For the last 6 days, we’ve been on the road from Las Vegas to San Francisco to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.
What a tiring but amazing trip it’s been. But first, let’s discuss about this JUCY mini RV that’s been talked about for years now.
The first time I saw one of these babies was on our road trip to Utah and Arizona a few months back. We saw so many of these green and purple campervans that we swore to rent one out on our next adventure. And here we are!
JUCY is a mini RV rental company that started in New Zealand back in 2001. They’re known for their green and purple mini RV vehicles that are designed to provide everything that you might need for life on the road. The mini RV found here in the US is a converted Dodge Caravan. They have 2 models available- the Wavefarer which sleeps 2 people and the Trailblazer which comfortably sleeps 4 due to the “Penthouse”. There are 3 rental locations, all of which are in the west coast namely San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
- 2 full-size beds (one inside and one on top)
- Deep storage spaces under bench
- Convertible internal table
- 2 convertible bench seats
- 2 single butane gas stoves
- Kitchen sink with tap and drain
- 5.2gal water tank
- Silverware holder
- Cutting board
- Drawer for pots and pans
- Mini fridge (can get surprisingly cold)
- Window blinds for added privacy
- DVD player and radio
- 2 USB chargers (you can still use even when vehicle is off)
- Kitchen supply kit (includes pots, pans, silverware)
- Bedding kit (includes linens, pillows, towels)
- Winter kit (sub-zero sleeping bag, thermos, hand warmers)
- Camping chairs
- External picnic table
- Child and baby car seats
- Snow chains
The inside is very spacious. It’s like a regular minivan but with the 2nd row seats removed. That’ll be the space for the convertible dining area. So the very back row will be the seats for other passengers. This poses a problem for those who have kids since it’ll be hard for the front passengers to reach the back in case you need to attend to something. In our case, we had 4 adults and a toddler which was a lot of help. But if it was just us 3, I would have to sit with the baby in the back. Fortunately, there’s a lot of leg room for both the front and back.
Bathroom situation. The only thing that they don’t have is a bathroom. So you’ll have to plan it out first on where you can shower when you are camping and make sure to stay where public restrooms are available.
Kitchen. The kitchen is probably the most attractive feature of all, it features 2 butane stove tops, a hand pump operated sink with 5.2 gal of water tank and equal amount for grey-water tank. What amazed me was the on board refrigerator that runs on secondary battery, so it stays cold even when the engine is turned off. The refrigerator is a slide out and holds quite a good amount of food, to put in perspective we put two 1.5L milk cartons, two bags of salad, 2 carton of Reddieggs, 1 pack of ground beef, 1 pack of sausages, butter, bag of cheddar cheese and 4 Vitacoco. Although the JUCY came with a variety of over-kill amount of cookwares, we opted to bring very few of our own to maximize storage.
Storage for luggage. JUCY looks pretty packed with all the features, but where can you find space? We figured out some neat tricks to help pack everything away without compromising comfort. Bedding and linens can be bulky, what you can do is open up the penthouse and neatly lay down all the bedding and close it back up ( Make sure you securely put the latches back on before driving off). There is a generous storage compartment in the main cabin, under the foldable mattress. Duffel bags and recyclable bags fit perfectly and able to stack on with no problem.
Sleep. I have come to conclude there are the “newer” and “older” models. The newer one has a higher penthouse roof and operated electronically by a button, the older one needs to be cranked. I would highly recommend the newer model, because not only it comes with the said feature but there is an additional air vent build in which the older model doesn’t have. The bed itself are very comfortable, they are firm and has a plush feel to it. You can also rent out bedding and pillows from JUCY for $25 or go to Walmart and spend less than that amount and reuse them for next time.
Drive. A minivan will drive like a minivan, its bulky to park, slow to acceleration and with the added weight, the gas consumption is around 23 miles/gal which is still way better than most full size RVs, but inferior to most minivans. One thing I was very impressed with was being able to handle uphills of San Francisco with ease. And definitely go with their unlimited miles plan for $25 extra.
Now that we talked about everything we liked with the JUCY, lets dig into the CONS.
The pick up and drop off time is where it gets tricky, but with careful planning you can avoid their additional fees ($55). Their office hours are 9am to 4pm. Pick up time is 1pm to 3pm and drop offs are 9am to 11am. See the problem? It basically works like a hotel, check in after 1pm and check out before 11am, but there is a penalty of $55 for late or early pick up and drop offs beyond one hour of penalty will result in an entire day of rental charge. Basically you can ONLY return or pick up the rental in a 2 hour window out of 24hrs a day. Let’s be honest, who starts a road trip at 3pm and return the car early in the morning? It is simply carefully designed to eat your penalty fees.
NOT for this family though. We found out that on Saturdays they can do 9am pick ups for free, so we picked up the rental at 9am and headed out for our trip before noon. We sacrificed a little sleep and returned home at 2:30am, went to bed and woke up at 8:30am the following morning to return the van. This is literally the only way to avoid any fees with the maximum utilization of time.
Another problem we had was small mechanical issues with the van, it is almost inevitable. They get so busy, all the vans are pre-booked so it was impossible to get it swapped. The steering of our van shakes every time we go above 65mph and we can hear clicking noises from the chaises. Called the hot-line service, a gentleman from their 1-800 number picked up the phone and told us we can call the San Francisco office on Monday (since this was the weekend) to switch out the van. No surprise here, we called the SF office and there was no record of our call or complaint, and they are fully booked so we cannot be accommodated. I explained this to the Las Vegas office when we returned the van, he shrugged his shoulders and said “okay”. Basically, poor customer service solution.
So there you have it! An honest review on our JUCY rental. Overall, the mini RV itself is well and great aside from the minor mechanical issue. But I guess their customer service needs a little bit improvement. Still, we had a great trip and enjoyed the use of this JUCY Trailblazer. Will definitely go for another round. But maybe this time we’ll be using it for short periods of time.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, you can contact them through their email: email@example.com or through phone: 1800 650 4180 (for USA)
They are open Monday to Friday from 9am-4pm and till 12noon on Saturdays. They’re closed on Sundays.
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored or paid for. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the company in any way.