Unless you happened to be at the Covi show way back in March, when the world was reasonably normal, it is possible that you have missed the launch of a new design motorhome from the Avida stable. Hamilton-based Auto Leisure and Marine (ALM Group) is the official Avida distributor for New Zealand, and they did of course have the new Silverton on display at the Covi show in a prime position.
MCD was lucky enough to get our hands on the Silverton in the days after the show and took it for a spin, albeit a short one. The Silverton (named after a town in outback NSW) is built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 418 CDI model, has an external length of 7135mm and a tare mass of 3500kg. If you have not had the opportunity to drive the latest model Sprinter, then do give it a go if one comes your way. More about that in a moment.
Available as either a C or B-Class motorhome – the Luton giving the clue that mine was the former – the Silverton has a forward door entry, almost directly behind the passenger door. Inside, the layout features a front dinette/lounge, a nearside kitchen bench, a full-width bathroom across the rear, and a transverse bed in front of the bathroom.
It would be remiss of me not to mention a key feature – an offside slide-out that contains both the bed and a Thetford 141-litre fridge. It means that when the slide-out is open, there’s plenty of kitchen manoeuvering space.
The mostly white glossy finish with glossy grey for the upper cupboard and beige/brown for the lower cabinetry is quite pleasing to the eye. The natural light levels are quite good, but I suspect to New Zealand eyes, the windows might look on the small side. With the exception of the bathroom window, Avida has opted for the glass louvre style, instead of the more usual double-glazed acrylics.
Both cab seats swivel around and there’s a table and a forward-facing rear seat, with seat belts, behind the driver’s seat. A couple of very deep overhead lockers sit above the dinette, and the Luton bed can be lifted out of the way if not required.
I really like the extension under the main table, which can be turned out to reach the rotated cab seats. So far, quite conventional.
A little differently, behind the passenger seat is a partition for the purposes of providing a hinged kitchen bench extension across the doorway entry, as well as providing a bit of shelf space for small items like food containers. It’s not my choice of set-up, but I can see the benefit of a simple and stable kitchen bench extension for those who like to practise their catering skills and want the space to spread out on a solid surface.
Kitchen and dining
Speaking of catering, the kitchen area is quite well set up. Built into the main area is a four-burner hob with grill alongside a stainless-steel sink and drainer. In the space above the benchtop are two quite tall overhead lockers plus a Samsung microwave oven.
Under the benchtop are a couple of drawers and cupboards, but what makes this kitchen a little different is that the benchtop extends into the bedroom area. It thins down a bit towards the rear, but with the slide-out open it can be used quite easily for catering or other purposes.
At the rear end of the shelf are both a 230V mains power point, a USB hub, and a radio which sits almost at bench level. Not so the flat-screen TV mounted above, which can easily be seen from the bed but somewhat less so from the front seats.
One of the benefits of having an east-west bed fitted into a slide-out is that there is plenty of walk-through space at the base of the bed. Having a width of 1400mm, the bed is either 1800mm long or 1970mm with the mattress extension in place. There isn’t enough space for bedside cabinets, but each occupant gets a small corner shelf and a magazine pouch.
Overhead lockers are fitted above the pillows. The bed base can be lifted to get to the storage space underneath, and for those who like to keep their clothing relatively neat, there’s a wardrobe butting up against the nearside corner of the bathroom. And for the kids or extra travellers, there’s that handy extra bed in the Luton for two sleepers.
The shower stall fits neatly into the offside corner, and the vanity cabinet – complete with large wall mirror and pedestal washbasin – sits on the opposite side. Located centre-stage with a window view is the Thetford cassette toilet, which sits on a slightly raised platform, and there’s a row of overhead lockers across the rear wall.
An option in the bathroom is a washing machine which fits in to the corner, otherwise it’s just storage space.
A fully welded metal frame is used for the walls, roof and floor. Foam sheet filler is located between the frame members to act as an insulant and road noise reducer.
Fibreglass composite sandwich panels are used for the walls but, a little differently, the one-piece floor panel has a ply timber sheet above and aluminium sheeting below for underfloor protection.
Fully moulded fibreglass is used for the front Luton peak/cab surround, rear wall, and roof.
External bins are fitted on both sides of the motorhome, but they are located in the lower skirt area and that does mean a bit of crouching down to get access.
The Silverton has Mercedes-Benz Sprinter underpinnings but not a model I have come across before and one not obvious on the Mercedes website. The reason is that the 418 CDI model is made especially for motorhome manufacturers and has one other difference to most Sprinters – it is a front-wheel drive. It also has a 2.3-litre turbo diesel that delivers a maximum power of 132kW and a maximum torque of 400Nm.
The nine-speed auto gear box is a dream to drive and the gear selection mechanism is a stalk on the steering wheel column, along with a couple of paddles for up and down shifting. I did like the touchscreen panel in the centre of the dashboard, which is fairly wide and gives a good clear view when reversing.
Weighing things up, the 418 CDI has a GVM of 4200kg and, given the tare mass is 3500kg, it has a good load capacity of 700kg, even with the 100-litre fresh water tank.
Avida has made good use of the new Sprinter 418 cab chassis and it does make a good driving motorhome. The slide-out adds a decent amount of space around both the bed and kitchen areas, and having the Luton bed mean the motorhome is good for two or four people.
Certainly the Silverton is an interesting addition to the Avida stable.
Avida Silverton C7134SL specifications
Mercedes Benz Sprinter 418CDI
2.3L turbo diesel, 132kW/400Nm
External width (incl. awning)
2 x 4kg
Price as reviewed: $187,817 (includes GST and on-roads)
- Bedroom slide-out
- Good internal storage capacity
- Table extension
- Practical kitchen layout
- Low ground clearance
- Water tank capacity
- Small window area
- Partition behind passenger seat
Find out more at almgroup.co.nz