Review: Nova Terra Sportz 19ft 6in

For 2020, the Nova Terra Sportz has been fitted with new equipment and even airbag suspension…


Nova Caravans has been building its dedicated offroad caravan, the Terra Sportz, since 2012. It’s fair to say that the Nova Terra Sportz of today, however, is more advance and streamlined that the offroader launched eight years ago.


The 2020 Nova Terra Sportz comes standard with G&S Chassis Control Rider Stage 4 airbag independent suspension, Nova’s Pro-Al walls, the new Dometic Dust Reduction System, and even disc brakes.

Nova Terra SportzYes, it’s a vastly different van to what Nova offered the offroad market in 2012. And by all appearances, it’s a cracker.


There are obvious aspects to the Nova Terra Sportz that would appeal to most caravanners; however, I mostly appreciated the evidence of continual improvement. This can be found in the fit and finish of the cabinetry, the overall build quality, and the internal aesthetic.

Nova Terra SportzLast year, Nova introduced a new design for the Terra Sportz’s soft-close drawers, in which some of them would ‘wrap around’ the sink’s plumbing and other obstacles, and this can be found in the 2020 model – a good thing, too, as it is a great idea.

The Nova Terra Sportz is available in a range of sizes and layouts, from a 15-footer (with ensuite!) to a 22ft 6in toy hauler. Our review van was the 19ft 6in rear-entry model, known as the 196-1R, with a layout comprised of a front bedroom, nearside kitchen, offside cafe-style dinette, and rear ensuite.

The bedroom gets good marks – it really is an elegant, comfortable space. Tall wardrobes and three overhead lockers frame the bed, with two multi-directional reading lights mounted either side. Stitched black padding fills out the space above the bedhead, and wardrobe niches either side provide a spot to place your book or reading glasses. These niches are also fitted with a 240V powerpoint each.

Nova Terra SportzI was pleasantly surprised to discover wireless charging points either side of the bed, too. These only work for new(ish) phones that support this function but for those that do, it’s just a matter of placing the phone on top of the circular charging point, and letting 21st century technology to the rest. There is also a USB point located within this charger.

Above the bed, Nova has fitted the new Dometic Dust Reduction System, a much more advanced way of keeping dust outside of the van than a traditional pressure hatch. Though I have not had the chance to thoroughly test this system for myself, by all accounts it works well.

On the bedroom’s nearside wall, Nova has fitted a swivel bracket to support the 28in smart TV – on of the many standard features of the Nova Terra Sportz. An RV WiFi system is also fitted as standard, allowing you to stream your favourite shows directly to the telly.

While the kitchen doesn’t have a large amount of bench space, the four-burner cooktop is recessed beneath the bench, with a hinged section of bench above – a common feature in vans that helps provide additional bench space.

Nova Terra SportzThe kitchen feels roomy nonetheless, and there really is a decent amount of storage space here, which is partially due to how the drawers fit so neatly around the obstacles behind them.

The dinette features a trifold table with a small cupboard underneath complete with 240V and 12V powerpoints, allowing you to recharge your devices while you peruse them from the leather-upholstered seats. These seats, by the way, include snap-up footrests, so you can put your feet up while you read.

A 190L Waeco compressor fridge fills the space between the dinette and ensuite and, honestly, the fitout is first-rate. A microwave is recessed into the cabinetry above the fridge and this, too, is very neatly done.

Nova Terra SportzWhile the bathroom isn’t the largest I’ve seen, it is nicely finished off and, considering the limited room here, Nova has managed to include large drawers beneath the washbasin and a top-loading washing machine beneath the bench in the offside corner.

A cassette toilet is on the offside – space is a bit tight here – and a fully-moulded fibreglass shower cubicle is on the nearside. Honestly, the bathroom is hard to fault.

Naturally, Nova has included a range of other features and fittings, from a reverse-cycle air-conditioner to a double-DIN stereo. Sometimes, though, it’s the things you don’t see that are most impressive. I’m referring to the fact that all cabling is run strategically inside the van, behind the cupboards but still accessible, rather than inside the walls. This means that should you ever need to get to a 12V wire, you can do so.


