Welcome to RV Daily

Are you hungry for the latest in RV news, reviews and travel?

At RV Daily, we’ll give you up-to-date news, reviews and videos on the latest caravans, campers and motorhomes.

Designed and built in Melbourne for Australian conditions, the Optimum is Masterpiece Caravans’ aspirational top of the range off-roader that’s as comfortable as it is capable. It’s a robust and well-constructed van that wants to get to that far-flung campsite as badly as you do. And while it’s true a van is only ever as off-road as its dimensions and weight will allow, the Optimum Off-Road is about as capable on the rough stuff as a full-size van can get.

Better still, this van is designed with total self-sufficiency in mind. You want to stay at that perfect campsite for a week and pretend the outside world doesn’t exist? No problem, the Optimum will allow you to do it in total comfort. In that way, a well-constructed off-road caravan becomes more than just something that can tolerate being dragged around the bush, rather a tool to facilitate prolonged remote touring.

We grabbed the 20’8” variant for a brief stint in the Great Lakes Region of NSW, a few hours north of Sydney. And while we weren’t able to use/live out of the van and thus truly put it to the test, we did spend a couple of days towing it on- and off-road, and looking over it closely. Here are our first impressions.

A van that promises comfort in hard-to-reach destinations

BELOW Jerry cans and spare tyre housed on a sturdy rear bar

MASTERPIECE OPTIMUM OFF-ROAD

WORDS EMMA RYAN, IMAGES HARRY TEMPLE

REVIEW Masterpiece Optimum Off-Road

Got one like it? Insure it here

“In terms of safety, vision and looks, it’s hard to go past Clearview Powerfold Mirrors.”
Pat Callinan

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

TOTAL SELF-SUFFICIENCY
Following you safely to your destination is a vital part of any off-road van’s job, but I’ll get to that shortly. For now let’s focus on this van’s exceptional capacity for self-sufficient living, which is arguably almost as important a virtue of a true off-roader. After all, there’s no point getting way off the grid if you can’t stay there until you’re good and satisfied.

To that end, there are 252-litres of fresh water storage on this van, spread across three independent tanks with separate 12-volt pumps. These comprise two 95-litre tanks and one 62-litre dedicated drinking water tank. This multi-tank set-up allows for effective weight distribution and prevents total loss of water should a tank be damaged, although they sit high out of harm’s way on the van’s undercarriage and are shrouded in checker plate for protection. There’s a 100-litre grey water tank on board, too, with digital displays for all tanks. An additional 40-litres of water (or fuel) can be stowed in twin jerry can holders on the rear bumper.

Twin 9kg gas bottles are housed at the drawbar between two storage compartments and are plumbed to the kitchen, fridge, Truma space heater and GSWH-2 Endless tankless hot water service.

BELOW Four 110W flexible roof-mounted solar panels backing up lithium battery power – that ought to do it!

ABOVE The perfect, lockable hidey-hole for a generator // BELOW A trio of water tanks, checker-plate shrouded for protection off-road

ABOVE At the front end, twin lockable storage compartments and twin gas bottles, plus thoughtful inclusions like grab rails and a light // BELOW This tandem axle beast is unapologetically sizable, but it packs in just about anything you could need

The Optimum comes equipped with 300Ah of lithium batteries which supply superior performance and significantly reduce weight over other styles of battery. These are backed up by four roof-mounted 110-watt flexible solar panels. In addition, there’s a dedicated Anderson plug for portable solar panels, a handy inclusion for those who prefer to park up in the shade. The van is fitted with a powerful 3000-watt Redarc inverter to power 240-volt appliances, and all internal double power points are inverted. There’s a 30-amp Redarc battery management system, and the Optimum is fitted with Redarc’s Red Vision, which enables the remote monitoring and control of the van’s full electrical set-up. There’s even a 4G aerial mounted to the roof to help you stay connected if that happens to be a priority.

