Kea Breeze motorhome review

By: Bill Savidan


Kea Breeze motorhome review Kea Breeze motorhome review
Kea Breeze motorhome review Kea Breeze motorhome review
Kea Breeze motorhome review Kea Breeze motorhome review
Kea Breeze motorhome review Kea Breeze motorhome review
Kea Breeze motorhome review Kea Breeze motorhome review

Bill Savidan checks out the latest offering from Tourism Holdings Ltd and finds a breath of fresh air. Check out his review.

It is always interesting to visit the RV Super Centre to review the latest offerings from Tourism Holdings Ltd (THL). The element of surprise hovers and I always wonder how it will present itself. The KEA Breeze didn’t disappoint. The surprise for me was the side profile. The way the rear panel tucked in at the bottom reminded me of the first family car I can remember – a 1930 Chevrolet.

The Breeze marks three firsts for the KEA motorhome brand. It is the first motorhome it has built on an LDV cab chassis; at just over six metres long it is one of the shortest coaches built by KEA and it is the first motorhome the company has built with a drop-down bed in the lounge.

Introducing LDV

As a brand, LDV has been around since 1993 but it has only come to the fore as a motorhome base vehicle in New Zealand since teaming up with Chinese manufacturer SAIC in 2001. Great Lakes Motor Distributors from Taupo acquired the New Zealand agency and over the past three years has appointed 20 sales and service agencies throughout the country. After initial trials proved satisfactory, Richies Coaches and Buses has introduced around 50 LDV ’vans into its bus fleet. Encouraged by these trends, THL elected to try the brand under the Breeze.

The model employed is the LDV V80 powered by a 2.5-litre turbo diesel built by Fiat subsidiary VM Motori. The Bosch electronically controlled, common rail, direct fuel injected, intercooled engine supplies 100kw @ 3800rpm and 330Nm of torque at 1800/2600rpm through a five-speed manual gearbox driving the front wheels.

A six-speed automated manual transmission (ATM) has also just been released and will feature on future Breeze production. Although designed in Europe, it is built in China by the same manufacturer, SAIC Motor Corporation Limited, which builds VWs for the Chinese mainland market.

The Breeze

First impression is of a plain – almost austere – low-profile motorhome body with a cab-over section that protrudes out over the windscreen and the ‘retro’ rear panel that tucks in at the bottom. Steve Lane of THL tells me the retro look may not last as they plan to embellish subsequent issues with various trim mouldings.

The driver’s side has seven hatches servicing storage, LPG shutoff valves, heater, LPG bottles, fresh water inlet, toilet cassette and 230-volt power inlet. Kerb-side is quite a contrast with just one hatch that accesses the storage tunnel across the rear.

The cab is set up to suit both left and right drive positions, with the instrumentation console in the centre of the dashboard with air vents each side. Air conditioning, drivers and passenger airbags, radio/mp3 player, double drinks holder, 12volt plug and electric mirrors are standard fittings.

Breeze3

The LDV comes with a two-passenger bench seat that is replaced in the Breeze by a single seat that allows access from the cab through to the habitation area. THL plans on fitting cab seats that swivel in the future to create a lounge area when they are turned to face the pair of passenger seats behind the driver’s seat.

My overall impression of the cab is it’s not as lavish as some, but perfectly acceptable. During the short drive I felt the engine needed to be up near its optimum torque range (above 1800rpm) to feel lively. The gear lever is fascia-mounted and very slick in use, smooth and light. Everything else was fine.

In the motorhome itself, the decor is typical of KEA: blonde timber laminate on the cabinetry, duck-egg blue upholstery fabric, and timber plank patterned vinyl floor covering. Apart from the passenger seat arrangement, the layout is also typical of KEA with the ablutions compartment opposite the entry door, the kitchen bench to the right and a U-shaped lounge at the rear. It is a well-proportioned layout that fits a lot of facilities into a motorhome just over six metres long.

But the feature that makes it special is the drop-down bed above the rear lounge. It’s raised and lowered on wire cables by an electric motor and is held in position by two alloy guide rails on the rear wall. It’s easy to operate it can be left made up when raised and is quite unobtrusive in this position. The lounge below transforms into a second double bed.

Like most small RVs, glass lids dominate the kitchen bench over the hob and sink. Mostly this arrangement works fine, but if you need more room the dining table can be swung alongside the bench to take the overflow.

The bathroom is small but contains all the basics needed for the job at hand. It is a one-piece moulded unit with a shower tray that is designed to drain properly in most situations. It contains a corner basin, a separate shower hand piece mounted on a rail and a swivel bowl toilet that allows full use of the available space.

The verdict

Overall I thought it was an excellent motorhome. As a prototype it was well presented, and, knowing KEA, it will evolve into a more sophisticated and much sought after product.

THL plan to introduce 50 Breeze’s into its rental fleet for this summer rental season. At a chosen date, when the ‘high season’ has diminished, these 50 vehicles will be released for sale so that buyers can enjoy the end of the 2016 summer in their near-new Breeze.

Check out the full article in issue #134 of Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations magazine (on sale now!). Subscribe here.

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