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Avan Cruiseliner Adventure Plus 2018 review

Brendan Batty

1 Nov 2018 • 17 min read

Avan, the company, is one of Australia’s largest manufacturers of caravans and campers and the distinctly shaped Avan, the camper-trailer, is an iconic design that’s been in Australia nearly three decades. 

Given that longevity, we wanted to see if there is merit in such a bizarrely shaped van, and if its claims of simple set-up really are true – and also to compare it against the Jayco Penguin, which we tested a few months back. 

How big is this camper-trailer? How much does it weigh?

It’s not hard to see where the Avan gets its name. (image credit: Brendan Batty) It’s not hard to see where the Avan gets its name. (image credit: Brendan Batty)

Length5765mm
Width2075mm
Height1720mm (towing)
Weight (Tare/ATM/Tow Ball)965kg / 1405kg / 125kg

The Cruiseliner is the biggest of the A-shaped campers and the Adventure Plus is the company's rough-road upgrade pack, which also makes this the flashiest of the range. As such, it’s got just about every conceivable feature packed into it, including cabin heating, ducted air-con and a hot-water system. 

Packed up, it looks a lot like a more traditional winding-roof camper-trailer, although with giant Perspex pods on it. Set up, it has that distinct A-shape from which it gets its name.

Overall, the camper is 5765mm long under tow with a body that’s nearly four-and-a-half metres long. The interior is 3.6-metres long and it has a reasonably light tare weight of 940kg. 

How practical is the space inside?

It’s not the largest living area you’ve ever seen, but it’s comfortable and has everything you really need. (image credit: Brendan Batty) It’s not the largest living area you’ve ever seen, but it’s comfortable and has everything you really need. (image credit: Brendan Batty)

Almost no-one builds an 11-foot caravan any more, and hasn’t since the 1960s, probably, but that’s essentially what the interior of the Cruiseliner is like. 

Small and pokey as it is, though, it’s not impractical and not even uncomfortable. With a bed at the back, kitchen in the middle and dinette at the front, it’s got all the basic elements for comfort and because of the steep pitch of the roof, there’s plenty of headroom where it’s needed most. 

It’s actually quite an efficient little space for two people, and that’s demonstrated in the storage that’s available. Almost all of it is easy to get to – except the cupboard under the table – and some of the biggest areas can be accessed from inside or out.

What are the beds like?

The bed has an inner-spring mattress and if you sleep on the wall-side, your partner will have to cook you breakfast every morning – it’s worth a try, anyway. (image credit: Brendan Batty) The bed has an inner-spring mattress and if you sleep on the wall-side, your partner will have to cook you breakfast every morning – it’s worth a try, anyway. (image credit: Brendan Batty)

The master bed runs in an east-west orientation at the back of the van, which means that one person will have to climb over another, or always be first to bed and last up – not such a bad thing, now I think about it – is the other cooking breakfast?

In the Adventure Plus it’s an innerspring mattress and the base lifts up to reveal that largest storage area and some of the bigger appliances, such as the hot-water system and reverse-cycle airconditioner. I found it comfortable, and although I didn’t test the air-con this time (no power at our camp), I’ve used them before when they’re under the bed and if you only use them on the lowest setting, you can barely hear the slight hum they make. 

The dinette at the front also turns into a bed which would be suitable only as a last resort, or if you’re hosting a grand-child for a short period. As there’s not really anywhere for a third person to sit, or store their stuff, the third berth is largely redundant. 

What’s the kitchen like?

The kitchen includes a sink, two-burner hob, and 90-litre Dometic fridge and a microwave. (image credit: Brendan Batty) The kitchen includes a sink, two-burner hob, and 90-litre Dometic fridge and a microwave. (image credit: Brendan Batty)

Like so many of these camper-trailers, the kitchen is low-set due to the height of the walls, although the benefit is a larger-than-average amount of counter or bench space. 

The Cruiseliner’s kitchen is simple, but does include a 90-litre upright, three-way fridge under the two-burner stove and next to the small microwave. 

