Expectations are always high when we roll up to the Titanium dealer in Coffs Harbour for a review of one of their vans. We are usually on a mission to somewhere further north, and the stopover in the mid north coast NSW city is a great place to break up the journey. On top of that, I know the van will be well-presented and ready for a drive to a unique photo location that Andy and the Caravans Coffs Coast crew have chosen.
The dealership is a dedicated offroad caravan business, and the crew is keen on travel and adventure. The team is also dedicated to the presentation of the vans, which is hard to beat, and I’m convinced this attitude flows over to their customer care.
Titanium is one of those Melbourne builders challenging the usual suspects in the Queensland offroad market for a place at the top of the tree. The company has been building vans since 2012 when father and son team Joe and Jason Grech began making offroad vans from a small factory. They moved away from timber to aluminium frame construction eight years ago to ensure their vans are more robust and durable. Over time, the vans continue to evolve based on feedback from owners, the dealers and the duo’s own R and D out in the bush.
Jason is at the helm these days, and the company operates from a purpose-built and very modern 5000sq m factory in Melbourne’s north. The move to the new factory last year generated massive investment in high-tech machinery to increase production and quality.
Titanium maintains strong links to younger, big-truck aspirationals through its links with Aussie Destinations Unknown. Jason is a hands-on caravanner with his own large family van towed by a big Ford F Series ute, in which he escapes from the factory when he can. And while these larger combinations of big tow vehicles and big vans attract much attention, the Titanium range includes models for more moderate — some might say more practical — adventures, including the 18’6 Hardcore reviewed here.
Laminated twin beam 100 x 50 RHS make up the super rigid and durable 200 x 50mm chassis. It’s built by Proline from Australian steel with SupaGal coating inside and out to give excellent protection and save many kilos on a hot-dipped version. The 150x50mm extended A-frame connects to the tow vehicle through a DO35 hitch.
The suspension is Cruisemaster’s tandem trailing arm independent system with coils rated to 3700kg. Stopping power comes from 12in drum brakes with discs an option. Set under the chassis, there’s a good supply of freshwater in 170L and 85L roto-moulded poly tanks. An extra 85L tank collects grey water when camping in national parks.
Up top, the frame is Henrob rivetted 25mm aluminium C-section, which offers a lightweight and rot-free construction with just enough flex to avoid cracking over extreme terrain. The walls and roof form an integrated structure with efficient foam insulation in the voids. The roof is single piece composite fibreglass and PIR Foam 32mm thick panel, while the walls are a 25mm interlocked aluminium frame clad in a 3mm aluminium composite and high skirts of checkerplate for protection from flying stones.
The furniture is all CNC cut and interlocked for uniformity and a robust and close finish. The fittings are made from lightweight ply and include high-quality gas struts and metal-sided, soft-close drawers.
The van on review is a Hardcore model, which sits in the middle of Titanium’s range, all with sturdy construction and aluminium frames but with different levels of offroad ability. It’s a full offroader, missing out on some of the equipment of the top-end ATX, but with a $40,000 price advantage.
The high ride, swathes of checkerplate and chunky tyres leave no doubt this is an offroad van. The purposeful look is enhanced by the light-tone Sandstorm colour of the body and a set of tasteful dark graphics. The all-over impression is a van with pleasing, well-balanced lines that make a good compromise for ease of towing and liveability. A full-width stone guard protects two 9kg gas bottles and a full-size toolbox at the A-frame. Rather than a kitchen in the caravan body, which would steal vital storage space in this mid-size van, you get a slide-out barbecue on the passenger side of the toolbox while leaving room for plenty of storage and a generator slide.
Along the side, a checkerplate-lined full tunnel boot adds to storage options, and there’s a single picnic table and weatherproof opening to the entertainment hatch for power and TV leads. The Menace wheels have a modern look with chrome and black spokes, while big 285 x 75 x 16 mud terrain tyres add some punch to the picture. An orange and white exterior light discourages insects, and the full-length awning brought welcome weather protection on the drizzly hinterland afternoon.
A single spare tyre sits on a three-arm bar at the back, with space and engineering for a second one if needed. A mid-height work light will be handy.
SLICK INTERIOR DESIGN
It’s a fair step up on a single tread to get you inside. The neat-looking new-style Aussie Traveller three-way door has black security-style mesh and folds backwards, so it doesn’t block the kitchen window.
Colour choice of the interior is inspired. Light Scandi green tones on the furniture mix with warm Bardolino Oak benchtops and a plush Eastwood Fawn of the Warwick fabric of the dinette. This decor is a fresh and inviting choice of contemporary design, but you can go your own way from a broad colour pallet on offer.
The layout includes a rear-entry and front-bedroom design that hits the sweet spot for most couples. It gets the bed away from the door for privacy and gives easy access to the ensuite from the outside. The central living space has the kitchen on the passenger side, where food can be passed through the window for outside dining. The driver side accommodates the cafe dinette and a good size 224L compressor fridge.