Further to the van’s capacity for self-sufficiency, it also has plenty of storage inside and out, including a dedicated generator hatch with a slide drawer, so you’ve got somewhere for the back-up if you need added peace of mind.  

Got one like it? Insure it here

“This multi-tank set-up allows for effective weight distribution and prevents total loss of water should a tank be damaged”

BUILT TO GET YOU THERE
Masterpiece Caravans are manufactured in Melbourne and wear the Aussie-made status proudly. It touts the Optimum as an ‘extreme off-road’ van, a claim we weren’t able to verify during our brief stint with the van which included towing it on an easy fire trail on the Mid North Coast of NSW. That said, it does seem to be up for the task with some pretty solid manufacturing values.

The custom-designed and engineered, hot-dipped galvanised chassis has a 6in A-frame and box chassis, with 2in continuous raiser to the rear. There’s a four-arm rear bumper where a spare wheel and firewood cradle live, and while rated rear recovery points are handy in the scrub the van could benefit from a better departure angle; it’s very boxy.

The walls are fully insulated, high-profile stucco aluminium cladding with a front and rear aluminium composite panel; 800mm checker plate stretches high up the sides of the van for protection from stones, branches and the like. There’s a mesh stone guard at the drawbar to protect your tow vehicle.

BELOW Stairway to heaven… and serious off-road comfort

ABOVE Cruisemaster XT suspension means business off-road // BELOW We towed it with a VW V6 Amarok 580, a powerful tow vehicle that had no trouble pulling the Optimum’s 3000kg+

ABOVE Oversized windows let you catch a breeze // BELOW A tidy undercarriage with few things that can be ripped off or damaged on the tracks

It all rides upon 4.1-tonne Cruisemaster XT Suspension with dual shock absorbers, 16in alloy wheels with Cooper ST Maxx tyres pulled up by 12in electric brakes. There’s a Cruisemaster DO-35 off-road coupling, a 10in jockey wheel and drop-down stabiliser legs on all four corners.

With that line-up of hardware, you can pretty confident this van will tow politely in moderate off-road environments where the tracks are open enough to accommodate its sizable dimensions (8.8x2.5x3.1m) and where the tow vehicle is powerful enough to manage its considerable weight (3.5-tonne ATM).

Got one like it? Insure it here

LOADS OF LUXURY
Think going bush means roughing it? Think again. The Optimum is a very well-appointed van with bucketloads of luxurious niceties.

Italian leather upholstery is very plush indeed at the spacious dinette, while vinyl wood-look flooring adds a warmth to the aesthetic. The queen-size bed has a pillowtop mattress and there’s loads of storage with twin bedside tables/wardrobes, bedside reading lights plus 12V, 240V and USB outlets where you need them. The windows are double glazed Dometic with leather pelmets and Roman blinds for privacy.

The kitchen is functional and well-equipped with a Swift fan-forced gas/electric oven, four-burner stove (three gas, one electric) with fold-down bench for added working space when it’s not in use and an overhead 12V rangehood with inbuilt light. There’s a 25-litre microwave and a massive 216-litre Dometic compressor fridge/freezer to keep you going the distance. There’s loads of storage in the kitchen including a space-saving pantry slide cupboard.

Keeping the interior at the right temperature is a Truma reverse cycle air-conditioner, and there are two 12V Sirocco fans, one in the bedroom and one at the dinette. A Fusion stereo keeps the tunes flowing, with internal and external speakers adding the good vibes to cocktail hour.

BELOW With twin bedside cabinets, hatches, lights and charging points, the Optimum’s bedroom area is as functional as it is comfortable

ABOVE With leather upholstery, wood-style flooring, a neutral colour scheme and ambient lighting, the Optimum is reminiscent of a high-end apartment // BELOW Loads of storage but watch you don’t overload it: with a 500kg payload and 350L water storage, you don’t have a lot left to play with

ABOVE Four-burner stove, oven, grill, microwave, storage: you’ll want for nothing but a butler in this kitchen // BELOW Plush leather upholstery and an adjustable table makes the dinette comfortable for both eating and lounging

The bathroom is spacious and comfortable with plenty of storage, a full-size shower with opaque door a ceramic sink and loo, and a beautiful vanity mirror with detailed edges and a soft makeup light running right the way around which I loved. Very ambient and luxurious. There’s a washing machine beneath the bench in the ensuite, too.

