The Caria toyhauler goes back some years. If I’m not mistaken, Caria was one of the early names in the toyhauler business.
What’s a toyhauler? you might ask. It’s the colloquial term used to describe caravans that can be loaded up with all manner of heavy gear, such as ATVs and dirt bikes. Once only occupying a small portion of the RV market, toyhaulers seem to be gaining traction, so to speak, with more and more manufacturers turning their hands to these unique rigs.
Caria, however, has been a mainstay in this market, with Victorian dealership Canterbury Caravans taking a particular interest in the brand, having sold them now for about four years.
In fact, Canterbury Caravans has offered guidance to Caria in order to refine the models. For example, Caria vans previously were framed with steel, while nowadays they use aluminium – leading to a significant reduction in weight.
The feedback has also led to a more consistent offering. “Caria now also has three or four set models in the range – in the past they were custom-built and it would take a customer six or eight months to get their van,” Canterbury Caravans sales manager Ian Sadler said.
LATEST CARIA TOYHAULER
The Evora HF20 is one of the latest in the Caria toyhauler line-up. But, interestingly, it’s apparently appealing more to young families rather than the tradie/weekend-warrior set. Instead of loading the rear with dirt bikes, these families are using the space to haul push bikes and kayaks.
With a front east-west bed, an amidships kitchen and combo bathroom, and a ‘garage’ in the back that quickly converts into a lounge/dining area, the van in no way feels cramped. In fact, quite the opposite.
The two lounges (one either side) in the rear double as single beds for the kids, and I’m told you can have additional beds fitted above the lounges if yours is a larger family. When it’s time to load up the bulky gear, though, the beds fold effortlessly back against the walls to create the essential space, and the centre table is just as quick to remove.
Tie-down points are provided, naturally, and the rear gas-strut-assisted tailgate is easy to raise and lower. With the tailgate ramp lowered, the van becomes flooded with natural light – I could see myself perched on one of the lounges, red wine in hand, watching the sun set over a lake or behind a mountain range, or perhaps just watching the telly that’s mounted on a swingarm behind the kitchen’s overhead cabinetry. And if you’re concerned about mozzies, a rear flyscreen is available.
I was also struck by the amount of internal storage on offer inside this Caria toyhauler, from the generous wardrobe beside the front bed to the overhead lockers throughout – including in the garage – to the cupboard space in the kitchen. And then there’s the wardrobe behind the large fridge-freezer on the offside. There’s plenty of storage in the front bedroom, too. It all adds up to a user-friendly interior, that’s for sure. I reckon the kids would even make good use of the space beneath the lounges.
The kitchen is home to a four-burner cooktop and griller, with a microwave below, a sink with flick mixer tap, a pull-out pantry and more. It doesn’t have a great deal of bench space but, of course, you could put your chopping board on top of the glass lid of the cooktop when that’s not in use.
The bathroom is directly opposite the kitchen, between the large fridge and the bedroom wardrobe. It’s a fully moulded fibreglass cubicle with a Thetford cassette toilet and adjustable-height shower rose. No dramas here.
East-west beds are a space-saver, though they aren’t for everybody. In this van, the bed setup has allowed for a great deal of living space, not to mention the capacity to haul heavy equipment.
The marine plywood floor is covered in a heavy-duty vinyl, including in the rear section. I’m told that it’s robust enough to withstand the scrapes and knocks that it will inevitably be subjected to by loading and unloading kayaks, dirt bikes, etc.
Overall, it’s a light, bright interior (especially with the tailgate open) featuring the main modern conveniences – air-conditioner, stereo/CD/DVD player… and even a remote Bluetooth light switch.
OUTSIDE CARIA EVORA
The Caria Evora HF20 sports composite aluminium cladding over an aluminium frame. It rides on a SupaGal chassis, roller rocker suspension and 15in alloy wheels.
With its half-height black checkerplate up front, full-width front window, and checkerplate along the sides, it is undeniably an attention-grabbing caravan. Personally, I really like the angular front profile. However, I think the A-frame, where two 9kg gas cylinders and a couple of 20L jerry can holders are mounted, would benefit from a stoneguard.
Storage-wise, the Evora HF20 doesn’t do too badly on the outside. There’s a tunnel boot accessible from either side of the van, while just behind is another tunnel that can only be accessed from the nearside or by lifting the mattress inside the van. I’d prefer offside access, too, considering the 100Ah deep-cycle battery is deep inside this boot, along the offside wall.
The offside of this Caria toyhauler is relatively sparse, aside from the external shower, while the rear has a reversing camera and a couple of LED spotlights.
The dealer, Canterbury Caravans has added a number of features to this van, including a grey water tank, a 150W solar panel, the aforementioned rear flyscreen, and an additional skylight. Each, I reckon, will add significantly to the enjoyment factor.
Now, this Caria toyhauler is no lightweight. Well, the Tare weight is a reasonably low 2280kg but factor in the 920kg payload capacity and you’re looking at a heavy-duty 4WD for towing duties. The starting ball weight of 280kg will reduce as the rear of the van is loaded.
The more I looked at this van, however, the more I could see why it would appeal to young, adventure-seeking families. The Caria Evora HF20 has good looks, a practical purpose… and a certain X-factor.
FIT AND FINISH –
HITS & MISSES
Overall length: 8m
External cabin length: 6.6m
External cabin width: 2.44m
Travel height: 2.95m
Unladen ball weight: 280kg
Cladding/panelling: Composite aluminium
Coupling: Al-Ko 3.5t ball
Chassis: 4in SupaGal
Suspension: Roller rocker
Brakes: 10in electric
Wheels: 15in alloy with 235/75 tyres
Fresh water: 2x95L
Grey water: 110L
Awning: Dometic roll-out
Battery: 100Ah deep-cycle
Air-conditioner: Belaire 3200
Gas cylinders: 2x9kg
Sway control: No
Cooking: Thetford Minigrill MkIII four-burner cooktop with griller
Refrigeration: 185L three-way Thetford
Washing machine: No
Hot water: Gas-electric
Grey water tank
150W solar panel
Introductory price: $66,990
Usual price: $72,940