Jayco’s big selling Conquest offers and $11,000 saving with the latest Renault base, without giving up any extras.
BY TODD MAGUIRE
Jayco boldly advertises the Conquest as Australia’s best value motorhome.
Now the value is even better with the arrival of the latest Renault Master turbo diesel.
The French marque Renault comes in around $11,000 cheaper than the alternative top selling Italian base, the FIAT Ducato . Yet both Europeans come with most of the same vehicle features including cruise control, Bluetooth, anti lock brakes, traction control and large retracting electric side mirrors.
About the only ‘extra’ not included in the Renault is inbuilt satellite navigation, something you could easily add if needed.
The real difference is in the engines and the drivetrains, the Fiat being a three litre turbo diesel front drive, the Renault a 2.3 litre rear wheel drive.
Is it a lot to give up? Not in my view. The Renault pumps out 110Kw of power, which I found to be more than adequate as I put it through its paces around the Coffs Harbour hinterland.
With a six speed automated manual gearbox and a staunch rear wheel drive setup, it feels comfortable and familiar to anyone who grew up driving the classic Aussie rear wheel drive sedan. Tested on some unsealed roads and softer surfaces, it held its ground and never felt like slipping up once.
Admittedly I didn’t have it fully loaded, but it’s worth noting that while the engine is slightly smaller than the Fiat, the rear wheel drive gives completely different drive characteristics. If you’re contemplating towing, the Renault can actually take an extra 500kgs (2000kg braked) than the more powerful Fiat.
Upfront, the cabin sports a stylish and simple layout with comfortable seating, Steering is, direct and light with user friendly dials and switches close by. The built-in retractable Venetian style blinds in the Renault’s driver cabin are brilliant. They are recessed when not in use and work wonders for privacy;, although they do seem somewhat delicate.
There are five cabin length choices in the Conquest range with seven floor plans and the option of a high roof cab with large double bed, or low roof cab with extra cupboard space. Depending on the floor plan you choose it can sleep up to five.
The interior oozes style. With a tasteful fit out, superior appliances, modern fabrics and sleek finishes, you can appreciate the great lengths Jayco has gone to creating a genuine “wow’”factor.
By day the rear dining area is comfortable, open and can easily fit four adults. At night, the double bed retracts from the ceiling with the push of a button.
A 180-degree swivel bracket for the 18.5 in LED TV is great thinking, as well as a second CD stereo set in the rear of the cabin for some easily accessible tunes.
The kitchen is galley style with a SMEV cooker and stove, microwave oven, generous sized three-way fridge and freezer, sink with gas hot water and a filtered water tap.
There’s plenty of bench space, although an optional swing up extendable bench/store could be a good addition.
The centrally located bathroom is well designed with a separate screened shower. The wash basin is located in a folding unit above the toilet, meaning you never have to worry about a wet toilet like you do in motorhomes where it’s combined with the shower.
Up front there’s an additional front sleeping area in the Luton peak – a good size for kids or the more athletic senior if required. Otherwise, a perfect spot for those bulky storage items like golf clubs or fold up bikes. . Storage spaces are everywhere and all drawers and doors have a premium latching system.
External style is subtle and practical. The overall length of 7.2m makes it easy drive to manage. Outside, there’s more good storage places with quality key locking devices. A large electric awning is also standard along with an electric retractable step and TV aerial.
Making outdoor living easy, there’s an external power supply, TV connection, gas barbeque connection, water tap and room for a generator.
The Jayco Conquest RM.23- 4 is a complete, well laid out RV with a shining price for a first-class Australian product.