Windsor Royale

Windsor Royale

REVIEWWords and Pics ANDREW HARRISFit for aWindsor’s royale 652s makes the most of its size andlength with top-value fixtures and fittings.38

king“They all start their lives aschassis numbers,” explainsMark Chadwick, sales managerat Windsor Caravans. We’re standingout the back of Windsor’s immenseSomerton, Vic, warehouse and factorycomplex. Before us is a row of barechassis, freshly arrived from PrestonChassis in northern Melbourne, eachuniquely marked by big, bold handnumberedcodes along the top surfaceof one side of the A-frame.Mark then takes me through thefactory, and I see how these shiny,silver bedrocks become bright, whitecaravans. And at the very end of theproduction line stands our review van –a Windsor Royale RC652s.A new takeWindsor’s model-name nomenclature islogical: this is a Royale caravan (RC),at 6.5m (21ft 4in) with layout numbertwo and a shower (the lower-case s).The same principle applies across therange. The main point of difference withthe RC652s is the layout, tweaked tocatch the ever-more-sophisticated eyeof experienced caravanners, with anangled kitchen area that sets the tonefor a fresh take on a comfortable longtermtourer.It’s clear from the outset how usablethe layout is, and it looks lovely, too.White walls and warm wood-toneveneers are prominent. Curved,European-style handles on drawersand cupboards complement the finelyfinishedcabinetry and skilful assembly.Wander throughWalk in, and you’re in the selfcontainedliving area. To your left isthe TV mounting bracket, above thedrainer-side of the large, stainless steelsink. Further forward, built into anelegant corner cabinet, is the full Smevoven, grill and four-burner cooktop.In all its silver glory, crowned by astainless rangehood, it’s the dominantamidships feature. Above, you’ll find ahatch, while further along the ceilingis the Dometic reverse-cycle airconditioner,with the climate-controlunit by the doorway, next to the TVmounting point.Across from the door is the lengthy,1.9m (6ft 2in) L-shaped dinette, witha sizable table supported by a single,strong strut. Tabletop area is necessaryto augment the kitchen benchtop, whichis dominated by the sink and cooktop.The plush coffee-coloured dinette iswell lit by a long window, which, likeall windows in the van, is fitted with avenetian blind. The TV is well positionedfor viewing from the dinette.The living area is separated fromthe bathroom by a sliding door. TheThetford cassette toilet is positioned onthe offside of the spacious bathroom.The shower cubicle is opposite,with a domestic-size, adjustableflow,detachable showerhead, with athoughtfully integrated soap holder.Between the toilet and shower is oneof the most intricate vanity units I’vecome across. A sunken oval sink, withflick-mixer, is backed by a wall-mountedmirror.The black marble-look benchtop, as inthe rest of the van (here with full-lengthsplashback) is big enough for two toready themselves in the morning, andsits atop two cupboards and two sets ofthree shelves. Above are two cupboardsand a shelf. A hand-towel rack isattached to the wall beside the mirror,while a towel-ring hangs to the right.Two double powerpoints feature too,as well as a hatch each in the toilet andshower areas and two downlights abovethe sink. On the other side of the toiletis a toilet-roll holder, and a huge, 39

Clockwise from above: A sliding doorseparates the bathroom from the rest ofthe van; looking towards the shower fromthe toilet; the Smev oven (with four-burnercooktop) is set at an angle in the kitchen.towel rack, mounted on the back of thesliding door.The bathroom is very airy, and wouldpresent stiff competition for even theloveliest of caravan park amenitiesblocks or ensuite sites.Sleep assuredAt the other end of the van is thepermanent north-south double bed,with plenty of walk-around room,and a concertina partition to closeoff from the living area. The generous150L Dometic fridge/freezer, belowthe Samsung microwave, also servesto divide the bedroom from the livingroom.A huge Dometic Heki hatch above thebed (there’s another in the living area)spills light through the space, alongwith one window on either side, as wellas at the head. For night-time, twoadjustable halogen reading lights, onein each corner above the head, as wellas a series of downlights in the ceiling,make it easy to tuck into novels andnewspapers. Fortunately, there’s plenty40

