I was introduced to the KEA Nomad when it was still in development and was impressed by the attention to detail the team at Action Manufacturing were putting into this new model.
So it was with a sense of eager anticipation I arrived at the RV Super Centre in Albany to carry out the review of the KEA Nomad 2+1.
First impression of KEA Nomad
The Mercedes 313 long wheelbase high roof van with the familiar three-spoke wheel badge on its purposeful snout makes a reassuring initial impression.
Down each side of the van is what appears to be a dark tinted, one-piece window giving the Nomad an attractive uncluttered appearance.
Behind the driver’s seat is an extra forward-facing belted passenger seat that backs onto the toilet/shower cubicle. Alongside is a full height cabinet housing a hanging locker, microwave, and the switch/monitor board. Opposite, just behind the side entry door opening, is the kitchen bench.
A U-shaped lounge occupies the rear. The interior length not including the cab seats is around 4500mm. The extra passenger seat has generous legroom, the lounge settees are around 2000mm long, and the locker can hang a dozen or more garments. The Nomad is the latest in a long line of KEA creations and is as good as or better than any that precedes it.
The Mercedes cab seats in the Nomad have firm, well-shaped cushions offering good support. Compliments to Mercedes as both cab seats have controls to adjust height, tilt, seat back rake, and lumbar support meaning the passenger has the same level of comfort as the driver.
There are plenty of places to stow handy items while touring—in the door pockets, recesses on top of the dashboard, and on the shelves above the sun visors. Turning the cab seats to face the passenger seat creates a useful lounge space in the front section of the Nomad.
The food department
The kitchen is small but beautifully formed. In a compact motorhome such as the Nomad, it is a challenge for the designers to fit everything into the available space. One sacrifice has been the oven but all the other important items are present: extractor fan, Smev three hob cooktop, sink unit with separate filtered water tap, Waeco 110-litre fridge, and a Sharp microwave.
Depending on the weather, either or both rear doors and side door can be left open providing that lovely feeling of close connection with the outdoors from the comfort of your home on wheels.
I thought it was a bit odd to have only one opening side window, the one in the sliding door. There is a roof hatch at the rear so between them, they may offer sufficient ventilation.
Should you feel the need, your satellite TV system can keep you up to date with the happenings in the outside world as can the AM/FM radio/CD player/ media centre.
At bedtime, the rear settees convert into either two 2000mm x 600mm single beds or a large 2000mm x 1780mm double bed.
The double bed’s extra width is created by bridging the gap between the settees with the tables, topped off with the seat back cushions.
With the curtains drawn, the Nomad becomes a private cosy haven. The +1 third bed is a clever re- arrangement of the passenger seat. It is a simple operation that doesn’t require organising a jigsaw of cushions. The seat back unfolds in a two-step operation to form a generous 1850mm x 800mm single bed across the vehicle that will comfortably accommodate sleepers up to 1750mm in height.
The small room
The bathroom is pristine white, has everything you need—handbasin, shower, toilet, extractor fan ceiling vent—but is compact. It is perfectly adequate for personal hygiene but you won’t be inclined to linger longer than is necessary.
Careful consumption should see the 90-litre fresh and 110-litre grey water combination last four to five days and the solar panel will have no trouble keeping the 110 amp/hr house battery topped up.
The only extra you might need is a spare toilet cassette. Our experience is it’s full after three days. As mentioned above, the fridge and food departments should manage well enough for this length of time.
When it is time to fire up the barbie, you’ll be the envy of your fellow campers because the Nomad has a beauty stowed away ready for use. It is a slide-out model stowed behind a hatch kerbside at the rear of the van. Basically, it is a twin hob cooker with a removable non-stick cooking tray. Easy to use and quick to clean.
Under the hood
The 2.2-litre diesel with its two-stage turbo is most responsive getting away from the traffic lights, moving through to motorway speeds with surprising agility. The full auto gearbox is superb.
I found I was comfortable driving the Nomad even though it is much bigger than our family car. It has the same suite of safety programmes that most late model cars have including electronic stability programme and ABS braking.
The Nomad can be driven on a class 1 (car) licence and requires an annual WOF rather than the more costly COF at six-monthly intervals.
As anticipated, the Nomad lived up to expectations. It offers the reassurance of the Mercedes-Benz brand combined with Action Manufacturing’s attention to detail. The interior fit-out topped off with a couple of practical innovations, the BBQ and the fold-out bed are all supported by a three-year/200,000km Mercedes warranty and a one-year KEA house warranty. The current retail price is $124,990 including GST.
For further information, visit rvsupercentre.co.nz or call RV Supercentres Auckland or Christchurch on 0800 52 00 55.
- Nifty fold-out bed
- Slide-out BBQ
- Mercedes luxury