Review: Jayco FD19


With a user-friendly layout and some thoughtful touches from the manufacturer, the Jayco FD19 makes for an ideal home away from home

The latest offering from Jayco, the compact FD19, is built into the popular Fiat Ducato panel van. Inside and out, it is a fresh approach by Jayco, offering an attractive suite of facilities within the confines of a panel van.

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Layout

Jayco has opted for a practical layout with a permanently mounted double bed across the rear of the van and a four-seat lounge/dinette incorporating the cab seats at the front. Amidships is the kitchen, with its long kitchen bench kerbside and the ablutions department opposite. This is a single unit that combines the toilet, handbasin, and shower facility.

It is a practical layout that minimises the traffic moving past the kitchen bench. During the day, entertaining, eating, and drinking take place up front. While the double bed is the place to put your feet up to enjoy a good book during the day, it doesn’t draw a constant flow of traffic.

Dining

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With the cab seats upholstered to match the dinette seats, the dining area feels more spacious. However, nicely shaped as they are, the forward facing dinette seats—fitted with seatbelts—are quite close together so they are better suited for small people rather than large adults.

The Mapa table is a good size and shape and should you prefer, it can be easily removed and stowed away. Fitting another mounting rail to the back of the kitchen bench would allow the table to be used both outside and inside, which would be a bonus.

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Beneath the seat is a storage cubby that, instead of a door, has a stretchy net covering the entrance, making it easy to see the contents if you are searching for something. Alongside is a 230-volt power point. There is more storage behind the seats.

The panelling above the dinette window contains another net-covered cubby, as well as a J-Hub tablet style control panel and switches for the hot water, water pump and house battery.

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It is also the home for the Fusion entertainment centre, the TV aerial/power connections and an extending swing arm on which to mount the TV.

Interior

Jayco interior decor has come of age over the past couple of years. The mono-coloured bland, boxy cabinet and locker doors have been replaced with gracious curves, high-gloss lacquer ivory finishes and gleaming silver highlights.

It certainly looks smart in the FD19. The ivory lacquer kitchen cupboard doors contrast nicely with the dark graphite upholstered wall panels. And the milk chocolate coloured curtains with their lightproof backing work well, too, keeping the early morning summer sun at bay.

Kitchen space

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Even though space is always in short supply in a panel van conversion, Jayco has found room to fit a typical Jayco ‘long bench top’ kitchen unit. Mounted into this is a full-sized sink, a Smev three-hob cooktop, plus 700mm of clear bench-top space for meal prep and serve.

It is a bigger bench-top than you’ll find in many larger, more expensive motorhomes on the market. The sink and cooktop have glass lids and there is a generously-sized extension flap alongside the sink if you need more workspace.

Below the bench-top is a Vitrofrigo 85-litre 12-volt compressor fridge alongside three large drawers and a cupboard—plenty of room to house your supermarket shopping. Left of the fridge is a narrow cupboard that is home to a pull-out tea-towel rail—a very useful feature.

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Under the locker and above the bench is a range hood while alongside is a microwave. Next to that is an item that should be included in every motorhome fit-out—a whiteboard complete with a marker pen and magnets to secure reminder notes, photos, and postcards.

Ventilation is excellent. In addition to the range hood, there’s a fan hatch in the ceiling and, weather permitting, the sliding door alongside the bench can be opened.

Bedroom

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As mentioned above, having the bed permanently mounted across the back of the motorhome means the layout works well because it minimises the traffic moving past the kitchen. It also offers the option of a snooze at siesta time.

The bed itself is 1840mm long x1400mm wide, meaning it is too short for people over 1800mm. It has the pillows up against the windows, so care must be taken not to dislodge the curtains from the curtain tracks. These curtains all round the bed provide adequate privacy day or night.

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A strip light under the overhead lockers serves as a reading light. Beside the bedhead is a double power point, a double USB point, and a 12-volt power point. The model reviewed had an air conditioning unit mounted in the ceiling over the bed but that will be replaced with a ceiling hatch from now on with the aircon option available at an additional cost.

Above the foot of the bed (driver’s side) is a neat custom-made piece of cabinetry consisting of two overhead lockers with a Sphere 24-inch LED TV mounted between them.

The lockers are nicely proportioned and the TV looks right at home. This cabinet finishes short of the bathroom bulkhead and the space left between them is fitted with a coat-hanger rail providing hanging space for long garments.

Black shock cord magazine holders are fastened to the upholstered panels of both rear doors. Storage below the bed is accessed through the two rear doors.

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Lifting the mattress at the foot of the bed provides access to equipment that needs servicing from time to time—the 100amp/hr house battery, the battery management unit, and the water pump. There is also limited access to the storage under the bed.

The simple graphics on the FD19 are effective, creating a feeling of movement even while the vehicle is standstill. Having the window glass mounted flush with the metal side panels contributes to the effect.

Kerbside is the LPG locker and the four-metre Fiamma awning; driver’s side are the toilet cassette hatch, the heater vent, the fresh water, and 230-volt power inlets. On the roof are the Dometic aircon unit, a Winegard TV aerial, and a 120-watt solar panel and underneath the fresh and grey water tanks.

Verdict

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The FD19, as reviewed, is freedom camping capable. It has sufficient water tankage, house battery, and solar charging capacity as well as water heating and a refrigerator.

Although it wasn’t wearing a CSC sticker, I suspect it will have by the time you read this. I think the Jayco FD19 is a well-executed van conversion. A lot of thought has gone into its design and manufacture and it is offered at a competitive price.

Jayco FD19 specifications

Vehicle make/model Jayco FD19
Engine 2.3L 4-cylinder turbo diesel
Transmission 6-speed AMT auto
Berths Two
Approx. overall length 6365mm
Approx. overall width 2100mm
Tanks

90L fresh
90L grey

Gas 1x4kg LPG bottle

Jayco FD19 price (as reviewed) $119,995

For more details, contact South Auckland Caravans Ltd on 09 271 3434 or visit caravancentre.co.nz.

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