The Pocket Rocket by Nova Caravans
Nova Caravans released its dedicated offroader, the Terra Sportz, in 2012. Until now, it was the company’s sole rig for the off-road market. Riding on tandem axles, it’s a well-regarded midsized van. However, this year, Nova Caravans offered caravan watchers such as myself a surprise: the Little Terra. Think of it as the Terra Sportz’s baby brother. This 13ft single-axle rig sports many of its big brother’s design features and flourishes; however, with a smaller on-road ‘footprint’, it’s set to appeal to vanners in search of a lighter rig that’s easier to tow.
The inside of the Little Terra is pure Nova Caravans: smart and wellfinished. By its very nature, the Little Terra is a van for two people. It incorporates an east-west bed in the nose of the van, a two-person vinyl-upholstered lounge on the offside, a small bench and a 175L Thetford compressor fridge between this bench and the fullwidth rear bathroom.
NOVA CARAVANS HAS DEVELOPED A COMPACT VERSION OF ITS DEDICATED OFFROADER, THE TERRA SPORTZ. INTRODUCING ITS BABY BROTHER, THE LITTLE TERRA…
This van does particularly well in terms of its internal storage space. In fact, I was surprised to find a full-height pantry (with two separate cupboard doors) on the offside, facing the nearside fridge. Rather than fitting this pantry with slide-out shelving, Nova has sensibly opted for individual internal shelves. I say ‘sensibly’ because the space in this area is a little narrow – a slide-out pantry would’ve been a tight fit. The rear bathroom is surprisingly spacious. Before stepping inside, I half-expected to find a combo shower/toilet. To fit a swivel cassette toilet, full vanity and fully-moulded fibreglass shower into a van such as this, without the living space feeling cramped, is a neat trick that Nova has pulled off quite nicely. What’s more, there’s even an (optional) wall-mounted washing machine.
There are a few things about the bed area worth pointing out. Because of the east-west orientation of the bed, this van is equipped with just one wardrobe (at the foot of the bed); however, it also comes with a niche complete with 12V and 240V power points. The slatted bed base lifts on gas struts easily enough and I was impressed with the storage arrangement here, though some of it is occupied by the hot water service.
TIME TO GET BUSY
With the Little Terra being an offroad van, Nova has fitted the Dometic Dust Reduction System. Now, you might be wondering about the kitchen. Well, in order to fit all of this into such a compact package, Nova has given the Little Terra an outdoor kitchen only. Having said that, there is a microwave recessed above the fridge, but when it comes to making dinner, you’ll need to step outside…
Nova Caravans has fitted this van with the premium Dometic slideout kitchen on the nearside. This kitchen is self-supporting, so it’s just a case of sliding it out, connecting it to the nearby gas bayonet, and connecting both the hot and cold water hoses. In the event you need a little more cooking space, Nova has included a second gas bayonet, this one at the rear, near the fold-down picnic table. In terms of external storage space, the Little Terra is limited to an offside slide-out tray and the remaining space in the tunnel boot – bearing in mind that the Dometic kitchen takes up about half of it. Other equipment on this van includes two 100Ah lithium batteries, two 170W roof mounted solar panels, a grey water tank and two 95L protected fresh water tanks, and a couple of jerry can holders at the back.
The Little Terra is built on a 6in chassis with 6in A-frame and 2in chassis raiser to give it a little extra ground clearance. It sports Nova’s Pro-Al wall construction comprised of structural one-piece aluminium composite panels for the walls and roof – no frame required.
“Compact design, concept and execution. this caravan has great towing characteristics and an excellent internal layout” – Max Taylor
Our particular Little Terra weighed in at 1966kg Tare and had an ATM of 2496kg – a payload capacity of 530kg. Not bad at all. It’s worth pointing out, though, that the unladen ball weight is 274kg. Our MU-X tow vehicle, with its 3000kg towing capacity and 300kg towbar maximum, was fine for the job since the van was unladen; however, with the van loaded up, the ball weight will increase – always check your weights! The Little Terra was an absolute delight to tow. It felt balanced on the towbar and never once twitched. Point of fact, Nova Caravans fits Al-Ko Electronic Stability Control to all of its caravans and the Little Terra is no different.
I can honestly say that I really liked the Nova Little Terra. Nova Caravans has nicely reworked the Terra Sportz for people with different tastes, needs and budgets.
Good one, Nova. It’s a thumbs-up from me.