Review: Vista RV Crossover XL
We test and rate the Vista RV Crossover XL, a contender (Hybrid category) in Camper Trailer Australia's 2014 Camper Trailer of the Year awards.
VISTA RV CROSSOVER XL REVIEW
There has been a lot of very thorough engineering and even aircraft-grade materials used in the build of this hard-core offroad hybrid. If there was a Mercedes-Benz of hybrid campers — in the sense of solid core engineering and the use of quality materials — then this is it.
While camper trailer components are often shopped out to suppliers, much of the Crossover is made in-house at the Vista RV factory near Melbourne. Vista RV laser-cuts and powder-coats the metal work, fabricates the chassis and even makes its own water tanks. This allows the company to have more direct control over quality, and it shows.
Now the company has answered the call for a larger Crossover with this, the Crossover XL. While sharing much of the design and engineering with the original Crossover, the XL adds 330mm in length to the poly-glued ply-wall, fibreglass-skin camper structure, and gives more standing room and provides a bigger kitchen.
INTERIOR AND KITCHEN
Certainly, inside this latest version of the Crossover you don’t feel as if you’d get cabin fever any time soon.
Pull open the double-skin fibreglass door — fitted with twin latches to ensure a compressed lock seal — and you’re immediately presented with clever storage solutions. The door inner facing has a convenient three-tiered shelf unit with a kitchen towel roll holder beneath, made of laser-cut, folded and painted steel.
On entry to the cabin there are two wall-mounted magazine holders and the fire extinguisher. Inside, the gas strut-assisted top with vinyl skirt pivots up from about mid-way along the camper roof with an industrial, almost Meccano set-looking hinge.
The kitchen bench area houses a stainless steel sink with hand pump and an 80L upright fridge/freezer and plenty of storage space, including a neat open bottom shelf for shoes and the like.
STORAGE AND LAYOUT
Then on the vertical panel between the entry and fridge lies the comprehensive control switch bank, giving master control for lighting, fridge and water pump, plus a control panel for the solar charging facility. a single-DIN Pioneer audio sits in a convenient location on the opposite wall to the entry door, also the location of a hanging wardrobe and another convenient storage locker.
Then there’s the sleeping quarters: a queen-size bed with bed head and two reading lights. A full-length shelf ahead of the bed provides a neat storage spot for books and so on, while the large side windows, front window and skylight let in an abundance of light. The internal ceiling and wall lining is marine grade and mould-treated. The bed area converts to a dinette by simply folding the bed in half towards the front, re-arranging the cushions and lifting the gas-strut-assisted table top. Then you have comfortable seating for four, with the added bonus of storage lockers under the seats.
CONSTRUCTION AND FEATURES
On each side of the bed are solid tie-downs so that you can store gear on the bed securely when in transit.
On the left side of the camper’s exterior is the large external slide-out stainless-steel kitchen. The kitchen looks very simple but has some very clever features: the two-burner gas cooktop has a three-sided windbreak that can be switched around to give protection against prevailing winds and the sink recess houses a chopping board.
Then there’s the separate external hand pump housed in its own recess on the back left side of the trailer, to access the standard 87L-capacity water tank when you’re on the roadside. The nose cone offers shielded storage, plus houses the spare tyre and gas bottles and jerry cans. The two jerry can holders at the front corners are a clever finger interlocking design, which looks neat and offers better rigidity.
A solar panel is fixed to the rear of the body, and has a capacity of 105W, scoring the Crossover XL extra points for self-suffciency.
The galvanised, 150x50x3mm a-frame and chassis sit on an independent suspension that uses King Springs and Koni shocks and was developed in-house. The 16in steel rims house aL-Ko 10in electric brakes and should you want stability control on the Crossover the chassis is aL-Ko eSC compliant.
It is hard not to like the Crossover XL, for while it is a simple design, it has such depth that you’d feel confident touring with this camper anywhere you’re game to tow it.
To discover the Vista RV Crossover XL's final score, be sure to check out Camper Trailer Australia magazine #73. Why not subscribe today!
VISTA RV CROSSOVER XL RATING
DAVID COOK: Vista RV set out to reconfigure camper trailers with minimal canvas, and the popularity and acceptance of its design is reflected in its sales.
This is a step up from something like the Track Trailer Tvan, with a fantastic chassis and suspension package and a simple step-inside concept — like a caravan, but retaining the external kitchen and the camping lifestyle that comes with it.
The quality of engineering and workmanship is first class and the level of comforts impressive but all without that intrusive and restrictive bulk that comes with a caravan. I just love the Crossover XL.
JOHN WILLIS: This camper is bloody excellent. Certainly my top or an extended offroad sojourn. The quality is excellent, and the terrific ideas have been highly refined by 28 years’ experience.
I loved the Vista screen. other features were the patterned stainless, insulation in hot/cold areas, 1000W inverter/charger, USB inputs.
As for self-suffciency, what could you do better? Power is sensational, big inverter, National Luna fridge with individual thermostats, good size footprint, great water capacity and options, and then there’s the storage and kitchen...
The quality of finish is exceptional – magnificent presentation! The offroadability is also sensational. The overall length is good for the amount of gear and design, very strong construction with terrific suspension, replaceable axles, low centre of gravity, overall rugged but good looking (like me!)
This is an extremely well-specced camper. electrics are sensational, the kitchen’s a ripper, bed good, storage good, gas and power all terrific.
It is certainly a lot of money but it is a pinnacle of its class with plenty of high quality fittings, features and accessories.
MIKE PAVEY: An offroad-capable hybrid, with front jerry can and gas storage behind the stone shields. It’s better than most for offroadability, being relatively short and with a modest weight of 1220kg dry. It’s got capable suspension, a rugged chassis and hubs to match most vehicles. Most surfaces are finished to a high standard.
Super easy set-up and pack-up, internal gas strut table, self-closing internal cupboard doors; rear ensuite also has an easy set-up.
It’d have good resale value, being from an established and respected manufacturer — and it’s well priced.
PHIL LORD: For remote bush camping in expedition circumstances, for a couple, this is an ideal camper. The Crossover isn’t intended for glamping. If you insist on 10-minute hot showers every day, the Crossover won’t cut it — and it was never intended to.
It’s nimble, not too heavy and with dedicated, thoroughly engineered suspension, the Crossover is one of the best offroad vans you can get. This camper is almost bomb-proof: it has a very solid, well thought-out design and is beautifully built.
Perhaps it’s a little short on interior space. The Vista is otherwise a simple, quick-to-set-up camper trailer. The Crossover is a vanguard for the camper trailer industry in australia for its thoroughly singular and exacting sense of purpose.
Call to enquire: (03) 9729 1234
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