Practical Caravan's experts review the innovative Eterniti Genesis IB4 to see if daring to be different pays off
It’s rare to see newcomers in the competitive world of caravan manufacture, so the new, British-made Eterniti caravans have attracted considerable attention.
The company was founded in 2011 and first showed prototype US-built tourers at the spring shows of 2012. By the NEC show in October 2012, designs had advanced radically but still retained the important USP of an American-style slide-out.
The Eterniti range has four Chronicle single-axle models and two Genesis twin-axle models. Here, the Practical Caravan review takes on the maker's Genesis IB4 to see how its slide-out room extension improves the extremely popular transverse double bed layout.
Pitching and setting up
The BPW Swing V-Tec suspension will help towing stability, as will an A-frame that is 40cm longer than most. BPW’s IDC stability control system is a £549 option, so bear that in mind.
The slide-out is sourced from the USA. It’s driven by electric motors that move the unit smoothly and it’s double sealed to keep the weather out. The 3.35m x 1.75m cavity in the sidewall is a structural challenge, so it’s good to see that the body is framed with a strong and light aluminium box section and the walls have rigid Styrofoam cores with plywood on both sides, clad on the outside with GRP. Strength is enhanced by the curved roof, which boosts headroom to 2.08m.
The two American-sourced entrance doors are usefully large and their coded locking is impressive. However, we found the hardware and built-in flyscreen somewhat inelegant and we would also like to see the window double glazed as in the rest of the van.
Eterniti first offered the Genesis with a roll-out awning as standard, but has now made this an option and will fit a conventional awning channel to production models. In addition, we are assured production models will also see improvements to the general fit and finish – essential for the Eterniti to compete at the top of the market in the UK.
First, the seat height is 55cm (58cm to the top of the firm knee roll) and this is 5-7cm higher than usual, so all but the tallest people will be unable to put their feet on the floor. Also, there is restricted head space where the backrests fit tightly against the sloping front windows. A deeper front shelf would resolve this and provide a surface for drinks and the like.
A standard-fit, 24-inch LED TV is mounted in the centre of the van but is big enough to watch from the lounge. The furniture is solidly built and practical, but it doesn’t have the design sophistication we now expect from major manufacturers.
The Alde radiator heating is ideal for winter comfort and it’s good to see seat design that will maximise airflow and heating efficiency. In the summer,
the standard-fit Dometic roof-mounted air-con unit is in the centre to cool the whole caravan.
Opposite you will find a full oven and grill, combined with a three-burner gas hob and a 230V hotplate. Next to that is a large two-compartment, Dometic fridge/freezer from the USA. The kitchen area is well lit and there are two mains sockets. Our only concern was the lack of a roof vent.
There is a trendy basin, a panel radiator and a ceramic-bowl toilet. You have plenty of surface space for toiletries, but the only cupboard is under the basin.
There are two mains sockets and an extra TV point in the dressing table but, strangely, no mirror. The front seats will make single beds measuring 1.83m x 0.69m, or slide-out extensions convert them to a double bed that is 2.06m x 1.73m.
Space under the front seats is limited by equipment and has just top access, assisted by gas struts. The fixed bed base offers good, easily accessed storage and cupboard space is generous throughout this van, plus there’s a reasonably sized wardrobe.
Some of the overhead lockers have useful internal lights but none have catches, so during transit, heavier items could roll out.
The Genesis has a stylish and imposing exterior combined with sturdy construction, but it’s vital that some fit and finish details are improved, as promised by Eterniti, on production models.
Inside, the overwhelming impact is the extra space offered by the slide-out in the kitchen and bedroom areas. It’s this special feature that we believe will drive sales. The maximum length body and the high equipment specification make it a heavy van, but it is not heavily priced, thanks to Eterniti’s direct-supply policy.
- Access to the generously sized, island bed is easy
- Direct sales allow Eterniti to offer a large slide-out and good standard kit level at a similar price to mainstream brands
- Modern body styling is combined with robust construction
- The lounge seats are high
- The front windows are too close to the backrests
- Some fit and finish details need improving on production models
- The overhead lockers lack catches