In this age of the slide-out, the space provided is a major attraction…
by Malcolm Street
Avida’s Birdsville model has been around for a few years now and like much of its range, Avida tends to work on upgrades and refinements rather than creating entirely new models. In the case of the current Birdsville there are two layouts; one with a slide-out and the other without, and both available as B or C-class. The major difference between the slide-out and non-slide-out versions is the former has an east-west island bed while the latter has only single beds. For this review I opted for the slide-out version of the C-class, supplied by my good friends at Australian Motor Homes.
Nuts and Bolts
Underpinning the Birdsville is a Fiat Ducato X295 cab-chassis. Being a Multijet 180 model it comes with the powerful 3.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel producing 132 kW and 400 Nm, driving through a 6-speed automated manual transmission (AMT).
The Luton peak, which houses the over-cab bed and denotes the motorhome as a C-class, isn’t usually the subject of much discussion. Some manufacturers seem to do a better job of making it look like part of the body rather than an afterthought stuck on the front of the motorhome, and Avida has done a good job of integrating it.
Body construction is in keeping with the rest of Avida’s range, using a welded metal frame for the walls, floor and roof. That's covered by a fully moulded fibreglass Luton front and rear walls, along with fibreglass composite sides and a one-piece roof moulding. Included in the body structure is the slide-out, which takes up about two thirds of the driver’s-side wall area and adds considerably to the living space. Avida seem reluctant to include a security door as standard in its motorhomes, so the familiar Hehr door with separate insect screen is fitted. Dometic acrylic double-glazed windows are used all ‘round, most being a standard rectangular shape, except for the unusual but stylish Luton windows, which give the front area a distinctive character.
External bin space on the Birdsville is fairly generous, but none of the bins are particularly large. There is the usual problem associated with the lower bins fitted under the slide-out, which require a serious crouch to get at when the slide-out is open. However, the bin doors that give access to the under-seat areas in the slide-out itself are at a much more user friendly height. A pair of 4 kg gas cylinders are to be found in the rear offside gas bin.
Layout wise, the entry door splits the kitchen in two. The fridge is in the forward section, behind the passenger seat, while the mid kerb-side wall is taken by the kitchen bench. Occupying the slide-out is both the café-style dinette (which has two seat belts) and the east-west double bed, which leaves space across the rear for a full-width bathroom.
Being a Ducato, the cab seats swivel easily. They do of course provide alternative/additional seating to the dinette, but with this layout they don’t quite mesh with everything else and the passenger seat is blocked to some degree by the fridge cabinet. Above the cab the Luton bed, which measures 1.9 m x 1.32 m (6’ 3” x 4’ 4”), can easily be lifted out of the way if not needed. Because it’s sitting in the slide-out there is a small step to get up and into the dinette seats, something probably better remembered when departing the seating area! Having a Zwaardvis mounting means the dining table is quite firm for most uses.
Behind the dinette is the bed, which measures 1.83 m x 1.37 m (6’ 4” x 4’ 6”). There aren’t any bedside cabinets but there is a reasonably sized wardrobe as well as the usual overhead lockers. At the base of the cupboard the shelf area just happens to be useful for the nearby 12V/5V USB outlets. In addition to the bedhead area, the wall at the foot of the bed is also fitted out with a below-window selection of drawers and cupboards. Although the shelf on top has a curved shape to aid walking by, when the slide-out is closed the bed butts right up against the cabinet, leaving no walk-through room to reach the bathroom. A flatscreen TV is mounted above the kerbside window and can be seen easily from the bed, but less so from the front seats. I suspect owners might be looking to the Luton bed area for a second TV location.
In the rear, the bathroom comes with the full complement of shower cubicle, cassette toilet and vanity unit. A sliding door offers privacy but takes up minimal space, while ventilation is assured courtesy of a large rear-wall window and a ventilation fan hatch above the shower. General storage is provided by overhead lockers and a vanity cupboard, whilst the wall area behind the loo provides for not only a large mirror but a towel rack as well.
Proportion wise, the kitchen bench area is quite small in this motorhome. It’s just long enough to fit a four burner cooktop/grill and a stainless steel sink/drainer, and has the accompanying cupboards, drawers, wire basket pantry and overhead lockers. Benchtop space is minimal but fitted into the fridge cabinet is a hinged bench extension that lowers into the doorway. I suspect the hot tip here is to keep the entry door closed when using the extension! In addition to the extension, the cabinet also has the microwave above the fridge and is a handy location for the 12V control panel.
What I think
Undoubtedly the slide-out fitted to the Birdsville adds not only a bit of living space but the ability to fit a double bed into the layout. Having said that, if the island double bed isn’t a prime requirement then the non slide-out model with its single beds is quite practical too. Whichever layout you chose, this 7.4 m/24’ 3” motorhome makes for a great mid-size offering. The twin benefits of a relatively compact and easy handling rig, yet one that offers a good sized living area makes the Avida Birdsville well worth considering.
- Nice driving motorhome
- Streamlined for a C-class
- External bin storage
- General bedroom storage
- Living area
- Generous bathroom
- TV location
- Bathroom access when slide-out closed
- Non-security insect screen
- Step-up to dinette
Supplied by the great team at:
Australian Motor Homes
31 Pacific Highway
Bennetts Green NSW 2290
T: (02) 4948 0433
Click HERE to visit Avida's website.
Click below to download a PDF of the full test, including specifications and contact details.
Avida Birdsville C7424SL Roadtest (1526 KB)