Sean and his brothers Ashley and Chris at Trounce Caravans were very excited to be able to get their latest Crusader Inspiration out for a review. Sean tells me it’s their most popular model as it is fully loaded with standard features.
So, we couldn’t wait to see how it stacked up against a week’s worth of caravan reviews, and to put it simply, it was one of the leaders in the pack. Sean says that with the advent of the internet, it now sells to places all over the country.
The unit is made by Dreamhaven Caravans, which has been developing caravans for several years. The company is renowned for custom building to accommodate the customer’s needs in size and taste, and for excellence in after-sales service. The Crusader Inspiration is just one example of its huge line-up.
The Inspiration is very stylish on the outside and we were not disappointed when we got to the inside either. We towed the Inspiration with a Nissan Pathfinder and the two of them made a perfect couple. Neither put a strain on the other and they worked like a team. We took the Inspiration to Kyral Castle located in Ballarat. It’s a re-creation of a medieval castle and the staff are all in period costume. It’s well worth a look if you’re passing through.
The Inspiration is a shining example of modern Australian caravan design. The front and sides made a nice show on the road that any RV owner would be proud to call their own. The front padded stone guard blends in well with the chequerplate sides, plus the black and silver pinstriping and alloy wheels all come together to make a rather striking van.
I was quietly impressed by the number of features the Inspiration had, from the dual tunnel and front boots, to the sovereign BBQ that swivels to retract into a smaller cavity than normal. The picnic table, large rollout awning and tinted windows, plus both 12V and 240V power points, deepribbed alloy, all LED lights and the list goes on.
The heavy-duty SupaGal chassis with 4in raiser gave the van a nice clearance with plenty of strength without being a full off-road.
Chassis: G&S SupaGal chassis
Frame construction: Meranti frame
Windows: Camec Jupiter tinted acrylic
Corner jacks: Quick drop
Waste water common outlet: Yes
Water tanks: 2 x 91L
Water tank covers: Gal sheet
Coupling: Standard ball
Suspension: Heavy-duty seven-leaf load-sharing suspension
Clearance: 4in chassis raiser for extra clearance
Brakes: 4 x 10in electric brakes
Wheels: 14in CA2 mag wheels
Tyres: 195R14 light truck
Awning: A&E 8300
Boot(s): 18in gal front boot and tunnel boot
Stone guard: Vinyl pebble guard and side chequerplate
Gas cyclinder size/s: 2 x 9kg gas bottles
Hot water: 23L suburban gas/electric
Battery: 100Ah deep cycle
Battery charger: 20A electro smart charger
Solar panels: Optional
Solar provision: Yes
Entrance door: Camec tri-lock security door
Tap on A-frame: Yes
Extra features: Swift BBQ and picnic table
As we walked into the Inspiration, already impressed by the outside, we were greeted by a striking and inviting caravan. The colours are all perfectly coordinated in a modern collection of mid to dark browns. With leather lounge in dark brown, to deep brown high-gloss bench tops along with rosewood furniture and cream offset walls and curtains, the whole van was a picture.
The Inspiration is divided into three sections: bedroom, kitchen/lounge and the rear ensuite. Each area has a spacious and open-plan feel that is enhanced by the accent of light coming through the large windows and skylight hatches.
As I inspected the finish of the internal timberwork, I found it was mostly well sanded but a bit rough in places. The slots cut in the timber that act as a latch receiver were especially rough (Crusader now uses metal catches). They did, however, take the time to stain this timber to help maintain its finish. All the cupboard doors use piano hinges instead of the usual 1in bi-fold style. This gives the doors extra strength for those rough roads we encounter at times.
The kitchen is a cook’s paradise with plenty of bench space, a two-door fridge plus four burners and a grill. The Laminex splashback is full height giving plenty of protection when cooking. There is a water filter tap for the drinking water, and the TV can be viewed while preparing the meal (another way of saying the cook won’t get in the way of the sports). The table is a tri-fold table and stores neatly back when relaxing, but still stable enough to support the all-important coffee.
Fridge: Dometic RM7851 two-door threeway fridge/freezer
Television: 19in TCL internal and external 12V TV
Music system: Sony CD/radio/DVD player
Cooking equipment: Swift or Dometic full oven
Microwave: Daewoo 18L
Heating/cooling: Dometic low profile, reverse cycle
Rangehood: Swift 12V
Lighting: 12V fluoro plus halogens
Smoke alarms: Yes
Gas leakage detector: Optional
Cupboard finishes: Timber
Latches: Push buttons plus handles
Lounge configuration: Café, L-shape or swivel chairs
Seating capacity: 2–4 people
Upholstery: Bonded leather or fabric
Sink: Deep bowl round with sink cover
Sleeping configuration: Queen, double or singles
Berths: 2-4 berth
Bed size(s): 6ft 2in x 5ft
Under bed storage: Posture slat bed base with gas strut lift
Privacy screens: Optional
Bathroom configuration: Rear full ensuite
Privacy door: Timber sliding door
Toilet: Dometic China bowl
Toilet roll holder: No
Shower head: Flexible/sliding head water saver
Washing machine: Lemair 2.2 standard. Optional – Dometic front load
Towel racks: Yes
Value for money: 5/5
I can see why the Inspiration would be one of Trounce Caravans’s most popular models, as it is fully equipped at an amazing price. Other brands would be charging a lot more for the same features. The quality of the finish, appointment level and price tag all put the Inspiration on the musthave list.
The ensuite is well designed with a Lemair washing machine nicely tucked away behind a cupboard panel, plus a well-sized shower and plenty of space around the toilet. There is a linen press as well as overhead cupboards above the hand basin. Many people would love to have an ensuite at home as well equipped.
Make/model: Crusader Inspiration
Chassis number: DC1587
External body length: 6.55m (21ft 6in)
External width: 2.44m (8ft)
Vin Tare Weight: 2100kg
Ball weight: 230kg
NB: length and width are external measurements of the vehicle shell (and awning) only
Contact person: Sean Trounce
Company name: Trounce Caravans
Address: 9439 Western Highway, Ballarat VIC 3352
Phone: (03) 5334 8194
Fax: (03) 5334 7149
Manufacturer: Dreamhaven Caravans
Manufacturer's phone: (03) 9408 0166
Manufacturer's email: email@example.com
Manufacturer's website: www.crusadercaravans.com.au
Please Note: Pricing was correct at time of review