TOW­ING WHAT?

4 x 4 Australia - - Tow Test -

AVIDA has been build­ing RVS since 1965, and to cel­e­brate its 50-year mile­stone, the com­pany re­leased its new top-of-therange Topaz 7052SL 50th An­niver­sary.

This is the com­pany’s first car­a­van slide-out, and it’s a big one – it takes in al­most the whole off­side, stretch­ing out just over four me­tres. Only the bath­room misses out on the 600mm-plus widened liv­ing space.

The Avida’s com­pos­ite wall, ceil­ing and floor pan­els com­bine to make a rigid struc­ture, with a steel gal­vanised chas­sis (with six­inch RHS lon­gi­tu­di­nal rails and four-inch draw­bar rails) un­der­neath.

The net re­sult of the body and chas­sis de­sign is great rigid­ity and light­ness. The 2572kg tare weight is light for a ’van of this size and spec­i­fi­ca­tions, es­pe­cially as it’s a slide-out.

The Cruise­mas­ter in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion is an as­set for a car­a­van in­tended for rough-road use, as are the All-ter­rain tyres.

The kitchen has plenty of room, while the din­ing area is the size of a small room – there’s a leather-clad off­side lounge op­po­site a slightly wider lounge on the near­side wall. The din­ing ta­ble is se­cured to the floor in front of the near­side lounge, and there’s plenty of room to get around it to the lounge.

The bed­room is spa­cious with the slide-out, with am­ple room to walk around the end to the bed. Op­po­site the bed on the near­side is one of the Avida’s party tricks – at the press of a but­ton, a flat-screen LCD TV pops out of a nar­row cab­i­net bench­top.

The bath­room is also a good size – there’s a shower en­clo­sure on the near­side, and in the cen­tre sits a ce­ramic wash­basin on a stylish, curved van­ity-unit top. A wash­ing ma­chine is un­der a slid­ing bench­top fur­ther along the van­ity.

Un­der­neath there are twin wa­ter tanks, as well as a grey­wa­ter tank – a rare com­mod­ity in car­a­vans and great for camp­ing, en­sur­ing grey­wa­ter doesn’t turn the camp­site into a mud bath.

The Topaz’s elec­tri­cal lay­out is both sim­ple and com­pre­hen­sive – the master power switch is right next to the door, and there’s an LCD wa­ter and power level in­di­ca­tor panel.

The Topaz has Avida’s trade­mark at­ten­tion to de­tail: it has a strong yet light body and chas­sis struc­ture, and it has one of the long­est slide­outs in the busi­ness.

The slide-out af­fords spa­cious bed and din­ing ar­eas. Ranger’s side mir­rors flex, so tow­ing mir­ror brack­ets tend to vi­brate.

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