Review: Sunliner Motorhomes Fusion
Sunliner's Fiat Ducato-based Fusion is an attention grabber inside and out.
DIFFERENT MOTORHOMES STAND out for different reasons, but those powered by a Fiat Ducato cab bolted to a tandem-axle Al-Ko chassis do tend to catch the eye.
Such is the case with Sunliner's 7.8m (25ft 7in) Fusion. It does have that streamlined Sunliner shape, but the twin wheels at the rear are a definite point of difference. This is one of the benefits of the front-wheel-drive Fiat Ducato cab: the tandem-axle chassis can be added without any rear-wheel-drive mechanical complications, giving a greater load capacity - in this case a GVM of 5000kg and an available payload of close to 1200kg.
A motorhome of this size requires the Ducato Multijet 160 with the 3.L/115.5kW turbodiesel engine. Our Fusion came with a six-speed AMT gearbox, which by now is almost a standard feature on Fiat Ducato cabs. Although the length may deter some drivers, this is not a difficult motorhome to drive, requiring just a little more care when cornering or reversing. A Light Rigid truck licence is necessary, however.
ABOVE THE CHASSIS
The Fusion's body is built using Sunliner's fibreglass composite Thermo Tough wall construction. The inevitable boxy shape is softened with fairings above the rear wheels and trademark Sunliner mouldings top and bottom at the rear.
Double-glazed Seitz hopper windows and a Dometic door are standard features, the latter having an opening window for the top half, but no security screen. There are two external storage bins on the nearside, the front providing access to the under-lounge area, the rear accessing the space underneath the bed.
Along the offside is a gas bin with two 4kg cylinders and a third storage bin.
The interior décor has a pleasant ambience with a light timber hue. Making full use of the swivelling cab seats, the layout features a front lounge, kitchen in the middle, rear bedroom and full-width rear bathroom. This may sound crowded, but it is quite an open layout. Large windows all-round add to the feeling of space and a roof-mounted air-conditioner keeps things cool when the going gets warm.
An available option up front is to have a dinette-style table and seat behind the driver, but the existing setup, with sideways-facing lounges on both sides, works well with the swivel cab seats. The table is pole-mounted on a swivel. There are storage areas under both seats, as well as overhead lockers. A shelf has been fitted around the cut-out above the cab.
Space in the L-shaped kitchen was always going to be a challenge, but the cabinet design includes drawers and cupboards accessible from two sides. Fitted into the benchtop are a Spinflo cooktop along the wall and a stainless steel sink avec drainer at right angles. Having the drainer nearest the wall does limit the washing/drying process to one person, though.
A feature of the benchtop is the elevated shelf along the forward edge - it looks good and is quite practical.
Mostly out of sight under the overhead lockers are three useful items: tea towel rail; double powerpoint; and slimline fluorescent.
Completing the kitchen is a large cabinet on the opposite wall that contains a 150L fridge and a microwave at head height. Above both is a good-sized storage cupboard with an adjoining wardrobe.
Measuring 1.75x1.39m (5ft 9in x 4ft 7in) in its shortened length, the bed (with innerspring mattress) sits against the nearside wall. Like many RV beds, it has an extension piece that adds about 175mm (7in) to the length, which in turn reduces the area at the base. This setup means overhead lockers rather than bedside cabinets are provided.
Lifting the posture slat bed base gives access to the under-bed storage (also accessible from the outside). Part of the space is taken up by two large drawers on the front side which, even with the two 100Ah batteries, still offer plenty of room.
A key feature of the Fusion is a full-width rear bathroom, but only about one third of the interior wall (covering the nearside shower cubicle) is solid. The rest can be closed off with a concertina partition (see pics, page 57). This might sound odd but it helps with space perceptions.
The bathroom is fitted with the shower cubicle, a Dometic cassette toilet and a mid-section vanity cabinet. The largish window in the rear wall led the designers to put the mirror on the offside wall. Above the window are cupboards and storage shelves. An exhaust fan is fitted above the shower, but not the toilet.
In terms of power, a 12V control panel, containing a master switch and 12V circuit fuses, is mounted above the entry door. That same panel contains water gauges and a Jensen radio/CD player. Although there is an MP3 socket, there really isn't a logical spot for a player.
Since our review, the team at Sunliner dealer Sunshine State RV told me there had been a few standard features added, including remote control air-conditioning, slide-out pantry, electric awning, stainless steel barbecue and a 1000W inverter.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Fusion is one of the largest motorhomes in the Sunliner fleet based on a Euro truck, yet it is still an easy vehicle to drive. It comes loaded with many extra goodies, hence the 5000kg GVM, and a fairly spacious layout.
Naturally, all of the usual Sunliner features are included, adding up to a very attractive motorhome package.