PARADISE OASIS DELUXE
When an ordinary Oasis simply isn’t enough...
by Malcolm Street
Paradise Motor Homes is a well known boutique manufacturer of mostly-coachbuilt motorhomes on Mercedes Benz or Iveco Daily cab-chassis vehicles. In particular, its speciality is motorhomes with slide-outs. The exception in the Paradise line up is the Mercedes Benz Sprinter van-based Oasis range. Designed for single or couples who prefer a small rig, the Oasis is a good sized vehicle for manoeuvring around town without difficulty yet still comes with Paradise’s expected bells and whistles.
There are four models in the Paradise Oasis model range and one of them, the Oasis Deluxe, comes with a small slide-out for the bedroom, on the offside. Another standout feature on most of the Oasis range is a motorhome door that replaces the standard Sprinter whirr-clunker sliding side door. It’s optional on some models but standard on the Deluxe and instead of fitting into the original sliding-door gap, actually sits directly behind it, thus giving more versatility with the layout.
From the rear, the door appears to stand out from the van side a fair bit, but it’s something of an illusion caused by the curve of the van body rather than anything else. To the rear of this door the window is smaller than usual; ensuring both it and door can be fully opened without coming into contact. Above all of this, a curved Fiamma awning keeps a low profile.
One of the surprises of the Oasis is the number of external storage bins, which is good because the area often used – directly behind the rear barn doors – isn’t available. There are two bins along the driver’s side: one for the two 4 kg gas cylinders and the other for an optional 2 kVA generator. That bin is fan pressurised to limit dust entry, and ventilated for the generator when running, but can of course be used for other things if a generator is not fitted. Also fitted to our review vehicle was an optional kerb-side bin that seemed to me to be a good idea. Still on external features, I do like the LED strip light, which has a quite a low profile but provides good illumination in camp at night.
On the Road
There’s no doubt the three-pointed star base vehicle is an attraction. On the road it’s a very smooth performer and the 2.2-litre 120 kW turbo-diesel is very well suited to the Oasis. Of course, those who prefer a little more response under the right foot can opt for the more powerful 3.0-litre 140 kW V6, but our 120 kW Sprinter seemed more than responsive enough. It also came with the five speed full-auto gearbox which, slid through the gears effortlessly. Our test drive took us through the Southern Highlands of NSW and there is certainly plenty of undulating terrain there for testing a vehicle out. From the rear, there were a few motorhome-type noises when underway, but nothing noticeable except for the entry door and TV mount. However, Paradise proprietor Colin MacLean has advised that Camec (the manufacturer of the door) offers a mod to improve that particular problem and that his own engineers have already redesigned the TV mount. One of the options fitted was a reversing camera, which is good for anyone, especially cautious drivers.
Many larger van conversions utilise the rear opening doors, which in some way restricts the layout, but with this instance the rear doors are blocked off by a full-width rear bathroom. Forward of the bathroom, an east-west bed has its bedhead in the offside slide-out. That leaves room for the nearside kitchen and a lounge/dining area that is a combination of the swivelled cab seats and offside, sideways-facing lounge. I always like the Paradise décor, which has a woman’s (i.e. Libby Maclean, wife of Colin) touch and looks deceptively simple yet has a real style about it. It is also quite easy to keep clean.
Although interior space is limited to the internal dimensions of the Sprinter van, a large window area and the rear slide-out keep things from being claustrophobic. I mention that not as a criticism but I’ve met people who do suffer in confined spaces and also couples who find it difficult to live in the same confined space. Trying before you buy is a good idea as van conversions definitely aren’t for everyone!
In a rig the size of the Oasis it’s important to use every bit if space, which is why the swivelling cab seats fit in well with the sideways-facing lounge. There is also a Lagun swivel-mounted table and, as you can see from our images, a little bit of experimentation will determine the optimum position for two people to sit. Apart from anything else, it depends on who gets up and down for meals and who stays in situ. When not being used, the table top is stored behind the lounge seat-back, while the Lagun swivel-mechanism and a tripod mount for outdoors use are stored beneath the lounge seat.
Time to Eat
Occupying the space where the sliding door used to be, the kitchen bench is certainly, by necessity, very compact. It has a stainless steel three-burner cooktop and sink combo, plus two multi-shelved cupboard and three drawers underneath. Given the way the cooktop and sink are orientated, washing and drying up is going to be best done by utilising the swivelling table as well. Above the kitchen bench the overhead lockers offers plenty of storage space.
Across the way, a Sharp carousel microwave sits atop a Waeco 150-litre fridge. It’s a bit swings and roundabouts here. With the fridge sitting at floor level (i.e. bending over required), the microwave is at a very user-friendly height, leaving space for a full sized overhead locker above that is partly occupied in the centre by 12 Vand 240V electrical control panels.
Fitting neatly into the slide-out as it does, the island double bed has small bedside shelves on either side plus goose neck reading lights. One of the iMotorhome testers is taller than your average person, which meant his feet did dangle over the end of the bed, but both a 150 mm bed extension and a custom made bed-length are available. These naturally reduce the walk-around space at the foot of the bed, when the slide-out’s extended, but still leave enough room to get to the bathroom without difficulty.
With the slide-out closed up it does appear that the bed blocks the walk-way to the bathroom, but the bed base has been cleverly designed to lift easily to allow passing traffic. There is quite a substantial storage space under the bed, too. Indeed, one of our height challenged testers was able to demonstrate without too much difficulty that you could hide a body under the bed if needed!
It should be mentioned that on the nearside-wall, between the door and rear window, a flat screen TV is mounted such that it can be seen from the bed or the seats at the front. The swivel mount, a Paradise design, means the TV can be left in position when driving. Under the TV are the 12V and antenna connections, a 240V power point and a bank of light switches.
Getting a full-width bathroom into the rear of a Mercedes Benz Sprinter is a bit of a challenge, but it’s interesting to see what can be achieved. In this case it’s an offside shower cubicle, mid-station Thetford cassette toilet and a small corner wash basin. The latter sits in front of a small cabinet area with a wardrobe, overhead lockers and shelved area. It’s all quite cleverly fitted in. Other features of note are the mirror along the high side of the rear wall and the hinged shelf above the loo. Out of sight on that same item is the Paradise-designed odour extraction system, which seems to work quite well.
What we Think
To motorhomers used to wider coachbuilt vehicles the Paradise Oasis Deluxe might appear to be a bit cramped, but it’s not really. Especially the Deluxe model, with the rear slide-out fitted. Many RV travellers like the smaller dimensions of the Oasis van and single people find the size ideal; especially ladies who like the security of the self-containment. Although some things might seem to be a bit fiddly or squashy, in reality they are not really and it quite surprising what has been fitted in and how well it all works together.
- Innovative, contemporary design
- Build quality
- Easily manageable size
- Good fuel economy
- Mercedes Benz safety and reliability
- Excellent storage space, inside and out
- Multi-use front cab/lounge area
- Electrical controls all centrally located
- Front table and seating fiddly to get right
- Under-bed battery/charger awkward to access
- Standard bed only a double
Click HERE to visit the Paradise Motorhomes' website.
Click below to download a PDF of the full test, including specifications, photos and contact details.