The kitchen has decent preparation space, especially with the cover over the oven folded down. A square chrome sink has a high colour-coded mixer with a freshwater tap built in, which is not a standard inclusion for the Hardcore. The cooker is a full oven, but you can option extra pot drawers instead if preferred, and an NCE microwave sits in a row of overhead cupboards. A clever extra is a small nook at floor level where you could store some wine in a usually wasted spot.
You will find everything you need in the ensuite in a more compact version than larger versions. There’s an 8in difference in the size of the ensuite compared to a 19ft 6in van, so buyers have a choice of a larger ensuite or the more compact overall benefits of a smaller van. My preference is a moderate size ensuite, and as I said, this one has everything you need. The shower is a separate one-piece unit, the vanity has a large mirror and cupboard, and a washer is fitted alongside the toilet.
Beautifully upholstered and plush material covers the cafe dinette, and there’s just the right amount of padding to be comfortable and seat extensions to spread out. Under the threefold table is a small cupboard against the wall, while a pair of USB fast chargers and 240V points will be handy for charging equipment.
The caravan queen island bed is 6ft 2in with innerspring, with good access from either side. Side nooks have more USB charging points, and large windows bring ample light and ventilation. A reverse cycle air-conditioner and two Aussie Traveller roof hatches are up top.
Our review van had Titanium’s level One Enerdrive B-Tec lithium system with three 200W solar panels, feeding a 200Ah battery. The system includes Enerdrive 40A DC-DC and AC-DC chargers and a 40A solar regulator, and you keep track of the battery condition at a monitor in an overhead kitchen cupboard. So, along with 255L of freshwater and an 85L grey tank, you should be able to stay comfortably in the bush for a couple of weeks if you are moderate with showers.
Towing is Smooth
Weighing in with a tare weight of 2652kg and a loaded weight of up to 3500kg, the Titanium 18’6 Hardcore needs a capable tow vehicle, so we hooked up to the Caravans Coffs Coast’s 200 Series LandCruiser for our run to the photo location. There’s an 848kg payload, so you have nearly 600kg for the rest of your gear, even with full water and gas tanks.
The 200 had no problem pulling up the steep hills to the west of town, and the van sat rock steady all the way at posted speed limits. The van feels well-balanced, and the big 12in drums performed flawlessly.
The Bottom Line
The 18’6 Titanium is a mid-size offroader that, through its high build quality, will travel the rough tracks to out-of-the-way places. Couples will enjoy the extra space over a single-axle van because it’s a good compromise of size and weight with a very useful payload. There’s room to move, and it comes equipped for most circumstances. Registered on the road in NSW, the cost is $133,440, and the van comes with a five-year structural warranty on suspension, chassis, frame and floor and two years on the interior.
HITS AND MISSES
- Stout engineering and high-end build quality
- Well-crafted interior fitout
- Sensible size for a couple to tackle long trips
- Long lead times for delivery
Titanium Hardcore 18'6 Ratings
VALUE FOR MONEY
In the current market it’s a good value for this top-end van
As good as it gets for the weight of a twin axle setup. Well balanced and showed no pitching or sway
SUITABILITY FOR INTENDED TOURING
Those looking for a van that’s easy to tow and with space for comfort will enjoy the Titanium 18’6 Hardcore
It’s hard to find any fault with the way the van is put together. A tough van with great levels of finish
It’s got everything most people would want and need
Sufficient for most couples. Could use more solar and battery capacity if travelling in southern states in winter
The Titanium and Caravans Coffs Coast teams are dedicated to getting it right the first time and fixing anything that slips through
Gradual evolution of a good thing. Ideas like the low-level wine storage show a keen eye for improving the product
Looks stunning and the interior colours are a standout
Titanium Hardcore 18'6 Specs
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
|Overall length||8.35m (27ft)|
|External body length||5.64m (18ft 6in)|
|External body width ||2.46m including awning (8ft)|
|Travel height||3.10m (10ft 2in) to the top of the AC|
|Internal height||2m (6ft 6in)|
|Ball weight ||172kg|
|Cladding||Premium 3mm Composite|
|Chassis||8in steel, 4in x 4in laminated beam, with a 6in A-frame|
|Suspension||Cruisemaster XT coil and DeeMaxx disc brakes|
|Brakes||DeeMaxx Disc Brakes|
|Wheels||16in rims and 285/70 MT tyres|
|Water||255L freshwater, 85L greywater|
|Battery||200A Enerdrive Lithium with 40A DC-DC Charger|
|Gas||2 x 9kg|
|Sway control||Not available with disc brakes|
|Cooking||Three gas and one electric cooktop, grill and fan-forced oven|
|Fridge||224L Dometic Compressor|
|Microwave||Yes, no turntable|
|Bathroom||Full ensuite, separate shower and toilet|
|Washing machine||3kg wall mount|
|Hot water ||28L stainless steel gas and electric|
All standard options fitted to review van
Titanium Hardcore 18'6 price as shown: $133,400.00 (Registered and delivered in NSW)
THE NEXT STEP
If you need help choosing your first caravan or are considering upgrading your existing one, check out all Titanium Caravans models available on TradeRVs today.
The sellers will be happy to help and answer any inquiries you may have about the products advertised for sale.
Review: Testing Titanium SS16.6 Hardcore