Review: Elddis Range

By: Cameron Officer


The Elddis brand of motorhomes arrived in New Zealand this year, supplementing local distributor RV Leisure Centre’s range of caravans from the British manufacturer.

Now, with 2018 models imminent, the Nelson-based Elddis agent is looking forward to increasing the options for customers.

It’s been six months since MCD last caught up with Barry Avery and Mike Irvine at Nelson’s RV Leisure Centre. Back then, the team was celebrating the arrival of the very first Elddis motorhomes in the country; the result of a lengthy process that had recently seen RV Leisure Centre add the Peugeot-based campers to its portfolio of Elddis caravans.

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We took a look specifically at the rear-sited east-west bed Elddis Encore 254. Now, with the 2018 model year upon us, Mike says RV Leisure Centre is looking forward to expanding options for local buyers looking at this well-regarded UK manufacturer.

"Because our distribution arrangement with Elddis took effect right at the end
of the 2017 model year ordering cycle, we could only secure 12 units initially," he says.

"Regardless of the small numbers to begin with, we knew we had a winner with the brand, and so it proved once those initial units arrived. The Elddis Autoquest 115 in particular received a lot of interest, thanks to its entry-level pricing and specs. We’re looking forward to expanding the Elddis range in the new year, although having been able to get
the brand’s motorhomes in front of customers this year has been invaluable."

PEUGEOT PROUD

In bringing Elddis’ motorhome line-up to New Zealand, RV Leisure Centre has introduced an entirely new powertrain and chassis manufacturer to the country, in the shape of Peugeot.
Backed by a three-year/100,000km factory warranty, the Peugeots feature Euro 6 emissions-compliant HDi Blue turbo diesel engines as standard tech under the bonnet, offering 130hp and smooth, torque-rich road manners, regardless of the size of the motorhome.

Another aspect of Elddis’ motorhomes worth having a quick refresher on is the company’s high-tech manufacturing process, known as SoLID.

The SoLID construction method Elddis employs is an incredibly strong bonding system, which replaces the usual screws and bolts used in motorhome construction with laser-cut dovetail jointed wall and roof panels. These are cemented together with a bonding substance used by the aviation industry, among others.

Elddis tested the system for more than two years before putting it into practice and has been using it for the last three years.

KITTED FOR KIWIS

Speaking of proofs-of-concept taking time to mature, Barry, Mike, and the RV Leisure Centre team have been in business for more than 40 years now, so they know what works in the Kiwi market. And while the Elddis motorhome line-up is expertly put together more than 18,000km away from their base in Nelson, it takes plenty of local market knowledge to finish the job to Kiwi tastes.

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To that end, RV Leisure Centre fit 2000kg braked tow-rated tow bars to
a good proportion of motorhomes sold locally, along with automatic satellite dishes, 160-watt solar panel systems, alloy wheels, and bike racks. The majority of models also have reversing cameras fitted as standard.

Specifying Elddis product for New Zealand has been as much a unique exercise for the local distributor as it has for Elddis itself. In bringing the brand to the South Pacific, RV Leisure Centre secured the first global distribution contract Elddis had ever entertained.

With a strong domestic market in the UK, Elddis had never considered exporting their caravans or motorhomes before.

The fact they saw a viable partner in a distributor on the other side of the world probably says as much as you need to know about the expertise the RV Leisure Centre team bring to the table.

"Our relationship with Elddis remains fantastic," Mike says. "The support from the factory has been phenomenal, and we’re really looking forward to kicking things into top gear for the 2018 model year."

Speaking of factory support, every Elddis model comes with a three-year construction and component warranty, along with a 10-year water ingress guarantee and a 10-year body integrity guarantee.

PROVEN FOR THE NEW YEAR

Mike says the company has both Elddis motorhomes and caravans on the water heading to New Zealand right now, with the first deliveries due to take place in November. Among the combined line-up, there are various model changes on the cards, although RV Leisure Centre has been careful to retain certain models that struck a chord with customers.

"The Elddis Accordo 120 remains a real winner for our customers and certainly presents a value-packed proposition for $125,000," he says.

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The Accordo is designed along the same lines as the larger Elddis Autoquest, but thanks to its low-line chassis platform, it retains internal headroom of more than 1.9m, yet features a 2.6m high external silhouette and is less than six metres in length.

Mike reports that all three grades of Elddis Encore motorhome have garnered a lot of interest, with the Encore 275 in particular retaining a nice point of difference in the market, thanks to its capacity for a crowd. This $149,995 two-berth model features—as its party trick—twin bench seating, which provides a conversation place for up to 10 friends, then two lengthy single beds or—with some deft after-dinner converting—a large double bed at night.

CARAVANS COMING THROUGH

In addition to the motorhome line-up, the RV Leisure Centre-supplied Elddis caravan range will also see product changes come online in the new year.

Two models that have resonated with Kiwi customers—the Avante 462 and Avante 574—will see updates to bathroom areas, with the Avante 574 playing host to a complete layout change: swapping the rear bathroom for a centre arrangement.

Despite the updates, Mike is happy to say pricing will remain on par with
the previous versions of both of these caravans.

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This is pretty impressive when taking the Elddis caravan specification list into account. It’s extensive, with a raft of neat features—dual-fuel space-saver heating, 110-litre Dometic fridge freezers, energy-efficient LED lighting, high-tech OZIO mattresses, SkyScape sunroofs, spacious and easily-accessed gas bottle storage, ‘Marone’ craftsman-designed cabinetry, and plenty more—all offered as standard.

CONCLUSION

"It’s an exciting time for us," Mike says. "We still feel that we’re just tapping into the market potential for Elddis now, but I think the public reception to the models we managed to secure initially proves the brand’s potential in our eyes."

We’re looking forward to sampling more Elddis models from both the motorhome and caravan lines as they start to arrive in the country through the coming summer months. In the meantime, the advance product that has arrived thus far certainly promises positive things.


For more information, visit rvleisurecentre.co.nz.

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