On the other side of the camper, a generous counter offers some valuable bench space and, underneath, a decent pantry. There are two 63-litre water tanks under the floor, which are plumbed through a hot-water system and a 12-volt pump. 

How easy is it to tow?

The lightweight camper trailer is suitable for some moderate off-road work. (image credit: Brendan Batty) The lightweight camper trailer is suitable for some moderate off-road work. (image credit: Brendan Batty)

The Cruiseliner Adventure Plus was great to tow. The low weight and low roof height reduces drag and it’s very stable on the road. For a little while, Avan was importing its suspension from overseas, and the system had a few teething problems. Now the Adventure Plus is fitted with Australian-made AL-KO Enduro independent coil-spring suspension, which is a very reliable and high-performing package. 

Although this is the ‘off-road’ version of the Avan, the company’s ‘off-road’ policy is very conservative, and it recommends this only for gravel roads and water crossings no deeper than the bottom of the chassis. 

The off-road pack does go a little further than Jayco’s Outback pack, though, as Avan includes and off-road hitch, upgraded drawer runners and wall hinges, over and above the upgraded suspension and chassis. 

How easy is it to set up?

The Avan is truly easy to set up and far quicker than anything with canvas or a winding roof. However, as the Adventure Plus raises the height of the van, initially lifting the roof and locking it into places is a little awkward for short folk like me, as I’m at full extension just when I need a little extra muscle. 

Also, because there’s no canvas, the camper insulates a little better, doesn’t flap in the wind and is a little more secure when left behind at camp. I did think the exposed foam core around the wall latches was a little ugly, though, but maybe I’m just being picky. 

Packing up is just as easy as it’s the process in reverse. Similarly, unlocking the roof peak needs a hard pull down (hard enough that you’re almost worried you left something latched the first time you do it), but then it comes down softly thanks to the elastic restrainers

What options are available for it?

The AL-KO Enduro off-road, independent suspension is part of the Adventure Plus upgrade, and a great suspension. (image credit: Brendan Batty) The AL-KO Enduro off-road, independent suspension is part of the Adventure Plus upgrade, and a great suspension. (image credit: Brendan Batty)

The Adventure Plus already has just about every option, including 15-inch alloys, airconditioning, a stereo, external shower, gas/electric hot water, a DC-DC battery charger, 80-watt solar panel, innerspring mattress and the extra water tank. About the only thing to add is an awning and a bike rack.

Any potential issues with it?

There’s not much to go wrong, unless you make a mistake packing up. (image credit: Brendan Batty) There’s not much to go wrong, unless you make a mistake packing up. (image credit: Brendan Batty)

Although the camper has a very distinct look, it’s actually quite a simple concept so there’s not a lot to go wrong. I could imagine things breaking if you pack it away in the wrong order (forgetting to unlatch the door, in particular), and I suppose with a join right in the middle of the roof there’s a very slim possibility of water getting in, but I think it unlikely. If anything does go wrong, Avan has an online spare parts shop, which makes getting obscure parts a little easier.

The Avan isn’t for everyone, although usually when I speak to owners, they’re a passionate lot who love their campers. 

I really like how easy this is to set up and pack up, and the level of comfort a solid-walled camper offers. They don’t feel very large inside, mainly thanks to the sloping roof, and that’s where something like the Jayco Penguin just wins out. 

But if you can sacrifice that ‘feeling’ of space, this is a highly featured camper with a good amount of rough-road ability.

What do you think of the distinct A-shaped camper?

Warranty24 months
Sleeps3
Water capacity (Fresh/Grey)126L/ n/a

$42,950

Based on new car retail price

Adventure score

3.5/5

adventureguide rank

  • Light

    Dry weather gravel roads and formed trails with no obstacles, very shallow water crossings.

  • Medium

    Hard-packed sand, slight to medium hills with minor obstacles in all weather.

  • Heavy

    Larger obstacles, steeper climbs and deeper water crossings; plus tracks marked as '4WD only'

Price Guide

$42,950 - $42,950

Based on new car retail price

This price is subject to change closer to release data