Rory WhiteSee other caravan reviews written by Rory White
No-one's pretending the single-axle, four-berth sector of the market isn't competitive, and no-one's more aware of the fact than Elddis. That's why the company had a serious go at improving the look and equipment levels of the Crusader range for 2009.
Pitching and setting up
There's a light in the front locker, so you should be able to manage connecting up the gas if you arrive on site after dark.
As well as being comfortable, the lounge is an attractive part of the van. With the large Heki rooflight overhead it’s bright during the day, and the shallow lockers make it feel wide and spacious. The upholstery is a brave chocolate brown, but against the light-toned wood it isn’t overwhelming.
The lounge has a few other touches that make it practical for families. The carpet is removable and in three pieces to make cleaning easier.
The central chest has two drawers, a cupboard and a pull-out extension, which is preferable to the fold-over model you often find. A power point and a 12V socket are located at its base.
There's a fold-down table extension fixed to the pedestal unit on the offside - handy for resting a mug or plate if there's stuff (such as a telly?) on the unit itself.
The corner lights give off a strong yet warm glow, while the LED strip lighting is slightly gentler. The lounge also has four halogen spots so everyone has a light to read by.
There's a three-burner hob, on which one of the rings is large enough to use a wok; a nice, practical touch.
You won't want for work surface either, there being most space where the power point and main switches are located. As well as this, both the hob and the sink have Chinchilla glass lids, so workspace can be increased whenever you prepare meals. Oh, and there's a separate washing up bowl.
One annoyance: the tap is located between the two glass lids, which means unless the handle is in just the right place, you knock the water on when you open a lid. A much bigger problem, though, is that there are no no cupboards in the kitchen; just two drawers, one overhead locker and two shelves. It means you'll probably have to store kitchen equipment and food in one of the dinette lockers.
Above the basin there is a mirror with a light. However, the mirror is quite low, which makes shaving or applying lippy a bit tricky. The mirror is low to allow room for a locker above it. The locker provides good storage and there are shelves next to it for items in regular use.
You need the locker and shelves because a laundry bag occupies most of the space under the basin, but it's worth the space it takes. The electric-flush toilet has legroom around it, and the loo-roll holder is sensibly sited, as are the toothbrush holder, soap dish and hand-towel rail.
Elddis had kids in mind for the bunks, but most adults will be happy in them too, even if six-footers might feel a touch cramped. The top bunk has a 70kg weight limit.
The bunks are easy to make up. The table stows away and slats pull out to complete the base for the lower bunk. The top bunk folds out easily from the wall. Separate cushions are provided for the top bunk’s mattress, and they are a good fit. The cushions from the side dinette form the mattress for the lower bunk. These are a good fit length-wise, but are narrow.
The under-seat storage in the lounge is excellent. The space is large and has front access as well as slatted lids, but the overhead lockers are less practical. The six lockers are as shallow as those in the kitchen (not enough storage space in there), and none have shelves. One is all but completely taken up by the CD player, and another has been made into a cocktail cabinet.
Elddis has dressed this Crusader in some of its smarter clothes, and introduced a number of tidy design features to tempt buyers in. A moderate price tag won't do any harm, either.
- Some nice design touches have found their way into this Crusader, and there's an overall feeling of quality and practicality
- The well-equipped kitchen will catch a few pairs of eyes, while others will warm to the washroom's many home comforts.
- We crave more usable storage space in the kitchen, and wish the overhead lockers were a bit deeper
- Then there's that frustrating kitchen tap design…