If it’s affordability you’re after, Frontline Camper Conversions offer a campervan that’s based on Toyotas new long-wheelbase Hiace van. We took a delux Pioneer model away and the only problem we had was having to turn around and come back.
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN MAYNARD
Frontline Camper conversions, based in concord NSW, sees itself targeting probably the largest volume market in campervan stakes- the weekenders/tourers looking for a campervan with all the goodies but at an affordable price.
Whether it’s a question of your funds not stretching far enough to buy a larger motor home, or that you’d prefer a similarly equipped vehicle on a smaller scale, Frontline campervans can cater for you
There are many benefits to opting for the long-wheelbase Hiace Campervan over it’s larger motorhome counterpart. It’s lower and lighter than a motorhome counterpart. It’s lower and lighter than a motorhome, and, thanks to responsive engine, it’s able to send a swift touring pace.
If there is a drawback it’s that it offes less space than its larger brother. But then it all depends on what you intend doing with your RV.
I remember that last time Toyota invited me to witness the latest innovations with the hiace van range. It was nearly eight years ago, and apart from a couple of cosmetic differences, it was virtually the same as it had been for some time.
Back then, our assigned ‘new and improved’ hiaces were put through a grueling two hour test circuit amount the outskirts of Wollongong. Once that was completed it was down to the serious stuff – an enormous seafood banquet followed by a wonderful dessert. All in all it was a lot of fun and I was happy to be apart of it.
Sadly, I wasn’t invited to the hiace launch this time around- perhaps I ate too much at the last release. Damn shame! I could have found plenty to write about. It wouldn’t be just about the food either, as, thanks to Toyota’s latest refinements and gutsy 2.4-litre EFI petrol powerplant, the new model is a beauty and offers plenty to get excited about.
The responsive engine holds consistent power throughout the rev range. The Frontline conversion we tested sported an automatic transmission. It tackled hills comfortably, and it should be stressed here that we’re referring to a fully equipped campervan. But then again, the Hiace has always been designed to carry a fairly hefty load.
The new electronic fuel-injected, 2.4 litre engine has more get up and go than its predecessor and this hiace is a definite stayer. Last year marked it’s 30th anniversary, and with the beefier powerplant offering more grunt and better fuel efficiency that the somewhat thirstier carburetor engine it replaces, it makes the ideal choice in the less-expensive campervan market.
Among other features, the unit we trialed was equipped with gas stove, fridge/freezer and microwave oven. All were neatly integrated into it’s design without hindering access or usability.
An auxiliary battery system powers the fridge/freezer, ancillary lighting and water pump.
The interior provides ample headroom when the roof is raised meaning even tall people can comfortable walk through the van. A large sliding door at the side and a lift-up door at the rear provide easy access to the living quarters. Once in, it doesn’t mater if you’re cooking or simply relaxing in the back – there’s plenty of room to move around.
Frontlines pop-up roof system elevates fairly secure roof tags when the roof is lowered and kick the canvas out of the way to prevent damage. Frontline explored many alternatives until this excellent system was discovered.
Storage and sleeping
Frontline has excelled in its clever foresight, integrating abundant storage space yet stil maintaining a host of features with easy access. The result is an uncluttered unit that’s all the more livable.
Cupboards offer hanging space for clothing while shelves provide storage for other items. Underneath each seat is an extra storage compartment to keep everything out of the way until required.
There’s a swag of options you can order from frontline. They include a front crash bar and a rear crash/tow bar equipped with a site. It’s even possible to take creature comforts one old and/or hot shower.
Frontline also offers its services to convert range from $9,000 upwards.
From our point of view, we’re certainly looking forward to the next road test, only this time we’ll have to make sure it’s for more than a few days.