Established in Sydney more than 70 years ago, Millard Caravans is a well-known brand around Aussie campsites, with the Millard Toura being its most popular semi off-road model.
Millard’s main point of difference is that they are prepared to customise their caravans to customer requirements. The caravan under review is a good example. A New Zealand buyer wanted a Euro layout in an Australian-built caravan. The Toura 23 RD Club Lounge with shower had the basics in place, and with a few tweaks, the customer got exactly that.
Prior to the delivery, the caravan was displayed at the 2018 Auckland Covi Show and attracted two more orders. And it wasn’t just the buyers who were happy.
It also persuaded Auto Leisure and Marine’s (ALM) owner Andrew Fink that the Millard product had a place in the Kiwi market and a place in the ALM stable of RVs. He obtained the Millard master agency for New Zealand.
A no-nonsense approach
The Toura 23 is typically no-nonsense Australian in appearance, mounted on top of a hot-dip galvanised chassis, with just a hint of a skirt for modesty’s sake.
A 3.5-tonne rated Cruisemaster DO35 fully articulated hitch, featuring a simple drop-on attachment method, has replaced the familiar ball and cup hitch. Cruisemaster also supplies the trailing arm independent suspension fitted to the Toura 23. It is a ‘single arm’ design, providing a stiff, strong suspension platform featuring King Springs and 30mm gas charged dampers.
And AL-KO’s Electronic Stability Control system is fitted to help the driver keep control while evading trouble on the road. This caravan has been upgraded to 16-inch alloy wheels, including the spare mounted on the robust rear bumper.
Australian caravan manufacturers avoid putting locker doors in the front panel of an RV because they are prone to leaking dust and water. They prefer a tunnel locker with an access hatch on each side, as seen on the model reviewed.
Millard’s standard arrangement for LPG bottles is to mount them directly onto the A-frame. An option chosen on this caravan is to mount an external toolbox on the A-frame to house two 9kg LPG bottles as well as providing a dedicated locker for a generator.
Also, note that this unit has aluminium composite smooth panel exterior walls in place of the standard alloy plank siding exterior walls.
The sought-after Euro layout has a U-shaped Club Lounge at the back of the caravan, next to the kitchen, with a split bathroom between the kitchen and the bedroom at the front.
It is a welcoming lounge that seats half a dozen. Nicely shaped leather upholstered cushions have neatly detailed seam stitching. The dinette can be converted into a double bed for occasional overnight guests.
There is 1165mm between the kitchen benches and it creates a wonderful feeling of space in the entry, lounge, and kitchen. Lifting the seat cushions allows access to the storage space below the seats and there is a shoe locker beside entry steps.
The kitchen walls and ceiling are finished with a smooth laminate, white for the ceiling and mid-grey for the walls. The cabinetry is white with high gloss black doors and drawer fronts.
The colour scheme is the same through the rest of the caravan except the walls are white instead of grey. Black, white, and grey are not to everyone’s taste, but the interior comes to life once some bright colours, cushions, towels, and crockery are introduced.
The kitchen has two large bench tops, one on each side of the caravan. Kerbside is the main bench (1735x560mm) housing the stainless steel sink with draining tray and 3+1 hob.
Opposite is the second bench (1330x635mm) alongside the Dometic 190-litre two-door fridge/freezer. The hob has a hinged glass lid, and the sink/draining tray cover matches the benchtop laminate.
A Smev oven with a separate grill is mounted below the hobs. There is heaps of storage in the kitchen. Below the kerbside benchtop is a narrow pull-out pantry (which suits bottles), a large cupboard, and a set of three drawers. Below the benchtop and opposite are six more large drawers plus two lockers.
There are two more cupboards above the fridge/freezer and a locker below it. And if that’s not enough, there are six more large lockers above the benchtop. Also tucked into the corner above the bench is a radio/CD/MPS/USB player.
