At last year’s Best Aussie Vans event, we saw the New Age Manta Ray MR19E take on the $50K-$65K category. This year, the Manta Ray MR22B joined the esteemed line-up in the $65K-$80K category, with the five-berth family van putting up a good fight in the face of some fierce competition.
The middle entry door opens to reveal a spacious layout with bright white walls and ceiling, and a mixture of natural colours for the cabinetry and furniture. The upper lockers are off-white, the lower cupboards and drawers pale brown and the upholstery a chocolate hue. The final touch is the glossy black and grey kitchen splashback, all of which works really well to give the Manta Ray a modern, clean look.
LAYOUT & DESIGN
The layout is, for the most part, conventional: front island bed, offside mid-section kitchen and club lounge opposite. Where it gets interesting is up the back. Heading down the centre corridor, you’re met by the triple bunks on the offside wall, a cupboard and washing machine in the middle and the bathroom on the nearside.
BEDROOM & STORAGE
Towards the front is the main bed, with a 1900x1530mm mattress and a good-sized storage space underneath. Each side of the bed has a tall wardrobe with hanging space, a small bedside table and a small cupboard below. Above the bed is further storage, with two lidded lockers and an open shelf with a retaining bar across it. A reading light is located at each side of the bedhead.
In the bunk quarters, each of the three bunks has a 12V accessory power port, which is a great inclusion, as well as a reading light and a small hopper window with mesh screen and blind. The step ladder to the upper bunk is neatly integrated into the fascia of the beds, a good example of the nice finishes found on this Manta Ray.
The lower bunk will be more comfortable for kids in their pre-teen years, as it’s very close to floor level and access is tight. In any case, the bunks are not for larger people, as they’re rated for a maximum weight of 80kg each.
The offside kitchen features a Thetford Minigrill MK3 four-burner stove and grill, a stainless steel single-bowl sink with mixer tap and drainer, and some open bench. More food prep space would be good, but there is still sufficient space in this layout compared to many caravan kitchens. Above the kitchen are four storage lockers, one of which houses all the key electrical components, and the microwave. Below the benchtop is further storage, with four drawers and four cupboards.
To the rear of the kitchen is a Thetford 164L three-way fridge-freezer.
The bathroom will appeal to many people with its separate shower and toilet – no mean feat in a five-berth caravan. The toilet is in the rear corner, with the vanity in the middle and the shower to the front. Here you come across the only compromise in an otherwise excellent design – the aluminium-framed, opaque glass shower door has to cantilever a third along its width so that it clears the vanity unit when opened. This restricts the width of the opening so some people may find the entry point a bit tight. But, once you’re in, it’s a reasonable space and has an adjustable shower rose and an exhaust fan and ceiling ventilation hatch.
The vanity unit has two cupboard drawers, the raised ceramic sink and a very small amount of horizontal surface to store toiletries. A mixer tap sits above the sink abutting a black splashback, with a mirror above. Above that are two storage lockers, plus a two-pole 240V powerpoint and a small screened hopper window. The bathroom is closed off with a sliding door.
Between the bunks and bathroom, the washing machine sits up high on the back wall and below that are a bench and a small, two-door cupboard.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Manta Ray is a caravan built in the traditional mould, but it has been executed very well. It could do with a little more storage space and the shower access could be better, but these are understandable compromises in a five-berth family van.
New Age has done an excellent job on the fit and finish, and the Manta Ray has a well laid-out, generally spacious interior and a competitive features list for the asking price.
For a family wanting a comfortable, spacious touring van, the Manta Ray will tick many boxes.
HITS & MISSES
- Great layout overall
- Excellent fit and finish
- Value for money
- Shower access isn’t great
- Would benefit from more storage