Malcolm Street takes a busman’s holiday in Talvor’s Hayman...
As I write this I’m sitting at the dinette of a Talvor Hayman motorhome: one that’s parked amongst about 900 other motorhomes, I’d just like to point out, as I’m having a few days at the Anniversary Rally of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) in Maryborough, Qld. The Hayman is slightly different to the rest of the Talvor motorhome lineup because it’s currently the only model in their motorhome range that comes with a slide-out.
On my travels from Brisbane (where I collected the motorhome) to Maryborough I thought I’d have an overnight stop at Kenilworth Homestead. It’s about 20 minutes off the Bruce Highway and not far from the pleasant town of Kenilworth (surprisingly!). When I have been there in the past it’s always been a pleasant and peaceful camping area. I’d forgotten that Anzac Day created a super long weekend for many people and any number of campers decided to take advantage of that. I normally like nice quiet places for motorhome photography but that wasn’t to be. My relaxing caravan neighbours looked at me a bit oddly when I first started to fiddle around and set things up with the sun at the right angle et al, but proved to be good and friendly.
Underpinning the Hayman is a Fiat Ducato Multijet 160 cab that is bolted to an Al-Ko chassis: the latter being used because it increases the motorhome gross vehicle mass (GVM) from 4250 kg to 4495 kg. My Hayman is a B-class unit (i.e. has no over-cab bed) but it’s also available as a C-class (with an over-cab bed). Except for the front and rear mouldings, the roof and side walls are all of a composite fibreglass structure.
For the entry door, Talvor has opted for a Dometic European style with top half window and a separate concertina style insect screen that works quite well but isn’t any sort of security fitting. Seitz windows, complete with integrated blinds and screens, are fitted all round, while covering the outdoor area is an Omnistor awning
One of the features of this motorhome is the surprising number of external storage bins. Along the offside there is just one, but it’s excellent for water and drainage hoses, as well as the power cord and wheel chocks. Along the nearside there are four storage bins and all are of a good size. Two are dedicated to the gas cylinders and 12 V house battery and charger, but the other two provide generous storage. There is also a small entertainment unit with a Fusion radio (connected to the inside unit), 12 V socket and TV antenna connection.
On the Road
One point of note is that the Ducato Multjet 160 has been superseded by the Multijet 180 and whilst there have been a few Fiat features upgraded in the cab there has only been a moderate increase in performance. Having driven both almost side-by-side at some point, the difference isn’t particularly noticeable. The motorhome certainly gets along well enough, with the Fiat six-speed Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) performing well in most conditions, except for the usual hesitation in the lower ranges. There are the usual motorhome noises and rattles when driving along, most like the cooktop being easily solved by the use of a well placed tea towel, but the rattle of the slide-out mechanism directly behind the driver’s head was a bit annoying.
Like any good motorhome, setting up the Hayman takes minimal time. Once parked on a level spot it’s a matter of pushing a switch to open up the front offside slide-out. After that and once the door, windows and hatches are open, it’s almost time to sit down and relax.
This particular layout (a rear bathroom floorplan available) has a rear bedroom with an east-west bed; a split bathroom ahead of that; a front nearside kitchen and a dinette/lounge area that includes a cafe-style dinette in the slide-out. Both cab seats swivel around and being a Fiat Ducato that happens with a minimum of effort. Above the cab seats the Ducato roof cut-out has not been retained, thus giving a much needed shelf storage area, but increasing the risk of bumping your head when moving to and from the cab. There are some advantages to using the cut out and building in small cupboards and/or shelves above the cab.
The LED lighting fitted throughout the Hayman is mostly very well done. In both the front and rear areas there are two separate systems: downlights for bright lighting and concealed strip lights for lower-level mood lighting. Whilst the bed and dinette have reading lights, the front cab seats don’t. Most of the electrical control switches are located in a panel above the doorway and most are easy to get at, except for the hot water switch, which is set quite low, beneath the aluminium lip of the locker, making it awkward for shorter persons.
