WINDSOR RAPID: REVIEW
The Windsor Rapid is a small family van, with beds for four, and an onboard bathroom.
Windsor Rapid highlights
- Pop-top van with fold out ends
- Well suited to family travel
- Ideal for any number of tow vehicles
- Includes a shower/toilet cubicle
Much of the current caravan market is aimed at the grey nomads, but there are still plenty of caravans and derivatives which are ideal for family use. Step forward the Windsor Rapid, which features a pop-top roof and fold-out ends which, in theory, makes it good for towing, as well as having a spacious interior.
WINDSOR RAPID CARAVANS FOR SALE
It’s built on a DuraGal box section chassis with 150x50mm (6inx2in) rails and similarly-sized drawbar rails. A look under the van reveals leaf spring suspension with what looks like a sideways-facing trailing. Windsor is part of the Coromal stable, so Coromal’s Ezy Tow suspension system is used. Both the 80Lwater tanks, protected with galvanised sheeting, are fitted forward of the axle and there’s a gas barbecue outlet on the front nearside corner, which requires getting down on your hands and knees to connect it up – or, alternatively, a short family member could do the deed. Being a road van, there is a ball coupling up front, along with two 4.5kg gas cylinders nestled between the rails. At the rear, the spare wheel sits on a square bumper and has been made on a hinged bracket in order to be able to open the rear fold-out.
The Rapid is built with aluminium frame, cladding and roof. It comes with a Camec security door, a sliding window on one side and a hopper window on the other. Of course, there are windows with insect screens all around the bed ends and the ceiling gusset, so there certainly aren't any ventilation problems.
Windsor's RTV Pack upgrade is fitted for rough-road use. It includes the larger chassis rails, protected water tanks, quick-release corner stabilisers, offroad electric brakes and several other items. Among those are different wheels and tyres, which raise the travel height slightly.
The area below the front bed doubles as a front boot and there's enough room for items like hoses, power leads and folded camp chairs. An additional storage bin is provided mid-offside but that is mainly for the house battery.
Setting up the Rapid does take a few minutes but it's all quite simple and can be done in no particular order. The front panel can be unlocked and lifted up. With the struts holding that up, the base of the front bedroom can be lowered and the canvas/insect screened wall straightened into position. At the rear, the same thing is done, except that the spare wheel wheel bracket has to be unpinned and lowered out of the way. Unclip the roof and raise that first - it saves a bit of neck bending when re-arranging the bed end mattresses.
Although just 5m (16ft 5in) long, there is a surprising amount of internal living space with the folded ends out and pop-top roof raised, especially with the shower/toilet cubicle included. The annexe walls fitted to the Carefree awning improve space issues greatly.
There are beds at either end, a cupboard to the left of the doorway, a dinette opposite and a kitchen bench along the nearside wall. That leaves the offside rear corner for the shower/toilet and the facing corner for a small wardrobe with microwave oven above.
It’s a bit surprising that a van this size comes with a bathroom. The Rapid has solid walls up to the external wall height, then vinyl up to the roof. That includes a zipped section for the doorway. It’s fitted out quite simply with a variable height flexible hose shower, Thetford cassette toilet and, surprisingly, a small corner wash basin.
You pay the price for having a shower/toilet cubicle and, in this case, that's in the kitchen. It has with a four burner cooktop/grill and stainless steel sink with drainer but benchtop working space is a bit nominal. Under the bench are three drawers, two cupboards and a floor locker. Fitted to the opposite wall is a 150L three way-fridge, which isn't a bad size in this genre of caravans.
The dinette seats are different lengths and clearly designed for two adults and two children. But either seat will be comfortable enough for just two adults. Both have locker doors at floor level for accessing the under-seat storage areas, but only the forward one comes with a wire basket drawer. Between the front bed and the dinette seat back are a couple of low level storage compartments but they are most occupied the house battery and the compressor unit for the split system Denso air-conditioner. The outlet for the air-con is located above the waist-high cabinet by the entry door.
For a family, there's about as much separation as you can get between parents and children with regards to the beds. The beds are quite comfortable and there is plenty of ventilation. Privacy curtains are fitted at either end. For night-time living, a couple of LED ceiling lights are fitted, along with reading lights for the dinette and bed ends. Given the fridge is a three way, the 100Ah battery should last a while if you’re parked in remote locations and one of the items included in the RTV Pack is pre-wiring for solar panels.
One of the big sunrises in this van is that, given its size, it comes with an on-board bathroom. I'm not sure it could be a full-time item for a family, especially given the water tank capacity, but for occasional use, it's there. I should point out that if you can live without the shower/bathroom, then there are Rapid layouts with larger kitchens, which may well suit a number of users. All that said, I reckon the Rapid is great for a family who don't need or can’t afford a larger van, but who still wish to enjoy the RV lifestyle.
- Fold out bed ends
- General layout
- Given size of van, general storage area
- 150L fridge
- User-friendly height microwave
I WOULD HAVE LIKED
- Bit more kitchen space
- Bit more strapping up, under the van
- 240V/12V sockets near the dinette table
The full test appeared in Caravan World #525, April 2014. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!