The biggest changes of course were the Quick Cover awning, the higher roof line, new rear deck and the magnetic catches for the tent. The MK5 is more than an incremental step over the MK4. It feels like it’s skipped a generation such is the cumulative effect of the changes.[/grve_dropcap]
The Quick Cover awning, (after a little practice) is very easy to put up and pack away. Whilst it does not provide the same coverage of the canvas awning, it still covers a very useful area and unlike the canvas awning, it is able to be erected in a few minutes and packs away just as quickly. With the canvas awning on our MK4 we didn’t bother to put it up unless we were camping in the one spot for three days or more whereas the Quick Cover awning was used most times we set up the tent. Although you don’t need to use poles unless it is windy, we tended to put up three poles just in case the wind came up overnight as we didn’t fancy getting up in the middle of the night to put poles in if the weather changed for the worse. If we were just erecting the awning for some shade whilst we had a relaxing read, we didn’t worry about any poles at all. If it was a really gusty wind, we tied down the outer front corner with a bungy and tent peg.
The higher roof line is another great improvement particularly as it allows the fitment of the 120W solar panel. The extra height over the bed is also very welcome however the roof skylights do intrude somewhat. Overall, another big improvement.
The new rear deck is also far more user friendly. Firstly of course are the deck legs that stay in the deck when travelling, rather than having to remove them and find a spot in the storage locker. The deck legs also adjust with a very easy to use spring loaded index pin. This makes adjustment about as easy as it gets. The deck itself no longer has ribs and is totally flat sided both sides. When the first part of the deck is lowered into position, you don’t have to worry about just walking on the checkerplate, as the surface is flat, checkerplate free and has a non slip coating over the whole area. This is a massive improvement. The new coil springs reduce the effort when lifting the deck and don’t make a twanging noise like the old style springs. The wood rack is still there, just a little changed in design.
The tent has received a number of changes. Some subtle like the reshaping of the canvas at the Tvan end under what I call the mouth. There is also a clothesline across the roof at the rear of the tent above the breakfast bar which is a really simple change but super useful. We used it every day for towels and a tea towel and it is great.
The biggest change to the tent is there are no bungies any more. Attaching the tent to the deck is now done by a combination of small straps that have magnetic catches and magnetic catches that engage into recesses in the floor. All very easy to use and really effective. When packing up the tent this is the real surprise. Instead of having to lift the tent high up to hook the chrome ring onto the carabiner, you now just lift a strap with a magnetic catch on the end up to a magnet where the carabiner used to be.
This strap is about 300mm long so the lift involved is far, far easier. Once the magnetic catch is engaged, you just pull on the strap with one hand whilst lifting the canvas with the other.
Much less effort is involved and it works an absolute treat. The catch net or in our case tropical roof, is also fitted in place with straps and magnetic catches and again, less effort is needed to get it all in place.
The new stereo in the MK5 is also a big improvement, as it sits on a cradle in the Tvan or can be unclipped and taken anywhere as it has its own internal rechargeable battery. The radio only seems to work when there is a reasonably strong signal, however using bluetooth to send music from a phone or other device works really well, so if you have music on your phone/iPad/laptop, you can listen to it wherever you please. As there are no longer speakers in the panel over the top of the mouth of the Tvan, this area has been revised to allow more headroom.
The overhead storage and curtains are now in grey so this gives a far more airy and spacious feel to inside, as do the completely new and improved LED lights both inside and out
The curtains are now attached with magnets so they are easy to lower, remove and replace.
The new awning light can now be switched on and off from outside the Tvan and the cutlery drawer has been modified so that you can add an extra layer of cutlery or utensils.
The lithium battery was an option we thought long and hard about, as they are not cheap. Having said that, with the Projecta DC/DC charger and larger solar panel the lithium battery never dropped below 13.1V over a four day period without any external 240V power. As well as the usual Tvan electric items, we run a small Waeco fridge and charged our camera, iPhones, iPads and Fitbits all off the USB ports.
Our other options, whilst not new on the MK5 were nevertheless really good. The diesel HWS and heater was a godsend when it was cold (minus three degrees at a few places) and the opening windows allow great ventilation in the hot weather and a good view when the curtains were lowered.
All our Tvans have been great and the MK5 definitely the best by a good margin.
Wayne and Bernadette