Located in the slide-out, the dinette is a conventional cafe style, upholstered in leather and capable of accommodating two people on either side. Being in the slide-out it sits about 100 mm (4 in) above floor level. Although the table has a certain amount of backwards and forwards movement the dinette seats are quite close together and taller persons might find that a problem. Additional seating is as noted above: supplied by the matching leather upholstered cab seats.
A flat screen TV (not connected to the sound system) is mounted on the forward end of the control panel above the entry door. It’s easy to see from the rear dinette seat but a person in the front seat is going to be sitting sideways. A slightly better TV mounting point might be above the rear seat, whereby it can be seen from the cab seats in addition to the front dinette seat.
Although both under-seat areas are available for general storage I did wonder whether a couple of drawers might have been more practical. Also, a few lockers above the dinette would be an asset, but I did wonder about weight issues in the slide-out.
Tine to Eat
Like many a motorhome kitchen, the Hayman’s is a split layout. The nearside bench is a standard layout that features a three-burner cooktop with an oven/grill below, fitted at the rear, plus a stainless steel sink (sans drainer) by the door. The sink is quite deep and whilst good for a bit of light laundry, is tempting to fill with too much water for normal washing up. Not having a drainer does provide a reasonable amount of bench top area, but in the absence of anything else I used a tea towel as a drainer. Under the bench top are five drawers of various sizes and one cupboard. Much of the cupboard space is taken by either the sink unit or the hot water heater. In addition to all the aforementioned storage, the bench-end nearest the door is fitted with six wine bottle holders.
On the opposite side, at the end of the slide-out, is a 175-litre Dometic fridge with a Sharp microwave above that’s set at a reasonably user-friendly height. Above that is fitted a welcome item; a Fusion radio with iPod socket – some of my favourite music is playing as a write this.
Measuring 1.85 m x 1.5 m (6 ft 1 in x 5 ft), the rear bed is set against the nearside wall and has a timber base and an inner spring mattress. Given the space constraints, bed walk-around space isn’t too bad. There are two lockers above the bed but only the rear wall-side has a narrow wardrobe, with a bed-level cut out and bedside cabinet. Both sides have a narrow shelf that is sort of useful, but a bit knuckle scraping at bed making time. Apart from the generous under-bed storage the only other bedroom storage comes from small diagonal cupboards in both corners, at the foot of the bed. Like the dinette seats, I did think that the inclusion of a couple of easily accessible drawers might be easier than lifting the bed. One of the options on the Hayman is a second flat screen TV, mounted high on the corner diagonal cupboard, which is easily seen from the bed yet not bumped when walking around the bed.
With the split bathroom arrangement, the toilet cubicle looks a bit like a large cupboard with a full height mirror, but is in fact a good sized room for the Dometic cassette toilet, a wash basin and a good selection of storage cupboards. A slightly unusual item is the Seitz window that has been mounted sideways so that it fits in well with the cupboards! Across the way, the reasonably spacious shower cubicle has a tri-panel sliding door and a variable height flexible hose shower. Both the shower and toilet cubicles are mounted about 150 mm (6 in) off the floor.
What We Think
There’s no doubt that the inclusion of a slide-out in the Hayman layout adds greatly to the interior space in the front area of the motorhome. Whilst most of the living areas in the Hayman are reasonably well proportioned, a slight oddity is the minimal amount of interior storage space that can be used easily, especially in the rear area. That contrasts somewhat with the external bin space, of which there is plenty. For many couples that will mean travelling reasonably lightly, at least with personal effects.
On the road the Ducato-powered Hayman travels well and provides stress free performance in terms of both power and handling. Bottom line with this motorhome; if you desired plenty of interior living area then the Hayman is a good prospect. It’s also good, I have discovered, for parking at a CMCA rally and just sitting around in for a few days!
- Spacious slide-out area
- Generous external bins
- Split bathroom
- Excellent interior lighting
- Above-door electrical controls
- Lack of interior storage
- No cab-seat reading lights
- Slide-out mechanism rattle
- Dinette slightly cramped
Click HERE to visit the Talvor website.
Click below to download a PDF of the full test, including specifications, photos and contact details.
iMotorhome Roadtest - Talvor Hayman 2013 (1585 KB)
iMotorhome Roadtest - Talvor Hayman 2013 (1585 KB)