Hybrid vans are often pop-top style but not always. I have reviewed a few full height hybrid vans lately that have ticked a lot of boxes. I reckon the Striker couples van from Great Aussie Caravans is right up there for most people in this market. Its compact size and light weight means you are in good shape for some more challenging roads and the price comes in right on $100k making it accessible to more people. And the timberless construction method will appeal to many prospective buyers.
Who is Great Aussie Caravans?
You may not have heard of Great Aussie Caravans. The brand kicked off in 2020, but the company behind the brand has been going strong since 2017. General Manager John Cullen explained it has a background in manufacturing for other brands but recently decided to make its own brand the key focus. In a crowded market, van builders are always looking for ways to stand apart. Great Aussie Caravans has found its groove by giving the customer a choice between traditional meranti timber frame or aluminium frame construction.
Timber or aluminium
The timber frame is dubbed ‘Timbertech’ and is quite traditional with Alucobond aluminium cladding and regulation foam insulation. The van on review is built to the ‘Allytech’ style which John explained comes with a package of features. The wall and roof frames are made of box section aluminium welded together inhouse. The walls feature Alucobond aluminium external cladding, and the roof has a one-piece fibreglass outer. Inside the framework is XPA foam insulation which is a higher grade than the regular stuff used with the Timbertech package. John tells me it has dramatically better insulation properties, doesn’t soak up water and has a high compressive strength to weight ratio. The interior face of the wall is a one-piece fibreglass skin rather than a veneer of ply. This makes the construction method genuinely timberless and impervious to rot. The pack also comes with a honeycomb floor with a polymer core and one-piece fibreglass skin on the internal surface.
Great Aussie is finding the demand for Allytech has grown from about 10 per cent to 50 per cent over the past three years. Traditional fans of timber construction point towards the ease of repair, better flex on rough roads and in this case lower cost. For this particular van you will save approximately $10,000 opting for the Timbertech variant.
Internal construction and aesthetics
We touched on the fact the internal wall surface is fibreglass. It is a very functional material that is easy to clean and more durable than some other surfaces that are prone to scuffing. Furniture is constructed of lightweight ply, CNC cut and assembled with an interlocking process for greater strength. Piano hinges are used throughout, and all drawers are soft close on ball bearing runners.
The decor is a very neutral palette that you can make your own with highlights to your liking. LED strip lighting features prominently throughout creating a nice ambience.
The Striker is a short van, but Great Aussie does an impressive job of still fitting everything in, it’s just all pretty close together. Up front is an east west bed which always helps with saving space. Sure, the bed is a bit harder to make and getting in and out is less user friendly if you are on the front wall side, but it is the only way to go in a van of this size. Often beds in hybrids are raised quite high to maximise underbed storage. The downside is some people find them awkward to climb up to. This is not an issue with the Striker as it has a regulation height bed. And there is still room for storage with a couple of nice drawers at your disposal. Thanks to being a full height van, overhead storage is well utilised in the bed, dining and kitchen areas.
The dinette butts up against the bed to save space and has plenty of room for two people. A quite compact table makes access to the seating very functional, but you are not going to fit a three-course meal on there. The kitchen has everything you need with a Swift oven with separate grill and 3x gas and 1 x 240V burner working in tandem with a Ranger rangehood. A Sphere 25L microwave completes the internal cooking appliances and the Dometic 224L compressor fridge is a good off-grid choice.
Moving into the compact bathroom in the rear reveals a separate shower and toilet plus room for a wall mounted 3.2kg Fresca front loader washing machine. There is limited space for a vanity, but it gets the job done and below it is a nice stack of four drawers for good storage.
The Striker is well equipped to head off-grid. A combined 300W solar system feeds two 110Ah lithium batteries. A Projecta PM300 BT takes care of battery management working in with the Projecta 2000W inverter to deliver 240V power to run a few appliances. The water tanks are a little smaller than most vans with 124L of freshwater capacity and 55L of grey water storage. As the van is narrow and short, larger tanks just won’t fit. With careful use you could get quite a few days out of it and the system could be easily supplemented with water bladders or jerry cans. With a payload of 938kg, you won’t have a problem carrying some extra water.
