Work In Progress

Photography by: Bill Savidan


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The first impression of the Oxford 65 exterior is a good one...

Work In Progress
Work In Progress

A balanced profile; not too much slope at the front; roofline rising slightly towards the rear with a gentle radius at the top and bottom of the rear panel. The moulded fibreglass front section is well proportioned with careful attention to detail; recessed handles, front locker lid, all blending seamlessly with the roof panel.

In fact, the roof panel is a continuous length of fibreglass sheet starting below the front windows, curving at the top to become the roof panel, then curving down to become the rear panel of the caravan.

The side panels are well engineered and mirror flat. They are aluminium-framed, vacuum-bonded sandwich construction, with a fibreglass outer skin/insulation/pre-finished ply inner skin. Water leaks can play havoc with the structural integrity of this construction method. But the attention to detail where the front panel overlaps the sidewalls, and where the roof and wall panels join, suggests this will not be a problem for the new Oxford 65. The gleaming alloy wheels complete a picture of understated elegance.

Take a step inside

The access door is aft of the twin-axles. On entry, the full-width bathroom across the rear is to the right, while to the left you walk through the kitchen/dinette area to the bedroom space at the front of the caravan. This layout provoked a lot of discussion among show attendees. Some liked it, others, particularly traditional Oxford buyers, were not so keen. Motek distilled the responses and concluded the preferred seating arrangement was lounge seating that could be used for dining rather than a dedicated dinette. Before sending the caravan to The South Island Camper Care New Zealand Motorhome and Caravan Show in Christchurch, Motek responded to the comments by changing the layout, installing an open lounge area with a removable dining table in place of the dinette.

The interior styling is contemporary and functional, essentially dark timber furniture panels with off-white cabinet doors, walls and ceiling. Definitely not traditional Oxford! While these interiors may all look the same exiting the factory, once the owners introduce their own colours, textures and themes, they will all look very different.

The large bathroom across the rear is one of the most practical I have seen in a large caravan. It will appeal to buyers who prefer to use the on-board facilities rather than those provided by a holiday park. Very spacious, it has a separate 'residential size' shower (920 x 795mm) with a wide door opening to match (560mm clear), and an intricately moulded shower base designed to allow water drainage past the teak floor grate. A hand-basin/vanity unit separates the shower from the toilet. The facility is well ventilated with good natural and artificial light – a light in the shower tucked up in the top corner out of harms way! Need a mirror? It's on the back of the sliding door that provides privacy from the rest of the van. The toilet is a Dometic with a generously-sized porcelain bowl. It is a functional uncluttered bathroom with ample shelf and cupboard space for toiletries and towels. It may be a break from Oxford tradition, but it suits me fine!

In the kitchen, overhead cupboards and drawers below the bench offer adequate food storage, and there is sleek 175-litre Dometic fridge/freezer for the cold cuts. Part of the large cupboard opposite the fridge/freezer is dedicated as a wardrobe, but there is space available for use as a pantry if needed. There is plenty of choice should you need to cook, be it microwave, Thetford combined oven/grill or Dometic three-burner hob, and plenty of ventilation (two ceiling hatches, a range-hood, a window behind the bench and through the screened access door). You will definitely need to lower the glass tops on the hob and sink, though, if you like space when preparing meals.

The Oxford 65 sleeps up to four adults, and it offers facilities for this number. That said, entertaining friends, especially during happy hour, is a large part of New Zealand caravanning. Whether for dining or casual use, the lounge can cosily cater for up to six, or even eight (very cosy) if you have a couple of folding stools handy. But four is more sociable. When erected, the dining table is very stable and the top becomes the base for the in-fill cushion used to convert the lounge seating into an additional double bed.

The seat squabs as reviewed are square-edged 'basic', but I suspect this is a result of the need to have the remodelled lounge/dining area available in time for the show in Christchurch rather than representing the finished retail product. The Oxford Caravan spec sheet suggests the dinette bed will have a comfortable inner-sprung mattress.

The TV is on a fixed bracket above the access door and not easily visible from the lounge seats nearest the front of the van. I counted 16 LED lights in the kitchen/dining area, but strangely enough just a single 230V power point located above the kitchen bench. Separate 82-litre fresh and grey wastewater tanks are fitted as standard so you can freedom camp if you wish. Be sure to obtain a Self-Containment Certificate first, though, before you do.

For me, the bedroom ticks all the boxes. You can walk right round the queen size double bed and there are shelves on either side to receive the morning cuppa, and all the other bits and pieces that bedside tables attract.


A single hanging locker and two overhead lockers complete the clothes storage arrangements. And of course, there is more hanger room in the wardrobe next door.

A ceiling hatch and light, two reading lights and four opening windows (all fitted with thermal blinds), provide a host of illumination/ventilation options, while a TV is an optional extra in the bedroom.

Storage is available under the bed and is easily accessed by lifting the mattress on its base (assisted by gas struts). It's an ideal place for storing folding tables and chairs, golf clubs and other light, bulky items. You can access this storage space through a hatch in the side of the caravan but it would be so much more convenient if this access hatch were larger. There is more internally-accessed storage space under the dinette seats; no external access, though. The front locker houses two 4.5kg LPG bottles and the 100amp/h deep cycle house battery, leaving room to store more gear.

Towing

We used a 2004 four-litre petrol Falcon BA auto as a tow vehicle. When fitted with a Ford spec heavy-duty tow bar, an external transmission oil cooler and heavy-duty rear springs, it has a towing rating of 2300kg, well above the Oxford 65's 2050GVW. Ours handled the tare 1685kg (approximately) Oxford 65 with aplomb. The 65 has good ground clearance and it traversed imposing speed humps with aplomb and barely a kiss. The 95kg ball weight depressed the rear of the Falcon about 80mm, indicating that fitting load levellers would be a good option when towing a fully-laden 65. Some of the roads allowed us a maximum speed of 80kph, with large roundabouts and moderately heavy traffic conditions providing a handling challenge. But the Oxford tracked through it all like a veteran rather than the new kid on the block – very impressive.

The verdict

That summed up my impression of the Oxford 65… impressive. The bodywork detail and style have been well thought out and executed. The interior layout is one that is very popular in Australia and one that will gain a following here. It accommodates a large bathroom unobtrusively, and hides the wheel arches inside furniture cabinetry. However, I do feel the interior lacks a little in focus and personality. Note though, the caravan reviewed is a prototype; the Oxford design team have already responded to customer comment and changed the seating, so don't be surprised to see more improvements emerge in production models. Watch this space.

 

As reviewed, the '65' was mounted on an AL-KO galvanised steel chassis, with independent suspension and electric braking, but this set-up may change before Motek go into full production. It is pre-wired for solar panels and TV but the items themselves are optional extras, as is the awning. The retail price on the Oxford as reviewed but not including the awning or TV is $72,097.

 

For more details, contact your nearest Motek dealer or visit www.motekvehicles.com.

 

Specifications

 



Capacity

Sleeps up to 4 people

Fresh water tank

82L

Grey water tank

82L

Tare weight

1685kg (approx)

GVM

2050kg

Body length

6457mm

Overall length

7337mm

Overall width

2430mm

Interior height max

2060mm

Exterior height

2715mm

Price as reviewed

$72,097 (not including awning or TV)

 

Plus

Well-thought-out bodywork detail and style

Practical and stylish interior layout

Accommodates a large bathroom unobtrusively

 

Minus

The interior is still a work in progress, so don';t be surprised to see more improvements emerge in production models



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