Jayco Expanda 14.44-4: Review
The family-friendly Jayco Expanda 14.44-4 is proof that good things do come in small packages.
One of the advantages of the Expanda design is that it makes use of the air space provided by the pop-top roof as well as that available at either end of the van, using Jayco’s expanding wall design. Although many Expanda models can be extended at both ends, this 14.44-4 model only extends at the front.
The Expanda is built on Jayco’s hot-dipped galvanised Endurance chassis and comes with 100x50mm (4x2in) RHS rails and drawbar plus pressed steel C-section (PSC) cross members to give rigidity. Jayco reckons the PSC floor members better resist bending and compression while the air holes save on weight.
Leaf spring suspension is standard on this caravan, and it is more than adequate, but there is also the option of fitting Jayco’s JTECH independent suspension.
The optional Al-Ko Electronic Stability Control is an interesting addition to this van. Normally it would be fitted to larger caravans but it makes good sense in this case, given owners might be towing with smaller and lighter tow vehicles.
The interior definitely has the Jayco stamp on it, with its Euro-style aluminium framed furniture all finished in a light faux timber. Having a lighter finish is definitely a good idea in a smaller van, and the pop-top ceiling helps create a more spacious feeling inside.
There are LED light fittings in all the right places and Jayco’s touch button switches seemed to work as they should. A nice option fitted to this van is the Fusion radio sound system – the radio is above the fridge and the speakers are located under the table. While the system itself is cleverly located for plugging external players in, I thought the speakers could have been better elsewhere.
Setting up the Expanda is pretty simple – unclip the pop-top and raise the roof, then open out the front end from the outside before stepping inside and fully extending the canvas. For travel, the mattress folds in half and straps to the bed base but it’s fairly quick to undo the strap and unfold the mattress.
Built into the kitchen bench are all the cooking essentials – four-burner cooktop with grill, stainless steel sink and drainer, and an under-bench microwave. That leaves space for three drawers of various sizes, two cupboards and an overhead locker. The benefit of this arrangement is the fridge doesn’t have to be restricted to something that fits under the bench. Instead, a more family-friendly 150L three-way model is located behind the dinette, which would be fine for a few days camped without power. Under the fridge are the 240V circuit breaker, 12V power supply and fuses.
THE WRAP UP
I think this Expanda is ideal for a small family looking for a smaller van for towing or storage purposes or who have a fairly tight budget. While our review van is priced at $41,763, it had quite a few options fitted and the starting price is around $38,000, which makes the base unit a really good deal.
HITS & MISSES
- Practical family layout in a small van
- Good bunk bed arrangement
- Reasonably-sized kitchen and dinette
- Good internal storage capability
- Slightly awkward placement of the powerpoint under the table
- Low mounting of sound system speakers
JAYCO EXPANDA 14.44-4 SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall length 6.05m (19ft 10in)
- External body length 4.56m (15ft)
- External body width 2.47m (8ft 1in)
- Travel height 2.39m (7ft 10in)
- Internal height 2.08m (6ft 10in)
- Tare 1428kg
- ATM 1750kg
- Ball weight 154kg
- Frame Aluminium
- Cladding Fibreglass composite
- Chassis Hot-dipped galvanised
- Suspension Leaf spring
- Brakes 10in electric
- Wheels 15in alloys
- Water 82L
- Battery 1x100Ah
- Solar Optional
- Air-conditioner Heron 2.2 split system
- Gas 1x9kg
- Sway control Al-Ko ESC
- Cooking Dometic four-burner and grill
- Fridge Dometic RM2553
- three-way 150L
- Microwave Sphere
- Toilet No
- Shower No
- Lighting 12V LED
- Hot water No
- Al-Ko corner stabilisers
- Dinette bed converter
- Bed end storm cover
- Wind-up antenna
- Coast to Coast control panel
- Fusion sound system
- Al-Ko ESC
- External picnic table
- Fiamma Pro Bike Rack
Price as shown
- $41,763 (on-road, NSW)
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The full test appears in Caravan World #550 June 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!