Lighting throughout is excellent: abundant, functional and ambient. Externally there are lights at the front, side and rear, plus the step, grab handle and storage hatches. Internally, there are roof lights, over bench lights, and reading lights at the bed and dinette. I’m one of those people who is annoyingly anal about the level of ambience provided by lighting, and I found the Optimum most satisfactory indeed.

Got one like it? Insure it here

VERDICT
With a price-tag stretching beyond the $100k mark, there’s no doubt this van is a serious investment aimed at the top end of the market. But if you can afford it, what you’ll get is a capable, well-built off-roader designed for extended stays in isolated locations. The Optimum Off-Road isn’t just somewhere nice to sleep, cook and wash – although it’s certainly that, too. It’s a functional tool for self-sufficient and comfortable touring in Australia’s most remote and hard-to-reach destinations. If that’s what you dream of while you’re gazing out the window waiting for 5pm to come around or planning the canapes for your retirement party, the Optimum Off-Road is absolutely one to take a close look at.

PROS
• Huge water capacity
• Excellent lithium/solar set-up
• High quality finish throughout

CONS
• Departure angle isn’t great
• Big and heavy – this will effect off-road capability

SPECS
Tare: 2970kg
ATM: 3500kg
Suspension: 4.1-tonne Cruisemaster XT
Brakes: 12-inch electric
Coupling: Cruisemaster DO35 off-road
Style: Full-height off-road
Length: 8800mm
Width: 2495mm
Height: 3100mm
Ball weight: 185kg
Price: Starting from $101,000

For more info: masterpiececaravans.com.au

Got one like it? Insure it here

WORDS EMMA RYAN, IMAGES HARRY TEMPLE

REVIEW Masterpiece Optimum Off-Road

Designed and built in Melbourne for Australian conditions, the Optimum is Masterpiece Caravans’ aspirational top of the range off-roader that’s as comfortable as it is capable. It’s a robust and well-constructed van that wants to get to that far-flung campsite as badly as you do. And while it’s true a van is only ever as off-road as its dimensions and weight will allow, the Optimum Off-Road is about as capable on the rough stuff as a full-size van can get.

Better still, this van is designed with total self-sufficiency in mind. You want to stay at that perfect campsite for a week and pretend the outside world doesn’t exist? No problem, the Optimum will allow you to do it in total comfort. In that way, a well-constructed off-road caravan becomes more than just something that can tolerate being dragged around the bush, rather a tool to facilitate prolonged remote touring.

We grabbed the 20’8” variant for a brief stint in the Great Lakes Region of NSW, a few hours north of Sydney. And while we weren’t able to use/live out of the van and thus truly put it to the test, we did spend a couple of days towing it on- and off-road, and looking over it closely. Here are our first impressions.

BELOW Jerry cans and spare tyre housed on a sturdy rear bar

MASTERPIECE OPTIMUM OFF-ROAD

A van that promises comfort in hard-to-reach destinations

Got one like it? Insure it here

“In terms of safety, vision and looks, it’s hard to go past Clearview Powerfold Mirrors.”
Pat Callinan

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

The Optimum comes equipped with 300Ah of lithium batteries which supply superior performance and significantly reduce weight over other styles of battery. These are backed up by four roof-mounted 110-watt flexible solar panels. In addition, there’s a dedicated Anderson plug for portable solar panels, a handy inclusion for those who prefer to park up in the shade. The van is fitted with a powerful 3000-watt Redarc inverter to power 240-volt appliances, and all internal double power points are inverted. There’s a 30-amp Redarc battery management system, and the Optimum is fitted with Redarc’s Red Vision, which enables the remote monitoring and control of the van’s full electrical set-up. There’s even a 4G aerial mounted to the roof to help you stay connected if that happens to be a priority.

