Avida has introduced a touch of German automotive engineering to its fleet of C class motorhomes. The Silverton, released in February this year, is a four-berth C class motorhome and the only rig in its motorhome line-up currently underpinned by the Mercedes Benz Sprinter.
Developed specifically for the cab-chassis motorhome market, the front-wheel-drive Sprinter 418 can be driven on a standard car licence, thanks to its 4200kg Gross Vehicle Mass, offering the in-cab comforts and touch-screen wizardry you’d expect from the Mercedes Sprinter.
In terms of length, the Silverton sits between Avida’s Iveco Daily-based Ceduna and Fiat Ducato-based Birdsville. Like its stablemates, the Silverton is also available in B class format, which essentially swaps the bed in the Luton peak for an over-cab storage space.
I didn’t have the opportunity to camp in the Avida Silverton; however, I spent quite some time driving it on the open highway and climbing over and under it. These are my impressions…
The Sprinter offers a typically comfortable, car-like driving experience, as expected. Though our test unit was unladen, the 2.1L turbodiesel engine, which is capable of 130kW/400Nm, effortlessly kept pace with traffic and was quick off the mark at the lights.
The usual squeaks and rattles from the living quarters were mostly noticeable when driving on less-than-smooth bitumen and secondary roads, but the rear leafspring suspension and independent front setup actually provided quite a smooth ride.
The Silverton offers four passenger positions, each with seatbelt: two in the cab, and two on a bench seat in the back. Swivel the cab chairs around and you’ve got a dinette, with table. The setup works well; however, I noticed it was difficult to fully close the dinette’s block-out window blind: it wanted to bind on the two-person seat. It was still possible to close it, but it was awkward.
Across the nearside, the Silverton is equipped with a four-burner cooktop and griller, loads of general storage space, sink, etc. I liked that the main drawer had been designed with a special ‘recess’ within so that it wraps around the sink plumbing – it seems an effective use of space.
I also particularly liked the hinged bench extension that can fold across the entrance. This extension piece otherwise sits vertically, out of the way. It’s not a new idea but it is done well in the Silverton.
Bench space throughout is generous, with the kitchen bench extending all the way into the bedroom. Speaking of which, the main bed sits within an offside slide-out that opens at the push of a button above the entryway.
With USB points, shelves, LED lighting, overhead cabinetry and even a large smart TV mounted to the offside wall at the foot of the bed, it is truly a comfortable area. The slide-out even contains a slimline Thetford 141L fridge.
Across the rear of the Silverton is a large bathroom, incorporating a fibreglass shower complete with recesses for soap and shampoo, etc., a cassette toilet, and a vanity with room for a washing machine under the bench. There’s a large mirror and a few other convenient inclusions.
Finally, being a C class unit, the Silverton comes with a double bed in the Luton peak. The foam mattress is certainly comfortable, and I appreciated the inclusion of a cargo net, which presumably is provided primarily if the Luton peak is used as a storage area; however, it would double as a safety barrier for any kids sleeping up there.
I was a bit uncertain about the aluminium ladder provided by Avida. It did the job and held my weight. But, frankly, it felt somewhat wobbly.
Generally speaking, it is difficult to fault the internal fit and finish of the Avida Silverton. Although there were a few fairly minor details that bothered me, the company’s decades of experience is evident in the joinery and cohesive design.
STEPPING OUTSIDE THE AVIDA SILVERTON
Outside, there are a number of items to point out. A full-length awning comes as standard, as do two 4kg gas cylinders found in a dedicated locker on the nearside.
There is one storage bin on the nearside and two on the offside, both of which are easily accessible when the slide-out is open. Special catches are provided to keep the lids of each bin open while you rummage inside.
At least one external speaker would be appreciated, and perhaps a fold-down picnic table and 12V point, but these were not provided on our review model, though they are offered as an option.
As standard, the Avida Silverton comes with a 100Ah deep-cycle house battery (no solar), a 100L fresh water tank and a 100L grey water tank.
The motorhome is constructed using Avida’s own insulated, light-weight sandwich panels and includes underfloor protection. While the external finish is very good, I did experience a problem with the hook that holds the door open. I forgot to unhook the door and, as I attempted to close it, the rivets that secure the hook’s base plate popped right out of the door. I think this needs addressing. Further, the door opens onto the forward awning leg, so it is impossible to open it all the way.
As mentioned the Avida Silverton is available in both C class and B class format. Which one is right for you depends on your travelling needs; however, it is worth pointing out that the B class unit is 170mm less in overall height. This mightn’t sound like a lot, but when it comes to navigating van parks with overhanging branches, not to mention driving under low bridges, that 170mm could make all the difference.
The Avida Silverton combines the class and sheer drivability of the Mercedes Benz Sprinter with the solid and dependable motorhome construction of Avida.
With a logical layout, a wide range of features – including a reverse-cycle air-conditioner – and a mostly refined fit and finish, it is a motorhome that should do you proud as you tour the highways and byways of Australia.
FIT AND FINISH –
HITS & MISSES
External body length: 7.14m
External body width: 2.32m
Travel height: 3.32m
Base vehicle: Mercedes Benz Sprinter 418
Licence type: Standard car
Engine: 2.3L four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Driven wheels: Front
Braking: Front and rear disc
Fuel tank: 92L
Solar: No (optional)
Shower: Yes – separate cubicle
Fresh water: 100L
Grey water: 100L
Black water: 17L
Cooking: Four-burner cooktop with griller
Refrigeration: 141L Thetford three-way
Lighting: 12V LED
Battery: 100Ah deep-cycle
Hot water: 14L Truma gas-electric
Air-conditioning: Dometic reverse-cycle
Washing machine: No (optional)
Silver fibreglass walls and roof
$166,800 (C class motorhome, with options listed above)
B class motorhome: $158,000 (drive-away, Vic)