Kokoda Caravans and Caravan World have teamed up to give away a brand new caravan to one lucky Caravan World reader.
The Kokoda Force X-Trail GT is a true offroad van, worth $68,990 and purpose-built for this exciting giveaway.
I first cast eyes on the Force X-Trail GT during its foetal stages. At that point, it was basically skeletal with just its frame, chassis and suspension in place, prior to the internal fitout.
I’d been given the exclusive assignment of following the construction of the Force X-Trail GT, taking our readers along for the ride as it developed. So it was exciting to see it take shape, and even more impressive when I saw it for the first in full regalia.
The Force X-Trail GT has morphed into a serious offroad beast. And it’s now ready to hit the road behind the tow vehicle of one lucky CW reader.
We put the giveaway Kokoda through its paces at the 80-acre Melbourne 4x4 Training and Proving Ground in the picturesque Werribee Gorge, around 30km south-west of Melbourne. Following our meeting, I can now certainly envisage the Force X-Trail GT capably handling the adversity of Australia’s outback roads and offroad tracks with ease. Bring on the corrugations, mud and ruts!
Right from the get-go, I was impressed with the van’s offroad capabilities, and a list of features that will delight any pioneering explorer. But all that was secondary to the van’s excellent first impression - the silver ali-comp cladding matched with extra-high silver checkerplate skirt is quite stunning. Hi-ho silver! The aesthetic just works.
The Force X-Trail GT is primed to take on tough conditions courtesy of its 6in Roo DuraGal chassis with 2in riser, tough Tuffride 3.5t suspension and 12in offroad electric brakes. It rides on vivid blue 16in alloy wheels and heavy-duty offroad tyres. I towed the Kokoda, which has a 2720kg Tare weight, behind a Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series and this partnership mastered the undulating topography.
What impressed me the most underneath the van was the protective checkerplate shielding of its undercarriage. You could probably travel beyond the black stump and back in complete peace of mind, knowing there is next to no chance of any plumbing being damaged.
And the Kokoda’s twin 95L water tanks, dual 100Ah deep-cycle batteries and two 150W roof-mounted solar panels are obvious reminders that the 6.4m (21ft) Force X-Trail GT is purpose-built for off-grid adventure.
Externally, the Force X-Trail GT is well-equipped for forays off the bitumen. At the front is a massive toolbox that could hold the proverbial kitchen sink, a steel tray, twin 9kg gas cylinders and two jerry can holders which are all kept safe and sound behind a mesh stone shield that complements the van’s protective component repertoire.
I also liked the external light above the dual access tunnel boot, which would be well-utlised when cooking a barbecue at night. And the internal light in the tunnel boot is also convenient – a torch becomes redundant in this situation.
On the outside, the Kokoda Force dishes up important fare such as a roll-out awning, drop-down picnic table, gas bayonet, single pull-out step, chrome grab handles (front and back), external speakers, lockable water fillers, tap on the A-frame and a toilet cassette. And I thought the illuminated entry grab handle, two spare wheels on the three-arm bumper bar, the exterior shower, and rear hatch that could hold a generator were excellent additions.
Internally, the Force X-Trail GT gets a gong for innovative design – the entire look is contemporary, dapper and has a sense of energy about it. The understated elegance, combined with the maximisation of space and comfort, makes you feel right at home.
The whole lavish interior is impressive but, in my opinion, the chic rear ensuite steals the scene. I loved the modern ceramic basin with waterfall mixer tap, while a cup holder and hand towel holder are practical touches. To the right of the bathroom entry, via a sliding door for complete privacy, is a full-height moulded fibreglass shower and, directly opposite, is a Thetford cassette toilet. But the finishing touches are a 3kg Sphere washing machine, recessed under the vanity bench, and a linen cupboard with three compartments. I reckon they’re compulsory inclusions when traversing the roads less travelled, especially if you want to stay away for that bit longer.
There is an emphasis on storage throughout the van but particularly in the ensuite, with two overhead cupboards and three slide-out drawers under the basin. A mirror, LED strip lighting above the vanity, and two double powerpoints help make the bathroom even more practical.
ENTRY BY FORCE
Inside, it is open plan living to the max and there’s plenty of room to move within the kitchen, lounge and bedroom.
Directly opposite the entry door is a 185L Thetford three-way fridge/freezer teamed with a full slide-out pantry with three compartments, each with two wire baskets. And a 20L Sphere microwave is located above the fridge, and it would take a lengthy shopping spree to fill the fridge and pantry to the brim, but it ensures no hunger pains while off the beaten track and the large fridge size gives you the ability to stay away for longer without restocking.
Immediately to the left of entry is cooking HQ complete with a recessed Swift 500 Series four-burner combo, grill and oven, rangehood, stainless steel deep bowl sink with drainer, and a flashy full-height acrylic splashback.
Continuing a theme throughout the van, storage abounds in the kitchen with four cupboards above the cooking appliances and two cupboards under the sink, along with four drawers. And it wasn’t difficult to notice the attention to detail afforded to the Force X-Trail GT as all cupboards and overhead lockers are piano hinged and have shell lock handles.
The café dinette is adorned in stylish faux-leather upholstery and is the ultimate relaxation station. I plonked my ample posterior on a seat and stretched out to full-length, courtesy of a footrest, and I can justifiably say it was so comfortable you could catch easily catch 40 winks without having to adjourn to the front bedroom.
Two good-sized cupboards below the tri-fold table are ideal for storing reading material and the like, and there are two fold-down compartments at the base of each seat. There is also sufficient lighting and power sockets plus three compartments above the dinette, with one housing the electrical suite (12V 40A battery protector; solar regulator; water level indicator; water pump switch; 240V isolator for HWS). A panoramic window allows you to enjoy the scenery from inside while on a stopover.
Contentment while on tour is the aim of the game in the Force X-Trail GT and the bedroom serves as a perfect illustration. Even an insomniac would sleep peacefully in the caravan-queen-size island bed with pillowtop innerspring mattress. The padded bedhead is a nice touch, and there is a large hatch above the bed which allows plenty of natural light and ventilation. Additionally, two large double-glazed windows and a pair of reading lamps add to the light.
You could pack your Sunday best in the plentiful boudoir’s storage areas – two robes with hanging space; two dressers, each with a cupboard and slide-out drawer; three overhead lockers; and two corner cabinets.
At the front of the bed, a swivel-arm bracket accommodating a 22in TV/DVD player is located on the doorside and can also be viewed from the dinette while on the offside is a compartment housing the circuit breaker.
The Force also boasts a durable modern design vinyl floor and insulation to the walls, roof and floor.
THE BOTTOM LINE
At $68,990 the Force X-Trail GT is a true offroad warrior and it sets to really deliver in off-grid capability.
Kokoda Caravans has succeeded in building a van that can stand tete-a-tete with Australia’s unforgiving, natural environment and relentlessly soldier on deep into this harsh brown land.
To enter the Kokoda Caravans/Caravan World competition to win the Kokoda Force X-Trail GT offroad caravan, worth $68,990, head to www.caravanworld.com.au/kokoda
The competition runs until February 1, 2017.