Review: Kea Platinum

By: Bill Savidan, Photography by: Bill Savidan


NZMCD checks out the Kea Platinum—a big, robust, no-nonsense motorhome built on a robust no-nonsense Mercedes cab chassis

When I was introduced to the Kea Platinum, I had the similar feeling you get when you meet an acquaintance in a new setting wearing clothes you’ve not seen them wear before.

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You can’t quite place them, but you know you know them. Then the light shone through as I realised it was one of THL rental fleets’ most prolific rental offerings mounted on a flash new steed, in this case, the V6 turbo diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz cab chassis.

With more than 300 PA built on lesser steeds over the past few years, it is a proven performer in the rental market both here and in Australia. After a facelift by the builders, Action Manufacturing, to make it better suited to the private market, the Kea Platinum is now being offered for sale by RV Super Centre outlets.

Exterior

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Standing at 3260mm high over the Luton front suggests it is a big, no-nonsense motorhome. Kerbside, it is fitted with a robust 4.2-metre long Cvana awning. These awnings are well suited to New Zealand’s windy conditions, as they automatically retract when overwhelmed by the wind instead of being flipped over the top of the motorhome and wrecked.

There are hatches both sides at the rear providing access to a tunnel locker big enough for stowing a barbecue, outdoor furniture, and most sports gear.

The 9kg LPG bottle lives on its own in a locker behind the driver’s door and alongside is a hatch that accesses the LPG shut-off valves. Same side further back is the toilet cassette access hatch, just ahead of the Suburban heater service panel. Across the rear is a two-cycle bike rack.

The windows fitted are alloy-framed sliders rather than the awning hung acrylic windows that are more common today. When the sliders are open, the openings are covered with permanently mounted insect screens. Roman blinds are fitted on the inside most of the windows.

Interior

 

Headroom inside is a generous 2165mm, high enough to accommodate the Breakers basketball players should you invite them around for a beer.

Interior joinery styling is rectangular with flat front locker doors. The laminate finish has a timber veneer pattern and is mounted on water-resistant plywood. MDF board is not used, as it is heavy and susceptible to water damage. The joinery is accurately cut and tight. Internally, the lockers and drawers have a white laminate surface. Altogether, the interior finish is clean, crisp, and well made with good attention to detail.

The layout has the dinette opposite the habitation door, with the toilet/shower compartment alongside and a U-shaped lounge at the rear. The kitchen bench fills the

Lounge

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While the rear lounge side settees are too short to sleep on, re-arranging the seat cushions converts the lounge into a 2100x1420mm double bed. Its tailored seat cushions have been divided into small easily handled segments. Covered with finely woven fabric with a ‘slub’ linen finish, they have been carefully put together with handsome detailed stitching.

Entertaining

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If you prefer, you can eat in the lounge. The table can be relocated there from the dinette. Also, note that lifting the seat cushions provides access to the storage space under the lounge seats. After dark light is provided by ceiling down lights plus two reading lights and a strip light under overhead lockers.

The dinette is a work of art. It was developed to satisfy the need in the rental market for a satisfactory four-seat dinette that could also be used with seat belts as travelling seats. At day’s end, it had to convert into a double bed. It has been tweaked over the years to give satisfactory service no matter how inept the operators are. At 1850x1200mm, it is a small double bed probably better suited to youngsters rather than adults.

Bathroom

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Like many motorhomes with their roots in the rental market, the bathroom in the Platinum serves function rather than pampering. It comprises a one-piece bathroom moulding that incorporates the shower tray, corner handbasin, and a plinth to stand the toilet upon.

A rail, mounted on the wall to carry the shower hand-piece and a wall mirror complete the bathroom appointments. Note that the door with venting gaps at the top and bottom does not give total protection from sounds and odours emanating from bathroom activities.

Kitchen

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Kea motorhomes have always had large kitchen benches, especially when compared with their European counterparts. The Platinum continues this tradition. With a benchtop well over two metres long, setting a three LPG plus one electric hob and a sink/draining tray into the benchtop still allows for three clear spaces for meal preparation and serving.

Throw in a Waeco 130-litre 12-volt under bench compressor fridge, an under bench microwave, an oven with a separate grill, and a range hood and you have a formidable kitchen line-up.

There is ample room in the overhead lockers and the under bench storage for the supermarket shopping. Roof hatches help take care of cooking odours. There are two above rear lounge and one above the Luton bed. If you are in the market for a motorhome with a large kitchen, be sure to check out the Platinum.

Upstairs

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In the Luton front over the Platinum cab is a 2200x1800mm bed that is one of the largest I’ve come across in quite a while. It is so big that the single reading light installed is totally insufficient for the job at hand. More lumens are needed. Apart from that, with all that space and plenty of headroom, this bed over the cab has a lot going for it.

Be aware though it is a long way up off the floor. An alloy access ladder is supplied but care is needed. When getting down, it is easy to mistake the top of the dinette seat for a rung of the ladder. If you do make this mistake, the next step is quite a long one so watch where you put your feet.

Storage

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Overhead storage throughout the Platinum is a combination of lockers and shelf units. In total, there are seven overhead lockers, all having shelves fitted with front upstands to keep contents in place. The locker above dinette is fitted with a wine glass rack.

Across the rear and above the lounge seats is a full-width shelf unit with smaller shelf units above the stove and entry. Alongside, the entry stepwell is a full height locker/wardrobe.

The central switchboard and the AM-FM radio are housed between overhead lockers above the dinette. The radio speakers are fitted into the bottom shelves of these overhead lockers.

Fine-tuning

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As mentioned above, Action Manufacturing tweaked the Platinum a little before offering it for general sale. The most obvious change was to build it on a Mercedes-Benz 519 cab/chassis powered by the CDI V6 turbo diesel engine (140kW/440Nm) driving the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic gearbox. It is a wonderful drive with plenty of power and an auto gearbox that you set and forget.

Inside, the standard LPG heater has been upgraded to a diesel model and the water tank sizes increased so both fresh and grey are now 130 litres. It comes supplied with a 19-inch TV/DVD and a UFO aerial as well as a reversing camera, and it is certified self-contained.

Verdict

The Platinum is a big, robust, no-nonsense motorhome built on a robust no-nonsense Mercedes cab chassis. The fit-out style is plain but timeless, well put together and well appointed. And if a large kitchen is on your ‘must-have’ list, this could be the motorhome for you.

Kea Platinum specifications

Vehicle make/model Kea Platinum
Engine 3L V6 turbo diesel
Transmission 7-speed full auto
Berths Six
Approx. overall length 7210mm
Approx. overall height 3260mm
Tanks

130L fresh
130L grey

GVM 4490kg

Kea Platinum price (as reviewed): $154,990

Pluses

  • Fabulous kitchen
  • Practical dinette
  • Comes on a Mercedes-Benz with the V6 turbo diesel motor

Minuses

  • Small bathroom for a six-berth motorhome
  • More lighting needed in the Luton

For more details, contact the RV Super Centre sales team on 0800 52 00 55 or visit rvsupercentre.co.nz.

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