Saturday, 27 October 2018

NZL Travelogue: Jucy Chaser Campervan Review

Hello, lovely readers! As y'all should know by now, I've just returned from a 9D8N campervan trip to New Zealand North Island recently. So before I get started from the long long journey of my NZL travelogue series (I took ONE year to complete my Hokkaido travelogue), I shall first get y'all started on the campervan we've chosen as our home-on-wheels for the trip.
The Jucy Chaser
The JUCY Chaser has everything you need for a road trip for three. Featuring two double beds, a fully-equipped kitchen and its very own shower and toilet, the JUCY Chaser is up for any adventure!The Chaser is fully self contained with a toilet, shower and grey water tank.
Using Toyota Hiace 2004 or newer model, Jucy has remodelled the automatic transmission van into a 3m high campervan (CV) with an interior height of 1.92m, with an 80L fresh water tank (two separated tanks, one for the shower and one for the kichenette tap) and 85L grey water tank.

And here's how the interior looks like. Pictures were taken on the very last day of our trip, hence things are a little messy. HEH!

The CV comes with blinds on all windows (with the exception of sun roof) so privacy will not be an issue. The Jucy Chaser does not come with air conditioning in the main cabin (air-con only available at the driver's cabin) but since the weather was pretty cold (10+ degree Celsius) at night, it wasn't any issue at all. 
We've tried sleeping on the sun-roof bed on the "upper deck" once, but felt that it was considerably less comfortable than sleeping on the lower bed, which we had to set up using an L-shaped board and cushion (the two pieces you see slotted in behind the driver's and passenger's seats) every night. And so, we ended up using the upper deck bed as storage space for our luggage, pillows, duvets and bath towels. 
There was only two of us, but since the Chaser is supposed to house 3 pax (technically, you can sleep 4, but maximum allowable capacity is limited by the number of seat belts), we had a total of 4 pillows, 2 duvets and 4 bath towels. 

The bench seats here provided more storage space, where we kept the portable heater (only usable when CV is hooked up to main 240v power at powered sites), portable table (which stands right at the "hole" you see in the picture above), and our grocery items which do not require to be refrigerated. 

On the other end of the CV is our toilet/shower stall and a "kitchen". The Jucy Chaser also comes with DVD player, that also requires hookup to 240v main power to be switched on. Rental of the CV does not come with free DVDs, but there is a shelf of "pre-loved" items, probably left behind by other tourists, which included a small selection of movie DVDs, and other foodstuff (spreads, oils and I even saw others taking canned food and fresh produce like onions). 
The big, long bags on the floor is the set of picnic chairs provided by Jucy, which we totally didn't use at all, and only served to take up more of our precious space. =.="

The "kitchenette", though extremely tiny, was still pretty well equipped with a 2-burner gas hob running on a mini (was it 2L?) LPG gas tank. However, due to tight space, and standard pot & pan sizes, we could only use 1 burner at a time. 

The whole kitchenette comes well equipped with cooking equipment like pot, pan, spatula, ladle, glass bowls, pasta strainer, chopping board, tea towel and dishwashing brush. 

The necessary crockery and utensil like fork, spoons, knives, can opener and peeler are also provided.

Up above the hob and sink are more storage space, where you can find your plates, small bowls, ceramic mugs and wine glasses. 

Last but not least, there's also a kettle for you to boil some hot water on the hob, and a toaster, which once again, will require hookup to the 240v main power to be used. 

By the side of the crockery/utensil tray are two electrical sockets (require 240v main power), which you can use to get the portable heater and toaster going. There's also our 50L compressor fridge and a fire extinguisher. 

Though looking rather tiny, the fridge (both the chiller and separate freezer compartment) was more than enough for us to stock up our 8 nights' worth of dinner ingredients. 

And right opposite the fridge are the switches to the 12v battery system, that charges up while the engine is running, and also while the CV is hooked up to 240v main power. So on the 12v battery, you'll get lighting in the main cabin, power to the fridge, water pump (that serves both the hot water shower and sink) and ACC, which allows you to charge devices on the USB port and also switches on the stereo in the driver's cabin. For the 1st night of our trip, we drove for merely 2 hours, and the battery lasted us.... 30 minutes.

The toilet and shower stall is unbelievably small, but still decent. Hot water shower can get pretty hot (for me), and the water pressure is rather strong. But do note that due to the tiny space, privacy will be an issue because there is no way can you manage undressing and dressing up inside the shower stall itself. Just soaping myself up in the stall makes me bump into the walls here and there. 
The toilet bowl can be turned to one side to give you more space to shower, but it's actually quite negligible.  

As for the cassette toilet, we only used it for number 1 when the need arises (usually only in the early mornings at free campgrounds), plus there's this blue powder that came along with it, that helps to keep the cassette smelling like some hardcore chemical factory "fresh". It also stains all your pee (not sure about number 2, because we didn't use the cassette toilet for number 2s at all) blue, so it feels less dirty while you're pouring it away at the public dump stations (PDS).

And here's how we did it.

Always make sure that the toilet cover is closed before you can remove the cassette, and you can just twist the cap open and tip it right into the black water pipe opening at the dump station. Using the water hose provided at the dump station, give it a good rinse before empty another sachet of the magic blue power into the cassette, pour a little bit more water in, squish it around to mix, and replace the cassette back into the slot. 

Emptying the grey water tank is much easier, as you only need to attached the hose (provided in the CV), place the other end at the grey water pipe opening, pull the valve to the tank open, and wait until the water runs dry. 

Jucy requires us to return the CV with fully filled fresh water tanks and emptied grey water tank & toilet cassette. But you do not need to worry about locating a PDS on the way back, as there's a PDS located right inside their compound. 

Apparently, they also have after hours return service available. However, I'm not sure if it's also applicable to CVs, or only for car rentals. 

And here's some snippets of where our Jucy Chaser has brought us to over the course of 9 days, covering a distance of almost 2500km across the North Island. 

Compared to other MotorHomes providers like Wilderness, Maui and etc, Jucy is definitely more affordable and gives you a bigger bang for your buck, providing you with a no-frills CV that's fully equipped with all the bare necessities for a manageable and enjoyable campervan road trip.
Our rental of 9 days (for their spring season) only set us back by 900+ NZD all in, inclusive of insurance, which is quite a good deal.
One issue to note will be the estimated fuel consumption as stated on some rental websites though. It was stated on some rental websites of about 10 - 12L /100km. But we found that a full tank (of 70L) only lasted us at most 500km, which makes it at least 14L /100km.

Jucy also has some awesome relocation deals for their rentals, going for as low as only $1 a day. Find out more on such steals HERE

Till then,
Mia Foo


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