Holiday Rambler

By: Peta Stavelli

Holiday Rambler Holiday Rambler
Holiday Rambler Holiday Rambler
Holiday Rambler Holiday Rambler
Holiday Rambler Holiday Rambler
Holiday Rambler Holiday Rambler

Peta Stavelli visits the Mount Maunganui home of Holiday Rambler and finds a little bit of the USA goes a very long way, with loads of style to suit Kiwi travellers — especially those who want to live aboard

Holiday Rambler
Holiday Rambler

The first thing you notice about the Holiday Rambler is its size. This is no cute n' compact holiday camper. This is a serious home on-the-road. No compromises; and it comes with an option of one or two slide-outs which double your stationary living space, so it has all the advantages of a 5th wheeler, without the need for an additional tow vehicle.

At around 10 metres in length, and with a gross laden weight of more than 6000kg, the driver of a Holiday Rambler Aluma-Lite 2013 will need an HT licence suitable for a Class 2 Medium Rigid Vehicle, which is not difficult to obtain. On the road, though longer than most RV's, the Holiday Rambler is not exceptionally wide and handles like a small bus, while feeling like a small bach.

Inside you will find all the amenities of a well-equipped holiday home: microwave, three-way stove, three-burner gas hob, gas oven and good-sized Dometic 'fridge. The bathroom sets new standards for an RV. It's exceptionally generous with a spacious shower with glass door, fixed ceramic toilet and corner washbasin.

A queen-sized bed in the rear bedroom with overhead storage and handy bedside cabinets provides a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of the living area. Additional beds up to six berths are available in settee or dinette conversions, depending on which layout you opt for.

Despite originating in the USA, the floor-plans are designed with the Kiwi lifestyle in mind. These are converted to your specifications, including left-hand side entry and New Zealand standards, at USA Direct in Mount Maunganui. Here the vehicles destined for New Zealand receive their final makeover to right-hand drive, having been wired to New Zealand standards before leaving the Navistar factory in the USA.

Navistar is one of the USA's leading vehicle manufacturers responsible for trucks, buses and defence vehicles, among others. Holiday Rambler is a long established brand celebrating its 60th birthday this year. Purchasers enjoy a five-year structural warranty with full service and parts provided by USA Direct, part of Coastline Marine. The team had already enjoyed frequent accolades as the country's top Volva Penta agent when they began American conversions in 2004.

The secondary business grew from their passion for American vehicles and as well as direct import of the Holiday Rambler, they will also import other vehicles to order, convert them to right-hand drive, and arrange shipping compliance, certification and Warrant of Fitness in New Zealand. USA Direct is the exclusive dealer for the Holiday Rambler which — at around $230,000 — represents extraordinary value for its size.

USA Direct's managing director Ben Quin is delighted with sales to date of the Holiday Rambler which have exceeded his expectations.

He says, "Once people have had the opportunity to view them, these vehicles almost sell themselves. The most recent buyers of a double slide-out are trading in their converted bus. They're already converts to the push button convenience of American vehicles with their slide-outs and awnings."

Ben says the majority of sales are for the double slide-out. "I think people tend to prefer that version because of the extra room it affords. These are mostly buyers who are looking for a vehicle with plenty of room so they can stay comfortably in it for weeks at a time. They're not the sorts to up sticks and move every few days."

So what else can purchasers expect of the Holiday Rambler? Masses of storage, both inside and out of the vehicle. In addition to all of the cupboards, drawers, and built-in wardrobes you'd expect in the kitchen and bathroom of a small apartment, lockers outside of the vehicle will allow for the carriage of all your sporting and recreational equipment. The rear locker is so spacious it will take several bicycles. For any additional toys, the standard towbar has a towing capacity of around 2300kg.

The internal entertainment system includes satellite reception, two LED TVs, a DVD in the lounge, and hook-ups for games. The vehicle comes with solar panels, a Victron 1200-watt inverter, 50-amp charger and 3.6 KVA Cummins Oman 240-volt Genset. LPG, carbon monoxide and, smoke detectors are already installed for peace of mind.

Automatic levelling jacks, a push-button electric awning, and a slide-out topper awning make setting up camp a breeze — and no dirt will be tracked indoors if you take advantage of the hot and cold water external shower.

The Holiday Rambler is designed for freedom camping, with around 150 litres of each black and grey water storage and nearly 193 litres of fresh. The standard gas bottle is 36 litres and overhead a 13.58TU air-conditioner supported by double-glazed windows, takes care of the inside temperatures.

Under the bonnet a V10, 362-litre, five-speed with automatic transmission Ford Triton engine will keep you moving. The Holiday Rambler runs on petrol which Ben takes pains to point out may sometimes be a better option than diesel, depending on the miles travelled. He says petrol engines are quieter and can claim back fuel excise duty.

The plaid and woody interior is decidedly American, but not overbearing as the standard cherry panelling comes in the lighter Fulton shade. Externally the paint and graphics package makes for a sleek and handsome finish.

This is an imposing and stylish vehicle which will draw an admiring crowd wherever it roams. The single slide-out version retails for around $227,000, while the double slide-out will set you back approximately $229,000, incl. ORC.

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