Malcolm Street from iMotorhome reviews the C7184 Ceduna motorhome from Avida.
When the Ceduna motorhome first appeared I thought it something of a lone traveller in the Avida stable. Its layout reminds me of more traditional designs or the New Zealand-Back styles, with its club lounge at the rear. Its shape, and the fact it can sleep up to six, also suggests a rental motorhome. These are, I should point out, not necessarily negative things and indeed the fact the Ceduna has been around for quite a while suggests the opposite.
At the recent Sydney Supershow Avida released an updated Ceduna; one that retains many of the original features but also includes more than a few refinements. In addition, the company now offers the option of a Multi Terrain Pack (MTP) – that’s Avida speak for rough road, remote travel ability – with the further option of a rear differential lock for greatly enhanced traction. Unfortunately, in our haste to be the first to get our hands on the new Ceduna with MTP we had to settle for the non diff-locked version.
Multi Terrain Pack Differences
MTP models are longer – 7.37 m versus 7.01 m – and get an additional 60-litres fresh water over the standard 100. They also get checker plate with black rear-wall mould inserts, an external barbecue fitting, outdoor hot-and-cold shower, 2 x 80 watts of solar, a steel rear bumper and the spare wheel mounted on the rear wall for extra departure-angle clearance. Another inclusion is a nudge bar and driving lights. Whilst the nudge bar is a welcome addition, the driving lights seemed a bit underpowered for the serious night driver. Also, the bar itself was so close to the body that fitting larger lights would be difficult.
The standard Ceduna – with or without MTP – rides on an Iveco Daily 50-170 cabchassis, but the locked-diff MTP uses a Daily 45-170. Both have a 4495 kg gross vehicle mass (GVM), meaning you can drive either on a standard car licence. Both also have an 8000 kg gross combination mass (GCM), providing a 3500 kg towing capacity – always the Iveco’s strong suit. However, if you want 6-seat/6-berth ability you can only have the heavier Daily 50-170 and must upgrade to a 5200 kg GVM, meaning you’ll need a light rigid (LR) drivers licence. That also reduces the towing capacity to a still-impressive 2800 kg.
On the road the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel moves along very smoothly. I hadn’t had the opportunity to try the Old Bathurst Road between Avida’s factory and Blaxland in the Lower Blue Mountains, which is both windy and hilly, with Iveco’s new eight-speed auto gearbox. As expected it performed with aplomb going up and coming down, and is now one of there best transmissions in the business.
The Ceduna has a decidedly square shape, something emphasised by the flat roof that includes the Luton peak. In the body construction department the Ceduna has fully welded metal wall, floor and roof frames. The frames have a foam sheet filler that Avida reckons both acts as an insulator and road noise reducer. For the walls, all are laminated with backing panels and an outer fibreglass skin. Slightly differently, the one-piece floor has a ply timber sheet on top and metal sheeting underneath, for added protection. Moulded fibreglass is used for the Luton peak/cab surround.
A great feature of the Ceduna is it has plenty of external storage capacity, with good sized bins at the rear and a smaller one for leads and hoses on the driver’s side. There are of course extra bins for both the battery and gas cylinders, but the door for the latter looked decidedly small. I’m told that was a mistake on the first design and future models will have a larger one, making it easier to get the cylinders in and out. As usual, Hehr-brand products are used all round for the windows, plus for the entry door, while the only issue with the door is the lack of a security screen.
As mentioned, the Ceduna has a ‘New Zealand Back’; that being a rear lounge with wrap-around windows. The only difference to the traditional arrangement is the inclusion of a elevating bed above the lounge. A large area of cushioning makes the lounge very comfortable, but there is one issue: The seat back sits above the Hehr’s window winder knobs, which being slightly fiddly to start with, are made even more so. Mounted on a single pole, the rear dining table is a good size for four people and can be swivelled about without too much trouble.
Lowering the bed is done at the touch of a button and it can be positioned to the level of the top of the seat backs without effort. Apart from being used for sleeping, lowering it makes it easier to get to the overhead lockers across the rear and also use the mirrors above the side windows! For extra sleeping accommodation, setting the bed about half way up the windows means the lounge area can also be made up into a bed. Neither bed seems to have been fitted with much in the way of reading lights, however.
There isn’t a great deal of room between the rear lounge and entry door, so the kitchen fits in with just enough bench space for a threeburner cooktop with grill/oven below plus a stainless steel sink. All the cabinet space below has sensibly been fitted with drawers, while two largish overhead lockers, one with an extra shelf, complete the kitchen storage story. A feature of note is the splash back at the end of the kitchen bench that adjoins the rear lounge. Not to be missed are the 190-litre 2-door fridge, with microwave oven above, that sit on the opposite side of the motorhome beside the bathroom. Given how little space it seems to occupy it’s impressive just what has been squeezed into the bathroom.
There’s a separate shower cubicle, Thetford cassette toilet and a small wash basin, plus a locker above the loo and some shelf area under the basin. While you probably won’t spend a lot of time in it, the bathroom is well equipped and has everything you need.
Up front is the cab with large cupboards above, with an option to have a third bed instead of the cupboards. Adding to general storage is a full-height cupboard, complete with shelves, behind the cab. Between the entry door and swivelled passenger seat is a very multi-tasking area. In effect it’s a travelling office with a multifold table, open storage compartment below and a locker above. In between, the wall supports a magazine pouch and a swivel-arm TV, which can be seen from the seat in the rear but is not overly large. By the entry door, the side of the overhead locker is used for the multifunction control panel.
What I think
It seems to me the Ceduna is somewhat multifunctional in its design intention and potential. It could be used as a rental vehicle, a family motorhome, mobile office or just a recreational motorhome for a couple who want something a little different, especially with the wrap-around New Zealand Back. There are a few compromises, like the smallish kitchen, but what motorhome doesn’t have them?
When the Multi Terrain option box is ticked it adds another dimension. It’s a pity we couldn’t try the diff-locked version this time, but perhaps Avida will lend us one for a month or three so we can head into the Outback to really try it out!