On The Move Vortex Review
Melbourne’s On The Move Caravans celebrates its 10th anniversary with a very special offroad model, the Vortex.
You’ll be dragged into a whirlpool of features in the aptly-named Vortex 10th Anniversary Edition.
Celebrating a decade of caravan production, On The Move Caravans has successfully built an offroad warrior combining a tough body armour with a refined contemporary elegance.
CW tested out the new 5.8m (19ft) Vortex near the quaint township of Bonnie Doon, Vic, and around the shores of Lake Eildon, within the Shire of Mansfield, around 170km north-east of Melbourne.
The birthday edition van really raises the bar, setting a standard in offroad caravan manufacturing that may be difficult to match – indeed, On The Move brands the Vortex its toughest van to date.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
On The Move owners Lennie and Jennifer Mifsud are revelling in the build of this commemorative Vortex, and were excited about the prospect of taking it on their yearly pilgrimage to Seventeen Seventy (1770), in Queensland’s Gladstone region.
Specifically designed for grey nomads that head off on the road to nowhere for 6-8 months at a time, the Vortex sports a polystyrene composite frame, flat composite cladding and one-piece fibreglass roof.
But what lies underneath is a lightweight ‘Innovative’-brand galvanised chassis and a smooth and safe Al-Ko independent rubber tandem suspension for towing stability under heavy loads. It rides on 16in alloy wheels with 265/75 R16 mud-terrain tyres, and boasts a radial design one-piece drawbar from front to rear, which enhances its strength and structural integrity.
Not only will the Vortex handle rough terrain and varying conditions, its off-grid capability comes to the fore courtesy of twin 100Ah lead crystal batteries and a fully integrated battery management/monitoring system, 300W of solar power, dual 95L fresh water tanks and a 95L grey water tank (with provisions for five tanks in total), a 190L two-way compressor fridge/freezer, gas heater, washing machine, exterior shower, and a custom pull-out kitchen complete with cooktop and Weber Q.
Internally, the Vortex oozes modern style and pizazz, which underscores Jennifer’s interior design expertise. It comprises a practical and spacious kitchen, lounge and bathroom, but the compromise is a slightly smaller bedroom.
The eye-catchers are the voguish cafe dinette, fibreglass floor and modish green LED strip lighting – plus a Sweepovac!
I just loved the one-piece fibreglass floor, which comprises a honeycomb centre for added strength and minimal flexibility. It epitomises the cutting-edge interior attributes of this van that were clearly one of the points of focus for the Mifsuds.
But what really had me gobsmacked was the jaw-dropping matte black cabinetry and green LED strip lighting (both representing On The Move’s company colours). The cabinetry, which is new on the market, leaves no finger smudges and the strip lighting emits a futuristic radiance.
I was also swept up with admiration for the Sweepovac, which was hidden away discreetly. This revolutionary vacuum cleaner, with strong suction, means you can ditch the dustpan for good! And another proactive initiative is the positive-lock latches concealed underneath the overhead cupboard doors.
The kitchen, on the van’s offside, is fully equipped with a Swift gas/electric stove/oven with grill, rangehood and a flush-mounted Swift Dluxx microwave. There’s also abundant storage courtesy of two overhead lockers and six slide-out drawers underneath the sink. A premium splashback and laminate benchtops add a touch of class.
Adjacent to the kitchen is a Waeco CoolMatic 190L compressor fridge/freezer, which is designed for the top end of the market and for ambient temperatures between 16-43ºC.
A fashionable cafe dinette, with tri-fold table, is situated opposite the kitchen. It has footrests and an embroidered On The Move logo on a backrest. It also has three overhead lockers, and the lead crystal batteries are conveniently housed under a seat.
BEDROOM & BATHROOM
The Vortex’s front bedroom has all the hallmarks of complete comfort, including an orthopaedic bed frame on gas struts and a RV-queen pillowtop mattress with bolster. I liked the soft-close robes and dressers, and the double-glazed windows with internal blinds either side place an emphasis on privacy, while a skylight creates brightness and ventilation.
There are also three spacious overhead lockers, two reading lamps, double powerpoints either side, and a 24in LED digital TV in the plush boudoir.
The rear ensuite serves to exemplify the Vortex’s innovation and wow factor – including a recessed washing machine, with the bench sliding out to accommodate a washing basket while loading. Other highlights are not only the flashy black porcelain basin and tap but a Dometic Saneo cassette toilet with soft-close lid and a full-height one-piece fibreglass shower.
Once again, internal storage comes to the fore with a linen cupboard, with a compartment below that is externally accessible, and three slide-out drawers. There’s also an ensuite mirror, toilet roll holder and double towel rail.
Interestingly, and befitting of its anniversary status, On The Move has packaged the galvanised chassis, custom pull-out kitchen, reversing camera, reversing lights, Sweepovac, automatic Maxx fan, and Fusion entertainment package with Fusion digital radio antenna as standard inclusions. A gas heater was the only optional extra fitted.
THE BOTTOM LINE
I thought On The Move’s Grenade was tough, and it is, but this Vortex is a whole new ball game in offroad durability.
The Vortex 10th Anniversary Edition is not only as tough-as-teak, but it has an inner-beauty that exudes opulence and panache. This ‘birthday version’ is sure to create a whirlwind of interest among offroad caravanning aficionados.
- Interior decor
- Lightweight true composite walls
- Lead crystal batteries
- Innovative galvanised chassis
- Radial design one-piece drawbar
- Custom pull-out kitchen
- Smaller bedroom
- Heavier-than-the-norm batteries