Essential Grant Cruiser 21ft Family Series II Review
The family that plays together, stays together… and the Essential Grant Cruiser 21ft Family Series II offers the potential for plenty of family fun.
Some people don’t take up caravanning until they’re middle-aged, and they quickly realise the escapades they’ve missed in their formative years. Family vanning provides a great way to foster in the kids a sense of adventure and give them a taste of the great Australian outdoors at an impressionable age.
Based in Traralgon, Vic, Ian Grant’s Caravans is the sole Victorian dealer for Essential Caravans, which has more than 35 years experience in the caravan industry and prides itself on building quality caravans from its base in Campbellfield, Vic. The upgraded 6.4m (21ft) Family Series II bears the Grant name and embodies Essential Caravans’ high attention to detail, with attributes and an appearance within the realm of luxurious upper-end caravans, but with a very reasonable price tag of $55,990 (plus on-road costs).
But what was the rationale of Ian Grant’s Caravans to embrace a family van and add it to the Grant fleet?
"Around 2007, we moved into the family van market and have not looked back," said owner and managing director Scott Grant.
Grant said the reality was that the family market sector was growing and that he never considered it a risk to venture into the ‘family’ demographic. He said there are plans to widen the family van range in the near future, with the addition of new layouts and features.
Ian Grant’s Caravans has been in business for nearly 30 years and has witnessed the caravan market evolve and move in various directions during this period.
"The family van market is certainly one of the biggest and we have responded to it with our new range of Grant Cruisers," Grant said.
He said the initial response had been positive, with family van sales very strong. "They account for a good percentage of vans sold through our dealership. With the release of the Series II Grant Cruisers by Essential Caravans, lead times are nearly out until Christmas this year."
Grant said it was mainly families with younger children who were the predominant buyers. "We believe this reflects the next generation who have embraced that caravanning lifestyle brought to them by parents and now it is their turn to share that experience with their own children."
LAYOUT & DESIGN
Badged as an on-roader, the Family Series II rides on a 6in Austrail SupaGal chassis, leaf spring suspension, 10in electric brakes and 15in alloy wheels with 205/70/R15 LT tyres. And it has the capacity to take a family away for more than just a long weekend courtesy of twin 95L water tanks, 110Ah battery and 150W solar panel.
Externally, the Family Series II gleams courtesy of its smooth white high-profile aluminium cladding and black checkerplate that adorns the lower front (650mm) and sides (330mm). The rear is a glossy black Alucobond panel and houses a three-arm bumper bar, the spare wheel, grab handles, reversing camera and a tongue for fitting your bike rack.
The van also comes with much of the standard fare on the outside. Up front on the A-frame are a mains pressure water tap (with pressure reducer), twin 9kg gas cylinders and a mesh tray. External storage is provided solely by the full-length tunnel boot, so is somewhat limited, although the tunnel boot is large and there’s certainly plenty of storage inside to make up for this.
Under the awning are a drop-down picnic table, marine-grade external speakers and a gas bayonet, but I thought the whole ‘all in the family’ aura of this van could have been augmented by the inclusion of a TV entertainment hatch and a slide-out barbecue. And it could possibly benefit from a dedicated generator compartment as well.
Essential Grant Cruiser 21ft Family Series II Specs
Weights and measures
- Overall length 8.28m (27ft 2in)
- External body length 6.4m (21ft)
- External body width 2.36m (7ft 9in)
- Travel height 2.9m (9ft 6in)
- Internal height 2.03m (6ft 8in)
- Tare 2060kg
- ATM 2460kg
- Ball weight 160kg
- Frame Meranti
- Cladding Aluminium
- Chassis 6in Austrail SupaGal
- Suspension Leaf spring
- Brakes 10in drum
- Wheels 205/70/R15 LT tyres and 15in alloy wheels
- Water 2x95L
- Battery 1x110Ah
- Solar 1x150W
- Air-conditioner Aircommand Ibis 3
- Gas 2x9kg
- Sway control Optional
- Cooking Thetford Caprice Mk II four-burner combo with grill and gas oven
- Fridge Dometic three-way 190L
- Microwave NCE
- Toilet Dometic porcelain bowl
- Shower Fibreglass mould with
- glass door
- Lighting LED lighting
- Hot water Suburban gas/electric
Price as shown
- $55,990 (plus $795 on-road costs, Vic)
The full test appears in Caravan World #554 October 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!