We caught up with Laura and Brett from DeLuxe RV Group in Blenheim recently. They are a premier supplier and seller of caravans, motorhomes and RVs in New Zealand, dealing in prominent brands such as Bailey, Pilote and Le Voyageur, with sub-agents in Levin and Mt Maunganui carrying their Pilote brands.

They pride themselves on offering customers a range of RVs that cover everything – from economical caravans for the budget conscious to luxury RVs for the discerning buyer – and after-sales servicing is paramount at DeLuxe RV.

The long couches offer this area genuine feet-up relaxing comfort. The adjustable table is fantastic as well. Upon entry the TV is to the left, pull-out storage beneath, monitor cupboard above the door, a second lounge seating area between the driver’s swivel cab seat and the habitation entry door

The DeLuxe Group business was first established in Blenheim in 1926. They may have expanded and changed over the years when it comes to their products and services, but the one thing you can always be assured of is their ongoing care, warranty servicing and repairs for your vehicle for many years to come. Brothers Gary and Greg Smith are the family seniors, daughter and son Laura and Brett joined the family business seven years ago and are taking over the DeLuxe RV side of the business a little more each year, expanding service and sales staff to keep up with demand.

The Le Voyageur brand of motorhomes is French luxury at its best. These models are constructed by a team of 45 at the production facility in La Membrolle-sur-Longuenée, Angers, hand-crafting approximately 308 luxury Le Voyageur motorhomes for the world market per year. Fewer than five of these come to New Zealand each year for discerning customers looking for this level of quality at the price point.

Electric ceiling bed comes down over the cab area, leaving the dining/lounge area free for use

The habitation entry door is on the right (driver’s side) of the vehicle – there is no driver’s door as such. The other entry point is via the passenger kerb side door, stepping into the vehicle via a single 550mm-wide electric step, then an internal step up into the home – this lifts for shoe storage within.

Directly right is a comfortable lounge bench seat 1000mm long, and opposite is the L-shaped lounge with forward-facing seat-belted seating and an impressive 1500mm lounge bench seat along the wall, with storage underneath. Add in the AGUTI ‘lounge’ cab seats that swivel and are adjustable, and there is plenty of seating for eight people, I am sure.

Large rear boot, accessible both sides, plenty of tie down positions, extra storage shelves and drawers as well

The table is foldable and fully height-adjustable to suit as well. The hand-stitched finish on the upholstery looks classy, as do the individual adjustable headrests for seat-belted passengers. Inside the extra-wide 700mm doorway there’s a slide-out storage cabinet for up to eight bottles, and monitors above the door. The doorway has a pull-out fly-screen. Above the lounge seating are two cabinets with fitted wine-glass storage – a nice touch.

The main house floor is all one level including the front cab area. The bedroom has steps on both sides of the bed. I like the single-level flow of this design, into the cab area as well – ideal ergonomically. The second bed option is in the cab roof where a pull-down bed of 1400 x 1900mm is tucked away.

The kitchen is compact but well planned with an under-bench grill/oven combo, drawers and pull-out storage options. The gas hob and sink are set into an extra-deep bench, both with lids to provide more preparation space. Splashback and window behind, storage shelf and cupboards above

When pulled down you can still use the entertainment lounge/dining space as it does not come down over this area. LED lights and even a USB charging port are located in this area for guests. There are floor lockers in the double floor offering more storage areas as well. Flooring is vinyl with a wood-look finish, with removable carpet in the front cab area.

The kitchen is opposite the entry with under-bench combined grill/oven, sink and gas hob in the bench top, quality fixtures and fittings in this area, three soft-close utility drawers are also lockable in travel. Overhead locker shelving for more storage, a back lit polycarbonate kitchen splashback and deep laminate workbench. The large fridge/freezer unit is opposite with the full-height glide-out pantry.

The rear island bed lifts on gas struts to access storage, overhead lockers with strip and LED spot reading lights. Fancy headboard is a feature. Wardrobes both sides, shelf and drawer storage

Sliding privacy doors are tucked away in the walls between the living area and the bathroom and again between the bathroom and bedroom area. A full-sized shower and separate vanity unit is on the left passenger side. A normal swing-opening door gives access to the separate toilet area. The 12V electric flush pedestal toilet is on a plinth for a bit more height; lots of storage for toiletries in here and a large mirrored cabinet.

