Retreat Whitehaven: Review
If you’re looking for space, comfort and storage capacity, look no further than the Retreat Whitehaven.
One of the very noticeable features about this Whitehaven is the striking internal colour scheme. Broadly speaking, the lower areas such as the leather club lounge and benchtops are black, the mid-sections including the splashbacks and fridge doors are red, and the walls and ceiling are white. It might sound a bit stark but it did have a certain appeal and it definitely catches the eye. Parravans’ Michael Edwards did tell me that if a buyer wanted less contrasting internal colours, they are certainly available.
Having lighter colours up top not only aids the reflection of natural light, but also helps the plentiful LED fittings light the space at night. In addition to the generous window space, general ventilation is handled by fore and aft Four Seasons hatches, along with the usual bathroom ceiling hatch. There’s also a centrally-located Aircommand Ibis air-conditioner for when it gets too hot.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
The SupaGal box-section chassis is made with 150x50mm (6x2in) main rails and drawbar plus a 100mm (4in) riser for the suspension. Load-sharing leaf springs are used for the tandem axles and the water tanks, protected by a galvanised sheet, are mounted either side of the axles. An additional chassis feature is the battery box, which is mounted behind the offside wheels.
Like the chassis, the body is built in a fairly standard fashion, with a timber frame, insulation for the roof and walls, and aluminium cladding for the exterior. Colour-wise, the black, red and white theme continues outside the van.
Instead of a front boot, good-sized tunnel storage compartments are fitted front and rear. The front tunnel compartment has a slide-out barbecue fitted to the nearside. Large grab handles are fitted to both the front and rear of the van but, given its weight, I’m not sure they are going to be much use in places like grassy caravan parks, except for drying towels! For alfresco living, in addition to the barbecue there is an awning, a picnic table and an entertainment unit.
Given the length and weight of this van, there are no surprises in the towing department – it requires a substantial tow vehicle. That said, it towed behind my turbodiesel Colorado ute without any dramas. About the only thing to keep in mind is the length of the van when turning corners or overtaking. Long-term tourers might want to consider a larger and more comfortable vehicle.
HITS & MISSES
- Very comfortable interior
- Well-equipped and spacious kitchen
- Club lounge is great for relaxing
- Good storage capacity
- Bright colour scheme
I would have liked…
- Long van to tow
- Comparably small dining table
- Large tow vehicle required
RETREAT WHITEHAVEN SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall length 9.61m (31ft 6in)
- External body length 7.8m (25ft 7in)
- External body width 2.44m (8ft)
- Travel height 2.9m (9ft 6in)
- Internal height 1.98m (6ft 6in)
- Tare 2798kg
- ATM 3200kg
- Ball weight 281kg
- Frame Meranti
- Cladding Aluminium
- Chassis SupaGal
- Suspension Tandem-axle load sharing
- Brakes 12in electric
- Wheels 15in
- Water 2x95L
- Battery 1x100Ah
- Solar 1x155W
- Air-conditioner Aircommand Ibis 3
- Gas 2x9kg
- Sway Control Dexter
- Cooking Swift four-burner, grill and oven
- Fridge Dometic RM4805 225L three-way
- Microwave Daewoo
- Toilet Thetford cassette
- Shower Separate cubicle
- Lighting 12V LED
- Hot water Atwood 23L gas/electric
Price as shown
- $94,700 (on-road, NSW)
The full test appears in Caravan World #541 September 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!