Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations


Paul Owen reviews the Kea Platinum, a New Zealand-made motorhome that’s proved its mettle by its sheer reliabilit­y, practicali­ty and driving ease.


If you ask a seven-year-old to draw a motorhome, there’s a good chance that what you’d get would look very similar to the side profile of this Kea Platinum. That’s because the Lutonbodie­d Platinum has been around for a long time, and has been designed and made in New Zealand. It populates our roads, camping grounds, and scenic location carparks like no other large motorhome, often bearing the brand of a rental company, and often, when stripped of all the decals that refer to its rental past, with a pair of satisfied private owners grinning happily in the cab.

The Mercedes Sprinter 519 chassis that forms the basis of the Kea Platinum can be used to create a vehicle that has a gross vehicle mass of five tonnes, thus giving plenty of scope for the creation of a large, spacious motorhome. The Platinum does not quite go the whole hog, and has a GVM of 4,950kg, which includes a very generous payload of 840kg.

A big motorhome needs a big engine to power it, and the Mercedes 3.0L V6 turbodiese­l shoulders the burden with little effort, sending maximum outputs of 140kw (190bhp) and 440Nm of driving force to the rear wheels via a sevenspeed automatic gearbox. It has a well-calibrated powertrain, smooth and willing, and the higher gearing of the rear differenti­al allows more relaxed cruising at open road speeds than four-cylinder Sprinter diesels.

Inside, the U-shaped lounge at the back is often pointed out as one of the favourite features. Large sliding windows offer excellent views from the bench seats of the lounge, and at night the cushions, squabs, and table can be rearranged to form a spacious double bed measuring 2.1m x 1.42m.

If you’re feeling lazy, the rear sleeping quarters of the Platinum can be left made up, as there’s a four-seater (at a pinch) dinette opposite the longitudin­al kitchen.

If you like to measure the value of a motorhome by the amount of its kitchen bench space, the Kea Platinum wins the lottery. By laying out the kitchen in a straight line and keeping all the major food prep hardware – a 130L Isotherm fridge, separate oven and grille, four-burner gas hob, and a microwave oven – below the bench line, Kea has created a bench area that is more than two metres long. Find out more at rvsupercen­

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