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We find out if the Birdsville lives up to its iconic namesake

WORDS AND IMAGES ANTHONY KILNER

Antman takes the Birdsville for a cruise up the coast

The Birdsville stands out on the road

REVIEW Avida Birdsville

Avida has been manufacturing motorhomes since 1965, as well as caravans, campervans and pop-tops, to suit all touring styles and budgets. The Birdsville is one of the most oft’ seen motorhomes on Aussie roads, so we wanted to get our hands on the 2019 model to discover exactly what makes it such a popular travelling companion.   

To start with, Avida offers a three-year or one-million kilometre warranty, as well as a five-year structural guarantee. There’s also free 24-hour roadside assistance for two years if the vehicle is bought new, and there are accredited service and dealer locations around the country. It’s an impressive package that should allow owners peace of mind when touring.

AVIDA BIRDSVILLE
VERSATILE AND PRACTICAL

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Outside
Thanks to its slide-out section, the Birdsville is quite small body-wise, although, drivers will need to be aware of the ride height with a bed and/or storage space above the cabin. The body is manufactured from sandwich panel with aluminium underfloor protection. This construction is strong, durable and offers plenty of insulation. An electric drop-step allows easy access into the motorhome while a Dometic awning offers plenty of cover for outdoor living.

LEFT Neat electricals feature in the Avida

BELOW Under-bed storage allows for bigger items

ABOVE Twin gas bottles are standard

Around the body are plenty of storage lockers, lighting and a rear camera, which makes reversing a whole lot easier. There’s a wide storage space on the passenger side of the Avida, which includes the electrical system. The battery and twin 4kg gas bottles are stored in other lockers. The two lockers in the slide-out can be accessed from inside the Avida as well. A spare wheel is located underneath the chassis, which might be a pain to get to but at least it is out of the way.

BELOW A solid door suits the look of the Birdsville

BELOW The Birdsville was right at home on the Mornington Peninsula

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Avida’s slide-out creates amazing space inside the motorhome

Inside
The first thing you notice is that the main living area is quite open. This space includes the fridge, dinette, kitchen and also access into the cabin from the driver’s seat, which you are able to swivel.

Hit the switch for the slide-out and watch as the space opens up before your eyes. The dinette and bedroom, including the wardrobe, push out to create an easy walkway through to the ensuite, creating an even larger living area. Something to note though is that access to the ensuite is blocked by the queen-size bed when the slide is in.  

The Avida has a fresh, bright look with plenty of base comforts for touring life. Starting from the front, above the vehicle cabin is a bed area that will easily sleep a couple of kids, plus there’s a mesh guard to stop them falling out and a screen for privacy. The ladder to access the bed gets in the way of the fridge though, so it would need to be stored elsewhere when not in use. The dinette seats have integrated seat belts for two extra people, so kids are indeed catered for.

On the passenger side is a Dometic 190-litre, two-door fridge and above that is a Samsung microwave. A drop-down table, which will be handy come prep time, comes off the fridge wall and locks in next to the Dometic cooker with grill, which lives beside the sink. The rest of the benchtop continues to the ensuite wall, with a neat little slide-out pantry, ample drawers and overhead cupboards, with the one opposite the bed housing the Axis flat-screen telly.  

ABOVE Wherever one lays one's hat? // BELOW Without the optional washing machine this space is great for hiding dirty laundry

ABOVE The dinette is super comfortable for one or two // BELOW There’s excellent storage in the kitchen

Across the back of the Avida is the ensuite. A clever use of space sees a curved cabinet with ceramic bowl on the passenger side that also includes space for a washing machine. There are plenty of cupboards for linen and the like. A Thetford toilet is mounted on the rear wall as is the toilet roll holder, which some may find a bit tricky to reach, and unfortunately the shower isn’t very wide.

The slide-out includes a queen-size bed that lifts up to provide the Birdsville’s only real storage space for large items like chairs. There’s plenty of cupboard space in the area and the window provides plenty of light and ventilation. Next to the bed is a dinette that will seat four people in relative comfort. Other features include air conditioning, hot water system, Avida’s integrated electronics system, antenna and USB charging system.

“Avida offer a three-year or one-million kilometre warranty, as well as a five-year structural guarantee”

How to use
From the makers of
Buy online here

How did the Fiat fare?
As far as vehicle platforms go, the Fiat seems pretty solid. I drove the Birdsville around the Mornington Peninsula via the highway, back roads and some dirt roads, which it handled with ease. It has plenty of grunt, and it’s surprisingly manoeuvrable even around tight carparks.

