By Carlisle Rogers
At the Penrith Expo in September, the Supreme Quest caravan stole the show. Clad in an opaque caravan cover, each morning at an announcement over the loudspeakers would alert the visitors to witness the latest, most up-to-date caravan in Australia.
The new Quest would then be unveiled by Sylvia Franklin, commercial manager of the Caravan and Camping Industry Association of NSW, to the sound of live band music, the popping of champagne and nods of approval from the consenting crowd.
“I got a call from Queensland, from our dealer up there saying he was told by the opposition that everybody was talking about it. It was the talk of the whole show,” Jim Farrell of Supreme Caravans in Melbourne explained.
Supreme’s new Quest isn’t all promotional helter skelter though. In fact, it is an innovative, quality van constructed here in Australia, to suit local road conditions.
“They are also built in the tradition of Supreme,” says Jim, “which is an offroad manufacturer for the last 15 years, so we have the experience. These aren’t for offroad, but the principles are the same as what we do in our offroad models.”
Currently at 18ft (5.5m) with two seating arrangements available, Jim points out there will be several other configurations by the end of the year.
“There are only two layouts currently but that will be expanded by Christmas, and we will have bigger vans by then too. Both of them are 18ft internally – I call them Quest 1 and Quest 2.
“There is really nothing else you would need to buy for comfort, it’s all there: shower, toilet, wind-up antenna, air-conditioning, gas detector and water filter. The only difference between the two layouts currently is the seating arrangement. In the Quest 1 it is an L-shaped dinette, and in the Quest 2 it is a café-style dinette.”
The van boasts a wide array of features, and Jim isn’t wide of the mark when he says that there isn’t anything else necessary to purchase when it comes to the creature comforts.
“The finish of the van is all fibreglass externally and timber mouldings internally – not as much plastic is used. It is a bit old-worldly in the way it is built. Only our best cabinet makers are used to do it.”
True to his word, the inside of the Quest is strikingly modern in its appearance. The warm-coloured wood grain polyester veneers look classy against the stainless steel and aluminium trimmings.
Tasmanian oak is used for all cupboard door frames, and the interior proportions are elegant.
Come on in
Upon entry, a well-proportioned kitchen lies at the rear of the van, beneath a wide window. There’s a wall-mounted fire-extinguisher conveniently placed next to the door, above six kitchen cupboards. A stainless steel sink has two taps, one mixer for washing and one connected to the integrated water filter.
A full-sized Swift oven with stainless steel stovetop and fold-down splashback, with one electric and three gas burners is teamed with a stainless steel lighted rangehood with fan, and extra lighting mounted beneath the three lead-light overhead cupboards.
All of the cupboards use metal push-pull locking handles, which ensure they won’t come open while travelling, and that they present a flush surface when closed, which makes a big difference when moving around inside.
At the rear nearside corner is the shower/toilet and a conveniently placed vanity sink on the rear wall.
Nestled against the refrigerator is a large rollout pantry with four adjustable stainless steel baskets, allowing instant access to its entire contents, while keeping them tastefully hidden away when not required.
A Dometic RM2553 fridge is mounted within a sheath of the same warm wood veneer as the rest of the van. It provides 150L gross capacity, with 15L freezer space. Exterior controls include a fuel selector knob, flame toggle switch, igniter and thermostat. Above the steel façade of the fridge is a matching Samsung Timesaver 850W microwave.
Mounted to the side of the fridge cupboard is the NEC 15in flatscreen television on a fully adjustable arm, enabling viewing from anywhere in the van, with a DNA DVD/CD/AM/FM radio/MP3 player above it – meaning you can take your entertainment in just about any dose you like.
Bolstering the 100W internal speakers are externally mounted 60W marine speakers, which means you can listen to your favourite tunes while barbecuing outside. A Winegard wind-up antenna is included as a standard, and a battery pack is mounted to power all of this when 240V isn’t available.
Plenty of windows line the Quest, with a wide rear window and twin windows on either side. All of the Dutch-made windows are double glazed, and the entry door comes with a security grille.
Twin skylights provide even more natural light to the van. Between the skylights, mounted inconspicuously, is a Dometic B3300 3.2kW roof air-conditioner, perfect for taking the edge out of those warmer nights.
In the bedroom, the queen sized extendable posture slat bed is mounted against the front wall of the caravan, beneath a gracious headboard with four overhead cupboards (two in lead-light), a spacious bookshelf with stainless barrier and elegant steel lighting directly overhead.
The headboard itself is grey crushed velvet, and is book-ended by twin mirrored cupboards with marble veneer bedside tables and two-door bottom cupboards.
A small wall clock is mounted tastefully in the centre of the headboard, between two cupboards.
The unit we photographed was a Quest 1, as it had an L-shaped dinette, around a wood-trimmed, marble-veneer tabletop. Additional overhead lead-light cupboards sit above the seating area, and storage is available beneath the seats as well. Floating floorboards throughout the van neatly finish the sense of being in a warm, cosy house.
Out in the sunshine
Outside, this RV continues to impress. The Quest has a Tare weight of 1875kg, with an ATM of 2275kg, and an unladen ball weight of 135kg. Sitting on a hot-dipped galvanised chassis of 100mm steel, the fully Australian-built unit utilises rocker arm load-sharing suspension between the 14in mag wheels and the caravan.
Electric brakes are fitted to 10in drums, and all exterior lights are LEDs, which means no more changing bulbs, a quicker ‘on’ time from braking, and water-resistant operation.
Speaking of water resistance, Jim says the van’s body is completely waterproof.
“It is a one-piece construction, so there are no joins in the body where leakages could occur.”
A spare wheel is mounted beneath the chassis, and a sturdy powder-coated bumper bar is fitted to prevent damage to the body or lights while reversing.
A large 16ft (4.9m) awning comes standard, which is the perfect companion to the picnic table mounted conveniently next to the external electric and barbecue points.
“That’s using the cavity between the external wall and the seating,” says Jim. “We were the first to bring it out, and that’s to give people a place to cook outside.”
The Bottom Line
The hardest thing to measure about a caravan is the ‘feel’ of it. A reviewer can rattle off complicated descriptions of the features of a caravan and the reader can gain relative insight into its value.
But what really makes the Quest special is not its impressive features list, which does in fact include everything one could want in a medium-sized van for two, but the quality in design and construction.
This caravan is both elegant and efficient, with a subtle design that lifts its status beyond the ordinary.
For more information on the Quest, other models in the range and your closest dealer contact Supreme Caravans, 1289 Sydney Road, Fawkner, Vic 3060, freecall 1800 201 980, or visit www.supremecaravans.com.au
|Tare weight: 1875kg|
|Ball weight: 135kg|
|Chassis: Hot-dipped galvanised steel|
|Suspension: Rocker arm load sharing|
|External marine speakers: 60W|
|Internal speakers: 100W|
|Microwave: Samsung Timesaver 850W|
|Fridge: Dometic RM2553|
|Air-conditioner: Dometic B3300|
|Awning: Model 8500|
|External length: 2.61m|
|External width: 2.39m|
|External height: 5.97m|
|Price: From $67,950|