Little big wheels
  |  First Published: May 2003

The Royal Flair Micro offers the ideal escape vehicle for a couple with a hankering to see Australia

SECTION: NSW camping




I attended the local 4WD and camping show with the specific intention of seeking out a caravan on the smaller side of the ledger. These shows are great places to look for products like these because there are many brands all in the one place at the one time and you can get a great comparison. And, if you are in the market and cashed up, you can do some pretty hot bargaining.

A lot has happened over the past few years to make the two-person van market blossom – increasing numbers of retirees, September 11, the Bali bombing and the Iraq war – and many people are turning to their own back yard to look for a safe holiday. Why not? You can spend years touring this fabulous country in safety and still only scratch the surface.

A caravan lets you go where you want, when you want and you can take as long as you like. If you find a great spot, you can hang around for a while. If you are travelling any distance, small vans are lighter, you use less fuel and they are easier to tow with is less wear and tear on the vehicle and the driver.

I was immediately attracted to the Royal Flair Micron, which fits the two-person tourer category brilliantly. It was compact, well-equipped, had a user-friendly finish and was well-priced.

From the outside you will notice the Micron’s large windows, which allow in plenty of natural light – none of those pokey little slits that you often associate with vans. There rear door allows all of the interior to be used, rather than having a gap in the middle that everything has to be built around.

The Micro has a pop-top to give plenty of headroom with ample ventilation. The internal finish is excellent, with all the inclusions for a comfortable holiday. There are nine different layouts to choose from so no matter what your tastes or your needs, there will be something to suit you.

Let’s look at the standard features. The tyres are 195 x 14 light truck tyres on alloy rims, so they are not tiny little ‘bearing-chewers’ that tend to throw apart if you travel at 100kmh for any length of time, so we have started of on the right foot.

The wheel arches are galvanised to minimise the onset of rust and the whole lot is mounted on a Duragal chassis, which is standard these days. The suspension is leaf spring and electric brakes are fitted.

At the front of the van there is a 9kg gas bottle firmly held in a galvanised bracket. Sitting next to it is the spare wheel, mounted on its own bracket so it is easily accessible. Above these is the front storage boot, which is large enough to swallow just about anything extra you would need to take on a trip, including a canvas awning to expand your living area.

A stone shield and a pebble guard protect the front of the van from chipped paint or dents. Even on the bitumen there are plenty of small particles thrown up so these guards are real assets.

Other external features include a lockable water filler, outside light for the optional annex, a mains-pressure water point so you can attach the hose and use the van park water rather than the water in your tank. There is an external power point and even an outside table at the rear of the van.

Outstanding internally

But the internal features are where the Micron really stands out. The whole van is fully insulated and there is a four-burner gas stove and griller, a microwave oven, range hood and an RM 2310 fridge to keep all the perishables fresh.

Storage abounds, with cupboards everywhere and extra storage under all the beds. There is even a full-length mirrored wardrobe with dressing table. All beds are 10cm foam and even come with their own bedspreads. The flooring is easy-maintenance vinyl while all cupboard doors are timber, as are all edges on the bench tops.

The kitchen is well set out with a large sink with laminex splash back. There are two taps, one for when you are connected to the city water supply at full mains pressure and the other for drawing water from the Micro’s water tank. The are even towel hangers under the overhead cupboards.

Fluorescent lights give plenty of illumination and curtains are standard on all windows. All windows wind out and come complete with fly screens. There is a fire extinguisher and a TV socket and cable.

I don’t know how they fitted so much into the space. Really, for a small parcel, it is amazingly roomy. The best part of all is the price, only $19,990 –almost half the price of some vans only slightly larger.

But to really appreciate how good the Micron is you will have to check it out for yourself at the Sydney Caravan and Camping Centre, 19 Smith Street, Emu Plains. Give them a call on 4735 2044 – they were more than helpful and great to deal with.

Pic No.1

The Royal Flair Micro is small, light and easy to tow but packs all the essentials, and then some, for a comfortable holiday.

Pic No.2

This Micro is the twin single-bed version but is available in nine layouts with double and single bed set-ups. Check out all the cupboard space.

Pic no.3

There are four gas hot plates and the cover folds down to give extra bench space.

Pic No.4

The fridge is only small but large enough to cater for all your perishables for several days. It run on 240 volt mains power, 12 volts or gas.

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