Camping is a top draw experience with the new Conquest motorhome from Jayco.
On the road the immediate access to home comforts is the major plus in motorhome touring in this new entry to the market.
GoSeeAustralia covered almost 400km on a return trip to Victorias Bass Coast with the Conquest.
Rear dinnette option in the Conquest layout
The incredulous comments from stay-at-homes when our daughter remarked that your correspondent was going camping in Victoria by the sea in May died in the face of her You havent seen what they are camping in! response.
At under $100,000 ($92,990) the Jayco Conquest motorhome impresses with value and comfort at a price which tests its competitors. This is the essence of Jaycos business plan and a proven unique selling point across their products.
GoSeeAustralia used the four person motorhome version with east west rear inner spring mattress, and double berth in the cab-over at the front of the Conquest.
Comfort. Twin sleeping bags and curtains for privacy, and warmth
The comfortable front berth is reached via a light, strong ladder.
It and the Conquest overall is well ventilated through twin roof hatches and tinted wind-out windows with insect screens.
There are effective downlights above the dinette and double bed. Sphere flat screen TV hooks to a wind-up, rotating aerial. The aerial wind up handle needs to be protected from the adjacent locker door when it is opened. There is a CD, DVD MP3 player and Coleman air conditioner.
Lap and lap-sash seat-belts are bolted to a steel frame and the chassis for passenger seating facing the dinette table. The dinette table must be removed and stowed for safety when the seatbelts are used. There is storage space and batteries under the seating.
Lap and sash seatbelts. The table top is stowed for travel when the seats are used
Storage is particularly good with plenty of lockers and cupboards throughout the Conquest. The main hanging locker near the rear bed is deep enough to handle coats and long pants. There is a massive storage area under the easily lifted rear double bed base.
Giving due consideration to weight distribution the go is to pack the things that will be most needed near the external locker door on the right rear of the Conquest.
The stoves fireproof lid must be up when it is in use.
Tofu and vegetable, Tamari stir fry coming up
Twin gas bottles are firmly clamped in their own external locker on the front right of the motorhome. Gas is dangerous. Always turn off each bottle and put the red gas flow tap in the up off position.
Turn the red tap along the gas line when you need gas and turn on the bottle. The gas flow can be slow to reach the excellent gas stove in the Conquest so dont panic if the first strikes on the burner griller fire switch dont bring flame. When hooked to caravan park power, there is an excellent electric plate on the Smev four burner griller.
Twin gas bottles are well clamped
The electric plate produced first class stir-fry meals back-up by the microwave. It is the canny Scot in me preferring to use the electric power paid for in the caravan park powered site fee rather than the gas in the Conquests bottles
The rangehood works well over the burner griller and the big Dometic roof hatches clear the air. Despite this we did all our really savory cooking outdoors on a portable gas stove we carry as part of the GoSeeAustralia camping gear.
The kitchen working area is generous. The tap folds down
The Conquests cooking area and stainless steel sink provide generous, easy to clean working surfaces backed up by the mains pressure system to sink, shower and vanity or through the in-house pump powered water system.
To put that in context for first-timers it must be said that GoSeeAustralia is not average yardstick when we discuss generous working surfaces in RVs. The comment is made in the context of a lifetime camping and boating using confined cooking spaces.
A great site it worth a smile
For your own safety and that of the people you are responsible for please read the equipment manuals and the warning stickers posted throughout any quality Recreational Vehicle. The Conquest has a library of well presented owner information and there is much more to be gained from the motorhome experience once their information is digested.
It also has a 12/240V switchboard in a locker above the dinette table. There is a read out panel for the water tanks and battery condition. There are switches for the Truma hot water and boiler temperate. Turn on the water pump.
In 240v mode. Hot water on (green) at 70deg (Red) with pump on (Green)
Check the power switch is 240V when plugged in on a campsite and 12V on the road. The Conquest has an auto function on the electrics, but it is nice to know what is going on and flat batteries are not fun.
There is an empty second battery holder beside the 100amp hour house battery under the front dinette table seat. For GoSeeAustralia use with internet and camera equipment demands we would fit a second battery as we have in the company Heritage caravan.
Before heading Out There the Conquests fluids, oil, brake fluid and water levels got a check. We filled the 80 litre diesel tank which has a quirky flip-top cover on the passenger guard and checked tyre pressures.
Visual checks on engine fluids are easily made
The diesel fuel consumption was hammered by strong headwinds and crosswinds during GoSeeAustralias time with the Conquest. We used 52 litres to cover 368km at $1.42 a litre for a $73.84 fuel cost.
Jayco says about 13 litres a 100km is usual in normal road running. So 46 litres for the 368km trip in calm conditions should be achievable.
As we paid $18 a night for our powered site we thought using the motorhome worked well for the hip pocket.
