A customer oder evolves Wirraway’s luxury line-up…
by Malcolm Street
Download a full PDF of this roadtest HERE
Like most motorhome manufacturers, Wirraway offers a number of standard layouts in their range of motorhome designs. But what happens when a customer wants something a little different? A benefit of being a smaller manufacturer is that a layout variation can be relatively easily offered. Such was the case with a customer who was keen on Wirraway's 260 SL model but desired a few changes to the basic layout, not to mention extending the length from the usual 7.90 m (25’ 11” ) to 8.57m (28’ 1”). The result was the ‘new’ Wirraway Evolution 280 SL.
A number of features of the Evolution 280 SL model look familiar, particularly from the outside. However, a major difference is the use of an Iveco Daily 70C17 cab-chassis with a 7000 kg gross vehicle mass (GVM) chassis, instead of the usual Mercedes Benz Sprinter.
In this case the customer opted for the single turbo 3.0-litre diesel that delivers 125 kW and a very torquey 430Nm. It's certainly well suited to this design and the GVM rating gives a good load capacity, although it does require a Light Rigid (LR) licence to drive.
Above the Iveco chassis, the motorhome body has an aluminium RHS box-section chassis with a 17mm Complite insulated weather proof floor. Composite styrofoam/fibreglass is used for the wall and roof structures including the slide-out, which takes up more than two thirds of the driver’s side side wall.
A characteristic of Wirraway motorhomes is the generous external bin space, utilised in various ways. At the rear kerb side, the dual-compartment bin has a slide-out BBQ at the front and a utilities area (power leads and drain hoses) at the rear. Included is the standard Wirraway automatic hose rewinder that is 12V pump pressurised and can be used for everything from washing the motorhome to putting out campfires! In this case the bin door is top hinged.
On the opposite side, drawers are used in the rear corner, slideout and beneath the slideout, towards the rear. In the latter case they cannot be opened with the slideout extended. The major asset of drawers is they are easy to get at and there is minimal bending over, plus they are all sealed against water and dust ingress.
Further forward, under the slideout, are more bins with lower edges hinged. Although more difficult to get at with the slideout extended, they do contain items like the Dometic 2.5 kVa generator, which require minimal access. Unusually, the TEC29EV generator is LP gas powered!
Not mentioned yet are the bins for the 2 x 120 AH batteries and 3 x 4.5 kg gas cylinders. They are to be found on either side of the entry door.
Undoubtedly the benefit of a slideout is demonstrated very aptly inside. With the entry door mid way between the wheels, the extended slideout creates a very large living area, especially up front. That theme continues in the kitchen area with the bench on the kerb side and the fridge and pantry in the slideout opposite.
Obviously, the customer in this motorhome wanted space around the bed because although the double bed is built into the slideout, there are no cupboards on the opposite wall. This provides plenty of bed walk-around area even with the slideout closed. That also gives easy access to the bathroom across the rear because the shower cubicle is in the kerb side corner.
Generally speaking the overall finish is done very nicely. All the cabinetry has a Tasmanian Oak finish and the bench and table tops a glossy laminate. The busiest place in the 280 SL has to be around the entry doorway, above which are the radio/DVD player, satellite TV controls, water tank monitor, water pump switch and generator controls. In addition, down the panel beside the door are both the awning and slideout switches. As I said, very busy!
Like many a Wirraway motorhome, the cab area is done out very nicely and the closed compartments above both driver and passenger seats are a welcome feature. I always find them good for maps (remember them?) and cameras.
Both cab seats swivel and are reupholstered to match a third, forward-facing seat behind the passenger seat (there’s a folding table in between). Hiding behind the rear seat is a wine bottle rack. For the front seats, Wirraway has solved the Iveco handbrake issue – where it normally interferes with swivelling the driver's seat – by removing it and having an electronic push-button on the dash board instead.
Outlets for 240 and 12-volt power are fitted to the panels on both sides behind the cab, thus being readily accessible from front or rear seats.
In case three seats are not enough, there's a sideways facing seatbelt equipped lounge in the slideout. It comes with a table that matches the main one opposite, and is fitted with a Lagun mount so it can be turned around to be used with the driver's seat.
Looking a bit like an island bench, but against the kerb-side wall, the kitchen bench looks smaller than it is because of all the space around it! It's slightly different to the usual kitchen set-up because instead of a gas cooktop there are just two electric elements, while equally unusually a washing machine is fitted under the cooktop! Six drawers are fitted in the under-bench space alongside and above the washing machine and all are shallower than usual in order to fit in. Because of the electric cooktop there's a bit more bench working space than usual, plus there is the bonus of a flip-up extension at the end of the bench.
Conventional is the microwave oven, fitted into the locker space above the cooktop, with the rangehood underneath. Not so conventional is the flat screen 61 cm (24”) TV bracketed into the wall behind the stainless steel sink. It will swing out for easy viewing from the lounge and front seats, but not whilst the washing up is happening.
On the opposite side, in the slideout, is the 150-litre fridge and it has a full height slide-out pantry on one side and a slide-out wardrobe on the other.
A little surprisingly perhaps, the bedroom area looks almost conventional and both sides of the bed have cabinets with a rack of drawers. The only difference being that the left-hand side is wider and has a hanging wardrobe above. Mains power points are fitted to both sides with the right-hand side having the bonus of a 12 V socket.
Although the opposite wall has no under-window storage, there is a full height cupboard with a shoe rack fitted into the corner against the bathroom wall.
Like the rest of the motorhome, there is plenty of room to move in the bathroom. In addition to the decently sized shower cubicle there's a black-tank toilet against the driver’s-side wall and a small vanity cabinet with pedestal style wash basin against the shower. Lockers with mirror doors are fitted above both the toilet and vanity, while a small rear window aids ventilation.
What I Think
What I find most interesting about this motorhome is the way Wirraway has accommodated the customer's requirements into one of its existing layout designs. I must admit there are some features I would not have chosen, but that's okay because it’s not my motorhome!
Room to move in all areas was clearly a priority and that has certainly been achieved. Even with the slideout closed there is still plenty of room to move around. There is also plenty of storage space, while the big Iveco Daily provides a payload capacity to match. This is a well appointed motorhome with all the features we have come to expect from Wirraway, and the end result is another happy customer!
- Iveco Daily payload capacity
- Eternal storage and ease of access
- General fit and finish
- Spacious interior
- Bed walk-around area
- Controls centrally located
- Huge front living area
- Iveco handbrake solution
- Electric cooktop require mains power or generator
- No TV at washing up time
- Single vent fan in bathroom
Supplied thanks to:
6 Hynes Court, Mildura. Vic. 3500.
T: (03) 5023 0230