Affordable family fun with the refurbished Beach V721 4 Berth
Author: Malcolm Street Date Posted: 25 September 2018
THL has a varying range of motorhomes in its rental fleets - some are for just two people, whilst the larger motorhomes will suit six. There are some in what might be called traditional NZ layouts with a rear U-shaped lounge like the Beach V721 model, which will seat and sleep four people, a great feature for either families or those who have grandchildren.
The RV Super Centres in both Auckland and Christchurch currently has some of these refurbished models for sale, with around 280,000km on the clock.
Underpinning the Beach V721 is a VW Crafter chassis, that is powered by a 2.5L turbo diesel engine that delivers maximum power of 100kW and a handy 300Nm of torque. It also comes with VW’s Shiftmatic six-speed AMT gearbox. This has a familiar feel about it, mainly because it’s exactly the same as the Mercedes Benz Sprint shift gearbox, with the same hesitation in the lower ranges - and that has nothing to do with the age of the motorhome.
Like most of the THL fleet, the Beach V721 has fibreglass composite walls and roof, along with moulded fibreglass for the curvy bits such as the luton peak above the cab. Familiar are the glass sliding windows, advantageous because they don’t scratch as easily as acrylic ones but with the downside of not being able to be left open in the rain. Also familiar is the Hehr-style habitation door with its separate non security insect screen.
Unlike a few former rental motorhomes I have seen, this one does have a reasonable external bin, a tunnel boot across the rear but with different sized doors. The nearside one is being better suited to larger items, the smaller offside door for longer items such as fishing rods and snow skis.
THL seems to have settled on using Cvana awnings for its motorhomes. They are a little different in operation to Dometic and Fiamma types but a more rugged design making them quite practical and simple to use.
A PEEK INSIDE
With an external length of 7.21m (23ft 8in), there is plenty of room inside the Beach V721 for a fairly spacious layout, especially since there isn’t a fixed bed. Overall, the interior has a fairly open feel about it even with the somewhat square look to the cupboard cabinetry and seat cushions. As noted above, the U-shaped lounge takes up the rear area, which also can be used for making up a transverse bed. Between the entry door and the rear lounge, the kitchen bench occupies the nearside wall area. Opposite the kitchen bench are both the bathroom cubicle and a half-height cabinet. Up front, both cab seats swivel around and face the twin rear seat behind the driver’s cab.
There isn’t an air-conditioner fitted, but the four roof vents and a generous window area should keep the fresh air flowing.
One of the surprising curves in the Beach V721 happens along the kitchen benchtop. It’s a feature that is usually seen in more expensive motorhomes but in this case extends the benchtop area above the Waeco 140L fridge. It’s handily to the left when either washing up or using the hob for cooking and is a simple but effective touch. Two overhead lockers, several drawers and a cupboard form up the general kitchen storage capacity. In addition, the half-height cabinet across the walkway not only offers shelf area but also the under-bench location for the microwave oven and a rack of drawers.
LOUNGING AND DINING
In the rear, the U-shaped lounge offers the classic NZ motorhome back, with excellent views of the surrounding countryside through the all-round window. A single pole-mounted table with rounded ends can be used for dining but it’s not oversized. It’s possible of course to utilise the second table up front which sits neatly between the swivelling cab and rear seats. In the rear, overhead lockers are fitted above the seats on both sides but the rear wall just has open shelves – handy for stashing items when parked up.
Making up the rear 2.15mx1.9m (7ft x 6ft 3in) is quite simple and the usual fiddle of fitting the bed base and relocating seat cushions. For those who are happy to use it, the 2.15m x 1.6m (7ft x 5ft 3in) luton bed can, of course, be left made up all the time. The access ladder is stored in the small wardrobe behind the passenger seat when not being used.
To fit things into the bathroom, one of those clever mouldings has been used that incorporates a Thetford cassette toilet, fold-down vanity basin and a mirror door shaving cabinet. That leaves space then to stand and turn around under the flexible hose shower without a problem. A bathroom this size is a bit of a compromise but it’s one that works fairly well.
BEHIND THE WHEEL
In the driver’s cab everything was in surprisingly good condition for an refurbished model. The seats are often a good clue as to usage and these were still in fair condition, comfortable and swivelled easily. To contemporary eyes, the dashboard area did look a little dated but all the essentials were there and even the radio/CD player wasn’t the bog standard VW unit, which was always a little basic. It’s interesting how simple it can be to improve driver experience by doing something like fitting a better and not-too-expensive radio unit. On the road, the Beach V721 is quite a stable motorhome, in part due to the rear dual wheels. Not surprisingly, it does have a few squeaks and creaks and the suspension is what you might expect after 280,000km on the road. Some of the noises, at least those I could identify, could be fixed fairly easily with either a cushion in the right place or a bit of well located Velcro strip.
THE BOTTOM LINE
It depends on where you come from but for some the Beach V721 has a problem because it doesn’t have a fixed lower bed, either the corner or island variety. However, what it does have are two different sleeping areas and two different eating areas, so there is considerable flexibility in usage. There’s no reason why the luton bed or even the rear bed be left permanently made and the opposite end be used for dining. In addition to all that is that the Beach V721 is excellent for family use and a budget price as well!
PROS AND CONS
Good sized kitchen area
Rear window views
External bin storage
Lack of fixed bed
Square look to furniture
Small rear table
Model: Beach V721
Base Vehicle: VW Crafter
Engine: 2.5L turbodiesel
Gearbox: Six-speed Shiftmatic
Brakes: ABS disc
External length: 7.21m (23ft 8in)
External width (incl awning): 2.34m (7ft 8in)
External height: 3.2m ( 10ft 6in)
Internal height: 2.15m (7ft)
Rear bed: 2.15m x 1.9m (7ft x 6ft 3in)
Luton bed: 2.15m x 1.6m (7ft x 5ft 3in)
Water tank: 85L
Grey tank: 85L
Gas cylinders: 1x9kg
Cooktop: Four-burner and grill
Fridge: Vitrifrigo 140L
Microwave: Oven Sharp Carousel
Lighting :12V LED
Air conditioner: No
Toilet: Thetford cassette
Shower: Combo cubicle, flex hose
Hot water heater: Surburban 23L
Price: $69,990 NZD