Motorhome review: KEA Horizon
Author: Malcolm Street Date Posted: 3 January 2020
In both New Zealand and Australia, one of the more successful KEA designs has been the Horizon motorhome.
When it was first released, the Horizon had quite a distinctive style about it and was designed for both the rental and retail markets. Because of the rental requirement, it’s a six-berth motorhome with a luton peak. Its moulded fibreglass/composite fibreglass body certainly stood out in the crowd when it was first launched and it still does very much today.
UNIQUE FEATURES OF THE HORIZON
A little giveaway on the age of this motorhome design are the tinted glass windows instead of the more contemporary double glazed acrylic awning style that is a feature of many modern motorhome designs.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing – glass doesn’t scratch easily and particularly in the rear, the windows open quite widely. They are tinted enough to keep the sun out but not detract from the view inside. It’s not a major point (but often quite convenient) that the habitation door comes with a fitted garbage bin – much better than the plastic bag on a door handle.
Apart from the external bins for items such as the gas cylinders and toilet cassette, there is but one bin for external storage at the offside rear. It’s quite spacious though and certainly large enough for most of the camping essentials.
Rental and ex-rental motorhomes don’t always come with awnings, but this one does — a Cvana model. It’s slightly different to the usual awning design and has the advantage of being less flimsy than other brands, and thus less vulnerable to wind gusts and best of all, easy to use.
POWER BEHIND THE HORIZON
Measuring 7.05m (23ft 2in), the Horizon has had a variety of base vehicles including the Ford Transit but this one has the venerable Volkswagen Crafter. It’s a vehicle that seems to have stood the test of time.
A 2.5L VW turbodiesel engine drives the Horizon along, delivering a maximum of 100kW of power and a generous 330Nm of torque. Probably showing its age more than anything is the six-speed AMT Sprintshift gearbox. On my test run it performed well enough but with the usual hesitation in the lower ranges, something that has always been a feature of AMT gearboxes.
STEP INSIDE THE HORIZON
Aboard the Horizon, the layout consists of a rear U-shaped lounge, a nearside kitchen bench, mid-offside bathroom cubicle and a cafe-style dinette behind the driver’s seat.
It’s not quite the conventional style though because there is only one rear-facing seat, the sixth seat is actually forward-facing and located behind the passenger cab seat. It’s a slightly unusual design but one that seems to have stood the test of time.
More conventionally, there is the usual bed in the luton peak. Both cab seats swivel around naturally and all seats, including rear facing one are fitted with seat belts. One of the features of the Horizon is the time honoured (at least in NZ) rear lounge with windows all around! Time and tide has not passed by the benefits of this arrangement.
Despite the bulk of the bathroom cubicle, the interior still has a spacious feel about it. This is helped in part by the lighter hue of the faux timber finish of the cabinetry and the fairly large window area.
Roman blinds are fitted to all the windows, including the kitchen. LED downlights and reading lights appear in all the appropriate places, so there is no shortage of illumination. Still on electrics, the cabinetry above the habitation doors is an item of note. It’s where the flatscreen TV is mounted which, as long as your vision is good enough, can be seen from both the front and rear dinettes and the luton bed.
The 12V circuit switching and water/battery gauges are all pre-digital – nothing wrong with that as they all work very well. A bonus here is, of course, if something goes wrong then it’s easy to fix!
As noted above this is a six-berth motorhome, the rear lounge folds down into a 1.9m x 1.3 – 1.1m (6ft 2in x 4ft 3in – 3ft 7in) bed, the dinette folds down into a 1.8m x 1.3m (5ft 11in x 4ft 3in) bed and the luton is the largest of all three beds, measuring 1.9m x 1.6m (6ft 2in x 5ft 3in).
Although possibly the least easiest to get into, the luton bed does have the advantage of not having to be made up every night. A decent ladder is supplied (and that’s not always the case), opening windows are fitted on both walls, and reading lights are fitted on the offside.
All that isn’t to say there aren’t other possibilities for a couple in this layout. One of the two dinettes could be left permanently made up as a bed. That requires a decision as to whether that’s the rear dinette with a view and smaller bed, or choose a larger bed at the rear and be content with a side view. Or you could even opt for a bed each – the choices are endless!
IN THE KITCHEN
Meal preparation in the Horizon is handled by a well appointed and good sized kitchen bench. Fitted into the benchtop is a four-burner hob/grill and a stainless steel sink/drainer. Both having smoked glass lids which does improve the already reasonable benchtop space.
A little unusually, the microwave oven is set at a user-friendly height. It is below the overhead lockers, so there’s the benefit of the storage space above as well. Below the benchtop is enough space for the 136L fridge, wire basket pantry and three decent capacity drawers. It’s a kitchen that stacks up quite well.
Like the sleeping arrangements, there’s a choice of dining, well for two anyway – the table at the front or the table are the rear.
Although this is a six-berth unit, both dinettes are needed if six people are eating. Both dinettes come with overhead lockers above the seats and, in some cases, there is underseat storage as well.
There’s a bit more to the Horizon’s bathroom cubicle that first glance suggests.
For a start, it is quite spacious with a separate shower cubicle, vanity cabinet and Thetford cassette toilet. Included in the vanity cabinet are a wash basin and upper and lower cupboards. An opening frosted window supplies the ventilation here.
The Bottom Line
Although having an extended service life, apart from a few expected signs of wear and tear, the exterior and interior did look to be in fairly good condition.
It’s been a few years since I first saw one of the KEA Horizons roll out of the factory door. At the time I considered it to be quite an innovative motorhome, as well as being suitable for both the retail and rental markets.
It’s not really designed as a two-berth motorhome but there’s no reason it would not suit a couple, family or grandparents and grandchildren. Take your pick.
For more information on this and other vehicles or accessories, have a look at some of the vehicles available right now. On the RV Super Centre website you’ll find plenty of tests, blogs, images and video-presentations. Or phone 0800 52 00 55 to speak to an RV expert. RV Super Centre’s Good Guides are happy to assist.
KEA HORIZON MOTORHOME SPECIFICATIONS
- Beds: 6
- Base vehicle: Volkswagen Crafter
- Engine: 2.5L 100kW/330Nm turbodiesel
- External length: 7.05m (23ft 2in)
- External width: 2.35m (7ft 9in)
- External height: 3.2m (10ft 6in)
- Fresh water: TBC
- Grey water: TBC
- Interior height: 2.0m – 2.4m (6ft 7in – 7ft 10in)
- Cooking: Smev four-burner and grill with Sharp Carousel microwave
- Fridge: Waeco CR1140 12V 136L
- Gas cylinders: 2 x 9.0kg
- Battery: 1 x 100Ah
- Bathroom: Separate shower and cassette toilet