Kitchen ventilation should not be an issue. There is an ‘extraction fan’ style range-hood over the hobs, two large hatches in the ceiling, an opening window behind each benchtop, and the entry door next to the hobs.
In fact, ventilation throughout the caravan is very good with windows in the bedroom, bathroom, and lounge and ceiling hatches in the bedroom and bathroom areas.
A compact, user-friendly control panel is located above the entry door. It monitors the water tanks and both house and vehicle batteries. Beside it is a switchboard that houses switches and fuses for all the main 12-volt functions.
The bathroom area lies between the kitchen and the front bedroom. Two concertina doors, one on the kitchen side, the other on the bedroom side isolate the bathroom creating an en suite. This caravan does not have a toilet compartment door. It relies on these two concertina doors for privacy (a separate solid toilet door is available as an option).
A stylish handbasin sits on top of the vanity. Above is a big mirror and a locker while below are a couple more cupboards. General lighting levels are excellent and the strip lighting over the mirror switches between two levels of intensity.
A small opening window is set high on the wall and alongside is a twin towel rail. The toilet is tucked into the corner opposite the vanity. All in all, it is a neatly executed bathroom.
The shower is on the opposite side of the caravan with the shower walls and tray moulded seamlessly as a one-piece unit. It has an eco showerhead to conserve water. Above are a fan hatch and a light.
Here the focus is on the essentials. First, a large bed frame (2000x1600mm) fitted with a large comfortable inner sprung mattress. Second, places to put things. Each side of the bed, his’n’hers, are a hanging locker, a small lower locker with shelf on top, a reading light, a 230-volt double plug and a large opening window. There is an opening window above the bedhead so care is needed not to ruffle the blind when sitting up in bed.
A smoke detector is mounted on the ceiling alongside a radio speaker. Gas strut assistance makes it easy to get at the storage space under the bed. Note: a small part of the storage area is occupied by the gas heater.
Set for freedom camping
This Toura 23 is well set for freedom camping, equipped with a 5.5-metre Roller awning, two 150-watt solar panels on roof, a 95-litre grey water and two 95-litre fresh tanks, an external gas bayonet point for the BBQ, an external shower, and two house batteries.
The ALM philosophy
Andrew Fink has an interesting philosophy regarding assembling a product range. “The products in the range must ‘satisfy appetites’ of potential buyers,” he explains. “Adding Millard to ALM’s existing product range does just this.
“We sell our own product, the Allisee motorhome, built here in New Zealand. It is unique in having the largest slide-out of any New Zealand-built RV. Tabbert showcases what is best in traditional caravans out of the EU/UK. The rest of our range is Australian-built. Avida emphasises slide-outs, Jurgens are lightweight caravans, and Millard offer traditional
Australian caravans with a wonderful ‘point of difference’; they can be customised—move a door, make a room bigger, to the customer’s requirements at a reasonable cost.”
The Toura 23 presents as a well-thought-out caravan, with a well-engineered chassis and running gear. The bodywork and internal cabinetry show good attention to detail during assembly.
Overall, it appears to be a well-conceived, well-constructed caravan. Prices for the Toura 23 (RD Club Lounge/shower) start at $110,974 and the vehicle reviewed is $127,235.
Millard Toura 23 specifications
|Vehicle make and model||Millard Toura 23|
|Approx. overall length||8850mm|
|Approx. overall height||2800mm|
2 x 95L fresh
|Gas||2 x 9kg|
Millar Toura 23 price (as reviewed): $127,235 (incl. on-road costs)
- Being able to customise the caravan to get what you want
- Having the Cruisemaster hitch, the Cruisemaster suspension, and the AL-KO ESC together on the caravan chassis
- Space to move around in the kitchen/lounge area
- The solid door on the toilet option would be my choice
- Eliminate the front window so you can
- sit up in bed without displacing the window blind
For further information, call ALM on 07 850 551 or visit almgroup.co.nz .