Roadstar Daintree Caravan Review
Roadstar's Daintree series is locally made and can be totally customised
Most caravan manufacturers will customise a standard caravan to some extent, but Roadstar Caravans has taken this one step further. Its Daintree range can be totally customised, to the extent there really is no such thing as a 'standard' model.
Daintrees can be had between 4550 and 9580mm long and range from 2120 to 2700mm in width. There are dozens of suggested floor plans in the Roadstar brochure and you can choose the front half of one and the back half of another for example, plus on-road or dirt-road suspension, so the permutations are almost endless. The reasoning behind this is simple: to provide a caravan that can be completely altered by buyers at a regular production 'van price.
Does it work? Read on.
The first thing to strike you is the Daintree's traditional appearance and inclusions - aluminium cladding over a meranti timber frame (an alloy frame is optional), leaf-spring suspension with solid axles and untinted windows. It's the stuff of caravanning convention or, dare I say, mediocrity? Totally customisable it may be, but innovative or avant-garde it isn't. But that's how you get a custom van at a production price - albeit a rather steep one - with the test Daintree ringing up $62,990 on the cash register.
So, what do you get for your money? Well, Roadstar has a good name and is well known for building solid caravans. This van featured
- genuine queen-size bed with an innerspring mattress
- sizable rear ensuite with separate toilet and shower, plus a washing machine
- full stove and oven
- large 184-litre two-door, three-way fridge/freezer
- super-low-profile Ibis 3.5kW roof-mounted reverse-cycle airconditioner
- gas/electric hot water system
- pillow upholstery to the dinette
- an extra 75mm (3 inches) of head room.
All of this fits into a tandem-axle caravan measuring 6680mm x 2350mm - or 21'10" x 7'8" - with a tare weight of 1993kg and an ATM (Aggregate Trailer Mass) of 2393kg.
The test van had a slightly rear-set axle group, resulting in a substantial 286kg ball weight, but moving the door forward (and, I'd guess, the wheels a bit too) apparently reduces this to a more reasonable 170kg.
Being an ensuite van, the Daintree carries two 80-litre water tanks. A pair of 9kg gas bottles sit on the substantial 150 x 50mm A-frame, which, together with the chassis, is made of Supagal steel. This is galvanised during the manufacturing process rather than being hot-dipped after the chassis is constructed, and is a much better long-term anti-corrosion solution. The body is also fully insulated and all external running lights are now LED, despite the test van having conventional ones.
Electric brakes are standard on all wheels, there's a matching alloy spare on the rear bumper and quick-release corner stabilising legs. A double-clamp jockey wheel mount, mains pressure water connector, front boot with a large door and battery pack, substantial roll-out awning and a pair of awning lights are all standard, too.
In keeping with the totally customisable theme, you can choose from a myriad of timber, laminate and fabric colours and designs. So don't blame Roadstar if your custom Daintree ends up looking like an '80s RSL Club inside. The test van certainly didn't, and in fact looked quite good.
In this layout the entry door is mid-positioned, with the bedroom to the left, in the nose, the kitchen and dinette in the centre, and the full-width bathroom at the rear. It's okay, although having to walk through the kitchen to get to and from the bathroom could become tedious, but the design is quite open, with lots of head room.
The bedroom is completely dominated by the queen-size island bed, and squeezing around the sides is just that: a squeeze. I'd put up with that small inconvenience, however, for the luxury of a proper size bed in a caravan, for a change. The big bed also reduces bedside wardrobe width marginally, but again it's a compromise well worth living with. A concertina privacy door screens the bedroom from the kitchen/dinette, when required, which is a nice touch.
With its full-size stove, microwave, rangehood and enormous two-door fridge/freezer, the kitchen is nicely equipped. There's a single-bowl stainless steel sink with drainer, several pot drawers and decent overhead cupboard space, although the drawers themselves don't seem to fit or run all that well.
The dinette is L-shaped and quite comfortable, while the table is long and sturdy, thanks to two substantial legs. It can also be removed, while the dinette seats lift for added storage.
The full-width bathroom is very useful and will attract many buyers. A sliding door provides entry in the middle, with the loo and washing machine to the left and the hand basin and shower to the right. The toilet is a standard Thetford unit with removable cassette, while the dinky little washing machine is a top-loader that's partially concealed by a lift-up flap in the bench top. The bench itself runs right across the back wall and has the hand basin set into it, along with a chrome mixer tap. There are cupboards above and below the bench, plus a mirror above the hand basin. It all looks good, including the shower with its opaque door, and is sure to prove popular.
The use of darkish timber with a dark green laminate looks quite modern, although why RV manufacturers make everything out of the one colour and finish eludes me. Ever been to a house where the lounge, bedrooms and bathroom all look like the kitchen? Of course there is no right or wrong with decorating choice as it's a personal thing, and the interior of the Daintree works nicely by current caravan standards.
In the end?
Roadstar's Daintree is an interesting concept. As you tailor it to suit yourself, you could end up with just the caravan you've been looking for. Just don't mistake custom-built for craftsman-built and you'll be fine.
A real bonus - and something unique in the caravan world as far as I'm aware - is the inclusion of 12-months, 24-hour roadside assistance Australia-wide, plus two years membership to Top Tourist Parks.
A big thanks to Bill and the gang at Lifestyle RVs, 1200 Ipswich Rd, Moorooka QLD 4105. Tel: (07) 3848-0000.
Floorplan can be totally customised.
Traditional appearance & inclusions.
|Country of manufacture||Australia|
|Price as tested||From $62,990 + ORC|
|Tare weight||1,993 kg|
|Gross weight||2,393 kg|
|Towball download||286 kg|