Freeway Canter Review - continued . . .
|Apart from the very tiny surface staples used to hold on
the plywood, we could find zero staples in any of the cabinets and zero
MDF - great stuff! All cabinets are made from vinyl coated solid timber.
Not exactly luxurious, but overall quite functional. Catches are very positive
and easy to adjust. All overhead cupboards have brass spring type struts
- very positive. The kitchen hood vents to the outside but is very noisy.
Some model Winnebagos use the very spunky looking Electrolux vents, but
the big drawback with these is the huge tube that comes out of the top rendering
the cupboard above quite useless for storage. In our view you are better
off putting up with the noise made by the Jensen!
|At last there is a divider in the top kitchen cupboards.
Loads of bench space for food preparation - more actually than any Leisure
Seeker. All electrical controls are right there at eye level including the
12 volt DC main switch. Still no 12 volt socket for accessories though.
The electric start hot water control is of course an extra. This motorhome
is well set up for installing a TV in a permanent position. You can either
mount it on the end of the kitchen bench or on top of the wardrobe. Both
positions have a power point handy. The wardrobe position is great for watching
in bed, but might be too high watching from the dinette.
|Access through to the cab is only fair. If you have mobility
problems you could have problems. However you can crawl/clamber through,
and you possibly only need it for the odd emergency, and of course arriving
at your campsite in the pouring rain.
|All the pine framing has gone from under the dinette seating
area, and it is now metal the same as all Leisure Seekers. The black bit
shown below ripped a hole in my shorts taking photos, so this does need
a little more TLC, as no attempt had been made to clean up the sharp edges.
Otherwise the framing is excellent and certainly stronger than the pine
system and not a staple to be found anywhere! The locker tops are simply
drop in pieces of ply. This is rather odd as campers well under $20,000.00
have neatly hinged tops and every hire fleet motorhome we have seen come
out of the Winnebago factory has this feature as standard. Suncamper for
instance have a very nifty offset hinge system - works a treat! Winnebago
are trailing badly in this area. The
DIY section on this site shows you ways of fixing this using
simple hand tools and a length of piano hinge, but the point we are making
here is that you should not have to do this after spending so much money.
|Naturally things are a bit higher off the ground with the
larger wheels, but having more ground clearance is a bigger advantage, plus
you no longer need two different sized spares. The entry steps now have
a safety yellow grip edge. We would like to see this safety idea extended
to the edge of the moveable step as well. We have had several visitors almost
fall exiting the Freeway, as if you don't have an outside light it is EXTREMELY
hard to see the step when bush camping. Now were the step to be painted
white by the supplier, this could alleviate the problem at absolutely no
cost to Winnebago. We find it really odd that items like safety external
lights are not fitted as standard, as EVERY caravan made has
them factory supplied - why aren't they on all Winnebagos? Similarly there
is no "hall" light and no switch near the door to turn on any
inside light. When retiring at night you MUST clamber up into
the cab over bed to turn on a light then go back down to turn off the lights
you left on to see with to clamber up into the bed! So far as we can ascertain
the entire Leisure Seeker range suffers from the same design oversight.
The inside grab bar rail is too weak where in connects to the top of the
wardrobe and moves when used - doesn't inspire confidence. All they have
done is put a 80 mm square pad behind the flange on just 3mm plywood. Not
good! This needs to be connected to the frame of the wardrobe - an easy
fix during manufacture, but harder to fit later.
|The ladder access to the cab over bed has been improved.
We found that the older style had a tendency to twist and horror of horrors
fall out of one of the clips! Another problem in the original was only three
steps - no good for oldies! One of the really good things with Winnebago
is the constant improvement. Yes it's true that sometimes they are
frustratingly slow, and some things like the original diesel filling
problems in the Freeways should never have happened in the first place.