“The bathroom is very airy, and presents stiff competition foreven the loveliest of caravan park amenities blocks”of space to store reading material in thetwo compact bedside units, above eachof which is a wardrobe, as well as thefull-height cupboard in the nearsidecorner at the foot of the bed.There’s a dressing table and shelf inthe other corner, and any extra itemswill fit under the bed and in the fouroverhead lockers.Speaking of overhead lockers, thereare many in the living area, with fiveabove the dinette, some storage below,and a large cupboard above the sinkand TV. There is also a pot drawerunder the stove, seven cutlery andcooking-instrument drawers, a massiveunder-sink cupboard and a multishelvedpantry built into the corner unitwith the oven, in the middle of the van.Once you’ve stored all your stuff inthe many compartments around thevan, there’s a lot of room to loungearound and enjoy the integrated CD/DVD/AM/FM/MP3 system, hookedup to the TV, with the head unit fittedbetween the microwave and TV, by thewater gauge. In terms of other controls,water pump and water heater controlsare fitted above the rangehood, and theclimate-control panel is, as previouslymentioned, to the left of the door.Skirting the outsideFinely detailed decals, which lookconspicuously hand-finished, stand outagainst the tried-and-true white-paintedaluminium-clad body, under whichis a foam-insulated, flexible merantitimber frame. Mark Chadwick says thatBENDIGO WINDSORSelling Caravans all over Australia at Unbelievable Prices42–46 Midland Highway, Epsom, Victoria 3551Ph: 03 5448 4800 AH: 0419 884 326Web: 41

Clockwise from top: The Windsor RC652s rides on a DuraGal chassis; external waterproofspeaker and external light; the drawbar is home to two 9kg gas cylinders.windsorroyale 652sExternal length 21ft 4in (6.5m)External height 10ft 2in (3.1m)Internal length 19ft (5.8m)Internal width 7ft 6in (2.3m)Nameplate ATM 2399kgNameplate Tare 1999kgFrame Meranti timber, aluminiumcladdingChassis DuraGalSuspension Tandem-axle, rocker–roller, load-equalising suspensionWheels 14in CA2 alloy wheelsTyres Dunlop SP-LT5 195-widthBrakes Four-wheel electric drumCooktop Smev four-burner,grill and ovenFridge Dometic RM2553 150LMicrowave SamsungGas 2 × 9kgLighting 12V halogenFreshwater 140LHot water Suburban hot water serviceToilet Thetford cassetteShower Separate cubiclePrice $56,550 as reviewed,plus on-road costswhile Windsor has experimented withfibreglass and aluminium sheeting, thecladding and timber remains strong,durable and weight effective.Everything sits atop a tandem-axleDuraGal chassis with 14in alloy wheels.The covered spare wheel is mountedon the rear of the van, while at thefront, on the drawbar (equipped with aBrakesafe Breakaway switch), sit two9kg gas cylinders.A full-width galvanised-steel-linedboot with drainage is left free for othergoods and chattels.On the nearside is the full-lengthawning, something made all the moreuseful by the lockable built-in picnictable, which folds down from the side ofthe van. It’s a $400 option, but it doesfree up the space you would otherwiseneed for a freestanding unit. Theawning is made more attractive againby two waterproof outdoor speakers (a$225 option) and a TV mount.Sharing the roof with the airconditionerand the four hatches is theWinegard TV antenna, the winder forwhich is in the bedroom-area ceiling.toilet and shower, neatly sectioned off,are highly functional.There’s oodles of living space, anumber of powerpoints, and everythingyou would need for a long time on theroad. And then there’s the price, anattractive $55,255 for the base model(minus the antenna pack, externalspeakers and picnic table fitted to thereview unit).The Windsor RC652s offersserious bang for your buck, with nocompromise in finish.Windsor Caravans, 50 Stanley Drive,Somerton, Vic, (03) 9930 4900.For more information, includingyour nearest dealer, BEDCBDMWAVEFRIDGEi Liked• Fit: Excellent, with functional fixturesand quality appliances• Finish: Top-notch cabinetry and finehand-detailing• Feel: Lots of light, plenty of storage,and lots of space to live and movearoundI would have liked• Alternative TV point – I’m not one forTV in bed, but it might be better tohave the TV mount closer to themiddle of the van so it was visiblefrom all vantage points.OHCDINETTETABLEFloorplanTOILETOHCVANITYThe Bottom LineA lot of features have been smartlypacked into the RC652s withoutmaking it overly large, and the separateROBECBDOHCSHOWER42

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