Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum

By: Bill Savidan


Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum
Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum
Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum
Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum
Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum
Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum
Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum
Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum
Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum Caravan review: Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum

Bill Savidan reviews the Leisure Line 7.3 Platinum and finds tradition and trendsetting really do go hand in hand.

There is an interesting dynamic at Leisure Line caravans. Colin Bates, founder of the company, is a traditionalist with his feet firmly planted in the old school way of doing things. His son, Wayne, has a different philosophy.

More than once during the review, Wayne remarked, "If you are not moving forwards, you are going backwards". He observes developing trends throughout the RV world, evaluating each one to see if it might fit the Leisure Line way. The result is that new features or new ways of doing things are only are introduced into Leisure Line caravans after lots of careful thought, testing and much discussion.

I met Wayne at the Leisure Line factory on the northern outskirts of Hamilton, where he had the 7.3 Platinum hooked up to a Ford Ranger 2WD ute ready to go.

Differences from previous models

Before we headed out, I had a walk around the caravan and spotted two differences from previous models. We discussed them as we headed out to the photo shoot.

First, and most obvious, was the external cladding. Gone were the overlapping horizontal boards, replaced with the same perfectly flat shiny smooth sides used on Leisure Line's sister caravan.

"It's the same as what's used on the Southern Star. It costs a wee bit more but worth it, proving to be a very durable cladding that stays looking good year after year, right in line with our expectations for the Platinum series," says Wayne.

Later, back at the factory, Colin showed me a sample sheet of the cladding laminate that is about 4mm thick and has three layers. The outside layer is a smooth plastic sheet; the core is a very firm rubbery material and the inside layer is a thin sheet of aluminium. Glued to the traditional Leisure Line timber wall frame I could see it would create a durable rigid structure.

The other difference was the suspension system. The 7.3 Platinum is fitted with Alko's IRS suspension system instead of the rocker spring suspension used previously. At a glance, you'd wonder if there was any suspension there at all, it is so unobtrusive, but Wayne and Colin had only good things to say about it.

The 7.3 Platinum is also fitted with four-wheel electrically activated brakes, and Alko's ESC braking assistance system. This computer-directed braking system comes into effect to keep the caravan on a safe track and minimise the likelihood of skidding and jack-knifing in emergency situations.

It sounds like magic but it is very effective and a great safety aid. Leisure Line is making ESC standard on caravans fitted with electric brakes.

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Inside the 7.3 Platinum

We parked by the Waikato River and Wayne introduced me to the interior of the new 7.3 Platinum. It is quite different from previous Leisure Line caravans, with its contrasting laminated surfaces in place of timber frames, curved locker doors and LED mood lighting. Not a leap into sharp-edged modernity but rather a careful blend of modern style and traditional cabinetry.

The 7.3 Platinum layout is the popular 'U-shaped' lounge at the front of the caravan to the left of the entry, the kitchen amidships and the bedroom/bathroom is to the right at the rear of the caravan. The queen-sized island bed lies east/west with the full-width bathroom across the back of the caravan.

The décor is a tasteful mix of coffee and cinnamon tones over a dark grey/brown plush pile carpet. Inviting, warm and relaxing; it’s just waiting to be personalised with a dash of daring colour. The curved cabinet doors below the sink are finished in the same off-white tone as the overhead locker doors and contrast nicely with the strong timber-grain patterned surfaces of the adjoining doors and drawers.

I found the lounge/dining seating to be extremely comfortable. The seat cushions are at the right height, the back cushions offer good support and the soft leather covers were surprisingly snug and warm. There is comfortable seating for four, or six at a pinch.

Kitchen/bathroom

There is a truly impressive amount of kitchen storage above and below the kitchen bench and in the unit beside the fridge/freezer. Murphy will definitely have his work cut out to get his law to work in this situation.

Nearly as impressive is the long kitchen bench; a real bonus when preparing and serving up meals. And to be sure there is enough space, the 7.3 Platinum has a slide-out bench extension at the end nearest the dining table.

The bathroom is in keeping with the indulgence theme: plenty of room, adequate cupboard space and a surprisingly spacious, if spartan, shower stall. Spartan in that there are no shelves or racks for soap, shampoo etc. However, Wayne indicated a unit dispensing soap, shampoo and conditioner would be installed in future 7.3 Platinums. 

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Tucked away under the vanity top is a clothes washing machine. No more waiting until a campground machine is available. However, you will need a generator to power it up if you are freedom camping.

Modern comforts and appliances 

I was tempted put my feet up and watch the RSE 24-inch TV. It covers all the bases with a built-in Freeview tuner and a slot for your SKY card. If music is your passion, you will be delighted with the performance of the Fusion entertainment centre – it's brilliant. LED lighting offers a range of options from daylight bright to warm and moody, take your pick.

As you would expect of a Leisure Line, it is fully equipped with the necessary appliances, all top of the line quality; a four-hob cooktop with separate grill and oven below; a 190-litre Dometic two-door fridge/freezer; microwave and range hood.

A really neat feature is the filtered water supply. The filter is mounted beneath the bench and the water outlet is located on the faucet just behind the outlet for the raw tank water. There is a wee knob at the base of the faucet that directs the flow either directly from the tank or via the filter. Effective, efficient and unobtrusive.

The verdict

The open-plan layout of the 7.3 Platinum best suits a couple of occupants rather than a crowd. Sure, the lounge seating can convert to a double bed for occasional guests, but the really comfortable bed is the queen mattress over the slat base at the back of the caravan. Nestled between two table topped cabinets with a pair of reading lights above and its own private ensuite to the side, it oozes 'indulgence for two'. Sorry, more than that spoils the party, for me.

Leisure Line recognises that caravan owners like to spend as much time outdoors as they can, so have included some useful outdoor extras in the 7.3 Platinum package. You can cook on your barbecue – connected up to the convenient external gas connection under your Cvana awning – listen to your MP3 sourced music connected via Bluetooth to your exterior speakers, with food and beverages all laid out on the picnic table.

Colin and Wayne may not always agree initially on what new features or changes should be part of new Leisure Line products, but in the case of the 7.3 Platinum I think the final product is dead right.

For more information on the 7.3 Platinum or other Leisure Line caravans, contact the team at Leisure Line in Hamilton on (07) 849 2356.

Thumbs up

  • The impressive kitchen
  • The Alko IRS suspension and the ESC braking assist
  • The new interior décor

Thumbs down

  • Nothing

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