Avida Topaz 7052SL
Until now, nearly all Avida caravans were fitted with roller rocker tandem-axle suspension, but this multi-terrain Topaz now comes with Cruisemaster CRS independent suspension.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
Like a number of specialist caravan manufacturers, Avida has built its hot-dipped galvanised chassis in-house. RHS 150mm (6in) is used for the main rails and RHS 100mm (4in) for the drawbar rails. However, there are considerably less cross members than the usual. That’s been done specifically to cut down on weight. Instead, a one-piece 49mm sandwich panel floor with protective aluminium lining on the underside is used to beef up the strength.
Two 120L water tanks are mounted fore and aft of the tandem axles, with the spare wheel fitted between the chassis rails at the rear. Although, in this van, the wheel mount is bolted to the chassis, future versions will have a wind-down mechanism, which isn’t a bad idea, given how heavy wheels can be. One other point of interest for this particular 50th anniversary model is the gold painted suspension cradle, quite visible given the road height of the van.
Similar to the floor, both the walls (33mm) and roof (45mm) are one piece and are also made using sandwich panel construction with no frame. The idea is to retain strength without a weight penalty. The shape of the front of the van is a deviation from earlier models and the roof is much less sloped, which has made quite a difference inside. The front moulded fibreglass looks pretty swish and comes with a front boot that has an aircraft-style door and a nicely recessed stoneguard for the front window, giving the van a streamlined appearance.
To keep things neat, the gas cylinders are not mounted on the drawbar rails but are, instead, in a dedicated bin at the front nearside. Even allowing for the gas bin, the front boot is one of the largest I have seen – there’s plenty of space for just about everything you could want to carry, despite the Truma water heater that’s also housed in the boot.
Inside the 6.98m (22ft 11in) Topaz, I was interested to see that Avida has resisted the temptation to opt for the standard front island bed/rear bathroom layout that is so popular these days. Instead, given the long slide-out, which slides just over 600mm (2ft), the kitchen sits across the front of the van, with sideways-facing lounges (with a table) on either side in the forward mid area, an east-west bed with its head in the slide-out and a full-width rear bathroom.
HITS AND MISSES
- Spacious interior with slide-out open
- Good-sized kitchen
- Generous external bin capacity
- Well set-up electrical systems and nice lighting
- Relatively light weight and good towing prospect
- Limited access to rear with slide-out closed
- DO35 hitch requires accurate reversing
- Pricey end of the spectrum
AVIDA TOPAZ 7052SL SPECS
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
- Overall length 8.17m (26ft 10in)
- External body length 6.98m (22ft 11in)
- External body width 2.49m (8ft 2in)
- Travel height 3.14m (10ft 4in)
- Internal height 2.01m (6ft 7in)
- Tare 2572kg
- ATM 3300kg
- Ball weight 212kg
- Frame n/a
- Cladding Fibreglass composite
- Chassis Avida hot-dipped galvanised
- Suspension Cruisemaster CRS
- Brakes Al-Ko 10in electric
- Wheels 15in alloys
- Water 2x120L
- Battery 1x100Ah
- Solar 160W
- Air-conditioner Truma Aventa
- Gas 2x9kg
- Sway Control Al-Ko ESC
- Cooking Dometic four-burner, grill and oven
- Fridge Dometic RM8555 190L
- Microwave Samsung
- Toilet Thetford cassette
- Shower Separate cubicle
- Lighting 12V LED
- Hot water Truma 14L
PRICE AS SHOWN
- $94,990 (on-road, NSW)
The full test appears in Caravan World #543 October 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!