The Pro-Al walls are, essentially, a once-piece aluminium sandwich panel construction incorporating high-density structural foam, which should provide excellent insulation properties. In any event, the white sides, gunmetal grey front and rear, and protective waist of black checkerplate, look great.

Nova Terra SportzA few things to point out: the air-compressor for the independent airbag suspension is mounted to the nearside chassis rail, behind some checkerplate, with the ‘up-down’ controls inside a locker above, along with a TV mounting point and associated connections.

For this van, Nova had fitted two 100Ah lithium batteries to the offside chassis rail behind checkerplate – a generous setup that includes two 160W solar panels and a DC-DC charger. Just in front of the offside wall, also mounted to the chassis rail behind checkerplate, you’ll find the actuator for the van’s disc brakes. 

Nova Terra SportzNow, disc brakes for caravans are not particularly common; however, it’s fair to say that they do a terrific job at pulling up the van. This is a real benefit to the Terra Sportz over some of its competitors, in my opinion.

Nova Terra SportzAn LED floodlight has been fitted to the front and rear of the Terra Sportz, too, while a storage box fabricated from black checkerplate is mounted to the drawbar. A compartment accessible from the top is home to dual 9kg gas cylinders, and a slide-out tray is fitted on the offside of the storage box that would be suitable for a small generator or portable fridge. A 20L jerry can holder is fitted either side of the storage box, too.

Underneath, the Terra Sportz appears to be well-protected. For example, the van gets two 95L fresh-water tanks (one forward and one aft of the axle) as well as a 110L grey water tank. Each tank is properly protected by checkerplate, and even the dump pipe for the grey water tank is protected – which gets a big ‘thumbs up’ from me.

Nova Terra SportzThe A-frame water tap is protected, too; however, the nearside gas bayonet to accommodate a barbecue, and the offside mains water inlet look a bit exposed.


This particular Nova Terra Sportz will require a substantial 4WD, given its Tare of 2765kg and ATM of 3365kg. This, of course, provides a payload capacity of 600kg. Even after both water tanks and gas cylinders have been filled, there’s still close to 400kg to account for your gear – which for a van such as this, should be plenty.

Nova Terra SportzI see this van as being highly refined and sorted. There’s very little to complain about – Nova’s many years of manufacturing are on display in this rig.


FIT AND FINISH – 4.5 out of 5 stars

LAYOUT – 4 out of 5 stars

INNOVATION – 4 out of 5 stars


  • Excellent 12V and water storage systems
  • The general fitout is of a high standard
  • Inclusion of disc brakes, Dometic Dust Reduction System and airbag suspension
  • The silicone finish to some of the under-cupboard plumbing is a bit unsightly
  • Gas bayonet and town water inlet unprotected


Overall length: 8.34m

External body length: 6.46m

External width: 2.48m

Internal height: 2m

Travel height: 2.95m

Tare: 2765kg

GTM: 3188kg

ATM: 3365kg

Unladen ball weight: 177kg

Group axle capacity: 3500kg

Cladding: Nova Pro-Al aluminium sandwich panels

Coupling: DO35 offroad pin coupling

Chassis: 6in galvanised box-section with 2in raiser

Suspension: G&S Chassis Control Rider Stage 4 airbag independent

Brakes: 12in electric

Wheels: 16in alloy

Fresh water: 2x95L

Grey water: 110L

Awning: Roll-out

Battery: 2x100Ah lithium batteries with power management system and DC-DC charger

Solar: 2x160W

Air-conditioner: Ibis 4 reverse-cycle

Gas: 2x9kg

Sway control: No

Cooking: Swift four-burner cooktop with and griller

Refrigeration: 190L compressor fridge-freezer (12V/240V only)

Microwave: Yes

Toilet: Cassette

Shower: Variable height, seperate cubicle

Washing machine: Top-loader

Lighting: 12V LED

Hot water: Truma gas/electric

$94,990 (plus on-road costs)