Before we left home the potable water tank was filled, flushed, and refilled to make certain we only carried Adams Ale. A new water tank can leave a bad and sometimes dangerous taste in your mouth. It should always be drained when not in use.
Press the back edge of the filler cover
The grey water tank was empty so we made sure that the hoses and drain cocks on it and the fresh water tank had no leaks and cocks turned off.
The twin gas bottles were unclamped, checked and soap and water used on gas lines and fittings to test for gas leaks.
The Thetford toilet was set-up with 125mil of chemical and two litres of water in the 15 litre cassette.
T here is no point in adding more chemical, Thetford says it wont work any better even if half a litre of chemical is added. A neat trick from Thetford to lubricate the slide top in the toilet cassette is a quick, light mist of the olive oil spray usually used in cooking.
Water tank filler and water pressure connection
GoSeeAustralia recommends that the best time to empty a cassette toilet is well before it becomes too full. Always empty it when your RV is not being used.
In the Conquest bathroom the Thetford chemical cassette toilet can be adjusted right to left to increase leg room in the confined space and its cassette is easily discretely serviced from outside the motorhome via a locker door. The toilet shares the useful shower recess with a small wash basin.
No unpredictable toggle lock is used on the shower recess door. (Jayco has been listening). It has an effective push/pull clip lock which operates easily from either side.
The cassette slides into place in the motorhome
The shower is on an extended flexible fitting and gives best results hand-held. Two reasonable showers are possible from the hot water boiler if shared by considerate people. Reheating takes about 30 minutes on mains power.
Turn on the effective overhead toilet/shower exhaust fan. Dont take anything with you when showering that you dont want to get wet. Leave towels and toilet paper outside.
The shower sump has a central floor drain. Perfect when the Conquest is on a perfectly level site or trimmed with wheel chocks, but additional marine-style north-south drains would help when the base camp has a tilt. Regardless a mop and bucket should be on board to clean up splashes.
The shower head is best hand held for washing
The materials used in the Conquest, floor carpets and fittings respond well to mop, broom and vacuum cleaner. GoSeeAustralia had a wonderful camp site at Powlett River on grass over sand, but we put a trusty welcome mat outside the door just before the Conquests electric folding step
It is a habit now and saves a lot of cleaning.
The wash basin was the only uncomfortable Conquest experience despite the cool wet, windy Bass Coast weather. The flexible washbasin drain hose poured water into your correspondents shoes on first use.
Conquest production line
Investigative journalism revealed a split hose. A sharp knife, small screwdriver and a few minutes to cut off the fractured hose top and refit the hose and clamp provided a fix. The hose may have been too short and movement and vibration cracked it.
The Conquest does not have dual rear wheels so the one spare wheel slung under the rear of the vehicle covers the whole motorhome. This is a cost benefit as some dual rear wheel rigs run different sizes.
The three phase fridge gas, 12V and 240V does the job. Wine bottles will stand upright in the door. It ran overnight on 240V via a15amp fitting before we left home to get things really cold.
Lisa loves camping in a motorhome
Then 12V on the road and 240V at the caravan park. GoSeeAustralia travels light on perishable foods like meat on the road. Small refrigerators have limits and pose a potential health risk in the caravan environment so we shop for a little a lot.
There is a GoSeeAustralia feature on this topic on the way.
Shopping raises getting about and a potential downside for motorhome owners.
Once a motorhome is on site pulling up camp to go shopping or sight seeing is an issue.
Good looking rig
This brings up compromise. Some motorhomes have motorbike backup, others a small vehicle being towed behind.
The Conquest came with a first class double bike rack which certainly suits our short range requirements. Bikes are eco friendly and provide exercise and a great way to enjoy local attractions at a speed which allows full appreciation.
But after living with the Conquest motorhome we think most of our needs can be easily planned for and heading off in the motorhome is a matter of minutes. The Conquest is easily managed on the road and there are few country places it could not go and park.
The awning is not for strong winds
If site rights are an issue a few words with the caravan park management will keep the camp site vacant.
Metro use is probably best approached by booking into a convenient city caravan park and using public transport.
Once on site the Conquest wind-out Fiamma awning can be brought into play weather permitting.
The winder attachment for the awning hooks into the driver gear on the right hand end of the roll out awning. Turn the handle and out it comes. There is a rafter which can be fitted to give more rigidity. The winder and the rafter live under the rear double bed which lifts up on hydraulic arms.
Power step out
Steps help in putting the rafter in place as it clips on the inside of the awning high on the Conquest.
Adjustable bracing struts slide out of the awnings leading edge, revolve and lock into slots on the side of the Conquest. The experience can be daunting the first time.
It would be easy to stress and potentially break the awnings fittings if the set-up was rushed or attempted in a strong wind.
There is no bad weather, only the wrong clothes
As we were on Victorias Bass Coast in May GoSeeAustralia had a weather eye open and we spotted a big gale on the Bureau of Meteorologys radar. Still it was hours away and the sun shone so out went the awning.
