2014 ijspropeerlyequippwed Siaplphiyre 6616D for vanning the kidls.
Nothing beats packing up the caravan and getting out to enjoy a family holiday. What people consider as a good family caravan can be as unique as each family, but as much room as you can get and as much space as you can provide are two sure winners for many families.
The 2014 Avida Sapphire 6616D is a 6.6m (21ft 6in) van sporting a front island bed, centre kitchen/ dinette and rear double bunk-bed layout, with one major selling point to win over any family: a combination shower/toilet. This might not sound like a deal-breaker, but spend 10 days holidaying with the family in a tropical paradise – when it rains all day, every day – and, suddenly, not having to tramp up to the shower block and to endure a shower on the way there and back is a boon.
The Sapphire has a Duragal chassis with a fibreglass composite body attached and is suspended by Roller-rocker leaf-spring tandem beam axle suspension. The A-frame is supported by a removable single-clamp, centre-mounted jockey wheel and houses two 9kg gas cylinders. A steel mesh storage tray sits between the two arms of the A-frame. At the rear, a full-width steel bumper bar also serves as the storage point for the alloy spare wheel. The chassis has 150x50mm rails with 100x50mm A-frame rails fitted with substantial underside protection bars.
With an ATM of 2750kg and a Tare weight of 2108kg, the 2014 Sapphire has a decent 642kg payload, which is great for travelling families. While the unladen ball weight is quoted at 145kg, with a week’s worth of gear loaded and full gas cylinders and water tanks, we measured a 200kg towball mass.
The Avida’s ground clearance and underbody protection is very good for a road van. Nothing hangs too low, so there’s little potential for damage, and all the Avida’s wires and pipes are tucked up high and/or protected so it can’t be easily damaged. It gives you the confidence to head down a high-crown dirt road to your favourite camp without worrying about underbody damage.
Outdoor living is covered off by a Dometic awning, a gas bayonet on the front nearside of the van and a convenient fold-down picnic table on the nearside above the wheelset. An outdoor shower is also fitted within a lockable recess on the van’s offside, great for removing dirt before the kids head inside.
External storage space is ample in the Avida. There is a front boot and also a forward tunnel boot with dual access. Both the tunnel and front boots are lockable and have lights.
The Sapphire allows a fantastic amount of natural light inside. There are four large hopper windows in the main part of the cabin and a large roof hatch about a third of the way down the van’s length.
The interior is well-appointed and the main bed is a queen-size with bolster to (ever so slightly) lengthen it. This still doesn’t quite give the bed the length that taller people will need, though.
There are vertical wardrobes on both sides of the bed and two locker cupboards above. There is a small horizontal surface for reading matter on the nearside and a large horizontal area on the offside. There is also a more substantial recessed storage shelf above the bedhead.
Speaking of storage, often an external tunnel boot comes at the cost of under bed storage – but not in this case. The Avida’s main bed lifts on two struts to reveal a partitioned storage space and the water pump unit.
The floor on the bed’s offside is significantly compromised by the space required by the water heater. Although getting into the bed is no problem, accessing the vertical wardrobe is awkward due to the panelling that covers the heater components.
There are also two storage pockets in the main bedroom; one high up on the offside wall (with two coat hooks above) and another on the forwardfacing wall (backing onto the dinette).
Entertainment is covered off with a wall-mounted TV on the nearside forward-facing wall and an audio system set into the offside forward-facing wall. The TV can also be mounted outside within the picnic table recess, where there are also two audio speakers so you can listen to music outdoors.
The side kitchen has a 150L Dometic fridge/ freezer with an LG microwave above. There is a storage locker above the microwave and another locker just below the fridge.
The kitchen bench consists of a single tub sink and drainer, a four-burner Dometic (one electric, three gas) cooktop/grill with rangehood above (fitted with two LED downlights) and a narrow piece of free bench space. The kitchen lacks enough bench space for comfortable meal preparation and this is an all-too-common problem with caravans. Thankfully, there is plenty of kitchen storage, with two large lockers above the bench (with a horizontal partition in each) and five drawers below the bench.
On the left of the drawers is a two-rack slideout pantry. These are becoming common fitment in caravan kitchens these days and I know from experience that they are a great idea.
Opposite the kitchen is the café-style dinette with fold-out table. There are two neat recesses for storage in the lower wall beside the seats and a magazine storage rack on the forward-facing wall. The table allows plenty of space when extended, although the substantial mounting section adjacent to the wall does take up leg room if two people want to share a seat.
Under the dinette seats are storage lockers accessed by the hatches on the seat sides or by lifting the cushions.
Avida Sapphire CV5412L18FT 2014 • $45,450 • NSW • 0406 822 926 Avida Emerald CV5432 QB 17ft $57,490 • QLD • (07) 3171 1824 Avida Emerald 24ft 2015 • $70,990 • QLD • (07) 3171 1824