REVIEW: PARADISE CASTAWAY
Queensland-based motorhome builder Paradise has applied its impressive engineering credentials to caravans.
Paradise Motorhomes has brought its first-ever caravan, the Castaway, to the market.
In producing this caravan, Paradise’s approach of careful precision engineering, and not necessarily following what everyone else was doing, certainly brought about a few challenges.
A look under the Castaway reveals familiar Vehicle Components Cruisemaster independent suspension as well as an unusual chassis. Paradise general manager Ben MacLean said: "We have designed a modular chassis that utilises a continuous length 150mm steel drawbar that runs in one length all the way to the first suspension member.
"Production caravans will have a galvanised drawbar, powder-coated suspension framework and high strength alloy rear frame section. A major part of the caravan’s overall strength comes from the high grade composite floor, 50mm-thick structural foam that is fibreglass infused. It’s all one-piece, fully water resistant and incredibly strong."
Like the floor, the walls and roof are one-piece composite panels but are slightly thinner at 35mm. Ben said the structural foam was environmentally friendly, fire resistant and had incredible tensile and compressive strength compared to other composite foams.
The layout is not the common front bedroom, full-width rear bathroom set-up. Up front, the club lounge is very inviting. The kitchen bench runs along the mid-offside, with the fridge and microwave oven on the opposite side. That leaves space towards the rear for an east-west bed with bedhead set into the offside slide-out and a large bank of wardrobes along the nearside wall.
In a nod to Paradise’s motorhome origins, the Castaway has a slide-out fitted into the rear offside wall and it runs very smoothly.
One of the assets of having the east-west bed in the slide-out is that it creates plenty of space to walk around the bed and a very generous wardrobe cabinet. And the bathroom in the rear can still be accessed with the slide-out closed up.
The Castaway comes with all the essential electrical items, such as a 100Ah battery, 30A smartcharger and two 150W solar panels. Discreet LED lighting is fitted into all the appropriate locations and a multi-circuit touch control panel is handily located by the entry door. Instead of separate hot water and space heaters, this van has a Truma Combi 240V/gas unit installed – it does two jobs and saves space at the same time. An additional feature that will be in all future Paradise vans is an integrated control that links up to the Truma Aventa air-conditioner, thus giving you control of every temperature condition.
The Tare comes in at 2100kg and the ATM at 2900kg, which gives you a huge load capacity but, if you carry a light load, there’s an excellent selection of tow vehicles available. Certainly our Holden Colorado dual cab buzzed along without any dramas. And Paradise seems to have made an effort to create a van that tows very smoothly.
Now, just before you rush out with your cheque book to pay a deposit for this van, I’d better tell you the price – the better part of $120,000. And that is for the on-road model.
The slightly higher and heavier (but not much) offroad version is more expensive. Having thoroughly inspected this van, what this says to me is that Paradise actually worked on the design with its eyes more on engineering than the cost.
The Castaway layout reviewed here is the only one available at the moment. I’m sure that there’ll be more later on, but I think the philosophy was to get everything working right and then move on, rather than use a ‘shotgun’ approach.
All up, the Castaway is built very similarly to the Paradise motorhomes and that experience shines through. It all adds up to a very classy, if expensive, caravan.
- Body and chassis engineering
- Caravan weight (or lack thereof)
- External storage compartment
- Touch panel sound system
- Touch pad light switches
I WOULD HAVE LIKED...
- Nothing of note and certainly more time to play!
See the full version of this review in Caravan World #522, February 2014. Why not subscribe today.