The running gear has all the fruit to stack up for offroad duty. The chassis is by Intelligent Engineering and features a 150mm A-frame with a 50mm riser. The 3000kg rated TuffRide coil spring independent suspension system handled the lumps and bumps on our day out with ease and looks up to the challenge of extended outback touring. The underside plumbing could benefit from a bit of stone protection, but this is an easy factory add on or DIY job. Up front is the Cruisemaster DO35 coupling which has practically become the standard issue for this style of van and is something you can depend on with extensive R&D and field testing behind it.
Go more places, but look up
The photos show you we had some fun playing in the puddles! The compact size inspired the confidence for us to head towards some more interesting tracks that you wouldn’t take a big van down. We negotiated ruts and uneven ground with ease. We also weaved through some very tight trees, but I did have a useful reminder to practice what I preach and look up. While spotting John through a particularly tight section, impressed with where he was managing to squeeze, I momentarily forgot to look up. When I did, I saw a tree branch was about to give its best attempt of removing a solar panel from the roof. No fault of the van. All me. John expertly reversed out of the trouble, but this is where we found the downside to a full height van, in that a pop top would have cruised through unscathed.
The bottom line
Great Aussie Caravans aims to offer vans to suit people on a budget right through to high-end dream vans. I reckon the Allytech style Striker hybrid with a price tag sitting right on $100,000 will be a sweet spot for couples looking for a premium spec, value proposition. The narrow profile and short body combined with decent running gear gives this van good offroad cred. And for those who aren’t a fan of pop tops, the full height design is a winner.
HITS AND MISSES
- Timberless wall construction is a positive
- One of the lighter offroad vans getting around
- It’s a full height van
- It’s a full height van
- Lowish freshwater capacity
GREAT AUSSIE CARAVANS STRIKER HYBRID RATINGS
VALUE FOR MONEY
These days $100k represents great value for a van of this calibre
It’s light, narrow and short – everything you want to get to more adventurous places
SUITABILITY FOR INTENDED TOURING
The right equipment inside and out for a hybrid van
Everything lined up and there was evidence of attention to detail
A good example of practical use of space in a small van
Ample solar and battery capability matched to a nice sized inverter. Water storage may need supplementing with a bladder or jerry cans
A five-year structural and two-year manufacturer’s warranty is in line with industry norms
The timberless wall construction with aluminium frame and internal fibreglass skin known as ‘Allytech’ is a step up on many vans
My money is on the Allytech version, but Great Aussie does things differently by giving you a choice of timber construction too
GREAT AUSSIE CARAVANS STRIKER HYBRID SPECS
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
|Body length||4.74m (15ft 6in)|
|Overall length||7.3m (23ft 10in)|
|Width||1.98m (6ft 5in)|
|Height||3.09m (10ft 1in)|
|Ball weight at tare||144kg|
|Frame||Box welded aluminium|
|Cladding||High checkerplate on all four sides with Alucobond above|
|Chassis||150mm A-frame with 50mm raiser|
|Suspension||3000kg Tuff Ride coil spring independent|
|Brakes||12in drum off road|
|Wheels||16in alloy rims with 285/75R16” Mickey Thompson mud tyres|
|Water||2 x 62L freshwater|
|Battery||2 x 110Ah lithium|
|Solar||3 x 100W|
|Air-conditioner||Dometic Ibis 4|
|Gas||2 x 9kg|
|Sway control||Sway control|
|Cooking||Swift oven with separate grill and 3 x gas and 1 x 240V burner|
|Fridge||Dometic compressor 224L|
|Bathroom||Separate shower and toilet|
|Hot water||28L Swift gas/electric with stainless steel holding tank|
Great Aussie Caravans Striker Hybrid price from $99,990
THE NEXT STEP
If you need help choosing your first caravan or are considering upgrading your existing one, check out all Great Aussie 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.
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