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WORDS AND IMAGES ANTHONY KILNER

Family vans are hugely popular right now and thoughtfully-specced variants turn heads. Enter Crusader’s Family Castle, a well-appointed 22-foot caravan designed for fun touring. And it carries a sub-$73,000 price tag.

Crusader has clearly set out to cater for multiple scenarios with this van: Mum and dad and up to three kids; also a touring couple, likely grandparents, who want to have enough space for their grand kids to stay. There are also designs to suit a home office layout or space to haul toys.

The family range comprises: The Bunkie (19ft); the Palace (20ft); and the Castle which is the longest at 22ft. The two smaller vans require a tow vehicle with a 2500kg-plus rating, while the Castle needs a vehicle rated to at least 3200kg.

This 22-foot van could be a perfect fit for parents or grandparents to holiday with the kids

HOW’S THE SERENITY!

Crusader’s Family Castle

REVIEW Crusader Family Castle

“A solid, practical layout will allow touring families to be comfortable”

OUTSIDE
Alupanel composite walls form the body while a black chequer-plate front, back and skirt sections create a neat contrasting look. The composite, one-piece fibreglass roof runs from front to rear, book-ended with chequer-plate.

The roof is fitted with Ranger hatches, an Ibis Air Command AC unit, Dometic antenna plus a 160W solar panel to keep the battery topped up when parked.

A six-inch Supagal chassis underpins The Castle. Coupled to that is an eight-leaf eye-to-eye suspension system, twin 1600kg-rated axles and 10-inch electric brakes. Devil black and chrome alloy rims are shod with 235/75R15 LT tyres. Slung underneath are twin 95-litre water tanks, drop-down stabilising legs and some neat plumbing.

ABOVE An entertainment hatch is ideal for keeping kids entertained outside

BELOW An eye to eye suspension system is used on the family Castle

The A-frame supports twin 9kg gas bottles, tap, an AL-KO jockey wheel and a 50mm ball coupling. It is basic and functional.

Features around the body include a 17-foot Dometic awning, Bargmen door handle with light, alloy drop step, picnic table, entertainment box, twin exterior speakers, full-width tunnel boot that houses the tools for the awning and drop down jacks, Breaksafe unit, 105A/hr battery and a Meanwell three-stage, battery charger.

The body is functional and neat and set up for comfortable blacktop touring. Crusader also offers a range of upgrades, including an off-road suspension package to a self-contained camping package, and much more.

“There’s enough room on the bottom bunk bed for kids to relax and having a window allows them plenty of light”

INSIDE
Access to the van is via a Dometic Crimsafe security centre door. Once inside, a queen-size bed (with inner-spring mattress) adjoins the front wall. This part of the van is light and airy and there are plenty of storage spaces in the wardrobes on either side as well as units above and below the bed. Two pigeon-holes for phones, books and similar items, fitted with 12- and 240-volt power points, sit under the main wardrobe sections and are accessible from the bed. An LED TV is located off the passenger side wall in the bedroom and can be swivelled to be watched easily from the dinette.

On the passenger-side wall in the middle of the van is the kitchen space and while not huge it is practical and functional with plenty of drawers, a slide-out pantry, deep sink with flick mixer and hot water provided by a Swift gas/elec system. A Finch rangehood sits above a recessed Dometic fan-forced full-size oven. There’s more storage in the overhead cupboards, and a Swift microwave rounds out the cooking and storage set-up.

Opposite the kitchen is a neat C-shaped Leatherette dinette that will seat up to two adults and three smaller kids. There’s storage under the seats as well as in overhead cupboards. In one overhead cupboard, the electrical section includes an NCe radio/entertainment unit, Dometic solar control, BP-400 battery protector, fuses, switchboard and a water level gauge.

ABOVE A small kitchen is practical for the size of van

Towards the rear of the van is a Dometic 190-litre, three-way, two-door fridge with some storage above and below, before a sliding door sections off the kids’ space and ensuite.

A set of three bunks are on the driver’s side and are 6ft 2in long and 2ft 4in wide with low-profile inner-spring mattresses that offer plenty of room for a kid and some gear. Each bunk has its own window and light with the steps built into the unit. Across the back of the van between the bunks and the ensuite opposite is a brilliant storage space for clothes and linen and on the floor is an NCe washing machine, which is handy – especially with kids.

The ensuite is divided into two spaces, a Dometic swivel toilet on the left side, a vanity and mirror in the mid-way space and a fibreglass shower on the right, and is a very practical size. The shower features a wide-grill drain, but I wonder whether this could be sealed off for dirt road travel in the way a normal drain hole plug works. There are hatches, lights, power points and overhead cupboards to make the ensuite very practical.

ABOVE Up to five can utilise the C-shaped dinette // BELOW The linen press come storage features a handy sized washing machine

ABOVE Pigeon-holes on either side of the bed are great for phones, books and the like

VERDICT
The Castle offers a solid, practical layout that will allow touring families to be comfortable away from home. The good-looking interior will appeal to many buyers, and there’s enough room on the bottom bunk bed for kids to relax and leave the other two set-up for sleeping, and having a window keeps the interior light and airy. The specification for the van’s price means it should be on your shortlist if you're in the market for a family-size caravan.

PROS
• Comfort spec level
• Quality control
• Family van

CONS
• Potential dust ingress in the shower

SPECS
Body length: 6.7m (22ft)
Body width: 2.4m (7ft, 9in)
Tare weight: 2446kg
ATM: 3200kg
Price as tested: $72,662 ex Melbourne
More info: crusadercaravans.com.au

WORDS AND IMAGES ANTHONY KILNER

REVIEW Crusader Family Castle

Family vans are hugely popular right now and thoughtfully-specced variants turn heads. Enter Crusader’s Family Castle, a well-appointed 22-foot caravan designed for fun touring. And it carries a sub-$73,000 price tag.

