A large factory north of Brisbane was established by Titan not long before the current boom in caravan travel. The body with many of the main components are built offshore and finished off by Aussie tradespeople in the Burpengary factory. This helps Titan to supply the high demand for their vans without huge waits, and this manufacturing model has served both Titan and its customers well.
The walls and roof are built of 35mm thick composite panels which provide strength and a lightweight build as well as insulating the van from both hot and cold external temperatures. This form of construction is also a solid performer in keeping out any water or grime on those long dusty roads or heavy rains in the wet tropics.
The 50mm thick composite floor sits on the hot dipped galvanised 150mm x 50mm main chassis and reinforced A-frame.
Attached to the underside of the van are the protected electrical wiring as well as the plumbing for both clean and waste water. This allows for easy access should any servicing be required. Two 95L fresh water tanks and a 65L grey water tank are also attached to the underside of the van.
Independent suspension is fitted during the initial off-shore build but can be upgraded to Aussie-made Cruisemaster suspension. Offroad tyres are fitted to 16in alloy wheels with one spare as standard, although a second can be optioned. There is room on the rear bar for two jerry cans. Scrub bars protect the underside outside edge of the van although the two 120Ah AGM batteries are housed in a box in front of the wheels, so could potentially sustain some damage in rough terrain.
At the front on the A-frame of the van sits a large box which houses two 9kg gas bottles on one side and a slide out shelf on the other suitable for a barbeque or generator. A stone deflector is in front of the storage box and a 3500kg tow hitch attaches the van to the tow vehicle.
The roof provides space for two 180W solar panels, a reverse cycle air conditioner, a digital TV antenna and two hatches for light and ventilation. There is also a Dometic Dust Reduction System which creates a positive air pressure within the van while travelling which keeps the dust out of the van while on those outback roads.
ON THE OUTSIDE
The combination white and black colour scheme looks good, with the lower quarter of the van being protected from chips and scratches by using checkerplate cladding. LED indicators, stop and reversing lights are high enough to be not covered in dust or mud, while the standard inclusion of a reversing camera with screen kit is welcome. In the tested configuration, there is a large tunnel boot at front of the van which has hatches on both sides. This goes the full width of the van so would allow the stowage of fishing rods, surfboards and other long, bulky objects that make family travel enjoyable.
On the driver’s side, there is also an additional large pull out drawer which would be perfect for chairs and other equipment that might get dirty or wet. This is good for keeping these items out of the van.
The LED indicators and reversing lights are high enough to not get muddy or dusty
The toilet cassette hatch is easily accessible on the outside and nearby is an outdoor shower outlet perfect for days at the beach. There is also a cold water tap mounted on the drawer bar particularly useful after hooking the van up to the vehicle for washing your hands before heading off.
You’ve arrived at your campsite or maybe only stopped for lunch. You don’t even need to enter the van if you are only after a cold drink as there is a 50L drawer fridge accessible from outside, as well as a drop down table. If you want to go inside, open the entry door, turn the on power via a button which activates the power to lights and accessories. This is a great idea as there is no unnecessary drain on the battery. With another switch, the electric step comes down.
The 165L upright fridge is on the right as you enter with the dinette on the left. The decor is modern and inviting, with plenty of natural light from three sides and from above with the skylight. It was a hot sunny day when I reviewed the van, but with the insulation provided by the composite panel walls and ceiling, and by opening the rear window and skylight hatch, the van stayed cool inside.
The standard inclusion of two fridges, giving a total cold storage volume 225L, is certainly welcome in a family van — also, drinks can be cooled in the externally accessible fridge while food can be left inside. The easily erected manual awning provides shade and shelter for external living, making it a perfect space with shade, fridge and table — all you need to add are a couple of chairs and you’re set for the day or night.
The dinette is comfortable with the seat being large enough for two adults and maybe even a small child side by side. The table is adjustable to make the dinette function well. Below the seat of the dinette are both 12V and 240V outlets. These are perfect for charging a laptop, phone or tablet while sitting at the dinette. There is a fold out mount for TV next to the dinette seat and above this is a CD/AM/FM radio for audio entertainment. Internally there are two speakers, with another two marine speakers outside so you can enjoy your tunes in and out of the van. Above the dinette seating are three large cupboards for storage.
The main difference between this and other vans in the Titan range are the two bunks opposite the dinette which turns this into a van for the family. Each bunk had a long window next to it, adding to the light and airy feel of the van. The test van had the double bunk, but there is also a single bunk version. The top bunk can fold back against the wall to provide more sitting room if the lower bunk is used. Folding back the top bunk will cover one of the windows, but there are still plenty more to get a good flow through ventilation.
Between the dinette and the main east/ west bed at the front, is a wardrobe/cupboard/ drawer combination providing the majority of the clothes storage. The main bed has a window at each end of the bed and storage above one side. Reading lights are situated on each side of the bed as well as LED strip lighting. During the day or night there is no need to stay in the dark.
At the rear of the van there is a three burner gas/one electric hotplate stove with grill and a microwave underneath. Next to this is the sink and above is a range hood. Once the sink and stove top are open, there is not much preparation area. I was told that there was an option to have the main kitchen outside which would be my preference. There is storage both about and below the kitchen with good access to the large fridge.
The plus side of not a lot of kitchen prep area is the inclusion of a shower and toilet with a small vanity basin between the bunk beds and kitchen. The fan/vent above the shower allow the moist air from a shower to be vent outside. For many people, a shower/toilet is what is needed to get them into the great outdoors.
The fuses and main control panel for monitoring water tanks and solar input is above the fridge, which is easy to see but not in the way. The air conditioner is a great inclusion also, but will need to be connected to mains power or a 2kVA generator.
The dining space has room for two adults
All the other fittings will operate off-grid utilising the batteries, and as long as the sun shines and hits the solar panels, you should be able to stay off-grid for a while.
My tow vehicle for the day was a VW Amarok, which had no trouble towing the Titan Blackhawk 490F. The drive was a combination of high speed motorway and pot holed dirt roads where the van towed very well and performed well on both types of road. There was also a reasonable crosswind while driving down the highway, but the van towed true.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This is a well-appointed van which packs a lot into its relatively small footprint. It would suit a family of four who want the luxury of a van but still need something that is not too large. I would like to see an outdoor kitchen, as cooking outside is a good way of providing more space inside. All up, the Titan Blackhawk 490F is a good-looking van that provides a welcoming interior and makes outdoor living a breeze as well.
WEIGHTS AND MEASUREMENTS
Body length 4.9m (16ft 1in)
Overall length 6.8m (22ft 4in)
Width 2.3m (7ft 7in)
Height 2.96m (9ft 8in)
Payload 640kg (calculated)
Ball weight 200kg
Frame/Cladding 35mm composite panel
Chassis galvanised 150mm x 50mm
Suspension Independent trailing arm T-tech
Brakes Electric drum
Wheels 16in alloy
Water 2 x 95L fresh, 1 x 65L grey water tank
Battery 2 x 120Ah Lithium
Solar 2 x 180w
Air-conditioner Reverse cycle (can run on a 2kVA genny)
Gas 2 x 9kg
Cooking 3 x gas, 1 electric stove with grill and range hood
Fridge 1 x 165L plus 1 x 50L
Bathroom Combo shower and toilet
Hot water Gas and electric
PRICE FROM $86,000
252 Bruce Highway,
Burpengary East 4505 QLD
Ph: (07) 3216 4555