It is a clever arrangement which can be set as far in or out as suits. Once the twin struts are locked in place on the side of the Conquest the structure is quite strong. A small Jayco miscue was that the forward strut foot would not lock right home as the lock fitting had been placed over one of the Conquests reflectors.
We would add poles, guys and pegs to the awning. For the long-term we would look at turning it into a strong annex.
At Powlett River we wound it in for the night and woke at 1am glad we had as the forecast gale and heavy rain roared in. The awning would have certainly sailed over the motorhome, but as we were reefed down the 30knots barely disturbed the Conquest.
Fireside comfort, on glass top, complete with safety switch
We turned over under two doonas in the comfort of Conquest beds, warmed by a 400 watt electric heater, enclosed by the privacy of heavy curtains and went back to sleep until 10am.
The heater stands on an auto cutout base. It has a thermostat set to keep the chill off and for safety we put it on the fireproof stove lid in any RV we use it in.
We awoke to happy children from other camp sites playing and laughing with their pet dogs. (They were on leads, the dogs that is.) It was a windy, crystal clear day and the glowing greens of the hills of the Bass Coast shone like the Emerald Isle.
Conquest dinette and sofa option
The Fiat Ducato 2.8 FWD turbo diesel power plant, which GoSeeAustralia first made friends with in the Ducato Campervan, continues to impress, but it has a lot more to haul about in the Conquest.
The whole Ducato manual diesel concept is easy to use; light in the clutch and gearbox and for us a fun experience behind the wheel.
The diesel has a friendly character. In the Ducato Campervan it is more car-like. In the Conquest there is a lot more vehicle and while the rig handles well the mood changes to heavy vehicle mode.
Easy fit through standard gates
It certainly helps that your correspondent likes and understands bigger vehicles and knows how to get the best from a diesel.
If anything the 2.8 turbo diesel is too forgiving. It will lug on in the gears if it is allowed to potentially to its own detriment.
With the near four tonne weight of the Conquest motorhome hitched to the 2.8 turbo lazy drivers who hang onto high gears as the revs die could put expensive strain on the gearbox over time.
But there is no reason for this to happen as it is such a pleasure to use the super light clutch and five well spaced gears. This keeps the motor spinning in its sweet torque spot and the Conquest motorhoming world is a happy thing cruising easily between 90 and 100kmh.
Our daughter wants to move in
The Fiat Ducato clutch, gearbox and ratios for the five gears compare well with a long-wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter diesel GoSeeAustralia knows.
Your correspondent likes manual diesels as they provide direct involvement in the pleasure of the driving experience. It is a pay attention thing which GoSeeAustralia believes is a major factor in road safety.
The practical benefits also include much better fuel economy when the vehicle is driven at its most efficient compared to a similar auto left to slug along.
Driving the Conquest is fun. It came with cruise control on the steering wheel which we used to good effect in flat going and turned off to save fuel and get the gears right manually when hills came up.
The view from the Conquest bridge deck
There is an excellent view from the Conquest Bridge. Seating is comfortable for both driver and passenger and big mirrors keep the driver well informed on what is behind.
Yes, there is a learning curve in dealing with a motorhome, but basic care is all that is needed even in the strong winds we experienced.
An appreciation of trees trimmed to truck height is important. We always check in the owner manuals and with our own tape measure before heading out in high roof vehicles.
High vehicles look foolish stuck when the bridge sign said 2.8m and they needed 3.1m or a tree or shed remodels the roof.
There are a variety of layouts and a real push to put quality into the value package.
For example the furniture is screwed not stapled.
GoSeeAustralia thinks the $92,990 price of the Conquest at the recent Victorian Camping and Caravan Supershow looked good against other makers for a motorhome this size.
Ducato Conquest Motorhome 4HR
Length 6900mm (22ft 7in)
Width 2250mm (7ft. 4in.)
Body height 2970 HR
Height including air-conditioning (3120mm).
Tare weight 3300kg.
Gross Vehicle Mass 3850kg.
Carrying capacity 550kg.
Towing capacity 750 to 1000kg.
Fresh water 86 litres.
Grey water 55 litres.
Engine 2.8 litre turbo diesel.
Max torque - 300Nm at 1800 rpm.
Max power - 94kW at 3600 rpm.
Front Wheel Drive.
Fuel capacity - 80 litres.
Consumption See feature.
Transmission - 5-speed manual. (Opt. auto)
Suspension (front) Macpherson Strut.
Suspension (rear) Leaf Spring.
Four wheel disc brakes.
Steering - rack and pinion, power assisted.
Rear wheel configuration (Single).
Tyre size 215/75R16C
Warranty - 3yr/180,000 km
Builder - Motorhomes by Jayco
Editor's Note also see:
The rear door Conquest option
The Conquest kitchen at the rear option
The seatbelts are anchored
Huge storage under the double-bed