Further to the van’s capacity for self-sufficiency, it also has plenty of storage inside and out, including a dedicated generator hatch with a slide drawer, so you’ve got somewhere for the back-up if you need added peace of mind.  

ABOVE The perfect, lockable hidey-hole for a generator // BELOW A trio of water tanks, checker-plate shrouded for protection off-road

TOTAL SELF-SUFFICIENCY
Following you safely to your destination is a vital part of any off-road van’s job, but I’ll get to that shortly. For now let’s focus on this van’s exceptional capacity for self-sufficient living, which is arguably almost as important a virtue of a true off-roader. After all, there’s no point getting way off the grid if you can’t stay there until you’re good and satisfied.

To that end, there are 252-litres of fresh water storage on this van, spread across three independent tanks with separate 12-volt pumps. These comprise two 95-litre tanks and one 62-litre dedicated drinking water tank. This multi-tank set-up allows for effective weight distribution and prevents total loss of water should a tank be damaged, although they sit high out of harm’s way on the van’s undercarriage and are shrouded in checker plate for protection. There’s a 100-litre grey water tank on board, too, with digital displays for all tanks. An additional 40-litres of water (or fuel) can be stowed in twin jerry can holders on the rear bumper.

Twin 9kg gas bottles are housed at the drawbar between two storage compartments and are plumbed to the kitchen, fridge, Truma space heater and GSWH-2 Endless tankless hot water service.

BELOW Four 110W flexible roof-mounted solar panels backing up lithium battery power – that ought to do it!

ABOVE At the front end, twin lockable storage compartments and twin gas bottles, plus thoughtful inclusions like grab rails and a light // BELOW This tandem axle beast is unapologetically sizable, but it packs in just about anything you could need

Got one like it? Insure it here

“This multi-tank set-up allows for effective weight distribution and prevents total loss of water should a tank be damaged”

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

It all rides upon 4.1-tonne Cruisemaster XT Suspension with dual shock absorbers, 16in alloy wheels with Cooper ST Maxx tyres pulled up by 12in electric brakes. There’s a Cruisemaster DO-35 off-road coupling, a 10in jockey wheel and drop-down stabiliser legs on all four corners.

With that line-up of hardware, you can pretty confident this van will tow politely in moderate off-road environments where the tracks are open enough to accommodate its sizable dimensions (8.8x2.5x3.1m) and where the tow vehicle is powerful enough to manage its considerable weight (3.5-tonne ATM).

ABOVE Cruisemaster XT suspension means business off-road // BELOW We towed it with a VW V6 Amarok 580, a powerful tow vehicle that had no trouble pulling the Optimum’s 3000kg+

BUILT TO GET YOU THERE
Masterpiece Caravans are manufactured in Melbourne and wear the Aussie-made status proudly. It touts the Optimum as an ‘extreme off-road’ van, a claim we weren’t able to verify during our brief stint with the van which included towing it on an easy fire trail on the Mid North Coast of NSW. That said, it does seem to be up for the task with some pretty solid manufacturing values.

The custom-designed and engineered, hot-dipped galvanised chassis has a 6in A-frame and box chassis, with 2in continuous raiser to the rear. There’s a four-arm rear bumper where a spare wheel and firewood cradle live, and while rated rear recovery points are handy in the scrub the van could benefit from a better departure angle; it’s very boxy.

The walls are fully insulated, high-profile stucco aluminium cladding with a front and rear aluminium composite panel; 800mm checker plate stretches high up the sides of the van for protection from stones, branches and the like. There’s a mesh stone guard at the drawbar to protect your tow vehicle.

