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Jayco Camper 2005 Review

But other motorists don't realise a vehicle that is nearly 7m long and needs a stepladder to check out the roof is not as quick nor manoeuvreable as the family wagon. But being behind the wheel of your home away from home, complete with the kitchen sink and loo, isn't quite as daunting as it first looks.

Driving a modern motor home is easy, providing you remember its aircraft-carrier dimensions. A newcomer to the ranks comes from Jayco, which has borrowed on its years of experience in building caravans and more recently, campervans.

At about $93,000, it represents the entry level to the C-class motor-home world where some of its more luxurious competitors are substantially dearer. For the price and the standard features it offers, it comes big on value, which has been a big drawcard, with Jayco reporting steady sales since it was launched earlier this year.

Jayco, like some of its rivals, uses Fiat's Ducato long-wheelbase cab chassis for its platform. Power comes from a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel with 93kW on tap and, more importantly, 300Nm of torque at just 1800rpm. With a five-speed manual transmission, the Ducato proved to be both economical and powerful enough to haul the Jayco with ease.

The conversion of the Ducato from a light-commercial into a recreational vehicle with full certification has been a good money spinner for Fiat importer Ateco Automotive. Of the 500 Ducatos sold so far this year, about half have gone into the RV market.

The home has a legal passenger capacity of four - two up front in the cab's bucket seats and two forward facing in the dining area, once the table has been removed and stored. The rear seats have a lap/sash and a lap only seatbelt.

The Jayco comes standard with a huge Italian made roll-out awning, an access hatch to the under bed storage compartment and two 4.5kg gas bottles stored in a locker to the rear of the driver's door.

Access to living quarters is via the walk-through cabin or a side door with inbuilt fly screen and powered step. Two layouts are available based on the position of the double bed. The test vehicle came with the bed running fore and aft.

A two-seat dining table is behind the driver's seat while the galley, with a limited amount of bench space and a conventional-sized sink sits in the middle of the vehicle on the passenger's side.

An inner-sprung double bed is at the rear along with the enclosed bathroom with shower, cassette toilet and fold-down washbasin.

The galley comes standard with a four-burner cooktop (three gas, one electric) and a grill, but no oven.

Opposite, there is an inbuilt microwave above a three-way fridge.

The bed is hinged so you can gain access to the main storage area but the under-bed locker lacks divisions or tie down points for a generator.

A Coleman airconditioner sits on the roof to provide heat or cooling, while there's also a wind-up T-bar television aerial which can be rotated for best reception.

Every bit of wall space from head height to ceiling has been taken up with attractive, curved timber veneer-faced cupboards with positive push button catches. While they are roomy, it would be nice to see more divisions and a non-slip cupboard floor as standard.

A flat screen TV is included but not a separate audio system. The CD/radio mounted in the dashboard is less than user friendly thanks to its small control buttons and the sound quality is average.

The TV mounts on a swivel arm near the side door and is difficult to put in place and must be removed when you are on the road. It's a design area Jayco needs to rethink.

While the home's design impresses, there are a few areas that need refining such as replacing the curtain behind the sink with a more suitable blind to prevent soiling, and widening access to the cabin.

While there is an abundance of down lights, dual skylights and screened opening windows, it could do with more power points.

The Ducato happily cruises at 90km/h at 2000rpm but will stretch to the highway limit if pushed.

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