Not too long ago, caravanning started to become all about luxury it seems. Mansions on wheels with 30ft tandem-axle rigs and trimmings – so many trimmings! I dream about one day taking one of these rigs around Australia, chasing years of happy touring, coastal roads and dreamy comfort.
The winner of the 2014 Best Aussie Vans in the top category of over $80K has to be seen to be believed The On The Move, Grenade Series II is luxurious, strong and modern, glam and elegant for the trip and yet it looks like it would be easy to live in without too many ridiculous trimmings. Have you ever dreamed of hitting the open road?
LAYOUT & DESIGN
The Grenade’s interior is understated, not garish or begging for attention, and the layout is straightforward and sensible, with at least one design flourish the likes of which we’ve never seen before: shoe compartments recessed into steps either side of the front bed (which measures 1.55×1.9m). There’s another recess behind the bed, and plenty of storage in the overhead lockers and side wardrobes.
In a distinct move away from traditional cabinetry design, the Series II eschews handles for its overhead lockers. Instead, the locker doors extend about 10mm below the base; to open them, just unclasp the doors from behind, and they open on strong gas struts. The appeal is mostly aesthetic but, in this regard, it’s effective.
The offside dinette, finished in leather upholstery, includes snap-up footrests (the rear one blocking access to the bathroom when it’s open) and a tri-fold table measuring 800x950mm when extended. There are four lockers above, each one with its own shelf.
Above and below, you’ll find the Grenade’s other nods to modern technology: a digital water gauge/battery monitor, and the Vansat digital satellite receiver control box.
The kitchen doesn’t, however, score many points in terms of bench space. Layout design invariably involves compromises. In this case, a larger kitchen would equal a smaller bedroom or bathroom, or an extra foot or two added to the van’s overall length. It does, however, come with a sizeable 215L Waeco 12V compressor fridge/freezer (with dual 12V water pumps beneath).
Space in the small bathroom is further diminished by the upward sweep of the rear cutaway, but it packs in all the essentials, and even a 2.5kg washing machine. The Thetford cassette toilet and separate shower each have a 12V fan hatch and window above, while the slimline drawers in the vanity make effective use of the space. The cabinetry above the vanity, meanwhile, is as neatly finished as elsewhere in the van.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Grenade Series II is comprehensive in its level of equipment and is built to a high standard – it’s a deserving winner of the Best Ausssie Vans $80K-plus category.
Some compromises have been made in the layout, with a small kitchen and bathroom the product of On the Move’s desire to keep the size and weight of the van down. Which, for a van designed to head bush, is rather sensible. But certain touches, such as the bed steps and recessed shoe compartments, and the two-tier external storage system, are as practical as they are interesting.
Clearly, the van benefits from its builder’s own touring experience, and there’s only one thing left to do. Hitch up, and head to Nitmiluk!