Owner Stories | What it’s Like to Own a Rear Wheel Drive Motorhome

Owner Stories | What it’s Like to Own a Rear Wheel Drive Motorhome

Hans, new owner of the HYMER MLT 580 RWD


Elizabeth and Hans Van Der Linden purchased a brand new 2023 HYMER MLT 580 RWD from Wilderness in September 2023. In this owner story, Hans explains how everything’s going with the couple’s exciting new ride — and talks about what it feels like behind the wheel of a rear wheel drive motorhome.





Community is a major part of Elizabeth and Hans Van Der Linden’s lives. They’re community people from the small West Otago town of Tapanui. The town has a population of less than 1000 people and is situated between Dunedin and Gore — an ideal location for exploring the lower South Island.


Although Hans is a retired farmer and ex-West Coast forestry worker, he’s still a busy man involved with local community work. So any chance he and Elizabeth get to head out of town for a break needs to be worthwhile.


From Avida to Jayco to HYMER

Lounge Area of HYMER MLT580 RWD


Back in the day, Hans and Elizabeth owned an Avida motorhome. While the extra metre of length made it spacious, they found that it wasn’t easy to park in places like supermarket car parks, as Hans says.


I’m a farmer so I had no problem driving the Avida. It was adequate but not versatile enough — and larger motorhomes in the cities are also a problem.


After the couple sold their Avida, they switched to Jayco.


We also used to have a Jayco caravan but it wasn’t mobile so eventually it became a pain. We wanted something more versatile and agile — something that would give us the ability to move about easier.


So where to next for the couple?


They initially looked at cheaper brands but found that they seemed tinny and flimsy. Their early choice of motorhome was the Bürstner Lyseo TD690G — an ideal home on the road for two with a generous payload and versatile king-twin beds.


But when Hans and Elizabeth visited Wilderness’ Auckland base, they had a look at the HYMER MLT 580 RWD and liked what they saw, which Hans explains.


Exterior of HYMER MLT580 RWD


I prefer to have a motorhome with a Mercedes engine and was impressed with the general build quality of the rear wheel drive.


The couple also considered the HYMER MLT 580 4x4 but couldn’t justify the extra cost for the type of travelling they planned to do. Ultimately, they favoured the RWD for touring the backcountry — especially neighbouring Central Otago.


Find out more about off-road motorhome travel.


Why own a motorhome?


Hans and Elizabeth have owned a few RVs over the years, so we asked them what first ignited their interest in having their own.



We liked the self-contained idea rather than using motels. With a motorhome, we have the ability to get out of town and take a break when we can — and we don’t have to unpack and pack everyday.



What the Van Der Lindens looked for in a new motorhome


Kitchen of HYMER MLT580 RWD


Like all prospective recreational vehicle owners, Elizabeth and Hans had a few key features they were looking for in their ideal motorhome. With plenty of experience living in caravans and motorhomes in the past, the couple were more certain of what they wanted now.


Their main needs were:


  • A good quality cab and chassis
  • Excellent build quality
  • Adequate living area and bedding
  • Enough storage space.


Learn about interior space by reading our guide to maximising motorhome storage space.



Motorhome ownership is one of compromise — go shorter and be a bit more versatile or go longer and enjoy a bit more room.

Hans Van Der Linden



Handling and manoeuvrability


The Van Der Lindens are yet to encounter any challenges while driving their HYMER RWD in different weather conditions. They’ve realised that they don’t need a 4WD motorhome for their travels on gravel roads, as Hans outlines.


Cab area of HYMER MLT580 RWD


I find the rear wheel drive easy to handle compared to what I’m used to driving — farm trucks and towing caravans and the Avida.


Navigating and parking


The HYMER RWD has been a lot easier to park than the couple’s previous RV — the Avida. That one was a wider motorhome with an extra 150mm or so, whereas the RWD is a little narrower which makes navigating and parking easier.




It was important for Elizabeth and Hans that their new motorhome could handle the chilly winter environment of the Mackenzie Country.


Interior of HYMER MLT580 RWD


We were pretty keen to have a fully winterised motorhome for the family to head inland to the Tekapo canals in winter and keep warm.


The 2023 HYMER MLT 580 RWD comes fully winterised with a central heating system, insulation and double glazing.


Get more information about choosing a motorhome with the right heating system for winter.



Motorhoming in the HYMER MLT 580 RWD


Both Hans and Elizabeth are really pleased with their new HYMER motorhome. It’s maiden voyage was more than 1800km from Auckland all the way south to Tapanui. They found the seating in the RWD’s cab exceptionally comfy — an unexpected bonus. 


Seats in cab area of HYMER MLT580 RWD


It travelled well and had plenty of power so kept up extremely well with traffic. The seating is most comfortable — and we managed a couple of long days on the road without getting sore backs and bums.



My favourite thing about the RWD is that it very comfortably keeps up with all the traffic. I hate holding up traffic and try to be as considerate as possible.

Hans Van Der Linden



Hans even took note of how economical their new motorhome was with fuel on the journey south. They used a total of 195L of diesel — and therefore averaged 10.83L per 100km.



The Van Der Lindens’ favourite places to travel in their motorhome


Elizabeth and Hans usually travel together in their new HYMER RWD motorhome. Sometimes they go to their bach — and the motorhome doubles as an extra room for visiting family.


Bedroom and bathroom of HYMER MLT580 RWD


There are a few favourite places the couple love spending time in their home away from home, as Hans points out.


We like the Tasman and Nelson areas as we used to live in Nelson. We also recently did a two week circuit of the South Island — spending a couple of enjoyable nights near Fox Glacier and also around Hokitika. Central Otago is a popular escape for us too — and the Southern Scenic Route is on our radar.



I’d like to thank all the staff at Wilderness for their help and support, and for making it an easy process — it’s been a great experience so far.

Hans Van Der Linden



Take our interactive 3D tour of the 2023 HYMER MLT 580 RWD.



Owners' Stories Motorhome Travel