Option RV Traction LE: Review
Option RV’s Limited Edition Traction proves you can get a well-thought-out caravan that is still excellent value for money.
Caravan design seems quite simple: build a chassis, add the wheels and a body and you’re almost good to go! However, it’s important to remember that the minor details can affect the overall outcome of a caravan. That’s why Option RV’s latest caravan, the Traction LE, with wheels that are set further back than normal, make this model stand out.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
With an external length of only 5.64m (18ft 6in), the interior squeeze has to happen somewhere and, in the Traction LE, it’s in the kitchen. But it still has the expected four-burner cooktop, grill and oven, a good-sized stainless steel sink with drainer, and a microwave fitted into the overhead lockers. The microwave is set slightly lower than the lockers and also further forward, making it a little easier and safer to get at. The 190L fridge sits between the kitchen bench and the bathroom. Both the post-formed benchtop and the splashback are finished in the same glossy laminate, which not only looks good but should also be easy to clean. Apart from the overhead lockers, the only other kitchen storage is in two cupboards and one large cutlery drawer. I thought a couple of drawers would be more practical than the open cupboards, but the location of the hot water heater and the sink drainer make that a bit tricky.
The Traction LE is built on a SupaGal 100x50mm (4x2in) rail chassis with a 150x50mm (6x2in) drawbar that runs back to the suspension mounts. To save a bit of weight, all the cross members are punched-hole C-section. The chassis maker, G&S Chassis, has just released its new Control Rider TS (twin shock) suspension and, according to the manufacturer, it saves about 45kg per van over the old design. Both 95L water tanks have galvanised sheet protection and are mounted as far back as possible on either side of the axles to get a good weight balance. For the same reason, the two battery boxes are mounted on the chassis rails behind each rear wheel.
The drawbar up front has a bit of a camper trailer look about it. In addition to the DO35 hitch, jockey wheel, handbrake and a pair of 9kg gas cylinders, there’s also a mesh stoneguard and an alloy checkerplate gull-wing-style toolbox complete with drawers on both sides. Along with the front tunnel boot and the rear offside bin, it provides a considerable amount of external storage. But there is a little caveat here: if you’re planning on loading the front storage boxes up, then it would be prudent to carefully check the loaded ball weight before you set off.
There’s an air of relaxation about the cafe-style dinette. It comes with contoured seat and back cushions, as you would probably expect, but there are also wall cushions and hinged footrests. That makes it quite easy for two people to sit back and watch the flatscreen TV, which is mounted at the bed end of the kitchen lockers. And it was nice to see the 240V and 12V/5V sockets mounted above the table, not underneath it, where they are quite often located and difficult to get at. A tri-fold table and recessed reading lights under the overhead lockers complete the picture.
A panel with the Kenwood sound system, solar panel regulator (with 12V master switch), hot water switch and water tank gauges is also in the kitchen, adjoining the microwave.
THE WRAP UP
Option RV offers a well-packaged van designed for rough road or offroad use. Given the van’s modest body length, there are a couple of compromises with the internal layout but I reckon buyers who don’t want to tow an overly long van would find they could accommodate those quite easily.
HITS AND MISSES
- Smart-looking van
- External storage capacity
- Light, bright and stylish interior
- Good space around the bed
- Comfortable dinette
- Decent sound system
- Powerpoint locations
- Small kitchen
- Lack of drawers in the kitchen
- Under-seat areas are fiddly to get at
- Lack of elbow room in the loo
- Ball weight could be an issue
OPTION RV TRACTION LE SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall length 8m (26ft 3in)
- External body length 5.64m (18ft 6in)External body width 2.44m (8ft)
- Travel height 3m (9ft 6in)
- Internal height 1.97m (6ft 6in)
- Tare 2340kg
- ATM 2840kg
- Ball weight 220kg
- Frame Meranti timber
- Cladding Aluminium composite
- Chassis SupaGal 100x50mm (4x2in)
- Suspension Control Rider independent TS
- Brakes 12in
- Wheels 16in alloy
- Water 2x95L
- Battery 2x110Ah
- Solar 2x150W
- Air-conditioner Aircommand Ibis
- Gas 2x9kg
- Sway Control No
- Cooking Swift four-burner, grill, oven
- Fridge Dometic RMD 8551 190L
- Microwave Daewoo
- Toilet Thetford cassette
- Shower Separate cubicle
- Lighting 12V LED
- Hot water Suburban 23L gas/240V
Price as shown
- $68,990 (on-road, Qld)
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The full test appears in Caravan World #552 July 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!