Best Aussie Vans Finalist 2015 Regal RSV Test Review
A luxurious interior and sturdy underpinnings make the Regal RSV an attractive proposition.
First impressions are definitely important and, in the case of the Regal RSV competing at this year’s Best Aussie Vans (BAV), its bright blue alloy checkerplate lower waistline and matching decals and alloy wheel inserts, as well as a bit of black across the front, caught my attention straight away. Of course, colour isn’t everything, but it certainly helps draw the eye!
Regal has been a bit creative with this setup, though. The fridge, which often butts up against the bathroom wall, instead separates the dinette from the bedroom. Additionally, the kitchen bench has a wider angled section at the bedroom end, which works with the fridge to create a separation between the bedroom and living area. Whether you like this or a more open plan layout comes down to personal preference.
LAYOUT & DESIGN
The cafe-style dinette is immediately opposite the entry and offers a good incentive to sit down without stepping much further inside. I have to say, it’s quite a comfortable location from which to check out the van. In addition to the contoured cushions and seat backs, there’s a bit of padding on the wall and, unusually, headrests for both seats. There are a number of other features here – a tri-fold table with cupboard underneath, drawers under the seats, reading lights and the trifecta of 240V, 12V and 5V USB sockets, with the expected lockers overhead.
BEDROOM & STORAGE
Up front, the island bed mattress sits on a posture slat bed base. It can be lifted to get to the under-bed area which isn’t quite as large as usual – mostly because of the front tunnel boot but also because the Eberspacher diesel-fired heater is stored there. It’s all neatly hidden behind the panel work. One point worthy of note is that the heater control is fitted to the nearside bed cabinet, so it can be turned on without having to get out of bed on a cold morning!
Windows are fitted on both sides of the bed as well as behind the bedhead. The side wardrobe doors are fitted with mirrors which does a lot for space perception, as well as being practical. The bedside shelf is improved with the addition of a shelf that runs under the front window.
Opposite the dinette, the kitchen comes with an angled stainless steel sink with drainer as well as a four-burner cooktop and grill. Instead of a conventional oven, the microwave is located under the grill. Is this too low, I wondered? It happened to be the BAV open day when I looked at this van and, while I was pondering this matter, a number of people who were old hands at caravanning were also taking a look through the van. I popped the question to them and while the jury was fairly unanimous that it was too low, however, the alternative position in the overhead lockers had more of a mixed response but wasn’t overwhelmingly positive either!
Even with the microwave under the bench, there is still room for three cupboards, two drawers and a wire basket-style pantry. All the cupboards have shelves, making practical use of the available space.
The flatscreen TV is mounted above the bench near the doorway – good for dinette viewing, but not so good from the bed.
Across the rear of the caravan, the bathroom comes with the full kit, consisting of an offside cassette toilet, nearside shower cubicle and a large vanity cabinet in between. The latter has a wash basin beside the top-loading washing machine, which is hidden in a cabinet. There are three floor-to-ceiling cupboards adjacent to the toilet. Although, given the location, the lower cabinet isn’t particularly easy to get at. There’s an overhead locker above the vanity next to a smallish but adequate mirror. All this results in a bathroom that feels slightly cramped, but is fairly user-friendly in all its functions.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Although the RSV is not built as an offroad caravan, it’s almost certainly kitted out for remote country travel and it’s nearly as heavy as some offroad vans I have seen.
None of that should be seen as a disadvantage, though – this is a caravan that’s designed for enjoyable touring.
As long as the right tow vehicle is chosen, it should be a van that rides well and provides many happy travels.
HITS & MISSES
- Good-sized kitchen bench
- Comfortable dinette
- Generous bathroom storage
- Substantial external storage
- Eye-catching external colour scheme
- Good load-carrying capacity
- Requires mid-to-large tow vehicle
- Heavy ball weight
- TV not easily viewed from the bed
The full test appears in Caravan World #545 January 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!