Avida Silverton 2020 Review

(From CaravanCampingSales - July 3 2020)

Looking for some German automotive nous in a C-class motorhome? Meet the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-based Avida Silverton

What’s the 2020 Avida Silverton all about?

Unveiled in February, the new Avida Silverton is the latest addition to the NSW manufacturer's line-up of C-Class motorhomes, and the only Avida based upon a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter cab/chassis.

In fact, Avida is the first Australian RV manufacturer to adopt the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 418, which is a front-drive and car-licence-friendly cab/chassis variant produced specifically for the motorhome market.

First unveiled in 2018, this new-generation Sprinter now goes head to head with Fiat's Ducato, IVECO's Daily and Volkswagen's Crafter in the motorhome market, and packages an impressive array of standard and optional safety features with a well-appointed car-like cab interior.

The Avida Silverton has seat belts for four occupants and can accommodate four overnight: two in a forward bed over the Sprinter's cabin and two in a mid-section east-west walkaround bed with slide-out.

With a length of 7134mm, the new model slots into the company's C-Class range above the shorter Daily-based Ceduna, and below the longer Ducato-based Birdsville, Daily-based Esperance and Isuzu N Series truck-based Longreach.

The Avida Silverton is also available in a B-Class format, which swaps the forward bed for a storage area and has a 170mm lower travel height.

Enter the 'Benz

Mercedes-Benz dominates Australia's large van market, but it's only with the arrival of the new-generation Sprinter that it has a tailor-made solution with which it can effectively target the motorhome niche.

Enter the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 418, a front-drive cab/chassis variant built specifically for motorhome conversion. It's powered by a 2.1-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo-diesel (130kW/400Nm), with the urge sent to the front wheels via 'Benz's 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission.

The engine output of the Mercedes-Benz OM651 engine is particular to this motorhome model – it's 10kW and 40Nm more than the retail Sprinter model – while this motorhome variant also receives a 92-litre fuel tank, up from the usual 71 litres.

Finally, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 418 has a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 4200kg, which incorporates a 100kg upgrade over the standard retail model.

On the road

Anyone who drives a late-model Mercedes-Benz car will feel right at home in the Avida Silverton – the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 418 cab has much of the trim and many of the features found in the brand's passenger-car family.

A definite highlight is the superb MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) multimedia system, with its crisp 10.25-inch colour touchscreen display, advanced voice commands, and Bluetooth connectivity. With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, it's a neat solution that packages navigation, call management, audio streaming and more into the one user-friendly bundle.

Adding an extra touch of class, our test vehicle features optional leather upholstery for both the driver and front passenger's pedestal seats, as well as for the twin-seat unit at the dinette.

We took in a mix of highway and country back roads with the Avida Silverton and soon discovered this motorhome is just lovely to drive. There's reasonable urge on tap from as low as 1500rpm and it builds speed swiftly and smoothly, the auto flicking through its nine available ratios with pace and precision.

The independent front suspension and single-leaf rear arrangement delivers a decent ride over surfaces of varying quality, while this medium-wheelbase model (3924mm) actually has a reasonably tight turning circle.

The leather-wrapped steering wheel features an impressive bank of integrated controls, including two small 'touchpads', for want of a better term, which allow you to swipe through the various info screens on the MBUX and central TFT displays.

Safety is well addressed, with the Sprinter 418 coming standard with all the usual staples plus niceties like crosswind assist, fatigue alert, and forward collision warning with autonomous braking. On top of that it's possible to add items like lane keep assist – a standard feature on retail Sprinter models but curiously absent in the Silverton – plus adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring, if desired.

Fuel economy? While our test was only a brief day trip, and the Silverton was unloaded, we saw an average economy of 13-14L/100km, which doesn't seem too shabby indeed for a rig with a tare weight pushing 3.5 tonnes.

How much does the 2020 Avida Silverton cost?

The 2020 Avida Silverton costs $159,998 drive away, ex-Victoria, with our test vehicle coming in at $161,998 with its optional leather upholstery and Webasto diesel heater.

That's a fair sum for a C-Class motorhome and a chunk more (roughly $5000) than the Ducato-based Avida Birdsville, which is 255mm longer and offers a bit more payload, in addition to having a longer slide-out section that also encompasses the dinette.

Still, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 418 is a very refined and feature-packed base, and it's not like the Silverton is at all spartan when it comes to comfort and amenity – far from it.

Easy entry is afforded by an electric step, an illuminated external grab handle and a sturdy railing just inside the door.

The mid nearside kitchen features a four-burner gas cooktop with grill and rangehood, plus a microwave, but no oven. Opposite the east-west walkaround bed is a flat screen Smart TV/DVD on an articulated arm and, just over the benchtop, a Fusion stereo system.

The rear ensuite is really spacious, with a separate corner shower, a full-size cassette toilet and a sizeable mirror behind the vanity basin, plus room for an optional washing machine if desired.

With the two front pedestal seats swiveled around, there's heaps of room for two to spread out around the dinette, or adequate space for four if guests come knocking.

