso base vehicle. Powered by a 3.9-litre turbo diesel, it drives through a five-speed manual gearbox.

More truck like than its European counterparts, the Fuso certainly has enough grunt to handle the mountain roads and the exhaust brake is certainly very useful on long downhill runs.

Inside design

Built for four people, the United 4 has a time-honoured Kiwi style layout – double bed in the Luton peak, table/lounge/bed in the rear, an offside kitchen and a shower/toilet cubicle behind the passenger seat. A slight disadvantage of the Fuso is that the above axle engine means that it does not have a flat floor walk-through, but in bad weather or an emergency it’s still possible to get to and from the cab.

This motorhome has a lounge seat across the rear and on either side facing the rear, two single seats. The single pole-mounted table can either be mounted centrally or offset to one side. I used the latter, so the table was easier to get around, however it that didn’t leave much leg space for the offside seat. The table can be stored under a rear seat cushion.

Above the seats, there was plenty of overhead locker space, while the underseat areas were also available, except part of the offside seat already occupied by the heater unit. Two floor hatches give access to the rear seat area and it also has an external bin door.

The kitchen in the United 4 is definitely well sized. It comes with a Smev four-burner hob/grill and stainless steel sink avec drainer in the bench top and a 90-litre 12V compressor fridge under the hob/grill. The microwave oven was set in the overhead locker area at the front end. That left plenty of room for bench top working space, overhead lockers, generous cupboard space and a good number of drawers. The purpose-built slide-out rack for the plates, cups and glasses held everything securely.

The shower and toilet cubicles offer space to turn around and still have enough space for a Thetford cassette toilet, flexible height shower and a fold down wash basin. Above the basin is a shaving cabinet and ventilation is handled by a fan and frosted window. Between the bathroom and the entry door, the cabinet there comes fitted with a wardrobe, two drawers and a floor locker.

Above the driver’s cab, the Luton peak bed had windows on either side and one reading light fitted to the offside wall. Storage compartments built into the front nose cone were handy for books, torch and glasses etc. The steel ladder which could be hinged out could have done with wider steps – they were a bit hard on bare feet.

A feature of the United 4 that I came to appreciate quickly was the diesel-fired space heater. It also heated the hot water and worked very well. It could be set to a variety of temperatures and left on low overnight.


If considering the purchase of a motorhome, one of the benefits of a rental motorhome is that it’s a relatively inexpensive way to try out the motorhome or campervan lifestyle – it also gives a good idea of what your own requirements might be for a future purchase.

Those used to Euro chassis might wonder about the Japanese Fuso, but although it’s certainly more truck-like, it’s not difficult to drive.


Rental company United Campervans
Model 4-berth
Base vehicle Mitsubishi Fuso
Engine 3.9-litre turbo diesel
Gearbox Five-speed manual
Max power 109kW @ 2900rpm
Max torque 392Nm @ 1600rpm
Brakes Drum
Tare weight 3670kg
GVM 4490kg
External length 5.9m (19ft 4in)
External width 2.4m (7ft 10in)
Internal height 1.97m (6ft 6in)
Hob Smev four-burner and grill
Fridge Vitrifrigo 90-litre 12V compressor
Microwave oven Sharp carousel
Gas 1 x 9.0kg
Lighting 12V fluorescent and halogen
Toilet Thetford cassette
Shower Flex hose, vari-height
Hot water Webasto diesel-fired
Fresh water 90-litre
Grey water 85-litre


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