The latest Jayco Conquest motorhome is sleek and unfussy – both inside and out – but the options for base vehicles and internal configurations read like a banquet menu… and then the real surprises begin, writes Peta Stavelli
I’ve talked about first impressions before – and I’ve listed some of them above, right off the top of my head as I sit down to write about the Jayco Conquest I viewed recently.
On the outside, it’s pared back. Understated. As you begin your walk around, you start to think: this is a classy lady. The steel chrome wheels are the first thing to jump out. They are eye-catching and smart, and they give off the solid, hard-working vibe you’d expect from a Jayco Motorhome.
The inspo for IVECO
Everything is as expected until you reach the front of the vehicle with its IVECO branding. This stopped me in my tracks. “Why IVECO?” I asked the team.
Let me assure you, there’s nothing wrong with IVECO. They’re a well-known Italian truck brand born from amalgamation in 1975. The name IVECO is an acronym for Industrial Vehicles Corporation.
The company was created to build industrial vehicles, bringing together five well-known brands sitting under the Fiat Group label. In 1978, they rolled out the first IVECO Daily Model and, as this vehicle will attest, that tradition continues.
If you prefer a Fiat as the base vehicle for your Jayco Conquest motorhome, you can choose that, too, or a Mercedes Sprinter or a Renault, if any of those appeal more.
Like I said earlier, sitting with the multiple options for creating your own home from home is a bit of a banquet. But there’s a good reason to choose the IVECO as your base because that option keeps the vehicle’s tare down sufficiently for this substantial vehicle to be driven on a car licence. So why would you not?
Inside the vehicle continues the pared-back look announced by the exterior. I like this paint-your-own-canvas approach. Once inside, I was in for yet another surprise.
In the toilet cubicle is a wall-mounted Camec washing machine, which is the most surprising space-age design I’ve seen.
I dubbed it ‘the eye in the sky’. It’s fabulous. It was completely unexpected – a welcome addition to the chattels, and one which made perfect sense. I liked the set-up of this toilet with hand basin and aforesaid washer and the generous standalone shower cubicle opposite.
The rear bedroom is adjacent, and it’s a warm, welcoming space with plenty of light and storage – everything you’d expect from a room for two. It’s a nice adult space, which can be partitioned off if one or the other is a night owl. The bed has an innerspring mattress sitting atop orthopaedic slats, and the whole bed lifts on struts to provide access to plenty more storage.
We reviewers do bang on about storage, but it’s essential to any well-designed small space, and if you’re on the road for any length of time, you might struggle to get enough of it.
Hidden in plain sight
This discussion about storage options segues nicely into the next unexpected feature, which tickled me pink: let’s call it ‘The Luton Locker’, which gives it an air of mystery.
Double cupboards above the cab hint at what’s on offer here, but I still wasn’t expecting the depth of storage space. I can imagine long-termers storing winter woollies and extra bedding here during their summer months on the road.
Frankly, the space is large enough to lift a couple of the lighter grandchildren up there to sleep – with the doors wide open, of course. I reckon they’d love it.
This ‘Luton Locker’ is a bonus in my opinion. It just adds to my overall impression of this being a practical, hard-working, and well-designed vehicle for an active travelling twosome.
But wait, there’s more. Across the rear of the vehicle is a deep and wide storage locker that marks something of a departure for Jayco vehicles, which mostly have a rear bathroom. This layout allows for the serious traveller to take along all their favourite toys, be they skis, snowboards, kiteboards, or surfboards.
I love the matte finish in the kitchen and the surprising shape and (again) the number of different storage options it contains, from deep pot drawers on easy-glide slides to the narrow and tall pull-out pantry and the overhead lockers opposite.
It’s a great set-up: again, practical and hard-working, with all the bells and whistles you could possibly want. The four-burner stove-top with oven grill is compact; the sink is deep and wide. There’s a tall fridge-freezer, an extractor fan, an AC unit, and a microwave.
The L-shaped seating is comfortable and accommodating. The tabletop swivels and could also be used for preparation. But, if I had one complaint, it was that I would have liked this tabletop to feel more substantial.
I wonder if the fact that it’s not deployed as the base of a sofa-bed conversion led the designers to opt for lighter materials here. Although, I also understand the need to keep weight down anywhere it can be reduced, so conversely that decision makes sense.
Standard and extra
Ultimately, you, the buyer, will get to choose the base-vehicle interior layout and design details, and you’ll be spoiled for choice with the many options provided by the manufacturer.
In no particular order, these are some of the standard features as they appealed to me: built-in rear-view camera; (strong) aluminium corner construction under lounge seating; and fully insulated hail-proof fibreglass exterior panels and roof.
I also liked the passenger vehicle licence requirement; the tare of 3900kg with a tow-ball weight of 350kg means you can still take your small car along for the ride on a long haul. Noted is the eight-speed gearbox and four-cylinder turbo engine with a high performance (132kW power with 430Nm torque) engine and the rear-wheel drive, which is a valuable asset in sticky conditions. To throw in just a few more from the long list of standard inclusions: a 200-watt roof-mounted solar panel and a 12-volt Smart TV with a built-in DVD player.
Outback and out the back
The Jayco brand is built in Australia for Australian conditions, which includes, of course, the rugged RV runs of the outback. But that doesn’t mean Kiwis miss out on Jayco’s extensive customer support.
I’ve been in Jayco’s impressive Auckland showroom before, but this recent visit was the first time I had the opportunity to see the size and scale of the operation out the back.
The workshop facilities are vast, and I took great comfort from knowing that the busy (helpful and courteous) team is on hand to help as needed with upgrades and repairs.
I’ve tried to name as many of the features of this vehicle designed for two travellers as I could fit into in the space allowed, but I will say in summary that it impressed as the ideal practical motorhome for a single sporty person who loves their outdoor pursuits, or perfect for a couple embarking on a comprehensive roadie who want a fold-up boat, outboard motor, or what have you tied down in the rear locker.
If either of those descriptions sounds like you, give the Jayco team a call and arrange a test drive.
|Make and model
|Jayco Conquest IV.26-1.CQ-MY23
|IVECO Daily 50c
|Unladen mass (tare)