Jayco Optimum IV.28-5: Review
Mount Panorama may be better known for V8 Supercars than motorhomes, but it sure made a great base for testing Jayco’s latest Optimum IV.28-5.
On a recent trip to Bathurst, NSW, to attend the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia’s (CMCA) 30th anniversary rally, we managed to get our hands on the latest Optimum IV.28-5 – the largest and most luxurious of the Jayco fleet. Built on an Iveco Daily cab chassis, the 8.7m (28ft 7in) Optimum has received an upgrade in its latest incarnation, and features a large offside slide-out that encompasses the bed and dinette, as well as new fixtures and fittings.
LAYOUT AND DESIGN
It’s an impressive and somewhat imposing rig, with its silver cab, white fibreglass body, and silver and black decals. It certainly drew a crowd when we pulled into the CMCA rally at the Mount Panorama race circuit.
The cab is comfortable and spacious, and visibility is quite good – aided by decent side mirrors and a rearview camera. The Iveco’s eight-speed, fully-automatic 3L turbodiesel (also available in a more powerful bi-turbo) handled well on our test at Mount Panorama and along the winding country roads around Bathurst, changing down gears nicely to decelerate down hills and with enough grunt to get back up again. We did notice a fair bit of creaking when underway, though, which can sometimes be the case with slide-out models, and which made for a slightly noisy journey.
The Optimum is badged as a luxury motorhome and comes with all the expected bells and whistles. To the right of the forward entry door, with its separate mesh-screened security door, are a nearside kitchen and offside dinette. Towards the rear is the east-west bed with a low wall of wardrobes stretching along the nearside at the foot of the bed. For short stops, there’s enough room to use the dinette with the slide-out closed and you can still access the full-width rear bathroom by lifting up the mattress on its gas struts, which creates a small corridor. The struts did seem a little weak and were unable to hold the weight of the bed up.
In addition to the plentiful storage compartments, the nearside is home to a slide-out barbecue, a drop-down picnic table, an external shower and an entertainment hatch with an extending arm for a TV, as well as an electric Carefree awning with LED strip lighting along the outer edge. In other words, the Optimum is well-suited to sunny days spent in the shade of the awning and evenings relaxing under the stars.
BEDROOM AND STORAGE
Above the front cab in the Luton peak is a second double bed, accessed via a clip-on ladder, which brings the sleeping capacity of this Optimum to four. This bed also lifts on gas struts, which provides easier access to the front cab from the living area and also makes it feel more spacious and open in the cab when you’re on the road.
Windows at either end of the Luton peak bed provide light and ventilation and a mesh shield clips up along the outer edge – a handy addition to stop the kids from rolling out of bed. The angled front of the Luton peak could make it a little claustrophobic up here for a couple of adults, though.
The main east-west bed sits flush against the rear wall of the slide-out, so only the forward side has a robe and bedside table. While it does mean the person sleeping towards the rear misses out on having somewhere to stash any items they want close by, it certainly doesn’t mean the bedroom area is lacking in cupboard space!
Included in the bedside robe is a cavity next to the bed for smaller items, as well as two overhead lockers. At the foot of the bed, the low wall of cupboards are flanked either side by full-height cabinets. Because of the slide-out mechanism, the full under-bed space isn’t available for storage, but there are a couple of cavities where you could stash a few bits and pieces. All in all, you really shouldn’t have any issues finding a home for all your necessities!
In the cabinetry at the foot of the bed is an extending arm for the Sphere TV, perfect for viewing movies from bed. Another TV arm sits immediately to the left of the entry door, which can be seen from the dinette, although anyone sitting in the front seat would have to do some serious twisting to view it clearly.
The full-width rear bathroom features a decent-sized, full-height shower with a clear screen and a mixer tap with flexible height hose on the nearside. The rear wall vanity has a ceramic bowl sink and a large mirror, which definitely adds to the feeling of space. Again, there are plenty of storage options here, including cupboards, drawers and a shelf.
A 3kg Sphere top-loading washing machine is tucked under the vanity bench on the offside corner next to the Thetford cassette toilet. There’s a window behind the toilet and a vent above the shower to combat any moisture build up. A sliding door with a towel rail closes off this area.
There’s plenty of lighting in the bathroom and, indeed, throughout the rest of the Optimum, courtesy of a combination of LED downlights and strip lighting. While there were no reading lights fitted, we were told they are an available and customisable option.
THE BOTTOM LINE
It is this level of customisation that is one of the advantages of the Jayco brand – the extensive options allow you to customise the lighting, decor, features and fittings to your liking. In addition, of course, its extensive dealer and service network is a comforting thought for potential buyers.
- Excellent storage, inside and out
- Great load capacity
- Spacious living
- Carries and sleeps four
- Creaky and noisy when travelling
- Needs LR license
- Minimal kitchen bench space
The full test appears in the 2016 edition of Australian Motorhome magazine.