We examine a popular model to find out what attracts legions to Jayco.
When you are investing a large amount of money in a motorhome, it always helps if the brand you buy is a well-known one. The Jayco brand is about as well-known as you can get in the Australian RV industry, and here we’re reviewing one of its latest in the Conquest series, the MS 25.5.
This particular vehicle starts out at $135,000, plus options and plus on-road costs. With NSW registration and the optional leather seating, 120w solar panel, Roamsafe door, towbar, chrome wheel covers, side steps and fridge upgrade to 184 litres, the total price was $152,260.
CAB AND CHASSIS
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 519 underpins this two-berth Luton peak motorhome. The engine is a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel hooked up to a seven-speed automatic with lock-up clutch. The Sprinter is rear-wheel drive, and has an independent front and a live axle, leaf-spring rear suspension.
This latest Sprinter arrived in 2013 and meets the latest emissions requirements, the Euro VI standard. Euro VI is a much stricter emission standard for nitrogen oxides (NOx), total hydrocarbons (THC), and particulate mass than Euro V. The Sprinter has a BlueTEC engine and SCR technology that injects AdBlue into the exhaust gas. Part of the BlueTEC technology includes a fuel-saving stop/start function, an alternator and power steering pump set-up to reduce fuel usage and an on demand fuel pump.
The Sprinter is fitted with Crosswind Assist as standard. Sensors detect forces acting on the vehicle through side wind gusts and the system also takes account of vehicle speed – it only works from 80km/h – vehicle load and steering characteristics. The system activates the brakes at the wheels of the vehicle side facing the wind, so a yaw motion develops and counteracts the side wind interference.
ON THE ROAD
The Conquest performs well on the road, with decisive engine response and the automatic shifts gears very smoothly. The driver’s seat and the steering wheel both have multiple adjustments so most people should find a comfortable position.
Vision out of the cab is excellent, with large side mirrors and a rear-view camera fitted in the normal rear-vision mirror spot helping the rear view. The bonnet drops away sharply and can’t easily be seen from the driver’s seat, but that’s something that most will get used to. The seats are firm but still comfortable and supportive, while the fold-down armrests on the seat are a very good idea and aid comfort on those long transport stages.
The camper is accessed via a door on the nearside that is quite a high step-up from the ground, but Jayco has already thought about that and fitted an electric drop-down step. The switch for the step is located just inside the doorway on the left panel.
The door has a curtained window, and a separate Roamsafe mesh security door is also fitted.
Once inside the motorhome, you have a cafe dinette facing you on the vehicle’s off-side, and above you to the left the Luton’s peak bed area. To the right is the main body of the camper with a mid-point kitchen on the nearside, with the shower/toilet and fridge opposite. The island bed is at the back of the motorhome.
To get this motorhome set up for a stay is not difficult. The swivelling front seats are easy to set up, a light aluminium ladder clips into place to give bed access above the cab and, aside from perhaps rolling the awning out, that’s it.
The dinette seats are equipped with lap/sash seatbelts, and the dinette table can be moved fore-aft to permit better access to the seats or removed altogether. Above the dinette are two lidded lockers and an open, lipped shelf and also the storage locker for the 19-in LCD TV. The TV sits within the narrow locker on its swivelling base, and is easy to slide out and swivel to the preferred angle. The TV locker has a neat sliding door to conceal the TV when not in use.
Thanks to the ceiling height at this point along the body, there’s even a space on top of the shelf unit for further storage. A rail along the top of the shelf stops items from falling off easily, although it would still be prudent not to use this shelf when in transit.
Above the dinette are the audio player and water level and state-of-charge power indicator. Lighting is very good on this motorhome, with ample LED ceiling lights and large hopper windows at the rear. This common motorhome design – with bathroom and fridge on one side and the kitchen on the other, mid-way along the motorhome – precludes the use of large windows in the area, but light from entrance door window helps a little, and at a flick of a switch the ceiling lights make it a lot easier to see what you’re doing in the kitchen. There are a number of different colour options in the Conquest but the test vehicle’s neutral timber panelling and contrasting pale leather seats looked good. It is a conservative combination but it still looked very smart.
The one thing that often is lacking in smaller motorhomes is kitchen bench space. Here, with a 25-foot motorhome, you’d hope that the bench room would be ample. Certainly it is in the Jayco, with a good amount of dedicated bench space to the left of the stainless-steel sink. With the standard cutting board fitted over the sink, and the cooktop hinged lid folded down, the food preparation area increases markedly. I don’t think the chef of the household will be too disappointed with this arrangement.
The walkway past the kitchen is sufficient to allow a person to get on with the business of cooking without having a partner heading to the bed area bump them as they walk past. Again, it is the luxury of space you can afford with a larger motorhome such as this. The matter of kitchen storage is well addressed, with a slide-out pantry and six drawers of varying depths, plus cupboards below the bench and lockers above. The microwave, sitting with the lockers above the bench, is really a bit too high for cooking with hot liquids and the like. It’s a common position for the microwave in RVs, but some think about this more and fit the microwave in a lower, safer position.
The fridge-freezer is a three-way 240/12v/gas unit, and with its 184 litres will be ample for most couples needs and at a stretch a family of four.
The island bed has sufficient walk-around room when extended, and even more with the separate bed head cushion lifted out and the mattress pushed to the bed head. The bedside storage is really clever in the Jayco. There’s a hollowed out cubby at each side at the bed head area, and that’s just the perfect sport for storing reading material and glasses and so on. Then, there’s a small bedside table bench space as well. The usual hanging cupboard space on each side of the bed is also installed in this motorhome, plus a set of drawers in the bedside tables below. At the foot of the bed, on the nearside and off-side wall corners, are L-shape cupboard spaces and benchtops as well.
At the front of the motorhome, in the Luton peak, is the second bed area. This is of course a more compromised bed area, but here it has been done well. The small hopper windows give some light and ventilation – not a given that this is always included in this type of design and the netted rail to avoid rolling out of bed is simple to set up and adjust with a clip-in arrangement. The step ladder clips into plastic receivers and once in place feels very secure.
The shower/toilet combination room is spacious enough to be comfortable, and the height adjustable shower rose is a great feature. Adding to the sense of space is the fold-down sink, which you can fold up when showering or using the facilities and simply fold down for use after. There is a two-door mirror cupboard above the sink, and light, a hatch with fan above the shower.
In the Jayco was the optional 120w solar panel feeding into two 100a/h batteries. A Setec 240/12V battery control system and a Redarc battery solenoid switching device keep the system operating smoothly while a Drifter LCD display panel shows the state of charge and voltage inputs.
There are lots of storage options inside this motorhome, with the multitude of cupboards and drawers to store all your travelling needs. External storage includes a slide-out tray for a generator in a lockable hatch on the off-side rear, and two rectangular lockable storage recesses in the nearside wall. On the nearside is also the compartment for the two 4.5kg gas bottles, which slide out on a platform for easy removal. At the rear is another rectangular hatch, to access the under-bed storage area. This hatch could be a little larger, so that larger items could be passed though.
This is a value-laden motorhome, with so much in the unit for the price. I think that external storage could be a bit better, but other than that there is not much to criticise. The layout is spacious and there are no deal-breakers in terms of design or functionality. This is a really good motorhome option to consider at an entry-level price.