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Best Aussie Vans is Caravan World magazine’s annual showcase event, putting the best caravans in Australia side-by-side and head-to-head every year to find out which van comes out on top.
2016 marks the fourth running of Best Aussie Vans and this year’s event takes place in Wye River, on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. Best Aussie Vans 2016 is proudly sponsored by AL-KO Australia and BIG4 Holiday Parks.
A showcase event will be held in nearby Apollo Bay on October 12, where members of the public can check out the best vans in Australia and meet the manufacturers.
Best Aussie Vans is Australia’s largest caravan competition and is highly regarded in the industry and among caravan buyers. We assemble the best vans on the market today and put them through their paces, testing and rating each van against others in its price category.
The judges take their time going over each van, combing them for imperfections and illogical layouts. But we can’t score the vans without first laying some ground rules and comparing vans, regardless of how similar their price point, can be like comparing bananas with kiwi fruit. Our 10-point scoresheet aimed to ensure a level playing field across the board.
Taking everything into account, does this van offer good value for money? How many features are included, and what are the dimensions of the van? Is it a lot of van at a competitive price and does it give buyers what they’re paying for?
Is this van suitable for extended periods of remote touring, or a couple of days of free camping?
Easy or unnecessarily fiddly?
How does the van perform in its intended purpose, and is it adequately fitted out and built for the purpose?
Is the van visually appealing inside, and has enough thought gone into the layout for easy, convenient touring? Is there enough storage, and is it designed sensibly?
Whether the van has a fibreglass or aluminium composite finish, or simply aluminium cladding over a timber frame, is there enough attention to detail? How does the cabinetry and upholstery rate?
Will the van fall apart at the first corrugations or is it a well-built rig?
How does the van rate in terms of mod cons?
Is there anything new and exciting about the design or build? Has the manufacturer employed a feature or manufacturing technique not seen before, and is it effective?
The WOW factor!
Each year, the Best Aussie Vans judges are drawn from a panel of Australia’s most experienced RV reviewers, journalists, tech experts and tow-pros.
As the Editor at Large of Caravan World, Max has lived and breathed caravans for more than 10 years. He’s towed many different types and models to places such as the Red Centre, the Top End, the north coast of NSW, the Sunshine Coast and more, and in that time learned a thing or two about what makes a good van. His pride and joy – besides his kids – is Ruby, perhaps the most famous red 80 Series LandCruiser in the country. Max’s philosophy on life is simple: work to live, don’t live to work. And if that doesn’t work, go fishing.
You might call CW staff journalist Peter Quilty a late starter, receiving a caravanning and camping baptism in his mid-40s. But roll on nearly a decade and he's done his utmost to make up for lost time. Initially, Gippsland was the primary stamping ground, free camping in idyllic bush settings such as Dargo and Licola, beside the Wonnangatta and Macalister rivers respectively.
His first few expeditions were spent in tents, but he was soon hauling a Jayco Sterling behind a 1991 Mitsubishi Pajero.
Pete relishes the freedom and relaxation of the great doors – just the feeling of being a million miles away from the rat-race.
Field editor Malcolm Street began caravanning in the early 1970s, first in a Viscount and later in a York, the former towed by a Holden Kingswood. Malcolm has RV’d extensively across Australia, New Zealand and Britain. He became an RV journalist in 1999 and joined VW in 2002. Each year, he reviews around 40 vans and motorhomes in Oz and NZ. Yes, he’s a well-travelled bloke with no shortage of campfire opinions about how a given van could be better put together.
Phil is our resident tow-tester and general tech head. He’s also the former owner of a 1979 Viscount Grand Tourer, which he restored before selling it to make room for his next project: a mid-1980s Windsor Windcheater, which was the subject of many Tech Talk columns. Sadly, that van has recently left his garage – it’s gone to a good home, we’re assured – and with baited breath we wait to hear of his next towable purchase. Phil has been a motoring writer for more than 20 years. He has tackled most automotive and technical subjects throughout his media career, which has seen him contribute to such illustrious journals as Wheels, 4X4 Australia and Motor.
CW’s editor Laura Gray has worked her way up the ranks of the magazine from CW Deputy Editor and Production Editor before landing in the big chair in 2016. Laura’s introduction to life in the great outdoor came at age two, when she was packed, by day, into a Toyota LiteAce van and, by night, into a brown canvas tent with her parents and two siblings for an extended trip around the vast playground that is northern Western Australia. But WA is a pretty hot place, and canvas tents don’t come with air-conditioners, so many years and countless camping trips later, she set her sights on caravans.
11 October 2016
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