Nova Vita: Review
The new Nova Vita is a stylish and well laid-out van with a host of surprises.
While already imposing with its external body length of 7.14m (23ft 6in), the latest Vita is a standout in any caravan crowd with its new moulded fibreglass front and rear that is now a feature of all 2016 Novas, with the exception of the entry-level Metrolink.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
The moulded ends that cap the ribbed aluminium-clad sidewalls are hardly new in the industry, but the combination looks classy with the carbon-look black side panels that are now a Vita signature. Combined with lower black checkerplate on its sides, the black ‘mask’ that extends across the face of the van and the discrete use of bright orange highlights, it’s a caravan that draws favourable comments like bees to a dripping tap in summer.
What’s interesting is, like an increasing number of caravans these days, the Vita has neither a front nor rear window. There’s no point up front because, with its transverse island bed, the inner front wall is devoted to a full wall of glossy black wardrobe doors, while the rear is home to a roomy ensuite with separate shower, toilet, vanity and a concealed, top-loading washing machine.
However, from the outside, the Vita’s stylists have maintained the illusion of a front window with a black acrylic panel where the window would usually be found and where it still could be found on a smaller model Vita with an alternative interior layout. At the rear, there’s no pretence but, given the Vita’s shapely fibreglass rear end, my view is that the spare wheel could look better in its own moulded recess, perhaps with a fibreglass cover, rather than perched on the skinny rear bumper like an afterthought.
Surprisingly, for a caravan of its size, there’s little exterior storage, save for the fairly roomy front boot and a galvanised steel-lined generator hatch on the front offside. I thought there might be another hatch rear of this to give external access to the space under the bed, but this large unencumbered storage area can only be reached by lifting the bed on its hinges and gas struts.
Underneath, with its standard 150x50mm galvanised A-frame and chassis, the Vita is pretty conventional, as you would expect from a large on-road touring caravan. A pair of 95L fresh water tanks (previously 80L) straddle the proven roller-rocker tandem leaf spring suspension, with reasonable protection for the PVC waste water plumbing behind the rear-most tank.
Thanks to its body length, Nova has been able to fit a rear-entry door into this large Vita while maintaining sufficient ball loading – providing the ideal combination of quick outdoor access to the ensuite, lounge and kitchen, while leaving the bedroom undisturbed up front. A thoughtful option fitted to the review Vita is the semi-circle of LED lights built into the upper rim of the step.
HITS & MISSES
- Great style and classy decor
- Well-planned layout
- Good interior storage
- Sense of road presence
- Not much load capacity
- Limited exterior storage
- No footrests means the dinette only seats two
- No second powerpoint in the ensuite
NOVA VITA SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall length 9.13m (29ft 11in)
- External body length 7.14m (23ft 6in)
- External body width 2.49m (8ft 2in)
- Travel height 2.8m (9ft 2in)
- Internal height 1.95m (6ft 5in)
- Tare 2430kg
- ATM 2832kg
- Ball weight 205kg
- Frame Meranti walls with ASA moulded front and rear
- Cladding Silver aluminium with carbon fibre-look panels over insulation frame with internal ply lining
- Chassis 150x50mm
- Suspension Roller-rocker tandem leaf
- Brakes 12in electric
- Wheels/tyres 15in wheels with
- 205/70-15 tyres
- Battery 2x100Ah
- Solar 1x120W roof-mounted panel
- Air-conditioner Aircommand Ibis 3 slimline reverse-cycle
- Gas 2x9kg
- Water 2x95L
- Sway control Al-Ko ESC
- Cooking Swift 500 Series combo four-burner with grill
- Fridge Thetford N3185 E SES (Smart Energy Source) 185L
- Microwave Sphere
- Toilet Thetford cassette
- Shower Separate fibreglass cubicle
- Lighting LED
- Hot water Suburban 22.6L
- Electronic Drifter battery and water tank monitor; LED strip to step; full-height wardrobes across front of van
Price as shown
- $76,500 (on-road, Vic)
The full test appears in Caravan World #548 April 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!