By Richard Robertson of iMotorhome
Sweet little campervan
New Aussie camper combines Japanese reliability with German smarts and a dash of Italian style
Australia has had a love affair with campervans going back decades, still it’s fair to say it has been a while since the sector produced any new surprises –especially at the entry level.
That’s why the all-new entry-level Campino is so good – it’s a genuine breath of fresh air set to give the market sector a big shake-up.
The HiAce’s drawback as a camper is the lack of a walk-through cab. The upside is this allows for extra kitchen and living space. And while most campervans have particleboard cabinetry, the Campino uses lightweight, high-strength Euro-sourced ply, plus quality German brand hardware.
There’s an L-shaped kitchen space running across the vehicle behind the cab seats then down the driver’s side of the van. There are two single beds that can be made into a large double/queen. All this sits beneath a traditional pop-top roof. While it hardly looks cutting edge, it’s the finer details that truly impress.
The pop-top is Southern Spirit’s own deign and it’s strong enough to walk on. Fully insulated, it has an easy-clean ceiling and the gutters channel rain away from the side door. The skirt has zippered and screened side windows. The roof is secured by simple webbing straps that loop through sprung buckles, while a fixed hi-top roof is an option.
A 120w solar system is a $480 option and Campino is already pre-wired, including the regulator. A sizeable 120AH AGM deep-cycle house battery is standard and all wiring is heavy duty 6mm. A TV is another option, but again the van comes prewired including a weatherproof external connector for satellite or standard aerial leads.
The L-shaped kitchen has a stack of four drawers while the cooker is portable and can be moved outside. A fold-down table hinges off the kitchen end panel. The kitchen includes a round sink (with folding tap and glass lid) plus an 80-litre Waeco 12V compressor fridge. An impressive German Votronic-brand panel provides accurate readouts for the house and vehicle batteries plus percentage readouts for the fresh and grey water tanks that are even accurate when the van is not parked level. Lighting is 12V LED throughout and even includes a pair of downlights in the tailgate for when it’s raised.
The lounge/bed is the final and possibly best innovation of all. In normal use it’s U-shaped, but the rear centre section is removable to provide a long aisle for loading a bike or piece of furniture if you’re using it as a second runabout vehicle. There’s a decent sized table for dining and when removed it becomes a base board, used to converts the single beds to queen size. The Porta Potti is a terrific inclusion. It stores in the driver’s side rear corner but can also be moved to another cupboard inside for nighttime use.
The Campino is a seriously good campervan, entry level or not. It can be your only car or a weekend escape machine, while the combination of unbreakable Toyota reliability and Southern Spirit’s build quality mean it should deliver years of trouble free service and enjoyment.
For the full review and specs, see Issue 23 of ROAM
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