The Fiat is powered by a turbo-diesel that produces 130kW at 3500rpm, and 400Nm at 1500rpm. Power is driven to the front wheels via a six-speed Comfort-Matic gearbox, which I found to be a little sloppy with gear changes if I’m being picky.

Other extras worth noting are smooth power steering, cruise control, electronic stability control, air conditioning, central locking and a five-inch touch screen with Bluetooth. The interior is neat with plenty of handy storage pockets, although I found the floor mats to be annoyingly slippery. Everything else though, including the visibility, was quite good.

SPECS
Fiat Ducato X295 180hp

Engine: Four-cylinder turbo-diesel
Power: 130kW @ 3500rpm
Torque: 400Nm @ 1500rpm
Gearbox: Six-speed manual/automatic
Drive System: FWD
Towing Capacity Braked: 2000kg
Towing Capacity Unbraked: 750kg

For more info: fiat.com.au

ABOVE Is there an engine in there somewhere? // BELOW The spare is mounted under the chassis and a little awkward to get to

“Hit the switch for the slide-out and watch as the space opens up before your eyes”

VERDICT
For the money, the Birdsville offers an honest, comfortable touring machine that, conveniently, you can drive on a standard car licence. I would like to have seen some more storage for large items other than under the bed, but the general storage is excellent. There are many fabulous features packed into the Birdsville and for a competitive price tag too, so I can definitely see why this motorhome is a popular choice for travellers.

PROS
• Overall comfort
• Driveability on road
• Driveable on a standard car licence
• Slide-out creates amazing space
• Excellent value for money

CONS
• Lack of storage for big items
• The step ladder can block the fridge
• Gearbox is sloppy
• Speedo can be awkward to read
• Floor mats very slippery

SPECS
Avida Birdsville

External length: 739m (24ft 3in)
External body width: 2.32mm (7ft 6in)
GVM: 4400kg
GCM: 6400kg
Price as tested: $151,990 ex Melbourne 

For more info: avidarv.com.au

Fiat provides an easy-to-drive base for the Birdsville

REVIEW Avida Birdsville

We find out if the Birdsville lives up to its iconic namesake

Avida has been manufacturing motorhomes since 1965, as well as caravans, campervans and pop-tops, to suit all touring styles and budgets. The Birdsville is one of the most oft’ seen motorhomes on Aussie roads, so we wanted to get our hands on the 2019 model to discover exactly what makes it such a popular travelling companion.   

To start with, Avida offers a three-year or one-million kilometre warranty, as well as a five-year structural guarantee. There’s also free 24-hour roadside assistance for two years if the vehicle is bought new, and there are accredited service and dealer locations around the country. It’s an impressive package that should allow owners peace of mind when touring.

Antman takes the Birdsville for a cruise up the coast

WORDS AND IMAGES ANTHONY KILNER

The Birdsville stands out on the road

AVIDA BIRDSVILLE
VERSATILE AND PRACTICAL

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Outside
Thanks to its slide-out section, the Birdsville is quite small body-wise, although, drivers will need to be aware of the ride height with a bed and/or storage space above the cabin. The body is manufactured from sandwich panel with aluminium underfloor protection. This construction is strong, durable and offers plenty of insulation. An electric drop-step allows easy access into the motorhome while a Dometic awning offers plenty of cover for outdoor living.

LEFT Neat electricals feature in the Avida

BELOW Under-bed storage allows for bigger items

BELOW The Birdsville was right at home on the Mornington Peninsula

Around the body are plenty of storage lockers, lighting and a rear camera, which makes reversing a whole lot easier. There’s a wide storage space on the passenger side of the Avida, which includes the electrical system. The battery and twin 4kg gas bottles are stored in other lockers. The two lockers in the slide-out can be accessed from inside the Avida as well. A spare wheel is located underneath the chassis, which might be a pain to get to but at least it is out of the way.

ABOVE Twin gas bottles are standard

BELOW A solid door suits the look of the Birdsville

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Lightforce LED Headlight Upgrade Kits are easy to install.
They last 50 times longer than standard halogen globes and deliver great performance.

For more information about the range of Lightforce LED Headlight Upgrade Kits visit 
www.lightforce.com/led-headlight-upgrade-kits.

ABOVE Wherever one lays one's hat? // BELOW Without the optional washing machine this space is great for hiding dirty laundry

Inside
The first thing you notice is that the main living area is quite open. This space includes the fridge, dinette, kitchen and also access into the cabin from the driver’s seat, which you are able to swivel.

