Option RV is a quiet achiever in the Australian caravan manufacturing industry. The caravans produced in its Campbellfield, Vic, factory are well regarded, though it had been a number of years since I’d had one on the back of my 4WD.
When the Victorian government eased covid-19 restrictions enough to allow me a day on the road, I was out my front door and on the road to cast my eye over the latest version of Option RV’s Traction model.
The Traction is Option RV’s top-selling offroader in the model range, which also includes the Tornado, Distinction and Tribute Series. It is available in up to 15 different sizes and layouts, with a couple of bunk layouts available as well.
ONE-PIECE COMPOSITE ROOF
One of the newest features found on this latest Traction is a one-piece composite roof. It is an attractive caravan, without question, and it appears ready and willing to take whatever your travels could throw at it.
The foundations are strong. The Traction is built on a raised 4in G&S SupaGal chassis with 6in A-frame that extends back to the springs of the 3495kg-rated G&S Control Rider independent coil trailing arm suspension with twin shock absorbers. The 17in alloy wheels are fitted with all-terrain tyres.
The A-frame is well set-up. It comes with a DO35 fully-articulating offroad coupling, a mesh stoneguard protecting dual 9kg gas cylinders and a solid storage box fabricated from checkerplate. This box has storage compartments on either side, as well as a drawer – a point of difference between this and the many other similar boxes on the market.
To increase the van’s storage space, Option RV has also fitted a right-through tunnel boot system toward the front.
All the usual features are accounted for, too, such as a roll-out awning on the nearside, speakers, 240V and 12V powerpoints, and a rear-bumper to which an alloy spare is mounted. The external entertainment locker, with accompanying antenna and powerpoints, is a welcome inclusion, too.
Option RV has also fitted bug-repellant lights which, I’m told, work quite well; however, I’ve not had the opportunity to try them for myself.
The 12V system is very decent. The Traction comes as standard with a single 200Ah Enerdrive B-Tec lithium battery, which is mounted inside under the bed. An MPPT solar controller is standard fitment, too, as are the two 170W solar panels mounted to that one-piece composite roof.
Any offroad caravan such as this needs a reasonable water-carrying capacity, and the Traction does not disappoint. Two protected 95L water tanks are standard, fitted fore and aft of the suspension, and you can option in a grey water tank too.
Other external features include a gas bayonet allowing you to hook a portable barbecue to the van’s gas supply, a protected freshwater tap on the offside rail of the A-frame, a tri-lock entry door, a fold-down picnic table, and even an external generator boot.
Overall, it’s hard not to conclude that this is a sturdy, solid van with a well-appointed exterior. Let’s step inside…
INSIDE THE OPTION RV TRACTION
The interior finish, to me, was almost immaculate, and there’s a genuine sense of space that is not always apparent in vans of comparable length.
The layout is comprised of a forward bedroom with queen-size bed, an offside dinette with lounges upholstered in genuine leather, a nearside kitchen with a slightly angled benchtop, and a luxuriously-large bathroom in the rear.
The bedroom is as attractive as it is functional – I liked the woodgrain finish to the acrylic doors and fascias found throughout. The bedroom storage space seems reasonable, with three overhead lockers, a wardrobe either side, bedside table and draw, etc., and plenty of natural light is emitted through the Dometic double-glazed windows, not to mention the skylight.
As usual, the bed lifts on gas struts. The storage space here is compromised somewhat by the housing for the tunnel boot and the Enerdrive lithium battery – I’m not sure a 100W portable solar panel would fit here, for example. However, a folding table, camp chairs, etc., will.
I thought the kitchen was a real highlight of this Traction. From the kitchen bench that is set at a slight angle toward the rear, to the decent amount of storage space, adequate working space at the 35mm benchtop, to the overall quality of the fit and finish, Option RV has done a very good job here.
Likewise the bathroom. It is unquestionably larger than many bathrooms found on 20ft 6in caravans, and it doesn’t ‘feel’ as though the extra space here has compromised living space elsewhere in the van. It is separated from the rest of the living quarters by a sliding door and is equipped with a cassette toilet on the offside, a fully moulded shower cubicle on the nearside, and central vanity.
The vanity’s bench conceals a top-loading washing machine. Believe it or not, there is more bench space in this bathroom than you’d find in the kitchens of many caravans.
The extra depth of the bathroom has allowed Option RV to also fit two lockers above the toilet. A small downside is the fact that you can’t open the two corner lockers at the same time – one open door will block the other. It’s a small issue that you’d overlook in a heartbeat when you consider the storage space on offer.
The attention to detail throughout this Traction is clear. The under-sink exit points for the grey water pipes are neat and tidy, with only the thinnest bead of clear silicone used thanks to the neatness of the holes, rather than the mountains of black silastic found in the cupboards of most Aussie vans.
The apertures of all lockers are nicely edge-banded, too – there’s not a rough edge or splinter to be found, and the construction itself appears good and solid, as it should be for an offroader.
The expected features and comforts are all accounted for, too, including a reverse-cycle air-conditioner (Ibis 4), sound system (Fusion), microwave, a 190L Dometic 12V compressor fridge, and a 24in flatscreen TV.
From the decor to the quality of the fitout, I was impressed by the interior of the Option RV Traction.
The 20ft 6in Traction is quite a well-sorted caravan that should happily follow our 4WD into remote areas. Weighing 2520kg Tare, it offers a generous 975kg payload capacity, thanks to its ATM of 3495kg.
In the market for a mid-size tandem-axle offroad caravan? This one has plenty of Traction.
FIT AND FINISH –
HITS & MISSES
Overall length: 8.6m
External body length: 6.2m
External width: 2.45
Internal height: 1.97m
Travel height: 2.97m
Unladen ball weight: 200kg
Group axle capacity: 3495kg
Cladding: Aluminium composite with one-piece composite roof
Coupling: DO35 offroad pin coupling
Chassis: 4in G&S SupaGal with 6in drawbar
Suspension: G&S Control Rider independent coil with two shock absorbers per wheel
Brakes: 12in electric
Wheels: 17in alloy
Fresh water: 2x95L
Grey water: No – optional
Battery: 1x200Ah Enerdrive B-Tec lithium
Solar: 2x170W with MPPT controller
Air-conditioner: Ibis 4 reverse-cycle
Sway control: No
Cooking: Swift four-burner cooktop with and griller
Refrigeration: 190L Dometic 12V compressor fridge-freezer
Toilet: Thetford ceramic-bowl cassette
Shower: Variable height, seperate cubicle
Washing machine: Top-loader
Lighting: 12V LED
Hot water: Swift gas/electric