At a passing glance, only two things initially flag the 2014 Topaz as a new model — its new sliding glass side windows and the change of standard exterior highlight colour on its aluminium exoskeleton elements and in between its kitchen cupboards from gloss green to red.
Otherwise it’s the same 4300mm long, 1938mm wide and 2450mm tall “box”, with a multi-compartment nose that extends from the sloping front roofline to well up the Topaz’s boxed, welded and hot-dipped galvanised one-piece A-frame and chassis. Even the base price of $79,900 ex-factory is unchanged.
But if you look closer, then you’ll find myriad changes and refinements.
The front “wings” of the front storage compartment are the ideal size for storing folding chairs for roadside stops, but on the previous model you could only unlock them by using the special key to release their (dust and water sealing) pressure locks. Now there are simple latches in addition to the compression locks and they are tucked neatly away from dirt and dust behind rubber seals — very “Track”.
The large trapezoidal storage lockers just south of these “wings” that can swallow a large portable fridge/freezer on one side and four jerry cans (or a couple of jerries and a 2.0kVA generator on the other), now each have three much sturdier hinges to stop them dropping under their own weight.
The tunnel boot at the front of the van remains, but there’s new slide-out storage for the vehicle’s standard 120W folding portable solar panel on the right hand side and new LED lighting to illuminate the rest of the storage area.
The 12V compressor fridge/freezer is bigger — up from 80 to 85 litres — and has its own program logic circuit that allows it to store more “cool” when its circuit senses that it has a 240V connection.
The standard Fusion sound system, with its iPod interface, is now located on the kitchen side of the split wardrobe/clothes cabinet — next to the main switch panel, energy monitor for the two 105Ah AGM batteries and twin roof-mounted glass solar panels, level gauge for the twin 70L fresh water tanks and the temperature control for the 14L gas hot water system.
But the new Topaz’s real party trick — and a feature that may just tip many buyers into its rank of happy owners — is its indoor/outdoor portable toilet.
Inside the 2014 Topaz is the thicker, sculptured seats in the dinette, which are now made from high-density foam and are offered with a choice of fabric or two-tone leather trim. They are much more comfortable than the vinyl-upholstered benches fitted to the previous model and when the form-cut aluminium table is swung between them, offer comfortable dining space for two or maybe three people, with a fourth diner possibly if he or she is prepared to sit on the end of the bed.
There are more technical “mousetraps” in the hybrid caravan/pop-top market, but none quite captures the blend of simplicity, comfort and functionality as well as the latest Topaz. From the outset, its design cut through to the essentials of serious offroad travel. But now, with a wealth of owner experience to draw upon, it has been refined and improved in so many areas to almost qualify as a new model, rather than an update. If your credo, like Track Trailer’s, is “less is more” there’s a whole lot more to like in the 2014 Topaz.
- Functional “less is more” design
- High quality construction and finish
- Instant set-up
- State-of-the-art suspension
Would have liked
- Retaining straps or stays for the front “wing” lockers
- Integrated window blinds rather than the current roll-down
- An opening rear window
This review appeared in issue #77 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine, June 2014. Why not subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.