Sunland Patriot SEL-X Slide-Out Review
Sunland are changing things up a bit with their new Patriot slide out model.
Sunland took out top honours in CW’s 2015 Best Aussie Vans event with its top-of-the-range Patriot SEL-X offroader, so regular readers will recognise the similarities in this latest SEL-X Slide-Out.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
Adding a slide-out isn’t entirely straight-forward, and cutting a hole in the van’s frame to fit a slide can reduce the strength of the wall, precisely where more strength is needed. However, Sunland is well-known for building strong caravans and has overcome the essential engineering challenges presented by the slide-out.
Most offroad caravan manufacturers build a wholly-galvanised steel chassis based on RHS rails and cross members. Sunland has departed from this with the main chassis structure composed of structural aluminium alloy. The alloy components have a considerable number of punched holes in them to retain strength while reducing weight. Slightly more conventional are the hot-dipped galvanised steel drawbar and sub-frame that supports the suspension.
Staying with convention, the Cruisemaster independent suspension is fitted with trailing arms, coil springs and shock absorbers. For balance, the main 190L water tank is fitted above the suspension – negating the problem of how full or empty the tank is for travel. In addition, there is a second 60L drinking water tank fitted immediately behind the suspension and an optional grey water tank can be fitted if required.
Incorporating the necessary engineering changes, the SEL-X Slide-Out body is built in a similar way to the rest of the Sunland fleet, with an aluminium frame in box section-style, using 25x50mm and 25x25mm components all welded together. The bodywork is finished in fibreglass resin core moulded panels that are used for both the walls and the roof. A clever feature here is the rain catcher, designed as part of the roof, which drains into the water tanks.
The SEL-X Slide-Out is predominantly white, with a blue Raptor coating on the lower sides and front, including the front storage bin, to protect the body work from stone and road damage. The front panel angles back for streamlining and the lower rear wall is designed to give a good departure angle. A composite fibreglass/coolite is used for the floor panel, which is designed to be lightweight and provide effective insulation.
The front storage bin is divided into three sections to minimise movement and offers plenty of storage space even with the centre section dedicated to the two 9kg gas cylinders and a generator slide on the offside. Behind the storage box, a tunnel boot runs across the van, with a slide-out barbecue on the nearside. At the rear, a double rack of tubular containers provides storage for poles, fishing rods and the like.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the very sophisticated electronics fitted to this SEL-X. One of the first things you’ll notice is the LED lighting; there’s a mixture of ceiling lights, reading lights and semi-concealed strip lights, designed for whatever function/mood might be desired. The lighting is the only thing that operates at 12V DC. Just about everything else runs at 24V DC, which means smaller diameter cables can be used and there are fewer issues with voltage drop. Other nice features are the touchscreen entertainment panel for radio/sound/TV, the multi USB charger outlet behind the TV and the Oyster satellite system.
HITS & MISSES
- Slide-out with club lounge
- Nicely engineered van
- Spacious interior
- Electrically well set up
- Hybrid chassis design
- External bin capacity
- Pricey, especially when a tow vehicle is added
- Little else
SUNLAND PATRIOT SEL-X SLIDE-OUT SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall length 8.35m (27ft 5in)
- External body length 6.25m (20ft 6in)
- External body width 2.43m (8ft)
- Travel height 3.05m (10ft)
- Internal height 1.95m (6ft 5in)
- Tare 2950kg
- ATM 3500kg
- Ball weight 180kg
- Frame Welded aluminium box section
- Cladding Resin core moulded fibreglass
- Chassis Hybrid punched alloy and HDG steel
- Suspension Cruisemaster independent coil
- Brakes 12in electric
- Wheels 17in alloy
- Water 1x190L; 1x60L
- Battery 2x180Ah lithium
- Solar 2x180W
- Air-conditioner Dometic roof-mounted
- Gas 2x9kg
- Sway control Dexter
- Cooking Swift four-burner, grill and oven
- Fridge Waeco RPD 175L 24V compressor
- Microwave Camec
- Toilet Dometic cassette
- Shower Separate cubicle
- Lighting 12V LED
- Hot water Instantaneous gas
Price as shown
- $148,990 (on-road, Qld)
The full test appears in Caravan World #550 June 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!