Testing Sunliner’s Holiday on Iveco’s capable Daily cab-chassis...
by Malcolm Street
Anyone vaguely familiar with the Sunliner range of motorhomes will know they offer a wide range of motorhomes, from the van-based Vida to the luxury Monte Carlo: Just about something for every taste and budget.
Fitting more into the budget end of the market, but still a coachbuilt motorhome, is the Holiday. To be specific: The G53 model. It’s a motorhome designed mainly for two people but does have both travel seating and beds for four.
Sunliner builds its motorhomes on a range of cab-chassis and ours was on an Iveco Daily 45C18. It comes with a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel motor that delivers 130 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque. All that drives through a six-speed Agile gearbox, which is Iveco speak for an automated manual transmission (AMT). A driver’s air bag is standard on an Iveco Daily, but Sunliner has taken the option of a passenger air bag as well.
In some ways, the Iveco Daily is a bit like its Italian stable mate the Fiat Ducato, which isn’t surprising given they come out of the same factory. The major differences being that whilst the Ducato is front wheel drive, the Daily is rear wheel drive and the Daily is available with heavier load capacities. In both cases they have a fair chunk of the motorhome market in Europe, which makes them fairly motorhome friendly from both a manufacturer’s and user’s point of view.
In converting the motorhome Sunliner added a fully-welded sub-chassis, which they call Torquo™, to the main Iveco chassis rails. According to Sunliner this was done to improve both the vehicle handling and general weight distribution.
For the body, Sunliner use one-piece walls and a roof that uses a bonded Duplo foam-core structure that is designed to give insulation and strength, whilst keeping weight in check. Those familiar with Sunliner motorhomes will immediately recognise the characteristic fibreglass mouldings at the rear, as well as the driver’s cab side-steps.
Like many a motorhome manufacturer, Sunliner use Seitz hopper windows to full advantage, whilst staying with the convenience of a Camec triple-locker security door. An item of interest here is the door and forward window. Given their proximity, it’s not possible to have both the door and window fully open at the same time, but what Sunliner has done is fitted a simple hook-and-eye, such that the door is held open at 90 degrees to the motorhome body. Now this might sound like the bleeding obvious, but it’s surprising the number of Recreational Vehicle manufacturers that don’t provide this simple arrangement!
External body fittings consist of the nearside-wall-fitted Dometic awning and external wall light above the door, whilst the roof features a few items like a windup TV antenna and Air Command Cormorant air conditioner. External storage, apart from the Thetford toilet cassette compartment and the gas cylinder bin, consists of the under-bed area that can be accessed from both the offside door and from the inside, by lifting the bed. It’s certainly a convenient arrangement, but can be a problem in very dusty conditions. Hoses and the like should certainly be kept in drip-proof containers, while under the bed is the 100 amp-hour battery and associated charger that are really only accessible from the inside.
Out of sight under the rear are corner stabilisers which are a standard Sunliner feature. Whilst most caravans have them, most motorhomes do not. They’re not essential, but it’s surprising how much rock n’ roll a heavy footed person going out the door can create, not to mention anything else!
All that built into the Holiday gives it a tare weight of 3555 kg. Given the Daily’s gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 4490kg, it certainly leaves a more-than-adequate payload capacity.
On the Road
Given this 3.0-litre turbo-diesel often powers much larger motorhomes; it certainly didn’t have any trouble handling the roughly 4000 kg of the test Holiday. In many ways no different from its contemporaries, the AMT gearbox is reasonably smooth on most changes, but has the usual sometimes-slow kickdowns and hesitations at slower speed. Again like its contemporaries, although it’s a light commercial vehicle it’s more car-like than truck-like and as long as the usual precautions are taken for a slightly wider and longer vehicle, it really isn’t a difficult drive. A reversing camera isn’t standard on this model, but I reckon that for cautious drivers or those who wish to avoid marital disputes, one might be a good buy.
