Avida Caravans Topaz 21’

Aussie Gem

As a caravan reviewer, I get to see a lot of different vans. In many ways, that’s no different from a lot of readers who spend time at shows or trawling through various yards looking for the van that ticks their boxes or stirs some spark. Sometimes the search can be disheartening. One van can seem a lot like the one we saw previously with a similar layout and colours so it can be hard to choose.

Now and then though you can step in a van and suddenly realise it’s something different, innovative and even exciting.

That was my feeling when I discovered this Avida, the first one I had seen, and it was even better when I learned it originated in my home state of NSW, not in the Victorian caravan hub in Northern Melbourne.

Australian Motor Homes in Newcastle have a big selection of Avida caravans and we were able to take one of the upmarket Topaz models to a quiet location on the lake for our review.

Avida’s story goes back to 1965 as a very successful motorhome manufacturer, and it was only recently that they added these innovative vans to their range. That’s not to say they are inexperienced at the game because many of the features of building a motorhome easily transfer to the caravan industry.

Rather than look at what everyone else was doing, Avida started with a clean slate and brought their years of experience to the new product and introduced something innovative and refreshingly different. Their inventive approach delivered an entirely different van from the style we are used to seeing, employing laminated walls and an innovative chassis design quickly adopted to recent improvements in suspension technology.

Laminated sheets of fibreglass, foam and a composite Supalite panel are sandwiched together in the Emu Plains facility to form the walls before a computer controlled cutter carves out sections for windows, doors and hatches. Similar structures also make up the single piece 45mm roof and a 49mm floor that has an added layer of aluminium as its base. Panels are joined with lengths of extruded aluminium along their edges to create a rigid, sturdy weatherproof body securely fixed to the chassis.

Moulded fibreglass panels cover the front and rear sections, giving a streamlined look and creating a very modern impression. Our test van looked great in Arctic White, but there is also a choice of Champagne Gold and Frosty Silver all with a range of tasteful graphics.

The chassis is hot dipped galvanised and has 150mm main beams with C-section cross members and a 125mm A-frame, connecting to the tow vehicle with a standard 50mm ball. Because the gas bottles are stored in a hatch on the side of the van, the A-frame is uncluttered and neat making it easy to fix the simple wind-up AL-KO jockey wheel.

A ply sheet and metal plate protect two 120L water tanks slung under the chassis. They look as well protected and fixed as any I have seen. All pipes and electrical leads are routed high to prevent damage.

Tandem axle suspension is the new Cruisemaster CRS trailing arm independent type with shock absorbers, while brakes are 10” electric on both axles. 15” alloys are shod with 225x70R road tyres.

A large fibreglass door covers a full width and very deep boot where there is easy access to water filters and pumps. You would need to keep weight balance in mind when loading of course but the boot stores loads of chairs, tables, mats, hoses and all sorts of ancillary items we love to carry with us on the road.

Other external features include a full-length awning, an outside shower and entertainment hatch, which has a table, small TV, speakers, USB, 12v and 240v outlets. Down the back is a reversing camera, LED lights, a nudge bar and under van storage for the spare wheel.

It’s at the rear entry that things get really interesting. Open the three-way fibreglass and metal security door and press a button on the interior switch panel for the electric steps to unfold. Hold in another button and a 4m long slide out moves to its open position. A surprisingly roomy and well-equipped interior awaits.

Our test van – the CV7084SL – is the most luxurious and versatile of three layouts in the 21’ Topaz range, all of which are slide-outs and it was remarkable that the additional 5.4m x .6m area could create such a feeling of space and create so much extra storage. It really opens up the interior and converts it into a homely welcoming, entertaining precinct. It could be the perfect caravan for those who don’t like the outdoors that much.

A roof and big windows at the lounge, galley and on the passenger side at the bed permit lots of light and at night the latest style square LEDs with a blue option offer a serious or a party ambience.

Happily, there is access to the rear ensuite even without opening the slide, but, if you want a quick lunch, you will need to park with room to open it out for access to the kitchen or fridge. It’s a small compromise for the huge benefits.

The opaque ensuite door has a secure magnetic catch and slides into a cavity for a better-finished look. It’s well lit and modern with quality fittings including a round ceramic sink and a large mirror.

There are useful storage cupboards and lots of little shelves with fiddle rails for maximum storage. A triangular shower is set into the passenger side corner, and this leaves a larger area in the central section for room to move when drying off.

Careful thought has gone into the location of the driver side washing machine. Rather than a hinged lid, it is accessed by a slide, which then becomes a shelf for your clothes basket.

A sumptuous four seater lounge – convertible to a double bed, the 190L three-way fridge and a wardrobe are integrated into the driver side slideout with the galley opposite and a queen bed at the front.

I’m told a feature of the diner wows visitor at shows; press a button and a cocktail cabinet pops up out of the shelf at the back of the lounge. It would be a great party trick for new friends over for sundowners.

The compact kitchen has a Dometic grill/oven with 3+1 burners and Camec rangehood, Samsung microwave and a stainless steel sink with draining board.

A significant advantage of the extra space is the provision of a decent sized wardrobe, missing on most vans. It takes a position where there would normally be a window and as such gives a more private aspect to the area which isn’t a bad thing. Interestingly the bed slides to the window to accommodate the slide, and it can be left there for more dressing room or moved to its more typical central location to give access either side.

A 100ah battery and 160w of solar charge will combine with the larger water tanks to provide ample time off the grid, but if you are likely to be travelling a lot over rougher roads, you might consider the Multi Terrain pack that includes a beefed-up suspension and grey water tank.

Because of all the extra inclusions, the Topaz weighs in at 2514kg even with the savings gained in thoughtful engineering. Loaded with gear and water it will be over three tonne so a larger vehicle will be necessary. It towed perfectly well behind the Landcruiser during our test, and it will be suited to a lot of the current crop of twin cab 4WDs as long as you don’t go overboard with extra weight in the vehicle.

As they say quality costs so the $88,990 pricetag is a pleasant surprise for all the technology and space If you are looking for a capable tourer for extended travel, the Topaz makes sense. It is a great home grown van built for local conditions with a 3-year warranty, 5-year structural guarantee and 120 accredited service locations across the country.


Manufacturer: Avida

Model: Topaz 21’ CV 7084SL

Overall length: 8.165m

Exterior body length: 6.975m

Width: 2.49m b

Travel height: 3.075m

Interior height: 2.015m

Tare weight: 2514kg

ATM weight: 3300kg

Ball weight: 188kg

Price as reviewed: $88,990

Find Out More

Australian Motor Homes

31 Pacific Highway Bennetts Green NSW 2290

Ph. 02 4948 0433


Back to blog