Van Cruiser Grange: Video Review
Boasting a spa bath and a rain shower, the Van Cruiser Grange pushes the limits in caravan comforts.
For those seeking luxurious creature comforts in their caravan, Van Cruiser Caravans seems to have found the answer: a spa bath with five separate jets to call your own. However, it’s not the only ‘first’ in the new Grange. Its most eye-catching external feature is the speckled lower side panels – the stone-prone areas where most manufacturers normally fit propeller or checkerplate cladding.
Enzo wanted something different and decided on a water- and impact-proof epoxy coating over a marine ply base. It looked so good he decided to cover the van’s entire floor with the same product instead of using traditional vinyl flooring – and he’ll happily attack it with a hammer to demonstrate its strength.
Customers can choose from a spectrum of 10 different colours, and the coloured flecks are scattered while the base is wet. "We would like people to do their own colouring with us," explained Enzo. "It gives them a sense of involvement and ownership in their van."
Composite panels faced with coloured Alucobond form the Grange’s upper body cladding, as they do on all Van Cruisers. This material, commonly used in architect-designed buildings, is heavier than conventional ribbed aluminium or fibreglass cladding and adds, perhaps, 200kg to the overall weight of a large caravan. While silver, white or grey are the most popular colours, Enzo said around 40 per cent of all Van Cruiser customers go for ‘out there’ hues, with the most popular shades being bright blue, green, red and yellow.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
The typical chiselled Van Cruiser upright styling makes the Grange look smaller than its real length, while also delivering many benefits. For example, while there is no front panel boot, the full front tunnel boot is huge, although the van’s Breaksafe and Enerdrive DC2DC ePower Charger intrude a little. There’s a small rear ‘boot’, which is really more of an access hatch to the spa-bath plumbing, but it needs lining, otherwise you are likely to lose small objects somewhere under the ensuite.
The 150x50mm G&S chassis is meaty and, apart from holding the Grange’s twin 9kg gas cylinders, it also incorporates a central mounting for its jockey wheel (to allow a weight distribution hitch to be more easily fitted), while a standard stone tray can be used to store the jockey wheel and hoses on the move. Above, stone-absorbing padding extends high up the window-less front wall.
With its reliance on mains power to operate its star feature, the Grange is obviously designed to spend most of its time on the bitumen and its roller-rocker leaf spring tandem-axle suspension is well up to the task.
With its surprisingly modest Tare weight of 2420kg, the Grange towed easily and confidently behind my Land-Rover Discovery 3 at freeway speeds, although I imagine most people would employ a weight distribution hitch if their vehicle manufacturer approves of this (Land-Rover doesn’t for the Discovery because of potential conflict with the Discovery’s standard self-levelling airbag suspension).
HITS & MISSES
- Daring to be different
- Classy decor
- Loads of cupboards
- Clever layout
- Round overhead cupboard corners
- No standard gas or diesel heater
- Microwave too high
- No lining for rear storage area
VAN CRUISER GRANGE SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall length 8.35m (27ft 5in)
- External body length 6.63m (21ft 9in)
- External body width 2.44m (8ft)
- Travel height 3m (9ft 10in)
- Internal height 2.04m (6ft 8in)
- Tare 2420kg
- ATM 2920kg
- Ball weight 280kg
- Frame Meranti timber
- Cladding Aluminium composite Alucobond panels with epoxy resin lower panels
- Chassis G&S 150x50mm steel
- Suspension In-road rocker leaf spring tandem with Dexter axles
- Brakes 10in Dexter electric
- Wheels/tyres Alloy 15in with 195R15 Light Truck tyres
- Water 2x95L
- Battery 2x105Ah deep-cycle
- Solar 2X100W
- Air-conditioner Truma
- Gas 2x9kg
- Stability Control Dexter Sway Control (DSC)
- Cooking Dometic combo four-burner cooktop, grill and oven
- Microwave NCE
- Fridge Vitrifrigo 230L compressor
- Toilet Thetford cassette
- Shower Spa bath with overhead rain shower
- Lighting LED
- Hot water 23L Suburban gas/electric
- Heating No (optional)
Price as shown
- $92,500 (Vic)
The full test appears in Caravan World #544 December 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!