However, the ladder now has four rungs, has a stiffener at the top to positively
stop twisting and it is a much safer gadget all round. Now all it needs
is a slight redesign of the weak top clips and they will possibly achieve
perfection in this area.
|The seat belt anchorage goes straight into the frame, and
is very good. Lap type only is provided. It would be nicer to have lap sash
type in the future. The photo below shows the new taillight assemblies from
inside the locker. The charger has not been upgraded to the
models now found in the Leisure Seekers, however it has worked fine
for us so far. We checked the output voltage at 13.8 volts which is just
acceptable for charging.
|Still no power points in the dinette area, but you can plug
a power board into the charger socket and use as a safer work around to
having leads running on the floor from the kitchen or along the seats from
the wardrobe. This is however not a really good work around. We suggest
you have a "little moan" when you order and Winnebago might take
the hint - you never know your luck if enough of us take up the baton. It
is encouraging to see the new editor of Caravan and Motorhome magazine listing
problems in reviews at last.
|We particularly liked the positive way the table worked and
its very generous size. Ideal for anyone into crafty or computer activities
and of course card players. Winnebago have at least five table support ideas
on the go at the moment! This one also looks good and is easy for anyone
with arthritic problems to use.
|The new for 2002 sullage system is the same as fitted to
the Leisure Seekers and requires no bending down at all. The photo above
right shows the excellent accessibility of the connection point and the
operating handle. The sullage hose and fittings are now supplied as standard
- photo below left. On free extras you also get a very posh sink cover!
|The battery storage section remains unchanged and is of excellent
build quality and really is stronger than the proverbial brick dunny.
The wet cell, deep cycle house (hard to check this though as it's not labelled)
and vehicle batteries are mounted in a very well made compartment at the
rear of the passenger side. Both batteries sort of slide out for servicing.
Attention to detail is very good with Teflon used to keep things easy to
move, although topping up is still not ideal for the rear cells. Now this
problem has been mentioned in many magazine reviews, yet Winnebago seem
not to have ever addressed it on any model regardless of cost that we have
come across so far. We find this very odd, as the "fix"
is simply to extend the two angle iron rails by 6" or so and weld two
safety stops on the ends. This would allow TOTAL access to
the batteries. The cost is just about nothing and they would hang out in
empty space behind the box. Another slight problem in this area is the charger
is set at 13.85 volts so the battery can never achieve 100%
charge as this is really only a FLOAT charge. This is great
if you leave your motorhome plugged into 240 volt in storage, but not too
good if you want to charge from flat as there is no boost to get it going.
Of course at 13.85 volts the battery will probably never need water! Mid
2002 model Leisure Seekers all have the best in the business
Mastervolt unit - multi
stage charger. This caused a lot of interest at the 2002 CMCA rally at Barcaldine.
Fusing remains a bit of a problem and we could not find the main fuse and
a quick perusal of the Winnebago folder drew a complete blank as well. At
the very least we would like to see a $10.00 overload or preferably a fusible
link. The single 9kg gas system remains unchanged, but this particular model
did not have a gas gauge. We really liked this feature on the 2001 model.
Oddly other Winnies that came up with this same shipment had the gauge,
yet the cylinders were all Manchester? The bottle clamping method is excellent
and a delight to use, but unless we are reading it wrong, there is still
no 25mm drain in the bottom of the gas compartment cut at 45 degrees facing
rearwards to comply with the Gas Installation Code AG 5601 - 2002.
Yes we are VERY IMPRESSED with the ongoing
improvements to the Freeway. It is an absolutely excellent entry model
and is ideal for weekend use, or even a quick trip around Oz, as long
as it's just a couple. It could also be a real money earner for hire fleet
Motorhomes just north of Brisbane are the first to give them
a go and are very pleased with the initial response, as rates start at
$150.00 a day all inclusive. We are possibly fussier than most on the
Quality Control front, but on this Freeway we found a huge
improvement on the original. A long range fuel tank as standard is a great
feature, as is the extra cabin comfort for taller drivers. The radio aerial
is great and the new look taillights right on the money. The on the road
price as reviewed, came in a whisker over $70K representing
extremely good value. To get on the road though you would possibly have
to spend $682.00 on a Winegard aerial and $1,200.00 on a Fiamma wind out
awning. If you intend free camping at all you would need to allow at least
another $1,200.00 for a solar panel and regulator. There are no other
reviews on the Canter Freeway as yet, but everything in
print so far from all sources Freeway wise is on the Queensland
RV site. At the time of writing Winnebago are still showing
the older models on their
site, but just keep checking back. We absolutely
recommend the Canter based Freeway and Winnebago are certainly onto a
winner with this model!
Bob and Chrissy
We have just been advised that Mitsubushi will not be complying
with the new Euro 3 emmissions so they will not be used
on future Freeways.