Roof vents and LED lighting throughout. To the right of this is a full-height split storage cabinet. The sliding door to the bedroom fits nicely behind this. Lot of extras here with towel rails, toilet-paper holders, storage galore, roof vent and electrical sockets.

Full shower on the passenger side of the vehicle, en-suite toilet on the opposite side, walk through to the bedroom. Privacy doors to kitchen and bedroom zones

Step through to the rear bedroom with island bed, fitted with electric headboard adjustment, and two drawers under the bed end for easy access. The LED backlit headboard makes an attractive feature. Each side of the bed has a wardrobe storage space and overhead reading lights; also overhead locker storage and a roof vent. Windows on each side offer light and views, with fly screens along with fitted blinds and decorative curtains to finish the look. The heating system vents on each side of the bed area are part of the heating and ventilation system that flows around the internal vehicle walls and floors.

Less obvious are the quality finishes, like the roof lining being ‘soft-sound’ acoustic fabric to block outside noise for your comfort, and also shield outsiders from hearing your interior activities. The windows are double-glazed poly-vision with aluminium frame, have smooth-slide catches, and are flush fitted to the vehicle. The cameras in the exterior mirrors are cool. The AL-KO chassis is low slung giving designers the double floor option, and tanks are placed between rear axles for balanced weight distribution. The domed roof design that takes water straight off the roof, and the cab passenger and driver’s door windows are double-glazed. Door fixtures, locks and catches are high quality. The services are frost protected in the double floor system, and there’s a dedicated locker for controllers, inverters and utility items.

All in all the Le Voyageur is a quality vehicle for those stepping it up in the budget, from the entry-point vehicles under $200K, to a range of vehicles offering just that bit more for the discerning buyer. If this model is a bit bigger than you might want, talk to DeLuxe RV about what you need and see what model may fit your bill. Le Voyageur is part of the Pilote Group, so everyone’s needs could be fulfilled with a little investigation perhaps.

Have a look for yourself at the upcoming Covi SuperShow in Auckland in March 2020, or talk to DeLuxe about visiting Mt Maunganui, Levin or Blenheim to see this or other models that may suit you.

Tech Specs

2020 Fiat Ducato LeVoyageur 8.5CL $264,990 4-berth

Fiat Euro 6 134kW, 2.3L turbo diesel engine, 6-speed auto trans, COF, car licence, ESP, AB and anti-skid, cruise control. Front exterior rear-view mirror cameras, and on the rear a wide-angle reversing camera. Heavy-duty AL-KO low chassis, double rear axle, front strengthened higher suspension.

Dimensions (mm):
Length 8550, width 2240 with mirrors 2800, height 2950, wheelbase 4590 + 800. Rear storage boot 1050 x 1080 (2.55m3 storage), doors 1160 x 960, double floor height 260, interior height 2000, shower height 1900.
GVM 5000kg, on-road 3950kg, payload 1050kg, braked tow limit 2000kg

Construction:
Polyester side walls, moisture-resistant wall battens and 35mm insulation; to conserve heat, walls and roof are composed of Styrofoam-lined aluminium; 7mm ply-wood floor with 25mm insulation and fibreglass protection panel; a one-piece fibreglass dome roof with no water retention; hail-protection covering on the roof; a 26cm double floor that is Class 3 insulated, and heated so well it retains and moves heat around (sort of acts like underfloor heating, though it is not); aluminium side skirts; double-glazed windows with aluminium frames and the front and rear pieces are a polyester monobloc construction.

Living and Freedom camping:
Island bed 1450 x 1950mm with Bultex mattress and electric headboard, step access height 740mm; over-cab pull-down bed 1400 x 1900mm. Kitchen: 3-burner gas hob, under-bench combined gas oven/grill unit, turbo-vent roof air extractor, Dometic 160L 3-way auto fridge/freezer. Separate full-size shower, en suite with 12V electric flush pedestal, 23L cassette toilet. 200L fresh, 120L grey water tanks. 2 x 150W solar panels, 200Ah battery with 20A charger. Alde gas/electric heating and hot water system.

Auto-sat dish, 24˝ flat screen TV with Freeview and DVD, radio with Bluetooth.

BBQ gas point, Fiamma wind-out awning, 16˝ alloy wheels