Ever since the ground-breaking rock’n’roll days of 1958, Winnebago has been the world leader in motorhome design and technology.
In June 2014, Apollo Motorhome Holidays, Australia’s largest motorhome rental provider, became the official licenced producer of the Winnebago branded product for the Australian and New Zealand market. This new partnership now sees Winnebago motorhomes designed and manufactured in Apollo’s custom facility at Northgate in Brisbane. All vehicles are designed from the ground up to the strict high standards of Australian RVs.
And the ‘Top of the Pops’ in the range of five new Australian made Winnebagos is the Whitehaven. It’s a stylish, attention grabbing RV with plenty of internal room to move.
The open plan of this home away from home is easy to get around in. A level floor extends from cab to ensuite with strikingly appointed soft furnishings and cabinetry giving a luxurious feel.
A spacious cafe style dinette and well-proportioned kitchenette features a 186L three-way fridge/freezer, a four burner gas cooker/oven, microwave oven and a decent sized sink with good water pressure.
Other amenities include a separate toilet, reasonable sized shower, again with solid water pressure and room for an optional washing machine. Storage areas are numerous and are well secured for travelling. A well located slimline TV and twin zone stereo system, and reverse cycle air conditioning allow for relaxing and entertainment. The 180-degree swivel leather cabin seats create a comfortable lounge space offering hospitable seating for those envious drop-in guests.
The generous proportions of the Whitehaven are enhanced by the vehicles piece de resistance: the living room/bedroom slideout. With the simple push of a button two thirds of the van extends out by 550mm or two foot to the off side of the vehicle. The slide out has a manual operated backup just in case of any electrical malfunction.
The queen sized bed fits perfectly and is a good use of space with comfort written all over it. The road tested B class model, which luxuriously sleeps two, can be easily optioned to include a “Luton peak” nose cone to allow for family travel, sleeping four happy campers.
Even on rainy days when you might be stuck inside, the generous sized Whitehaven offers enough personal space to avoid cabin fever, -an important consideration for those contemplating longer-term travel.
The external features of the Whitehaven are the result of years of road testing and innovative design. Although Apollo is new to the Winnebago brand, the Queensland company has years of experience in RV manufacturing having produced the quality and practical Talvor range of motorhomes.
For outdoor living there’s a sturdy and generously sized roll out awning, plenty of lockable storage and easy accessed power and water points. The electric drop down entry step and LED illuminated external grab rail are create a great first impression as you enter this luxury vehicle.
The luxury feel stays with you behind the steering wheel. The power base is the world’s most popular motorhome workhorse, the Fiat Ducato. It’s 2015 updated model continues to win plaudits for its handling and fuel economy. It’s smooth, gutsy and a real pleasure to drive. The six speed automatic mixes it up easily with local town traffic and has plenty of get up and go on the open road. Quite surprising from the very economical 3.0 litre, four cylinder diesel engine.
The external size of the vehicle is surprisingly easy to manage. It didn’t take long before I was confidently moving the vehicle in an out of some reasonably tight places – as did my co-pilot. (My wife is incidentally an excellent driver!)
A great deal of attention has been focussed on Apollo Industries as it has partnered up with the world’s biggest name in motorhomes and developed a complete new Australian range carrying the Winnebago name.
The Winnebago Whitehaven more than delivers on expectations. The quality of workmanship is top notch, the fit out is well thought out and remarkably spacious. The slide-out bed is a stand out feature that would be hard to go past for anyone looking at investing in a motorhome in this price range.
Price: $159,410 drive away ex QLD
By Todd Maguire
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