Wheel estate: Jayco Silverline 21.65-3

By: Bill Savidan, Photography by: Bill Savidan

The front window cover provides travel protection and awning shade, while the front boot is weather tight Jayco Silverline 21.65-3 The front window cover provides travel protection and awning shade, while the front boot is weather tight
Jayco Silverline 21.65-3 The 21.65-3's layout is the most popular of the three options available for the Silverlines. Jayco Silverline 21.65-3
Jayco Silverline 21.65-3 The full-width rear bathroom is an attractive pampering parlour Jayco Silverline 21.65-3
Jayco Silverline 21.65-3 The design of the 'van allows for better ground clearance and a smoother ride Jayco Silverline 21.65-3

As the former owner of a Jayco RV, Bill was delighted to have the chance to review the company’s latest offering — the Silverline caravan.

The Silverline is a new addition to the Jayco caravan range. Jayco founder Gerry Ryan registered the Silverline name in 1997 and has kept it 'on ice' waiting for an opportunity to use it on a new release he felt was worthy of the name. So, what's new about the Silverline, and what's different?

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Currently Silverlines are available in three different layouts and the 21.65-3 layout is one of the most popular with a club lounge at the front, a central kitchen, and an east-west queen-sized bed ahead of the full-width rear bathroom.

In profile it is very similar to the current Jayco Sterling model. From either end it's a different story. Both the front and rear one-piece mouldings are new. The slanted diamond-shaped signal and stop lights are mounted in the rear moulding, instead of being separate fixtures attached to the back of the 'van — altogether tidier and much more attractive. But it is the front one-piece moulding that really catches the eye.

The traditional cover over the front window, which on many caravans looks like an afterthought to provide travel protection and awning shade, has had a modern makeover at the hands of the Jayco designers. On the Silverline, it appears Jayco has dispensed with the window cover altogether, replacing it with what appears to be a full-width dark glass window.

But when the central dark glass panel is opened, it lifts up to become the awning, revealing the front opening window underneath. The front of the 'van is free of clutter, with the spare wheel mounted in a tray in the chassis A-frame and covered with a shiny moulded cover — altogether a very sleek design solution that gives the Silverline a unique contemporary appearance.

Untitled -2914The front boot has a weather-tight interior moulding with a separate compartment on the kerbside for two nine-kilogram LPG bottles. This locker has a separate door and the bottles are mounted on a slide-out tray, making bottle changeovers a breeze. Apart from the jack and various handles clipped to the wall, the boot is empty and available for whatever items you choose to carry in it.

Safety features are to the fore on the Silverline. It has two safety chains plus a breakaway cable that operates the electric brakes if the 'van (and cable) detach from the tow vehicle. The AL-KO electronic stability control (ESC) system is fitted to help stabilise the Silverline should the driving circumstances induce swaying or rocking that might otherwise cause the 'van to become uncontrollable. Combined with the new trailing arm independent suspension, the Silverline is arguably the best riding and safest towing caravan in the Jayco range.

This new suspension has been developed by Jayco for its Endurance chassis (the chassis under the Silverline). Fitted with Pedders heavy-duty off-road shock absorbers and coil springs, with an Aeon rubber spring insert in the coil spring for improved compression performance, this trailing arm coil suspension offers many benefits.

Individual wheels acting independently improve stability, resulting in less stressful towing. There is no beam axle across the 'van, meaning better ground clearance, and with less unsprung weight you get a smoother ride. AL-KO stub axles, bearings, and brakes make the system compatible with the AL-KO ESC system. Whether travelling on the highway or off-road, the Silverline should provide a safer, softer tow than 'vans on conventional beam axles.

Acknowledging that they are mass-produced in the largest RV manufacturing facility in Australia, Jayco RVs by and large are very user friendly. The builders know what buyers want and do their best to provide it. The five-metre long CareFree awning is easy to deploy and relatively stable in a brisk breeze. Should the strength of the breeze make you nervous, the awning mechanism makes it easy to stow away quickly and safely.

The top vent for the Dometic fridge/freezer now exits unobtrusively through a custom-made roof vent, rather than through the sidewall — a much tidier arrangement inside and out. Under the awning is a double 240-volt outlet plug, alongside a neat surface-mounted, hinged table. Around the other side, the 240-volt inlet plug is at waist level (rather than at lineout jumpers' height) on the sidewall.

The interior grey/brown Cadel Charcoal cushions and champagne curtains, the Hamilton Maple laminate, the black glass appliances, and charcoal bench tops sit comfortably against the backdrop of off-white ceilings and walls. The cabinetry design and quality is top notch, too. Gone are the stacks of small drawers, replaced by three wide, deep drawers that occupy all the space beneath the kitchen bench.

Interior Jayco Silverline

All doors and drawers are fitted with the latest 'soft-close' mechanisms. The drawers have a new refined version of the familiar finger-push latch. Just push the silver cover and a flap pops out. Pull the flap from the bottom and the cupboard/drawer opens. Remember to push the flap closed when you are finished.

The overhead lockers blend in seamlessly with the microwave/rangehood unit situated above the three LPG plus one electric hob. It's smart and practical at the same time, with plenty of locker space and a Dometic double-door 191-litre fridge/freezer with room for much more than just the bare essentials.

The dinette is typical Jayco — seats a little upright with deep foam padding and Jayco's trademark twin roll-back cushions upholstered with Thorpe fabric. Plenty of room for four diners, and six at a pinch. If you're like me and want to lie back a bit, especially if you are watching TV, be sure to bags the corner seat. The TV is located at bench height beside the door, so is easy to see from any part of the dinette.

The lights are exclusively LED. Spots and strip lights beneath the overhead lockers and a central cluster over the table. All have individual switches and there is a master off switch that kills
them all at once. There seem to be 240-volt sockets everywhere. I found eight doubles on walls, in cupboards,
and under seats and beds. Running devices and charging batteries shouldn't be a problem.

The bedroom space is of good size and generous proportions. Of course, the 550mm electric-powered slide-out makes a huge difference to the feeling of spaciousness. The queen bed comprises an inner-sprung mattress over sprung wooden slats, with storage underneath that is accessed by lifting the mattress.

There are so many lockers and cupboards for clothing and personal effects that there could well be a problem for the occupants remembering where they put things. A second set of TV connections allows for TV viewing in bed. Some buyers may disagree with Jayco's decision not to have a privacy screen between the kitchen and the bedroom.

The rear bathroom will be a strong selling feature for the Silverline. The large shower stall has coffee-coloured walls with silver trim and a white tray that I found unusually attractive. A generous-sized vanity, a large mirror, and seductive lighting all make for an attractive pampering parlour. And tucked into the corner beside the toilet is a washing machine.

Overall the Silverline is a big improvement over models of six years ago — better décor, better quality both inside and out, and better engineering.

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