Sunland Patriot SEL: Video Review
Looking for both style and comfort in a caravan? Sunland’s offroad Patriot SEL has it in spades.
I was going to start this article by writing something like ‘older readers might well remember’, but then I realised that I fitted that category. So I decided on a different approach...
It wasn’t all that long ago that caravanning in Australia was quite basic. Yes, I realise that it wasn’t quite roughing it in a tent but there wasn’t a great deal of sophistication. I don’t think chassis were galvanised (I seem to remember painting our family Viscount with anti-rust primer), cooktops were two-burner Tudors, fridges (if there was one) were small Electrolux models, water was hand-pumped, the very simple lighting was 240V incandescent and the beds, if they didn’t have to be made up every night, were simply iron-framed items.
Oddly enough, in some cases, things have not changed much. For instance, many caravans still have timber frames with aluminium cladding and some building techniques remain the same as days gone by.
All of these thoughts crossed my mind as I looked over one of Sunland Caravans’ latest creations – the Patriot SEL.
Inside the van, the generous windows create a very bright interior. That is helped by the white colour of the walls, ceiling and cabinetry, the latter being finished in a two-pack paint, which looks very impressive. The door and locker handles are also very stylish and are easy enough to get your fingers in and out of.
Opposite the kitchen bench, the leather-upholstered dinette has simple lines but, with its contoured seats and wall cushions, it is a comfortable place to sit, especially with the table folded back and a glass of chardonnay and some cheese in front of you.
One of Sunland’s recent ‘trademark’ features is the folding shelf on the dinette that can be used as a work top while you’re sitting on the bed. It comes with both a 240V and 12V power outlet and, to me, it is an effective use of the walkway. Apart from that, the bedroom has a fairly standard layout, with island bed and a well-laid out bedhead cabinet for storage and night-time use.
The one-piece foam core fibreglass floor is an integral part of the van’s structure, a bit like a monocoque structure where all components are designed to complement each other. Although this sounds like a radical design, Sunland expresses its confidence in it by offering a 20-year manufacturer’s warranty.
For storage, the extended drawbar comes with a very large alloy checkerplate bin. It’s large enough to hold the two 9kg gas cylinders with plenty of space left over for hoses, camp chairs and jerry cans. But if that’s not enough, the front tunnel boot should hold everything else.
The Patriot features Seitz hopper windows all the way around, including the characteristic twin windows on either side at the front. There are four windows instead of two larger ones to open, but the upper window can be left open at night without being too much of a security risk.
- Innovative chassis design
- External bin storage
- Generous windows
- Spacious feel to interior
- ‘Office shelf’ behind dinette
I would have liked…
- Nothing of note – it’s a well-built van
Sunland Patriot SEL Specs
Weights and measures
- Overall length 8.8m (28ft 9in)
- External body length 6.58m (21ft 6in)
- External body width 2.4m (7ft 9in)
- Travel height 2.9m (9ft 5in)
- Internal height 2m (6ft 44in)
- Tare 2502kg
- ATM 3500kg
- Ball weight 140kg
- Frame Box-section welded aluminium
- Cladding Fibreglass
- Chassis Hybrid steel/alloy
- Suspension Cruisemaster independent
- Brakes 12in
- Wheels 16in alloy
- Fresh water 190L
- Drinking water 60L
- Battery 2x100Ah lithium ion
- Solar 2x200W
- Air-conditioner Dometic B
- Gas 2x9kg
- ESC Optional
- Cooking Dometic four-burner and grill
- Fridge Dometic 184L AES
- Microwave Camec
- Toilet Thetford cassette
- Shower Separate cubicle
- Lighting 12V LED
- Hot water Instantaneous gas
Price as shown
- $106,990 (Qld)
The full test appears in Caravan World #535 March 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!