And for those balmy al fresco evenings, there's a sizeable Dometic awning, plus a variety of external storage bins. Speaking of warm weather, there's a hatch over the forward bed for extra ventilation, an entry door that converts in a flash to a wire screen door, and a roof-mounted Dometic air-conditioner.

Why should you buy an Avida Silverton?

For those who enjoy the driving component of travelling Australia by motorhome, the Sprinter-based Avida Silverton holds distinct appeal. Motorhomes by nature may not be the epitome of driving pleasure, but the latest Sprinter platform is a wonderfully refined foundation that's simply a step up from other rival cab/chassis offerings.

Like any motorhome with direct walkthrough access, it's a little noisy underway with the squeaks and rattles of the living area's cabinetry permeating the cab, along with some road noise. But it's far from excessive and, in any case, the Sprinter's stereo is a high-quality affair that's equal to the challenge.

The Avida Silverton's 4200kg GVM is 200kg under that of the Birdsville, and it has a more modest payload limit too. Still, a limit of 706kg isn't exactly stingy, and there's plenty of storage to be found throughout the Silverton, both inside and out, where the longer external storage bins are ideal for things like foldout chairs.

In any case, there's enough room to bring along pretty much everything you need to make even an around-Oz odyssey very comfortable, provided you're sticking to sealed roads and aren't planning on straying too far from services and tourist parks.

Our test vehicle isn't set up for off-grid living, with its single 100-litre fresh water tank and 100Ah house battery, but it can be optioned with a solar set-up if desired. The master control is located inside over the front door, with a digital display showing remaining battery power and water tank level, next to the dial for the Webasto diesel heater.

Who will the Avida Silverton appeal to?

We think this motorhome will be sought out by C-Class motorhome buyers for whom the Mercedes-Benz brand already holds some rapport – especially those who have already had personal experience of the company's passenger-car products.

Chances are Avida Silverton buyers won't be new to motorhoming, either. At this price point, prospective purchasers have probably been around the block a few times already, so to speak, and have a clear idea of what they want in their rig.

Our test drive wasn't completely without its issues, mind you. On pulling up at our photoshoot location we discovered the external tap and hose attached to the fresh water tank had worked its way loose, and had been dragging down the road for goodness knows how long.

The little metal latch securing the sliding door for the ensuite had also worked its way loose, while the entrance door freely swings back until it strikes the forward leg of the awning. Some sort of stopper is required here, because if the door was flung open suddenly – by a gust of wind or an enthusiastic child, say – it could well damage the door.

But they're all fairly easily rectified issues, and this was a very new, low-kilometre demo.

Our only other gripe concerns the ladder to access the forward bed. Now the author is perhaps no lightweight, at 92kg, but the ladder gets a fair wobble on and just doesn't inspire confidence.

Still, the kids won't struggle and once you're up there the bed is really quite roomy – the foam mattress is a little longer than the main bed but narrower and not as thick – and there's a cargo flap that connects to the ceiling to keep snoozing occupants secure through the night.

The main bed is comfy and well-equipped, in that there are double USB points and small shelves perfect for a smartphone on either side.

The living area in general is a very pleasant place to be, with recessed LED strip lighting creating a sophisticated air and complementing the three overhead LED units.

The kitchen is easy to navigate, although the main drawer loses a chunk of its storage to accommodate plumbing for the sink and the cutlery drawer is quite low. No complaints about the benchtops, though, which are marble-look laminate affairs and stand a healthy 920mm off the floor.

There's a small pull-out pantry and an extra section of benchtop that folds down from the wall at the entrance to reveal hidden shelving. Together with the extendable section of the dinette table, there's sufficient bench space for preparing meals, with each appliance within easy reach.

The 2020 Avida Silverton is a classy and capable motorhome. It's not the cheapest C-Class going, but it offers a superb drive and comes well-equipped for comfortable, cosy living on trips both short and long.

If you're hunting for a new C-Class motorhome and the budget permits, be sure to take the Avida Silverton for a test drive – it's hard to see how you could be anything less than impressed.

How much does the 2020 Avida Silverton cost?

Base vehicle: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 418 MWB
GVM: 4200kg
GCM: 5500kg
Licence: Car
Occupants: Four seatbelts, four berth
Engine: 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel
Power/torque: 130kW/400Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Wheels: 16in alloy
Brakes: Discs
Safety: Forward collision warning with autonomous braking, driver and passenger front and side airbags, electronic stability control, , crosswind assist, fatigue alert, hill start assist, reversing camera
Travel length: 7135mm
External body width: 2320mm
Travel height: 3320mm
Rear bed size: 1800mm x 1400mm
Forward bed size: 1900mm x 1300mm
Cooktop: Dometic four-burner gas cooktop with grill and range hood
Fridge: Thetford, 141lt
Microwave: Samsung
Lighting: 12V LED
Battery: 100Ah
Air-conditioner: Dometic, roof-mounted
Fresh water: 100L
Grey water: 100L
Gas: 2 x 4kg
Price: $158,998 (drive away, ex-Vic)/$161,998 as tested
Supplied by: Robert's RV World RV, Campbellfield, Vic
More info: Avida RV

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