A large selection of Dethleffs caravans are offered for sale in New Zealand by Brent Thurlow, proprietor of Central RV, the New Zealand agent for Dethleffs caravans. This includes nine models from Dethleffs’ Nomad range, from the 5700mm body-length 470 FR through to the 7350mm long 650 RQT.
The 560 FR being reviewed is 600mm shorter at 6750mm body length. All models in this length or shorter are single axle caravans making them easy to manoeuvre, especially when reversing or when moving the caravan by hand.
The side entry door is on the driver’s side. To the left at the rear of the caravan is a large U-shaped lounge. Amidships is a galley kitchen, also large. At the front kerbside is a large corner bed with a shower/toilet compartment alongside.
The vanity and basin are tucked into a corner opposite the washroom door. There is an alternative washroom layout available that has a separate shower for those that want to use the shower regularly, both bathroom layouts occupy the same floor space.
In New Zealand, Dethleffs caravans upwards of 6750mm long are wider than their shorter siblings. At 2500mm, the maximum width permitted, they are around 100-200mm wider than most caravans on New Zealand roads.
Once inside, you soon sense the extra space it provides and although it’s not a lot, that extra width means you can sit in the lounge without knocking knees with the person opposite.
Less obvious but equally important is the overall weight of the caravan and the payload it offers. The Nomad 560 FR (GVW 2000kgs) is built on AL-KO’s Euro Delta single axle with a chassis, suspension, wheels and tyres to match.
The chassis is the AL-KO premium heavy duty upgraded model with additional cross braces and outriggers for good measure, along with high load alloy wheels, Octagon shock absorbers, and light commercial vehicle tyres.
It all adds up to a payload capacity of over 400Kgs. And, being fitted with AL-KO’s AKS3004 anti-sway hitch and ATC trailer control, the Nomad 560 FR is an extremely safe towing proposition.
First impression of the Nomad 560 FR is of understated elegance. The side windows angle backwards to match the rake of the front panel creating a sense of motion; the roof rails on each side add a sense of robustness while the wide, dark grey stripe around the body adds gravitas. This is a very good-looking caravan.
Up front, there is a flat durable cover over the A-frame sturdy enough to stand on. At each corner are robust handles for manhandling the caravan into position as well as corner jacks to steady the caravan when unhitched from the tow wagon.
For barbecue convenience, an external gas point is fitted at the front on the awning side of the ‘van. Another nice touch is having the boot lid lift open vertically rather the usual top-hinged awning style arrangement. And there are handy external hatches to access storage under the bed and under the lounge settee.
Like most caravans, you need a set of steps to enter gracefully. To the right is a cupboard deep enough to store shoes, while on the left is a hatch accessing space under the settee. On the wall above is a TV swinging extension arm that allows the TV to be seen from almost anywhere in the ‘van.
This is where the extra ‘van width comes into its own. Whether entertaining or just enjoying quiet time on your own there’s room to stretch out and enjoy yourself. Each side and across the rear are large windows so you can keep an eye on things. As well as being double-glazed, each window has blinds, insect screens, and mesh curtains should you want privacy.
Also each side and across the rear are eight large overhead lockers with a shelf underneath that provide heaps of storage. Thank goodness for that large payload. Lighting is good, too, with a mix of ceiling lights plus both fixed and adjustable readers. The table lowers to form the bed base if the lounge is converted into a double bed.
Although it doesn’t seem like it at the moment, you will need a heater in the winter. This one is a Truma 6.8 kilowatt model. While it has the usual fan to move the heated air throughout the ‘van, it also has a ‘no power’ option. This allows it to circulate heat by convection, no 12volt/230volt needed at all. So if you are caught in the car park of the Chateau on Ruapehu by a blizzard with flat batteries and no mains power, you can still be warm as toast.
Inside the Nomad 560 FR is a blend of style and function. This one is anchored by mid grey and cream fabric upholstery. The cabinetry style has not changed significantly over the last ten years but it still looks right up to the minute.
The fit and finish of the mid-tone woodwork is excellent and it complements the upholstery palette beautifully. Both direct and indirect LED lighting allow you to adjust the lighting to suit your mood.
Get your gourmet on
The kitchen bench opposite the entry door is separated from the lounge by a cabinet housing a large, very useful multi-shelved pantry.
The bench top on this cabinet and its accompanying shelf stand provide lots of useful space for meal preparation and serving, which is fortunate because the sink and three-hob LPG cooker occupy most of the kitchen bench top.
The drawer arrangement below is unusual but practical; a near full-width drawer top and bottom with a half-width drawer alongside the oven in the middle.
To the right is a full height bottle cupboard. Add in three large overhead lockers and you have ample kitchen storage. The tall and narrow Thetford 142litre Thetford AES fridge freezer is cabinet-mounted opposite the kitchen bench.
Time to hit the hay
A track-mounted concertina curtain offers privacy from the rest of the ‘van. Set in the corner, the bed, at 2000mm long by 1600mm wide, will suit larger folk. An EvoPoreHRC foam mattress sitting on a sprung slat base provides anatomically correct support. Behind the bedhead is a shelf, so you may need an extra pillow or two for support should you wish to sit up in bed to read.
Again, bedroom storage is excellent with five overhead lockers, a hanging locker beside the fridge and all the space under the bed.
As mentioned above, the Nomad 560 FR has two washroom layouts. The model under review has the vanity and washroom separated. The other layout has the vanity in the washroom, but with a separate shower. Some like having the vanity available when the toilet/shower is occupied; for others lack of vanity privacy is a no-no.
Practically, the separate vanity works well. The basin, mirror and medicine cabinet and lights are adequate in size and well positioned. The shower/toilet compartment also works well – it is compact but adequate.
However, the shower curtain is needed to keep the toilet dry. The ceiling hatch and opening window provide excellent ventilation. I liked the twin plugholes in the shower tray.
The Dethleffs Nomad 560 FR is a robust caravan, built to do the job at hand; to take the owner’s family and possessions down any road in the country and home again safe and sound.
Dethleffs caravans include a factory supported two-year general and a six-year water ingress warranty. There are several service agents throughout New Zealand. The Dethleffs Nomad 560 FR as reviewed retails for $84,900 including GST.
For further information contact Central RV on (07) 378 0620, or visit centralrv.co.nz
Dethleffs Nomad 560 FR Specifications
|Caravan make and model||Dethleffs Nomad 560 FR|
|Tanks. Fresh/Grey water||From 80L fresh 90L grey to 170/145 litres|
|LPG||2 x 9kgs (one supplied)|
|Payload||480kgs (depending on options chosen)|
|Tow ball weight||85kgs (depends on options and loading)|