Retreat Norfolk: Video Review
With an extensive list of add-on options, the new Retreat Norfolk is the perfect mix of lavish opulence and off-the-grid credibility.
The Norfolk is a perfectly well-equipped caravan with a good standard specification in its base model right, but our highly-speced test van was fitted with an extensive list of options not included in the $92,000 base price – making this one well kitted-out luxury home on wheels.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
Contributing significantly to this Norfolk’s offroad credibility is the Control Rider twin shock suspension. Rated to 4000kg, the suspension’s strong yet lightweight construction minimises camber change when cornering, but also provides a tight grip. And that was evident as I towed the Norfolk up hill and down dale through the ranges and valleys. Mind you, I did receive plenty of assistance from the tow vehicle – a power-laden 6.2L Ford F-150 Raptor SVT. And given the van’s weight (3000kg Tare) and external body length, which could be limiting in serious offroad work, it was pleasing to note its relative agility on the varying terrain I encountered.
The Norfolk on review also had a G&S hot-dipped galvanised chassis with a 150mm (6in) raiser and a 450mm (18in) A-frame extension, which allows ample room for a stone deflector and two 9kg gas cylinders.
Stepping inside this well-appointed Norfolk is a real treat. The leather club lounge at the van’s rear is a stunner and is accentuated by an acrylic splashback, Retreat monogrammed headrests and windows all-round that would bring any vista to life. There’s a Four Seasons hatch above the Tommy table and I counted five overhead lockers above the lounge, making this Norfolk somewhat of a storage king.
Meanwhile, towards this van’s midship is where things get interesting. It offers a spacious area that you can strategically section off, with sliding doors to the front and back, for privacy. This area houses an astutely designed ensuite zone with a 4kg Camec front-loading washing machine concealed under a chic vanity, accompanied by a raised washbasin, Thetford cassette toilet, two towel rails mounted on the back of a sliding door and a full height fibreglass shower. I wasn’t a big fan of the shower’s ‘rough texture’ finish, but that’s just personal preference.
THE WRAP UP
In my opinion, the heavy-duty Norfolk is a versatile addition to Retreat’s range. It has similarities to Retreat’s larger 7.8m (25ft 7in) Whitehaven – the Norfolk retains the Whitehaven’s interior flexibility, but its shorter length makes for increased offroad responsiveness. Plus, I believe it’s better suited for long-term touring. It gives me the impression that it will conquer extreme surfaces and all-weather conditions.
HITS AND MISSES
- Off-the-grid credentials
- Alucobond exterior finish
- Lavish interior
- Location of TV in kitchen
- Large tow vehicle required
RETREAT NORFOLK SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall length 8.86m (29ft 1in)
- External body length 6.8m (22ft 4in)
- External body width 2.4m (7ft 10in)
- Travel height 3m (9ft 10in)
- Internal height 1.98m (6ft 6in)
- Tare 3000kg
- ATM 3500kg
- Ball weight 162kg
- Frame Timber
- Cladding Alucobond
- Chassis G&S hot-dipped galvanised
- Suspension Control Rider
- Brakes 12in
- Wheels 16in x 265
- Water 2x95L (fresh); 1x95L (grey)
- Battery 2x120Ah AGM
- Solar 2x150W
- Air-conditioner Aircommand Ibis 3
- Gas 2x9kg
- Sway control Dexter DSC
- Cooking Swift four-burner cooktop, grill and oven
- Fridge Waeco 12V 218L
- Microwave Swift
- Toilet Thetford
- Shower Full fibreglass (floor to ceiling)
- Lighting LED 12V
- Hot water Attwood
- Two jerry can/wood holders
- Four-arm bumper bar
- 450mm A-frame extension
- Gal nudge bars
- Recovery points
- Skid plates
- Hitchmaster DO35 offroad hitch
- Hot-dipped galvanised chassis
- Control Rider twin shock suspension
- 16in x 265 wheels; extra battery
- Extra solar panel
- Two floodlights
- Stone deflector
- Alucobond exterior finish
- Grey water tank
- Extra fresh water tank
Price as shown
- $121,000 (on-road, Vic)
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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!