Option RV Tornado Equippe: Review
Functional and well laid-out, the Option RV Tornado Equippe is the ideal choice for lightweight van seekers.
My review Equippe is the shortest available at 18ft 6in, with a mid entry door. And it is indeed the location of the door that makes this layout practical. A rear entry door simply wouldn’t work, as this van has a front island bed with a rear bathroom, a mid-offside kitchen and a nearside cafe-style dinette.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
Option RV’s build style follows a familiar path with 100x50mm (4x2in) SupaGal chassis rails and a 150x50mm drawbar. Above the tandem-axle load sharing leaf spring suspension is a 100mm (4in) riser that gives the van more height, making it suitable for some national park touring. Both water tanks are protected by galvanised sheeting. There has been a little effort at weight reduction with the use of punched-hole C-section cross members.
Over the timber frame, aluminium cladding is used for the roof and side walls with alloy checkerplate for the lower edges. The front and rear walls are made from composite panel.
There are no surprises with the Seitz double-glazed acrylic windows nor the Aussie Traveller door, but the mid-nearside wall window can’t be opened if the security door is hinged right back. In addition to the front tunnel boot there’s a smaller storage compartment at the offside rear, which is good for a small generator or wet hoses, allowing you to keep the boot dry.
Alfresco items include the mid-wall hinged picnic table and, of course, the all-essential awning.
When it comes to the electrics, Option RV scores quite highly for keeping things user-friendly. The fuse panel, breakaway battery and battery charger are located in the small cupboard at the end of the kitchen bench, by the foot of the bed. The battery itself is hidden under the bed. All the other essentials – hot water switch and water tank gauges – are fitted into the small cupboard above the radio unit.
Still on electrics, while it wasn’t fitted to this van, all Equippe vans come with a 150W solar panel and a 30A Morningstar regulator with a readout and low voltage cut-out. That, along with the 110Ah battery, certainly makes the van good for a few days of remote travel.
HITS & MISSES
- Not overly heavy
- Good electrical setup
- Eye-level microwave
- Bathroom facilities and storage
- Balanced colour scheme
- Smallish kitchen
- Limited walk around space on the offside of the bed
- Fuse panel awkward to access
- External black checkerplate shows up dust in double quick time!
OPTION RV TORNADO EQUIPPE SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall length 7.2m (23ft 8in)
- External body length 5.64m (18ft 6in)
- External body width 2.44m (8ft)
- Travel height 2.9m (9ft 6in)
- Internal height 1.95m (6ft 5in)
- Tare 2080kg
- ATM 2480kg
- Ball weight 160kg
- Frame Timber
- Cladding Aluminium, alloy checkerplate and composite panel
- Chassis SupaGal box section
- Suspension Tandem-axle load sharing leaf spring
- Brakes 10in electric
- Wheels 16in alloy
- Water 2x95L
- Battery 1x110Ah
- Solar 1x150W
- Air-conditioner Aircommand Ibis 3
- Gas 2x9kg
- Sway control No
- Cooking Swift 500 cooktop, grill and oven
- Fridge Dometic RMD 8551 190L
- Microwave Daewoo DC
- Toilet Thetford cassette
- Shower Separate cubicle
- Lighting 12V LED
- Hot water Suburban 23L
Price as shown
- $57,250 (on-road, Qld) including 12 months’ registration
The full test appears in Caravan World #547 March 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!