By Malcolm Street
Adria Caravans is a new name in Australia. The vans are built in a very unusual country too, at least as far as Australia is concerned – Slovenia.
Not sure where that is? It’s a relatively small country, east of northern Italy and south of Austria.
It used to be part of the former Yugoslavia before war separated the republic, and now Slovenia is now a country in its own right.
Adria started caravan production in 1976 when a van was taken to a caravan show in Stockholm, Sweden. Prior to the above mentioned hostilities, Adria Caravans (which makes motorhomes too), was Slovenia’s largest RV manufacturer, but things declined during the period of unrest to just 3300 units a year.
Manufacture recently went back on track, with more than 13,000 units rolling out of the factory door in 2004 and that was before the new factory is built! It’s not really surprising therefore, that Adria vans have arrived in Australia.
Qld based Terry Burchett is the importer, and his plan is to have dealers in most States. Currently the Adora, Altea and Adiva range of vans are available. CW’s review van was a 19ft 6in (5.9m) Adora.
It shouldn’t be thought that a caravan from a former Eastern Bloc country might be somewhat inferior to similar rigs from Europe, because that would be an incorrect assumption. In fact it’s quite the opposite.
The chassis has the very familiar Al-Ko name stamped on it and all the appliances come from very familiar manufacturers – thus giving the impression that the Adria could have been built in any number of Euro countries. In 2003, Adria was awarded the ISO 9001: 2000 Quality Assurance Standard.
It’s the relatively light weight of the Adora, an ATM of 1400kg for a 19ft 6in van that will certainly create interest, especially among the smaller/lighter tow vehicle owners.
The Adora has a galvanised Al-Ko chassis somewhat different from a more conventional Australian box chassis set and consists mainly of two tapered rails.
Above the axle, the chassis is about 8in (200mm) thick but that tapers off to almost nothing at either end of the van. The drawbar, with its Winterhoff AKS stabilising hitch, is designed similarly, being about 8in thick underneath the van and tapering off to about 2in at the front of the drawbar.
Almost monocoque in structure, the Adora is made from a polystyrene/fibreglass foam ‘sandwich’ construction, with walls and roof that are also made from a sandwich construction that consists of marine ply (inside), polystyrene foam, ply sheet and a fibreglass exterior.
There’s no frame as such, and interestingly the bodywork comes with a five-year guarantee against water ingress.
Externally, the Adora body has a slightly old fashioned curved look about it but this is offset with a smooth streamlined appearance and large windows at the front.
Also looking streamlined is the drawbar with just the hitch, jockey wheel and handbrake. In the boot are two gas cylinders, the spare wheel and room for other bits and pieces.
There are three other external lockers, two at the front on either side and one at the offside rear to give access to the under bed area.
Double glazed polycarbonate hopper windows are fitted and the door is a half opening ‘stable’ door setup, with a pull-down flyscreen for the top half.
Inside the Adora there is a distinct Euro look. A four-berth van, it has a double bed in the rear offside corner and front U-shaped lounge/dinette that can also be folded down into a second bed.
Along the offside is the kitchen and on the opposite side is a wardrobe beside the entry door, a bathroom in the rear nearside corner and a vanity unit in between.
The interior is very light and airy, created by a light timber stain look to the cabinet work, large windows all round and three Heki hatches in the roof. All the windows have insect screens and blinds, and all except the kitchen and bathroom have curtains.
Up front, the lounge radiates Euro design, with seats and windows all round. At 4ft 6in (1.36m) long, the side seats are a good length for sitting or lounging around on.
There is a freestanding table for when something more serious than just sitting around, ie, eating, is being done. Four people can fit comfortably around the table, which also folds down when a bed needs to be made up.
Above both side lounges are two overhead lockers but there is none across the front, mainly because the curved shape of the roof would make that rather impractical. Lighting is quite prolific here with an overhead halogen fitting, two reading lights and two flashy wall lights as well.
There’s no microwave in the kitchen but just about everything else that might be needed – stainless steel sink and drainer, full Caprice stove and Dometic three-way 77L fridge.
Benchtop working space is minimal but there is a useful slide-out shelf above the fridge. Kitchen storage is quite reasonable with cupboards, drawers and overhead lockers.
Between the kitchen and bed, there are also shelves in the partition, plus a hinged servery that means it’s possible to have breakfast in bed (or at least a cup of tea).
A lightweight TV could be situated there as well since there is a powerpoint and antenna connection in the corner.
Sitting snugly in the rear offside corner is the fixed double bed. Measuring 6ft 11in x 4ft 6in (2.1m x 1.4m), the innerspring mattress should accommodate most people, although the chamfered corner means the shorter person might have to use that side.
Above the bed are seven overhead lockers and at the bedhead, halogen reading lights and a row of shelves. Fresh air lovers may lament the lack of a window in the rear wall.
Given the location of the bathroom alongside the bed, cross flow ventilation on a warm night may be minimal.
Under-bed storage is good and accessed by lifting the slatted timber bed base. Part of the under-bed area is taken by the hot water heater.
Being split in two, the bathroom area is quite spacious. Inside the bathroom proper is a Thetford cassette toilet and flexible hose shower.
The Thetford is incorporated into a ceiling-height fibreglass moulding that has two shelves and two halogen downlights. A large window aids both natural light and ventilation.
Outside the bathroom and opposite the bed is quite a swish looking vanity unit with wash basin, shelves, roller shutter cupboard, wall mirror and two downlights.
Alongside the vanity unit, the wardrobe has both a substantial hanging area and four generous shelves.
Underneath the wardrobe is a Truma gas/electric heater connected to duct outlets around the van.
The Bottom Line
This Slovenian van is an interesting addition to the European import caravan line-up currently in Australia. Our review Adora didn’t have an awning or air-conditioner but they will be fitted to later models.
With its relatively light weight, towing the Adora is not a problem at all and it tracked along very nicely behind our Mazda Tribute tow vehicle. It’s not going to be an offroad van but for many sedan owners that really isn’t going to be much of a problem.
Adria clearly builds a well manufactured van on a par with its Euro contemporaries and it will be suitable for a wide range of tow vehicles.
For more information contact Adria Caravans, Terry Burchett (07) 4124 5870, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• General build quality and fit-out of van
• Good storage space both inside and out, and mostly easy to get around
• Generous amount of light fittings, everywhere where they might be needed.
• Vanity unit outside bathroom cubicle – two people can use the facilities at the same time
We would have liked
• Window in rear wall behind bed to enhance cross flow ventilation on warm nights
|Adria Adora 532 UP|
|External length: 19ft 6in (5.9m)|
|External width: 7ft 5in (2.3m)|
|Interior height: 6ft 5in (1.96m)|
|Nameplate ATM: 1400kg|
|Nameplate Tare weight: 1175kg|
|Advised ball weight: 100kg|
|Cooktop: Caprice hob, grill and oven|
|Fridge: Dometic three-way RM7270 77L|
|Microwave oven: No|
|Lighting: 12V halogens|
|Gas supply: Two x 9kg|
|Fresh water tank: 59L|
|Price: $39,534 |