639 - 649 Springvale Road
Springvale South Vic 3172
Ph (03) 9546-9822 Fx (03) 9547-4803
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The tandem axles are set well back
making the Horizon stable to tow.
A full wall of cupboards means there's
no front window.
WITH an enviable reputation for producing quality customised caravans, Pedigree Caravans has just launched a new range of entry level units under the Horizon brand name.
Mind you, the term "entry level" is not to be taken as indicating anything lacks in quality or style. The new Horizon vans are far from basic, with well thought-out layouts, the same fine cabinetwork of the main Pedigree range, and features such as contoured button-down upholstery and a built-in microwave, items that some manufacturers still regard as extras.
Pedigree Caravans are avail-able exclusively through Caravan Court, the unique business run by Ken Hawkins and his sons, Michael and Steven, in Springvale South just out of Melbourne. The landscaped site has a large display of new and used vans and an extensive maintenance and repair centre, and it also boasts its own 50-site caravan park out the back.
Included in the selection of new Horizon models unveiled at the 1999 Melbourne Leisurefest, this 176-76 rear door pop-top attracted plenty of attention with its well-equipped kitchen, centre lounge and dining area and sumptuous front bedroom.
A light and airy interior is complemented by a huge bedroom,
and the double bed has easy access from either side.
The designation of 176-76 is trade talk, indicating a length of 17ft 6in and a width of 7ft 6in, but it's best to ignore it because it gives little idea of the true length of the rig. In common with a number of manufacturers, Pedigree measures its vans internally at "bed height", nominally 11 inches above the floor, which is where the body slopes in at each end.
The body of this one is l9ft long on the outside, pointy bit to pointy bit, and l8ft 2in on the inside, measured wall to wall at the more practical height of the bench tops. And that length has allowed the Pedigree designers to create a really spacious interior layout - including one of the best bedrooms I've seen in a long time.
Using half the floor space for the sleeping quarters, they have set a new standard for caravan bedrooms, creating a virtual boudoir on wheels.
Light, airy and spacious - and the best bedroom.
Dominating the impressive set-up is a floor - to - ceiling assembly taking up the entire front wall, and comprising two mirror - fronted wardrobes, a dressing table, five cupboards, seven drawers and two over-head lockers. There are three more lockers above the bed, plus a small dressing table beside it.
The double bed is sited across the van, with access from either side easy. With the tandem wheels set far enough back for the wheel boxes to be largely lost under the dinette and lounge seats, there is little intrusion into the bed-room and virtually unimpeded passage around the foot of the bed.
While the idea of devoting half the floor space to the sleeping quarters might suggest that the rest of the van would be cramped, this couldn't be further from the truth.
The lounge, dining and kitchen areas fit well in the rear of the van and the L-shape of the kitchen provides plenty of clear floor space for moving around.
The well-equipped kitchen has useable bench space.
The kitchen also benefits from an abundance of well-planned storage spots, with two double cupboards, a pot drawer, two drawers, a soap compartment and a slide-out pantry. A 90-litre three-way Electrolux 2310 fridge is set into the return of the bench and there is a microwave and two deep lockers at eye level.
A shelf to the left of the microwave is large enough to take a 34cm TV but, unfortunately, it can't be seen from the bed. In addition to the kitchen and bedroom storage, two lockers above the dinette and two over the lounge plus the under-seat spaces add up to an impressive inventory of baggage space. And there's also an external locker at the front.
The slide-out pantry
by the entry door
The L-shape of the kitchen provides plenty of free bench-top working space even with the stain-less steel sink and drainer and the Spinflo four-burner cooker and grill set into it. The sink is fitted with a pump-tap to lift water from the 13-gallon on-board tank plus a mains pressure tap for use when linked up to town supplies. There is no water heater in the standard specification.
The cabinetwork throughout the van is well finished with double drum flush ply doors set in moulded timber framing which matches the timber edging of the Laminex benchtops.
The lounge and dinette seats are upholstered in a Jacquard fabric with well-shaped seats. The dinette table has a small fold-out leg at one corner so that it can be used to convert the dinette to an occasional bed for the grandkids.
The interior is light and airy with five wind-out windows and four screened vents in the pop-top skirt. The Trimatic double door also has a full-length fly-screen inner, although it doesn't have a security screen on it.
At night, lighting is provided by three oyster lamps in the ceiling plus two reading lamps over the bed. The rangehood provides lighting over the kitchen bench.
Wiring to the van is 240-volt, the dual-volt ceiling lights drawing their 12-volt needs from the tow vehicle for the odd road-side stop.
Power for appliances can be drawn from a double and a single point in the kitchen or one of the singles on either side of the bed.
The meranti-framed body of the Pedigree Horizon is on a standard Duragal chassis with the under-slung A-frame extending back to the spring hangers. The suspension for the tandem Dunlop wheels is twin axles and leaf springs connected with load sharing rockers. The tyres are eight-ply light truck radials.
The easy-lift pop-top roof is insulated, but wall insulation is an extra, as is a stone guard for the under-body water tank. The 9kg gas bottle, fitted with a safety cut-out and regulator to comply with the latest gas regulations, is carried on the A-frame. The spare wheel is on the rear bumper.
Despite being offered as basic vans, and about all they lack is a hot water service, insulation in the walls and a water tank guard, the Pedigree Horizon vans have a quality feel, and their innovative layouts and keen pricing will make them attractive to many 'vanners.
The 176-76 has been planned and built so its tare weight is 1350kg, making it an easy towing proposition for larger sedans.