This Holiday design features a mid-side entry door. Inside, the nearside kitchen bench and offside dinette are towards the front and the bedroom and bathroom are to the rear. In a way the interior of the motorhome looks quite plain, doesn’t have the usual Sunliner curves and is not done with the usual timber finish, but that is in some ways to do with its budget-driven theme. That doesn’t mean it lacks for anything important. Lighting throughout the Holiday is a mixture of halogen and fluorescent fittings, mostly ceiling mounted and the 12V switches are all located conveniently above the doorway. All windows have standard integrated blinds and insect screens and except for the kitchen and bathroom, all the rest have curtains.
Up front, the Holiday has a swivelling passenger seat. Iveco’s Daily can have both cab seats swivel, but in this case, with a café-style dinette immediately behind the driver’s seat, only the passenger seat swivels. In a way, this dinette set-up negates using the driver’s cab area to its fullest; i.e. with both seats turned, but it does mean the dinette can be used comfortably by two people and by four at a pinch. Just a footnote here: I have seen a similar layout in which the owner cut out part of the back of the front seat – an interesting compromise that meant the swivelled cab seat could be used in tandem with the dinette seat as a leg rest!
Time to Eat
Fitted in between the entry door and the passenger seat, the kitchen bench looks quite small, which is mainly because it is. Taking up all the bench top area are a three burner Thetford cooktop and grill/oven, leaving space underneath for four good sized drawers. As with the dinette opposite, a couple of overhead lockers supply the upper storage areas. Slightly offset from the kitchen bench and fitting between the dinette and bedroom is a good sized 175-litre Dometic fridge with a Whirlpool microwave oven above. Given the fridge is floor mounted, the microwave oven is set at a reasonable height and allows for one more overhead locker.
In the rear the east-west bed, with its head against the offside wall, takes up a fair bit of space. Featuring a posture slat bed-base with inner spring mattress, the bed measures 1.75 m x 1.37 m (5 ft 9 in x 4 ft 6 in) unextended and 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in) extended. Although the longer length will be adequate for most people, it does cut down the walkway space considerably, while large windows on both sides ensure good cross flow ventilation. Like the dinette, the bed does not have any reading lights, neither does it have a close by switch for the overhead light, which does seem to me one economy too many.
Fitting a swivel-arm mounted TV in this layout was always going to be a bit of a challenge but it fits into the corner created by the wardrobe. That means it can also be seen from the dinette, but viewing angles and seating comfort are certainly compromised.
In the space available there isn’t going to be a great deal of bedroom storage, but there are three overhead lockers above the bed and a small full-height wardrobe beside the entry door. It has both hanging and shelf space, but the lower area is entirely taken by the hot water heater.
Up front the Luton bed, measuring 1.93 m x 0.97 m (6 ft 4 in x 3 ft 2 in) is certainly only for smaller couples or a single sleeper as it’s not particularly wide, but does offer a large general storage area. To give easier internal access to and from the front seats, the Luton bed can be lifted up out of the way if not needed.
In many motorhomes the bathroom takes up a fair bit of space, both real and perceived. Now the full-width rear one in this Holiday certainly takes up space but the perception bit has been improved by having a combination of a sliding door and a concertina curtain to close the bathroom off. Left open, space perception and access is improved, whilst close up, they offer the usual privacy.
In the bathroom, filling all the offside corner is the shower cubicle, whilst the Thetford cassette toilet takes up the nearside area and the simply vanity cabinet occupies centre stage. Above the rear wall window is a small shaving cabinet and for those who don’t like to bend their necks too much, a larger wall mirror sits above the loo.
What we Think
In a way the Sunliner Holiday looks a little downmarket from the usual Sunliner products. However, what should be kept firmly in mind is the Holiday is very much aimed at the budget end of the market; maybe in particular for a small family. That said, it does come with a few compromises, yet still has just about everything necessary for enjoying the motorhome lifestyle.
- Good internal living length
- Can be used for family travel
- Open bathroom area at rear
- Good internal storage
- No bed reading lights
- No light switch near bed
- Extended bed difficult to move around
- Small kitchen
- TV not really viewable from the dinette
Click HERE to visit the Sunliner website.
Click below to download a PDF of the full test, including specifications, photos and contact details.