When I stopped off to review the Sunliner Monaco motorhome, a nasty downpour had just begun and a gale was whipping up out of nowhere. Everyone outside the arena was suddenly scrambling to secure brochures and awnings.
However, inside the Monaco, there was a sense of calm; a feeling of uncluttered space and quiet luxury. I like Sunliner style. It is at once sunny and relaxed and perfectly suited to the tastes of both Kiwis and their Australian motorhoming counterparts.
There’s a sense of seaside bach in this motorhome which is designed for the ‘downunder’ market by a Kiwi living in Australia. No surprises therefore that the New Zealand franchise is held in Tauranga, where the aforesaid gentleman originally hailed from.
And no surprises that those features we all love are present – the Sunliner brand has been designed to meet the market. First up is the all-important rear island bed with a separate shower and toilet. That is going to be popular with Kiwis, as is the Sunliner style overall: bleached floorboards, light walls, uncluttered and understated, but with thoughtful details, like masses (and I do mean masses) of storage – both inside and out.
Another big plus is the galley design. It’s a sort of corner design and has more than the usual bench space. Certainly more than is traditionally offered by European vehicles. The fridge is 190-litres and there is a three-burner hob with oven and grill, as well as a rangehood and a microwave.
So it’s a surprisingly comprehensive package that takes into account the Kiwi preference for dining in when we get away from it all; after all there is no plethora of eating houses sprinkled through our forest or outback. I’d like to trial the galley’s workability before giving it a big tick, but that is not possible at a show.
On the plumbing front, there’s a swivel toilet and handbasin to one side, and a separate shower opposite with a dual-fold glass door. I like this set up, so conveniently near to the master suite. There’s a 20-litre gas/electric cylinder and a freshwater capacity of 100 litres with the same amount of grey. And – ta da! Drum roll, please … there is an outside shower. This makes perfect sense for a beach-loving family or a fisher. I also love the outside barbecue fitting and external speakers, and the awning that comes as standard.
Power wise, you’ll enjoy a 240V charger, 100Ah battery, 150W solar panel and regulator, and a 100W inverter. Two 4kg gas bottles complete the energy package. For entertainment, standard issue is the stereo with speakers and an antenna. Lighting throughout is LED.
Sunliner does provide thoughtful extras like electric entry steps, awning lights and the unexpected but welcome double-glazed windows. A gentleman who knows his motorhomes once pointed out to me the marks of a well-made one. Yep, real embedded windows (as opposed to flush-fitted Perspex) rank highly in his book. And the entry door is a full-size dual glass door. All opening windows come with blinds and screens. And should the weather turn a tad nasty, just turn on your Webasto diesel cabin heater to get your cosy back.
Outside there are four really spacious storage lockers. There is an overall feeling that the vehicle is robust; it is indeed not only built like a truck, it is built on the Iveco Daily. The manufacturers claim this “drives like a car, but has the strength you get from a solid steel truck chassis.” It is, they say, “robust, reliable, flexible, comfortable, safe and environmentally friendly.”
Since the show model was decidedly stationary, I will have to take their word for it. But in mechanical parlance you’ll drive away in an eight-speed automatic, with 3-litre diesel engine offering 126kW and plenty (430Nm) of torque. With all of that get up and go you’ll be torqueing all night.
Now I have failed to mention the bed in the luton (or peak as it is sometimes called). This sensible arrangement offers extra room for the grandkids without sacrificing the space you’ll enjoy most of the time when there are just two of you.
In summary, I think the Sunliner would suit a family or a pair of retirees, who intend to spend a significant amount of time on the road, and find themselves ready for the finer things in life.
At 7.9m in length the Monaco is not so small you’ll feel cramped, nor so large as to be unwieldy. Overall, it seems to be very well built, as the manufacturer’s claim. Hats off to Sunliner for offering a quality build with all the things Kiwis want on board.
Off the lot from Road Life Tauranga, your Sunliner Monaco will come fully self-contained with New Zealand-made appliances, gas certification and electrical WOF. It’s ready to drive away into a sunny future.
Short Specifications Sunliner Monaco four-berth $209,990 – Australian built
Vehicle: Iveco Daily 50c
Engine: 3.0L TD
- 100L Fresh water
- 100L Grey water
- 20L Gas electric hot water
- 100Ah battery
- 150W Solar panel and regulator
- 100W Inverter