Crusader has clearly set out to cater for multiple scenarios with this van: Mum and dad and up to three kids; also a touring couple, likely grandparents, who want to have enough space for their grand kids to stay. There are also designs to suit a home office layout or space to haul toys.

The family range comprises: The Bunkie (19ft); the Palace (20ft); and the Castle which is the longest at 22ft. The two smaller vans require a tow vehicle with a 2500kg-plus rating, while the Castle needs a vehicle rated to at least 3200kg.

HOW’S THE SERENITY!

Crusader’s Family Castle

This 22-foot van could be a perfect fit for parents or grandparents to holiday with the kids

“A solid, practical layout will allow touring families to be comfortable”

The A-frame supports twin 9kg gas bottles, tap, an AL-KO jockey wheel and a 50mm ball coupling. It is basic and functional.

Features around the body include a 17-foot Dometic awning, Bargmen door handle with light, alloy drop step, picnic table, entertainment box, twin exterior speakers, full-width tunnel boot that houses the tools for the awning and drop down jacks, Breaksafe unit, 105A/hr battery and a Meanwell three-stage, battery charger.

The body is functional and neat and set up for comfortable blacktop touring. Crusader also offers a range of upgrades, including an off-road suspension package to a self-contained camping package, and much more.

ABOVE An entertainment hatch is ideal for keeping kids entertained outside

OUTSIDE
Alupanel composite walls form the body while a black chequer-plate front, back and skirt sections create a neat contrasting look. The composite, one-piece fibreglass roof runs from front to rear, book-ended with chequer-plate.

The roof is fitted with Ranger hatches, an Ibis Air Command AC unit, Dometic antenna plus a 160W solar panel to keep the battery topped up when parked.

A six-inch Supagal chassis underpins The Castle. Coupled to that is an eight-leaf eye-to-eye suspension system, twin 1600kg-rated axles and 10-inch electric brakes. Devil black and chrome alloy rims are shod with 235/75R15 LT tyres. Slung underneath are twin 95-litre water tanks, drop-down stabilising legs and some neat plumbing.

BELOW An eye to eye suspension system is used on the family Castle

“There’s enough room on the bottom bunk bed for kids to relax and having a window allows them plenty of light”

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Towards the rear of the van is a Dometic 190-litre, three-way, two-door fridge with some storage above and below, before a sliding door sections off the kids’ space and ensuite.

A set of three bunks are on the driver’s side and are 6ft 2in long and 2ft 4in wide with low-profile inner-spring mattresses that offer plenty of room for a kid and some gear. Each bunk has its own window and light with the steps built into the unit. Across the back of the van between the bunks and the ensuite opposite is a brilliant storage space for clothes and linen and on the floor is an NCe washing machine, which is handy – especially with kids.

The ensuite is divided into two spaces, a Dometic swivel toilet on the left side, a vanity and mirror in the mid-way space and a fibreglass shower on the right, and is a very practical size. The shower features a wide-grill drain, but I wonder whether this could be sealed off for dirt road travel in the way a normal drain hole plug works. There are hatches, lights, power points and overhead cupboards to make the ensuite very practical.

ABOVE A small kitchen is practical for the size of van

INSIDE
Access to the van is via a Dometic Crimsafe security centre door. Once inside, a queen-size bed (with inner-spring mattress) adjoins the front wall. This part of the van is light and airy and there are plenty of storage spaces in the wardrobes on either side as well as units above and below the bed. Two pigeon-holes for phones, books and similar items, fitted with 12- and 240-volt power points, sit under the main wardrobe sections and are accessible from the bed. An LED TV is located off the passenger side wall in the bedroom and can be swivelled to be watched easily from the dinette.

On the passenger-side wall in the middle of the van is the kitchen space and while not huge it is practical and functional with plenty of drawers, a slide-out pantry, deep sink with flick mixer and hot water provided by a Swift gas/elec system. A Finch rangehood sits above a recessed Dometic fan-forced full-size oven. There’s more storage in the overhead cupboards, and a Swift microwave rounds out the cooking and storage set-up.

Opposite the kitchen is a neat C-shaped Leatherette dinette that will seat up to two adults and three smaller kids. There’s storage under the seats as well as in overhead cupboards. In one overhead cupboard, the electrical section includes an NCe radio/entertainment unit, Dometic solar control, BP-400 battery protector, fuses, switchboard and a water level gauge.

ABOVE Up to five can utilise the C-shaped dinette // BELOW The linen press come storage features a handy sized washing machine

ABOVE Pigeon-holes on either side of the bed are great for phones, books and the like

VERDICT
The Castle offers a solid, practical layout that will allow touring families to be comfortable away from home. The good-looking interior will appeal to many buyers, and there’s enough room on the bottom bunk bed for kids to relax and leave the other two set-up for sleeping, and having a window keeps the interior light and airy. The specification for the van’s price means it should be on your shortlist if you're in the market for a family-size caravan.

PROS
• Comfort spec level
• Quality control
• Family van

CONS
• Potential dust ingress in the shower

SPECS
Body length: 6.7m (22ft)
Body width: 2.4m (7ft, 9in)
Tare weight: 2446kg
ATM: 3200kg
Price as tested: $72,662 ex Melbourne
More info: crusadercaravans.com.au