Hit the switch for the slide-out and watch as the space opens up before your eyes. The dinette and bedroom, including the wardrobe, push out to create an easy walkway through to the ensuite, creating an even larger living area. Something to note though is that access to the ensuite is blocked by the queen-size bed when the slide is in.  

The Avida has a fresh, bright look with plenty of base comforts for touring life. Starting from the front, above the vehicle cabin is a bed area that will easily sleep a couple of kids, plus there’s a mesh guard to stop them falling out and a screen for privacy. The ladder to access the bed gets in the way of the fridge though, so it would need to be stored elsewhere when not in use. The dinette seats have integrated seat belts for two extra people, so kids are indeed catered for.

On the passenger side is a Dometic 190-litre, two-door fridge and above that is a Samsung microwave. A drop-down table, which will be handy come prep time, comes off the fridge wall and locks in next to the Dometic cooker with grill, which lives beside the sink. The rest of the benchtop continues to the ensuite wall, with a neat little slide-out pantry, ample drawers and overhead cupboards, with the one opposite the bed housing the Axis flat-screen telly.  

Avida’s slide-out creates amazing space inside the motorhome

ABOVE The dinette is super comfortable for one or two // BELOW There’s excellent storage in the kitchen

Across the back of the Avida is the ensuite. A clever use of space sees a curved cabinet with ceramic bowl on the passenger side that also includes space for a washing machine. There are plenty of cupboards for linen and the like. A Thetford toilet is mounted on the rear wall as is the toilet roll holder, which some may find a bit tricky to reach, and unfortunately the shower isn’t very wide.

The slide-out includes a queen-size bed that lifts up to provide the Birdsville’s only real storage space for large items like chairs. There’s plenty of cupboard space in the area and the window provides plenty of light and ventilation. Next to the bed is a dinette that will seat four people in relative comfort. Other features include air conditioning, hot water system, Avida’s integrated electronics system, antenna and USB charging system.

“Avida offer a three-year or one-million kilometre warranty, as well as a five-year structural guarantee”

From the makers of
Buy online here

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

How did the Fiat fare?
As far as vehicle platforms go, the Fiat seems pretty solid. I drove the Birdsville around the Mornington Peninsula via the highway, back roads and some dirt roads, which it handled with ease. It has plenty of grunt, and it’s surprisingly manoeuvrable even around tight carparks.

The Fiat is powered by a turbo-diesel that produces 130kW at 3500rpm, and 400Nm at 1500rpm. Power is driven to the front wheels via a six-speed Comfort-Matic gearbox, which I found to be a little sloppy with gear changes if I’m being picky.

Other extras worth noting are smooth power steering, cruise control, electronic stability control, air conditioning, central locking and a five-inch touch screen with Bluetooth. The interior is neat with plenty of handy storage pockets, although I found the floor mats to be annoyingly slippery. Everything else though, including the visibility, was quite good.

ABOVE Is there an engine in there somewhere? // BELOW The spare is mounted under the chassis and a little awkward to get to

SPECS
Fiat Ducato X295 180hp

Engine: Four-cylinder turbo-diesel
Power: 130kW @ 3500rpm
Torque: 400Nm @ 1500rpm
Gearbox: Six-speed manual/automatic
Drive System: FWD
Towing Capacity Braked: 2000kg
Towing Capacity Unbraked: 750kg

For more info: fiat.com.au

“Hit the switch for the slide-out and watch as the space opens up before your eyes”

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

ADVERTISEMENT

PROS
• Overall comfort
• Driveability on road
• Driveable on a standard car licence
• Slide-out creates amazing space
• Excellent value for money

CONS
• Lack of storage for big items
• The step ladder can block the fridge
• Gearbox is sloppy
• Speedo can be awkward to read
• Floor mats very slippery

SPECS
Avida Birdsville

External length: 739m (24ft 3in)
External body width: 2.32mm (7ft 6in)
GVM: 4400kg
GCM: 6400kg
Price as tested: $151,990 ex Melbourne 

For more info: avidarv.com.au

VERDICT
For the money, the Birdsville offers an honest, comfortable touring machine that, conveniently, you can drive on a standard car licence. I would like to have seen some more storage for large items other than under the bed, but the general storage is excellent. There are many fabulous features packed into the Birdsville and for a competitive price tag too, so I can definitely see why this motorhome is a popular choice for travellers.

Fiat provides an easy-to-drive base for the Birdsville