There’s no doubt that there is currently a plethora of caravan makes and models in the Australian RV marketplace. For the newcomer, there is also the slightly confusing choice of an on-road van, an offroad van or something in between.
On a recent visit to Coffs Harbour, NSW, caravan dealer Caravans Coffs Coast gave me a look over the Titanium 'Southern Star' range, in particular three vans that each fitted into the aforementioned three categories and the various differences between them.
For this review I'm going to focus mostly on the heavy end, that is the offroad Hardcore but will also take a brief look at various on-road/offroad requirements, as well as a few layout differences.
It might sound like a minor footnote but I was supplied with a comprehensive specification sheet (not just a brochure) on all the vans I looked at, which was very helpful when comparing various models.
Since I mentioned specs, here are a few of the important ones. This Titanium Hardcore model has an external length of 5.95m (19ft 6in), so it’s not too oversized for handling in tight situations. It comes in with a Tare Mass of 2646kg and given the ATM of 3500kg, does have a very respectable payload of 854kg. Depending on how you travel, ie lightly or heavily loaded, that does allow a reasonable range of tow vehicles.
ROUGH AND READY
Titanium’s Hardcore caravan is, as you might imagine, built for the rough stuff with some serious steelwork underpinning it. Starting with the SupaGal chassis, there are 100mmx50mm (4in x 2in) RHS main rails laminated to a similarly sized raiser.
Two 95L water tanks are fitted between the chassis rails.
Up front, the 150mmx50mm (6in x 2in) drawbar rails are extended to cope with tight corners and the hardware mounted on the drawbar. In particular the large storage box, which has space for a barbecue and generator, and also a bike rack above.
Built for offroad travel is the 3700kg Cruisemaster independent suspension, complete with trailing arms, coil springs and two shock absorbers per wheel. The 16in wheels are shod with mud-terrain/all-terrain tyres and have 12in electric brakes on all wheels. At the pointy end is a Cruisemaster DO35 hitch.
There’s something a little different about the Hardcore's body structure. C section, interlocked aluminium with Henrob riveting is used for the walls but the roof is a single-piece hail-resistant fibreglass composite with 30mm insulation. There is no aluminium or timber used in the roof construction. For the walls, 3mm aluminium composite is used and under the skin are 24mm insulation panels. Protective black alloy checkerplate is used all round on the lower walls. Given the shape of the front wall area, there isn’t a front boot but there is a decent-sized tunnel boot with access via both sides. Fairly standard are the Camec security screen door, double-glazed acrylic awning windows and Dometic awning.
Inside the van is a no-surprises front island bed, rear bathroom layout with an offside kitchen and nearside cafe-style dinette. There’s a bit of an emphasis on keeping the weight down, so hardwood and plywood is used for the cabinetry framing whilst Poplar plywood, a Euro lightweight, is used for the doors and also for the benchtops. For the overhead lockers, stainless steel piano hinges and mini gas struts are used.
Up front the bedroom area does have a clean, slightly square look about it but it also has a decent-sized 1.93m x 1.52m (6ft 4in x 5ft) queen bed. In addition to the overhead lockers, there are bedside wardrobes and cabinets on both sides. There are also little recessed compartments by each pillow, always a handy feature.
Just about all the mid offside area of the van is taken up by the catering facilities — Swift four-burner cooker/grill, stainless steel sink/drainer and tucked in the corner, an EvaKool 12V compressor fridge with NCE microwave oven above.
Benchtop space isn’t terrific, so it’s good there’s the angled bench area at the bed end. There’s a good selection of soft-close drawers, overhead lockers and cupboards, including a multi-shelved floor-to-ceiling pantry beside the fridge. One of the overhead lockers houses the control panel with water and electrical gauges, hot water switches and 12V fuses. There’s also a Fusion radio.
Several good features about the dinette are the leather-upholstered cushions, multi-fold table, cupboard under the table and the full-length window. The cafe styling means although it is not oversized, there is still room to stretch out.
Fitted into the bathroom area are the expected 0.85mx0.85m (2ft 9in x 2ft 9in) shower cubicle, vanity cabinet with pedestal-style wash basin and a Thetford cassette toilet. There is a surprising amount of cupboard space, especially in the rear offside corner but that does mean that elbow room around the toilet area is a bit tight.
Any caravan designed for the full offroad bit should have a decent remote capacity and this one certainly does. Three 120Ah AGM batteries are backed up by two 160W solar panels, an Enerdrive 40A charger and a DC-DC charger. Inside the van, there’s a good selection of USB charger points and as mentioned previously there are two 95L water tanks and a 95L grey water tank.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Clearly Titanium’s Southern Star Hardcore has been designed for a serious bit of offroad travel. It’s not only been beefed up in the suspension/chassis area but some attention has been paid to the strength-to-weight ratio of the overall body. Best of all, at least from a towing point of view, it’s not an overly heavy van for those who like to travel in a relatively lightweight style.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
Overall length 8.45m (27ft 9in)
External body length 5.95m (19ft 6in)
External body width 2.36m (7ft 9in)
Travel height 3.13m (10ft 3in) – incl.
Internal height 2m (6ft 7in)
Ball weight 142kg
Frame C section, Interlocked aluminium, Henrob riveted and full composite roof
Cladding Aluminium composite 3mm
Chassis SupaGal, 8in chassis includes 4in x 2in chassis and 4in x 2in raiser
Suspension Cruisemaster 3.7T XT full independent, 2x shockers
Coupling Cruisemaster DO35
Brakes 12in AL-KO offroad electric
Wheels MT offroad tyres and 16in alloys
Grey water 1x95L
Air-conditioner Houghton Belaire 3400
Sway control No
Kitchen Weber BBQ
Cooking Swift four-burner and grill
Fridge EvaKool 12V compressor 208L
Bathroom Thetford cassette plus separate shower cubicle
Hot water Swift gas/electric 28L
PRICE AS SHOWN
To enquire about this caravan, please phone (02) 6652 5523