AL-KO's Best Aussie Vans 2017: Atlantic Endeavour E206-1S RD Review

By: Michael Borg, Peter Quilty, Ron Moon, Malcolm Street


Built for the novice, is the Atlantic Endeavour the start of something beautiful?

In a world where the biggest and boldest broadcasts loud, the confident hum of 'best fit' sometimes drowns. Yet building a quality entry-level item takes certain smarts, which Atlantic seemed to have in spades when Caravan World inspected the Endeavour just months before.

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Well chosen comforts and considered compromises allow otherwise-tyre kickers a real opportunity to get out there and explore.

So is the Atlantic Endeavour money wisely spent? Let's see what our judges think.

FEATURES

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Competitively priced, the Endeavour is set to be a real winner with young families stepping into the caravan lifestyle. It’s not overdone, but has more than enough to keep the fuss-pots happy too.

The above reigns true when it comes to the chassis side of things. It encompasses a conservative 4in chassis and drawbar, which will handle its on-road duties well, while helping to keep its Tare weight down to a notable 2215kgs. While most other manufacturers automatically take the jump to independent suspension these days, the Endeavour sticks to the proven tried and tested leaf sprung solid axle configuration – unless you upgrade to the All Terrain Pack that is. Ten inch electric brakes and 15in orange alloy wheels complete the package, and while it’s not setting any records in the running gear department, it gets the job done convincingly if you ask me. In fact, the Endeavour felt slightly better behaved than some of the independently sprung models we towed – less bouncing around the road, which is great if you’re not a real experienced tower. In saying that, I would have loved to see an anti-sway system installed, especially for the novice market.

ATTRACTIVE EXTERIOR & CLASSY INTERIOR

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This 22ft on-road van features an attractive exterior, while on the inside it has a classy ensuite, a spacious bedroom and an enjoyable club lounge.

The body is typical ribbed alloy cladding on a meranti and baltic pine frame. The walls are 30mm thick and insulated while the one-piece laminated floor is waterproof coated. Built on a 4in fully galvanised chassis with a double axle and leaf suspension, the van rides on smart looking 15in wheels, backed up by 10in brakes.

High gloss acrylic finished cupboards, smart looking 18mm laminate benchtops, steel sided drawers and abundant storage are a hallmark of the kitchen area. A four-burner stove and mini grill along with a microwave looks after the cooking while a 184L fridge keeps the food fresh and the drinks cold. Mirrored robes help frame the queen size bed while the well-equipped ensuite is quite roomy. Recessed LED strip lighting gives a smart look to the whole van.

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For off-the-grid experiences the Endeavour features a pretty basic, but still adequate setup that will keep you happy for a couple of days.

The Atlantic Endeavour comes in a number of floorplans including three models with a slide out to improve room in either the lounge area or bedroom. An optional All Terrain pack that features a heavier duty chassis and independent suspension plus more, is also available.

THE BUILD DETAILS

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Atlantic’s Endeavour is pitched as a conventional road-going caravan, complete with ball coupling and that’s exactly what you get. The 6.33m (20ft 9in) tandem-axle caravan comes with leaf spring suspension, a box section galvanised chassis, meranti timber frame and aluminium cladding. There isn’t a conventional front boot, instead both a tunnel storage and a checkerplate toolbox behind the gas cylinders supply the external storage requirements.

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Although the inside layout is the current favourite – rear bathroom and front island bed, the length of the van body does permit two features of note – a club-style lounge on the offside and a longer than usual kitchen bench facing the lounge.

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Even the bathroom seems to have a couple of extra shelves installed, as well as the wall mounted washing machine. It’s the little things that count too like metal-sided drawers and the table mounting that is not only easy to use but also provides a table that doesn’t wobble around when leant on slightly.

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Like many on-road caravans, the Endeavour comes with both a 100Ah house battery and a 100W solar panel. Certainly, with the three-way fridge, enough capacity for forays camping overnight off the grid without any problem at all. Items like that are what you might expect in a caravan around the $63,000 mark.

BUDGET FRIENDLY

A tandem-axle on-road tourer, the Atlantic Endeavour is predominantly pitched to first-time buyers that don’t want to blow the budget.

And if I had to bundle up its key features, this would be my short list - towability; cosy and spacious bedroom; snazzy ensuite; pragmatic kitchen; chic club lounge; wall-mounted miniwasher.

It’s also a relatively lightweight van, with a Tare weight of 2215kg, making it well within the realm of mid-sized 4WDs and SUVs. A weight-saving attribute is in its ‘skeleton’ – part meranti timber (frame) and part Baltic pine (cross members).

The van rides on a sturdy 4in Road Runner chassis, complemented by a robust AL-KO beam axle leaf spring suspension, and all-terrain tyres with 15in alloy wheels.

And I liked the fact a supplementary Anderson plug on a main chassis rail (near the battery) means a portable solar panel can be connected direct to the battery.

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Stepping inside, the spacious and stylish van is exceedingly plush, and up to the minute  – including cutting-edge modular CNC furniture which offers a very modern look. And a caravan-queen-size innerspring mattress is guaranteed to keep couples slumbering like Sleeping Beauty or Rip Van Winkle.

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Meanwhile, the kitchen has abundant storage and all the necessary mod cons. Any camping chef would be enraptured with the amount of benchtop space for meals prepping, and there’s even a cutlery tray to a kitchen drawer.

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The attractive and stylish rear ensuite comprises high-end fixtures like a ceramic vanity basin and ceramic toilet. In fact, the bathroom is quite spacious due a wall-mounted front-loading Daewoo miniwasher, which doesn’t encroach on the cabinetry space.

And I appreciated the curved vanity bench, with cabinets and railed shelving underneath.

The piece de resistance is the elegant side club lounge with a telescopic table that moves in four directions, making it easier to get in and out, as well as forming into a bed for an extra traveller.

All in all, it’s a phenomenal entry-level van with high-end appeal, and enticing for a young family contemplating a more adventurous lifestyle.

Weights and measures

  • Overall length 8.33m (27ft 4in)
  • External body length 6.33m (20ft 9in)
  • External body width 2.29m (7ft 6in)
  • Travel height 3m (9ft 10in)
  • Internal height 1.96m (6ft 5in)
  • Tare 2215kg
  • ATM 2715kg
  • Payload 500kg
  • Ball weight 180kg

Price as shown

$63,480 (plus on-roads, Vic)

The full feature appeared in Caravan World #570. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!