Zone RV 20.6 Offroad: Review
Zone RV may be relatively new, but their stylish vans show that they’re not running with the crowd.
Zone RV’s use of marine technology has resulted in a better strength-to-weight ratio for the 20.6 than we see in many vans. But this approach is not just evident in the engineering – the 20.6 is a very stylish looking van, both inside and out.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
The 20.6 has 150mm (6in) RHS rails, but there are fewer than the usual number of cross members. The chassis is constructed from DuraGal steel and has a Raptor polyurethane coating. Although not fitted to this van, Zone RV has also been busy designing an aluminium chassis which is an option on all its models.
The chassis is fitted with Cruisemaster independent suspension with twin shock absorbers and coil springs, Al-Ko 12in electric brakes and 16in alloy wheels. Rounding it all off are the Dexter sway control system and a Hitchmaster DO35 hitch up front.
Like some European manufacturers, Zone RV has used a monocoque construction to get more strength into the overall body structure, meaning less steel is required in the chassis. The manufacturer has done this by using Tufflite panels, which consist of a double-sided fibreglass skin with a high-density XPS foam core in between. The walls are one piece, as are the front, roof and rear panels, and the infused PET floor.
Zone RV has resisted the temptation to go for the chunky offroad look that characterises some offroaders and I don’t think it’s a bad move – the overall look of the van is quite swish. Although the general body structure is a bit different, there are a number of familiar items, such as the Dometic Seitz windows, Dometic security door and awning. Al-fresco entertainment is fully covered by the entertainment unit and drop-down picnic table that includes the supporting bracket for a flatscreen TV and the wall-mounted speakers.
Given the shape of the front wall, a conventional boot wouldn’t fit, so a good-sized storage tunnel and an even larger alloy checkerplate box on the drawbar are provided instead.
I started my internal review by taking a moment to relax in the cafe-style dinette. It’s fitted with footrests and cushions, so there’s no difficulty in sitting back and putting your feet up. The table sits on a single pole mounting and is height adjustable and easy to move around.
Along the wall above the table are 12V and 5V chargers, along with a powerpoint and the Fusion radio control. It’s very clear they have been designed to fit – not just placed there as an afterthought – and it’s a good alternative to having them under the seat, where they are often located.
HITS & MISSES
- Stylish looking van
- Engineered for lighter towing weight
- Very large load capacity
- Cabinetry design
- Internal lighting
- Electrical panel above the table
- Lack of bedside shelving
- Pricey – but you get what you pay for
ZONE RV 20.6 OFFROAD SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall length 8.35m (27ft 5in)
- External body length 6.3m (20ft 8in)
- External body width 2.35m (7ft 9in)
- Travel height 3.1m (10ft 2in)
- Internal height 1.98m (6ft 6in)
- Tare 2350kg
- ATM 3500kg
- Ball weight 180kg
- Frame n/a
- Cladding Composite fibreglass
- Chassis DuraGal RHS
- Suspension Cruisemaster independent coil spring
- Brakes 12in electric
- Wheels 16in alloy
- Water 2x100L
- Battery 2x120Ah
- Solar 3x100W
- Air-conditioner Aircommand Ibis 3
- Gas 2x4.5kg
- Sway Control Dexter
- Cooking Swift four-burner, grill and oven
- Fridge Waeco 190L
- Microwave No
- Toilet Dometic 19L cassette
- Shower Separate cubicle
- Lighting 12V LED
- Hot water Truma 14L
Price as shown
- $102,900 (on-road, Qld)
The full test appears in Caravan World #548 April 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!