Within the international RV market, New Zealand is in something of a unique position. For RV buyers at least, because there’s a far greater selection of international and national products available than just about anywhere else. Some importers bring in unmodified products with just the necessary compliance (mostly electrical and gas), while others have layout changes made to suit the New Zealand market’s unique tastes.
South Auckland-based InsideOut RV import a range of NextGen caravans from Australia. One of the reasons that InsideOut RV chose NextGen RV was that the manufacturer was happy to incorporate several changes to suit the New Zealand market. They can also be built to order with a huge range of colours and finishes to choose from.
My review caravan was a Tekapo 700RC tandem axle with an external length of 7000mm and an GVM of 3200kg.
Many a caravan in the Australian market has a front bedroom/rear bathroom layout. That is, a front island bed and full-width rear bathroom with dinette and kitchen in between. The Tekapo is a little different. It does have a front island bed, but the split bathroom is directly behind the bedroom and the kitchen sits mid-van on both sides. That leaves the rear area for a decent sized club lounge and table, creating a fairly spacious layout.
One of the Kiwi preferences that InsideOut RV asked for was larger windows and, in the case of the rear lounge, an extra window. This gives the entire caravan plenty of natural light and ventilation. All the double-glazed windows have built-in insect screens and blinds.
The club lounge in the rear will be a winner in New Zealand. For many years it was a popular layout in caravans and motorhomes and, even today, can be seen in some new RVs. Being able to kick back and watch the world go by, especially when the weather is a bit iffy, appears to be a Kiwi thing to do, and the white leather upholstery in this van would seem to be the place to do it. The lounge is also able to be converted to a bed for extra guests.
Overhead lockers run around the top wall area and reading lights are fitted in three corners. A 230-volt mains power point and 12-volt socket are fitted to the offside wall and are handy for both the lounge and the adjacent cabinet.
To keep everyone toasty warm, an Eberspächer diesel heater control is mounted in the rear nearside corner. Although if I was being picky here, a more easily accessible location would be less awkward. The television mounted on the wall at the end of the offside kitchen bench can easily be seen from the rear seats.
Two kitchen benches
The split kitchen is a great feature in the Tekapo. The nearside bench has a four-burner hob/grill/oven and a (very trendy) black sink (including black tapware) and drainer while still leaving enough under-bench space for three drawers, a floor locker and a cupboard. Four lockers take up the space above, with the two over the hob being smaller due to the extractor.
On the opposite side, the bench houses four drawers, with the rest of the area devoted to a front-loading washing machine, something usually found in the bathroom. There are other storage options also. In addition to three overhead lockers, there is a floor-to-ceiling cupboard with two slide-out wire basket pantries. Fitting into the remaining space is the all-essential 188-litre three-way Dometic fridge.
Undoubtedly this is a kitchen for those who really like to practise their cooking skills without being limited by bench or storage area.
This is a van where a split bathroom works well and there are sliding doors back and front to ensure privacy. The nearside cubicle is for the 900mm x 750mm shower which has quite a classy rose, and there’s a hatch in the roof for ventilation. There isn’t a door on the toilet cubicle side, hence the reason for the outer doors, but the payoff is that it seems less confined. There’s enough area for a Dometic cassette toilet, small vanity cabinet, pedestal washbasin, large wall mirror and an overhead locker. Ventilation is courtesy of a roof hatch and small window.
Taking up most of the space up front is an island bed. It has windows on all three sides and a decent-looking bedhead. That consists of two overhead lockers, two side wardrobes and a bench side cabinet. Both bed occupants get a reading light, 230-volt power point and a 12-volt outlet.
A look under the caravan reveals a very solid-looking chassis indeed – 150mm RHS drawbar and rails, along with 50mm cross members and similarly sized raisers. Roller rocker leaf spring suspension is used for the tandem axles that are shod with 15-inch alloy wheels. Up front are two 9kg gas cylinders, along with the jockey wheel, handbrake and ball coupling. At the rear, the bumper bar has one unusual addition, the diesel fuel tank for the space heater.
Above the chassis, the blue 4mm aluminium and lower waistline of black powder-coated alloy chequer-plate is very eye-catching. For use under the Dometic awning, there’s a picnic table, three efficient LED external lights and two external speakers for the sound system. There are tunnel storages back and front, the nearside front one having a slide-out with a Weber barbecue. A slight problem with the rear locker is that it cannot be opened without moving the awning arm out of the way.
For those who like to get away from it all, the Tekapo 700RC is quite well equipped with two 95-litre freshwater tanks and one 95-litre grey water tank.
And for powering up, there are two 170W solar panels and two 100AH batteries – ideal if you are considering extended off-the-grid travel.
Given the GVM of 3200kg and the tare mass of 2658kg the van has a payload of 542kg. However the vans are designed to have ~10% of weight on the tow vehicle so the actual load carrying capacity of this van is 842kg. That will reduce a bit once the water tanks are filled. One of the utes like a Ford Ranger or Isuzu D-Max should do the trick for towing.
The Tekapo 700RC is not a small van, and its size allows for a spacious layout. The rear club lounge area is a winner in the design stakes, and not far behind that are the kitchen and bathroom areas. For a couple who want to travel together but who still desire a bit of personal space, then this van has much to offer.
NextGen Tekapo 700RC specifications
9700mm (body length: 7000mm)
External width (incl. awn)
2 x 95 litre
1 x 95 litre
1 x 100AH deep cycle battery
Price as reviewed: from $102,000 (includes GST and on-roads)
- Spacious layout
- Good external storage
- Rear club lounge
- Large kitchen area
- Kiwi 'conversion'
- Plenty of 230V and 12v outlets
- Requires a fairly large tow vehicle
- Heater switch location
Find out more at InsideOutrv.co.nz