Winning ways with Winnebago

1274 Motorhome
1274 Motorhome

Reprinted with permission from ACP Media. (Motorhomes and Caravans)

Winnebago Motorhomes (the Australian company, not the US one) builds a large range of motorhomes – everything from a small Toyota Hilux-based ‘C’ class motorhome, to their 40ft ‘A’ class Classic.

The Nullarbor replaces the Explorer and Bundaleer range of motorhomes. It isn’t the only new motorhome coming out of the Winnebago factory either; the smaller ‘C’ and ‘B’ class Birdsville is also coming off the production line in numbers and is available in New Zealand.

Built on a US Kodiak chassis, the Nullarbor will be available in three lengths – 28ft, 32ft and 34ft (8.5m, 9.8m and 10.4m) and come with two engine options – either a GM Duramax 6.6-litre turbo diesel or a Vortec 8.2-litre V8 petrol engine, although only the diesel will be available on the 28ft chassis.

Common to all will be a five-speed automatic gearbox and differential. To meet Australian and New Zealand standards, and also have right hand drive, the Kodiak chassis are modified by a Brisbane-based company, World Class Special Vehicle Operations.

The engine is mounted at the front and its engineering is a combination of a lower solid rail for strength plus steel truss for both strength and light weight. For levelling when parked, there are hydraulic jacks back and front.

My review Nullarbor was the middle member of the family at 32ft and came with a 6.6-litre turbo diesel and two slide-outs, one on either side. External bin storage, as you might expect with any ‘A’ class motorhome, is plentiful.

Along the nearside are two large empty bins plus compartments for the two 9kg gas cylinders, electrics and inverter, house battery and Dometic vacu flush cassette. On the opposite side are two empty bins plus the Onan generator compartment.

Getting behind the wheel, the swivelling captain’s chair seats provide good comfort for both driver and passenger.

Those familiar with driving the old Explorer might recall that the steering was definitely on the vague side.

Having been for a spin in the Nullarbor, we can say that things have improved, however, if you are used to the more direct steering of European trucks, then piloting the Nullarbor will take a little getting used to.

In the power department, there’s no mucking around. The turbo diesel provides plenty of grunt and operates very smoothly. Driving vision is generally good with big windows, good external mirrors and a reversing camera which functions when reverse gear is selected.

The house department is certainly spacious. The entry door is behind the passenger door and directly opposite is a large slide-out that contains both day/night lounge and dinette.

Along the nearside wall is the kitchen bench and in the rear is a combo bathroom and bedroom area. The décor is more “Euro look” than American.

Even without the slide-outs open, the Nullabor is still quite a roomy motorhome (and it can be used that way for quick stops), but once opened with the click of two switches, both the living area and bedroom slide-outs add considerably more space.

With the combination of the two captain’s chairs swivelled around and the three person lounge, the living area has plenty of space. If a party arrives, then the dinette seats can be utilised as well.

Four people can sit reasonably comfortably at the dinette. Behind the rear seat is a magazine holder and above both dinette and lounge are overhead lockers. Winnebago put the TV on the shower cubicle wall behind the dinette, to be seen from the front dinette, lounge, and front cab seats.

Catering for most people should be adequately handled by the galley. It has a Caprice stove, Dometic 186-litre fridge, Sharp carousel microwave and twin stainless steel sinks, sans drainer. General storage is provided by four drawers, four overhead lockers, one cupboard and two pantries, one slide-out and one shelves. Most of the electrical controls and gauges are fitted on the bathroom wall beside the kitchen.

Further back in the Nullarbor, the shower cubicle is fitted on the passenger side and the toilet, with wash basin, is on the driver side.

In the bathroom, the Dometic vacu flush loo sits alongside a vanity cabinet with cupboards, storage space, downlights and a decent sized mirror. Ventilation is provided by a hopper window and ventilation hatch.

At the back, the east-west bed has its bed head in the slide-out. We note with interest that both side walls of the slide-out have small windows. More window area is provided on the rear and offside walls.

Overhead lockers run across the top of the bed head and there are two small bedside cabinets. At the foot of the bed on the nearside wall is a cabinet of wardrobes, cupboards, drawers, overhead lockers, and small dressing table.

Creature comforts are handled by the ducted Coleman Mack air conditioning system and the Webasto ducted heater. If not connected to mains power, then the 5kva Onan generator will handle all the electrical load but for light duty (and silent) power use, the 2kW inverter will suffice. In addition to the 240V battery charger, two 80W solar panels will keep the four house batteries topped up.

For the long term traveller there’s no doubt that the Nullarbor offers quite a few home comforts, not the least of which is a spacious interior. It’s good to see that Winnebago have put some time and effort into their new range.