Avida Menindee motorhome test
The redesigned Avida Menindee motorhome offers first-class travel, as Malcolm Street states for us in his guided tour.
- Slightly dropped ceiling that runs down the centre of the motorhome.
- First class finish
- Split bathroom areas
- Spacious kitchenette
Make, model and design
The Menindee is not a new motorhome for Avida but this is the latest evolution of the Menindee’s design, which has seen a few changes and has lost a bit of weight along the way. Although some manufacturers launch new models each year, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using an existing design and improving the breed with experience.
The Menindee is an upmarket motorhome, based on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 519 CDI, which means it comes with a 3L engine and the super smooth, seven-speed, fully automatic gearbox.
In keeping with most Avida motorhomes, the Esperance is built with a fully-welded metal frame for the walls, floor and roof. That frame has a foam sheet filler that Avida claims will act as insulation and help reduce road noise. The walls are laminated together with backing panels and an outer fibreglass skin. Up top, the roof is a one-piece sandwich panel construction, while the Luton peak, cab surround and rear wall are fully-moulded fibreglass. The floor panel has a ply timber sheet above and metal sheeting below for under-floor protection.
The (almost) flush tinted windows look good, along with the SkyView hatch above the driver’s cab. However, I suspect fresh air lovers aren’t going to like them quite as much as the Hehr style that Avida often uses. Only the lower quarter of the windows open and not by much, which is fine on a cold Blue Mountains day, but not so good on a hot summer’s day if you’re away from mains power for the air-conditioner. I also wondered about the standard Hehr screen door, given the security door is so in vogue these days.
The Menindee’s 7.9 m (25ft 11in) length allows a generous amount of external storage. There are two bins along the nearside and three, plus the gas cylinder bin, along the offside. As with any slide-out design, the bins under the slide-out are awkward to get at, but the one within the slide-out is at a user-friendly height.
All the electrics, such as the battery charger, are fitted into the bin beside the entry door. There’s still plenty of room to spare, as the batteries, which are normally on their own slide-out tray, are actually hidden under the door step, which could make changing the battery a bit more fiddly than usual.
Any motorhome with a touch of class, like this one, is sure to have a decent external entertainment unit. In this case, it comes complete with a picnic table, radio, flatscreen TV and speakers, which Avida has chosen to mount inside the compartment rather than on the external wall.
The kitchen bench is just long enough to hold a four-burner cooktop/grill/oven and a stainless steel sink with a drainer – nothing more. There are four drawers underneath the bench and three overhead lockers above but minimal free benchtop space. The dinette table on the other side will be a good substitute.
- Spacious interior
- Decent entertainment system
- LED lighting arrangement
- Split bathroom
- External bin space
- Driving the Sprinter
I would have liked...
- More window openings
- A larger kitchen
- To not have to make up the rear bed every night
There’s no doubt the Menindee is designed to sit in the upper echelons of the Avida range. It’s built with as many comforts as possible, but I suspect the ‘chore’ of having to make the main bed up every night might be a minus for some. I’m sure ways could be found to short-cut this process. That said, the Menindee offers luxury motorhome travel with two slide-outs offering the space of what would otherwise be a much longer, fixed-wall motorhome.
The full test appeared in Caravan World #531 November 2014. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!