Best Aussie Vans Finalist 2015 Franklin Arrow Test Review
Practical and well thought-out, the Franklin Arrow is the perfect fit.
The Franklin range is manufactured by Concept Caravans, a company with a well-established pedigree in the caravan business. Our Franklin Arrow has an external length of 5.44m (17ft 10in) and weighs in with a Tare of 2025kg and a load capacity of 300kg. And, a little differently from just about every other van at BAV, it is a single-axle.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
Given the Arrow is described as a rough-road caravan, it’s not really surprising that its single axle is fitted with Vehicle Components Country Road Suspension (CRS), consisting of coil springs, dual shock absorbers and trailing arms.
At the serious business end, a DO35 hitch gives the point of connection and the drawbar comes with the usual facilities – handbrake, jockey wheel and two 9kg gas cylinders. An additional feature is the black checkerplate box fitted to the rear of the drawbar, which conveniently has access from the top, as well as two side doors. It’s not only good for all the usual caravanning gear, but could also take a generator. In addition to that, there is a good-sized tunnel boot, but I reckon the front box is a good addition, allowing for quick and easy access, without having to bend down too low.
The Arrow’s body construction follows a fairly traditional line – meranti timber for the frame and double-ribbed, silver aluminium cladding around the outside, with insulation between. Apart from the awning, the nearside features include a picnic table and an entertainment cubicle which comes with a TV swivel arm, 240/12V power outlets and sound system plugs.
With this particular layout, Franklin has opted for a rear entry door with a rear bathroom, front bedroom and mid dinette and kitchen. Although that’s fairly conventional, it’s a little different for a single-axle caravan. Polyester plywood-lined meranti timber is used for all the cabinetry work and it’s all finished in contrasting black (for the doors) and white laminate.
HITS & MISSES
- Practical layout
- Good external bin storage
- Well thought-out bathroom
- Solid footrest that doubles as a seat
- General fit and finish
- Quite heavy for a single-axle van
- Lack of drawers in the kitchen
FRANKLIN ARROW SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall length 7.63m (25ft)
- External body length 5.44m (17ft 10in)
- External body width 2.4m (7ft 10in)
- Travel height 2.98m (9ft 9in)
- Internal height 2.03m (6ft 8in)
- Tare 2025kg
- ATM 2325kg
- Ball weight 201kg
- Frame Meranti timber
- Cladding Silver aluminium, double ribbed
- Chassis Preston SupaGal 6inx
- Suspension Vehicle Components Cruisemaster CRS independent coil, trailing arms, twin shock absorbers
- Brakes 12in
- Wheels 16in alloy
- Water 2x95L
- Battery 1x100Ah
- Solar 1x135W
- Air-conditioner Aircommand Ibis 3
- Gas 2x9kg
- Sway control No
- Cooking Swift 500 four-burner and grill
- Fridge Dometic
- Microwave LG
- Toilet Thetford cassette
- Shower Separate cubicle
- Lighting 12V LED
- Hot water Truma 14L
- Waeco reverse camera; external TV box with Marine speakers; D035 coupling; 650mm checkerplate; toolbox; external shower set and gas bayonet connection
Price as shown
- $64,990 (on-road, Qld)
The full test appears in Caravan World #545 January 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!