Evernew E900i Series Video Review
Evernew caravans are tough, but the respected Melbourne caravan maker’s first smooth-sided offroader in 53 years is even tougher.
Have you ever noticed how many Evernew caravans and pop-tops are on the road? Start counting next time you’re on a major highway and you’ll be amazed.
More impressively, they are found all over Australia. During our most recent visit to Port Douglas, Qld, they were only out-numbered in our caravan park by Jaycos.
This says two important things about the brand that is still building vans in Heidelberg, Vic, by the same founding family, only a stone’s throw from where the first Evernew took shape in 1963. One is that around 8000 Evernews have been built since then; the other is that a lot of them are obviously still going strong, thanks to the unshakable policy of founder Bruce Bailey and son-in-law Darren French that they should survive a minimum of 30 years of use.
You can see this admirable philosophy play out in a number of small, yet significant ways. For example, the pipe connecting the A-frame-mounted external water tap to the twin 95L fresh water tanks on our review caravan was made from copper, not plastic, for a very sound reason: UV radiation degrades plastic over time.
Meranti timber is also used for the framing of the front, side and rear walls because, being a natural material, it absorbs road shocks and flexing that aluminium frames do not. Darren understands this from his knowledge of the aviation industry, where aluminium airframes have a predictable life expectancy. The longevity of timber framing, he says, is based on keeping water out, so the majority of Evernew caravans are built without front and rear windows.
Then there’s the hot-dipped galvanised steel G&S chassis that is custom-built for every Evernew with extra cross-bracing every 450mm (18in) for extra torsional rigidity, plus additional steel plate bracing in areas that are subject to greater flex.
There is also 70x25mm Oregon roof beams on every full-height Evernew, each spaced 450mm apart on average and are checked into the walls for extra support, compared with the industry norm for on-road caravans of 42x19mm finger-jointed Meranti.
So when Evernew announces that it has built a new ‘offroad’ van, you know that the lip service sometimes given to this term in the Australian caravan industry does not apply.
‘Offroad’ at Evernew starts with an even stronger 150x50mm A-frame and chassis, larger 265/75 R16 General Grabber light truck tyres on alloy rims, 12in electric drum brakes on single-axle models and premium Cruisemaster XT suspension.
Throw in lots of checkerplate cladding and that’s pretty much de rigueur for most offroad caravans these days. However, Evernew goes a lot further.
Our review E900i Series continued its modern (for Evernew) look inside, where high gloss silver and white flat-look furniture was used in place of the traditional timber picture framing that the majority of Evernew’s admittedly conservative customer base still prefers.
Combined with large front bedroom windows, this created a bright, light-filled interior that created the impression of much greater space than the tape measure suggested.
The van is conventional in its layout, yet the hand of an experienced caravan builder can be seen everywhere.
It starts with the centre-front entrance that capitalises on the space to access the north-south queen-size bed, which is flanked by wardrobes and small chests of drawers, while three large clothes storage cupboards span the front wall overhead. Look underneath the bed and you will find a large, totally unencumbered rectangular storage area.
It’s all conventional to the right of the door, too, with the compact kitchen and its four-burner cooktop and griller on one side, opposite a conventional cloth-upholstered café dinette with a tri-fold table.
Nothing radical here, but you can sense as you move around that the measurements have been tweaked from long experience to ensure easy passage, while there are no sharp corners on which to bang your head or hips.
Further back, an 800W microwave sits high above the Evernew’s large190L Dometic fridge-freezer, but there are few other options to mount it lower without loss of cupboard or bench space in a caravan of this length.
Evernew’s experience in simple, workable design also shows in the full rear ensuite that features a simple recessed vanity basin in between the china bowl toilet and separate fibreglass shower cubicle. There’s no washing machine – Evernew only fits these in caravans with an internal length of 5.5m (18ft) or more.
THE BOTTOM LINE
It all adds up to an impressively strong caravan that might be sold primarily for sealed-road use, but even with roller-rocker leaf springs can survive many years of all-road use and still scrub up fresh.
- Unrivalled heritage
- Offroad capability
- Sensational tunnel boot
- New composite wall exterior and gloss cabinet styling
- Detail finish needs attention
The full article appears in Caravan World #555 September 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!