BELOW Stairway to heaven… and serious off-road comfort

ABOVE Oversized windows let you catch a breeze // BELOW A tidy undercarriage with few things that can be ripped off or damaged on the tracks

Got one like it? Insure it here

The bathroom is spacious and comfortable with plenty of storage, a full-size shower with opaque door a ceramic sink and loo, and a beautiful vanity mirror with detailed edges and a soft makeup light running right the way around which I loved. Very ambient and luxurious. There’s a washing machine beneath the bench in the ensuite, too.

Lighting throughout is excellent: abundant, functional and ambient. Externally there are lights at the front, side and rear, plus the step, grab handle and storage hatches. Internally, there are roof lights, over bench lights, and reading lights at the bed and dinette. I’m one of those people who is annoyingly anal about the level of ambience provided by lighting, and I found the Optimum most satisfactory indeed.

ABOVE With leather upholstery, wood-style flooring, a neutral colour scheme and ambient lighting, the Optimum is reminiscent of a high-end apartment // BELOW Loads of storage but watch you don’t overload it: with a 500kg payload and 350L water storage, you don’t have a lot left to play with

LOADS OF LUXURY
Think going bush means roughing it? Think again. The Optimum is a very well-appointed van with bucketloads of luxurious niceties.

Italian leather upholstery is very plush indeed at the spacious dinette, while vinyl wood-look flooring adds a warmth to the aesthetic. The queen-size bed has a pillowtop mattress and there’s loads of storage with twin bedside tables/wardrobes, bedside reading lights plus 12V, 240V and USB outlets where you need them. The windows are double glazed Dometic with leather pelmets and Roman blinds for privacy.

The kitchen is functional and well-equipped with a Swift fan-forced gas/electric oven, four-burner stove (three gas, one electric) with fold-down bench for added working space when it’s not in use and an overhead 12V rangehood with inbuilt light. There’s a 25-litre microwave and a massive 216-litre Dometic compressor fridge/freezer to keep you going the distance. There’s loads of storage in the kitchen including a space-saving pantry slide cupboard.

Keeping the interior at the right temperature is a Truma reverse cycle air-conditioner, and there are two 12V Sirocco fans, one in the bedroom and one at the dinette. A Fusion stereo keeps the tunes flowing, with internal and external speakers adding the good vibes to cocktail hour.

BELOW With twin bedside cabinets, hatches, lights and charging points, the Optimum’s bedroom area is as functional as it is comfortable

ABOVE Four-burner stove, oven, grill, microwave, storage: you’ll want for nothing but a butler in this kitchen // BELOW Plush leather upholstery and an adjustable table makes the dinette comfortable for both eating and lounging

Got one like it? Insure it here

VERDICT
With a price-tag stretching beyond the $100k mark, there’s no doubt this van is a serious investment aimed at the top end of the market. But if you can afford it, what you’ll get is a capable, well-built off-roader designed for extended stays in isolated locations. The Optimum Off-Road isn’t just somewhere nice to sleep, cook and wash – although it’s certainly that, too. It’s a functional tool for self-sufficient and comfortable touring in Australia’s most remote and hard-to-reach destinations. If that’s what you dream of while you’re gazing out the window waiting for 5pm to come around or planning the canapes for your retirement party, the Optimum Off-Road is absolutely one to take a close look at.

PROS
• Huge water capacity
• Excellent lithium/solar set-up
• High quality finish throughout

CONS
• Departure angle isn’t great
• Big and heavy – this will effect off-road capability

SPECS
Tare: 2970kg
ATM: 3500kg
Suspension: 4.1-tonne Cruisemaster XT
Brakes: 12-inch electric
Coupling: Cruisemaster DO35 off-road
Style: Full-height off-road
Length: 8800mm
Width: 2495mm
Height: 3100mm
Ball weight: 185kg
Price: Starting from $101,000

For more info: masterpiececaravans.com.au

Got one like it? Insure it here