I don’t know how I get the big jobs, but I do. This is my third Wonderland RV in a couple of years and maybe the fourth van over $200,000. If that triggers you, wait until we do our Budget focused issue, but I would urge you to follow along as vans like this Wonderland RV XTR 2100F-C 2 Bunk that set the trends for others to follow.
It is vans like this that become the standard as consumers chase the massive battery banks, the unrivalled comfort, and the offroad credibility that early adopters are first to invest in.
This is not a van for everyone but what it has is what we all want. Give it a few years and the headline numbers will be common and more affordable thanks to pinnacle builds like this doing the testing and research.
The headlines are the 4400kg ATM with accompanying 1280kg payload and a replacement value of $201,000, which are wildly higher than vans of yesteryear, but the trend is heading that way. Custom builders like Wonderland RV, Zone RV, and Bushtracker all have average selling prices in the region of $160,000. Get jiggy with the options and customisations and it’s not uncommon to see over $200,000, especially in the likes of the Kedron Top Enders. It might shock a few of you, but $200,000 is becoming commonly seen in what the best in the business is.
Are they justifiable? It seems so as they are selling, and waitlists are out a year or more for the brands listed above. Plus, as you’re about to read, there often are power suites that cost as much as a reasonable small van from some mainstream brands.
This Wonderland has been designed to take a family of four off-grid almost indefinitely.
Starting with the power, it runs a 24V system built by Enerdrive. There are 1200W of 24V solar panels feeding into 800A of lithium batteries on the roof that in optimal conditions will produce 50A at 24V. Regulation is by two 60A Morningstar MPPT controllers and an ePower 24V, 40A DC-DC handles the incoming from the Anderson plug after it is converted by a 12–24–12V transformer. An Active Balancing System controls charging to individual cells in the Enerdrive supplied batteries and a Simarine 50A SCQ50 shunt module monitors four channels at up to 35V and passes on the state of charge (or draw) to the easy to read display. It can also be integrated into apps.
Two inverters run different parts of the van with a dedicated 2000W unit for the two Thetford twin induction stovetops and a second 3500W ePRO Inverter Charger that does what it says on the label as a charger and inverter. The ePRO is a new piece of technology that can charge your batteries from AC and flick over near-instantly to provide AC to the plugs throughout the van from the DC battery bank. If you are using the TV or a laptop and the AC fails, the ePRO will flick over to the battery without interrupting the supply of power; it is a clever piece of kit.
So, what does that all mean? Putting it in terms of the most power-hungry appliance, AC, once the Truma Aventa has settled on a comfortable temperature around 10 degrees under ambient, it will draw about 800W at 12V or about 67A. This is below the in-perfect-conditions 100A (at 12V) the solar could provide but it won’t see that. We saw a peak of 80A on an early part of the test, in peak conditions, so it looks like this is the first van I have seen that could theoretically run the AC without drawing down on the battery — if you have the fridges, TV and other appliances off and keep the panels clean, that is. I expect, in real-world conditions and use, you would use the AC for a few hours a day only while having the fridges etc on constantly. Do that and this set-up should run indefinitely.
A diesel Eberspacher Hydronic Water Heater gives near-instant hot water and doubles as a space heater. With diesel being substantially cheaper than LPG, not to mention much easier to carry, and this style of HWS being so efficient, it’s not surprising to see them starting to gain popularity.
Fluid capacities are not groundbreakingly high but then this Wonderland has the ability to lift and filter water from creeks and streams and with the dedicated drinking tank, there is an ability to extend stays if you find yourself near a running stream or river.
Speaking of extending stays, people often forget about the toilet. Most cassette types would fill up in a few days with a family so this van uses a composting type that should see up to 30 days for solid waste and features a simple lift our container for liquid waste. Don’t think that these are a stinking mess either — with the right additives, they smell less than most chemical loos.
Storage is abundant thanks to this 2100 being optioned with the Storage King pack. Starting around the main bed, you’ll notice the bedsides have been mostly filled in with neat top-opening cupboards. They reduce space around the bed but for a young family, the extra storage will appeal. Above and around the tops of the sides are overhead cupboards and decent depth and height wardrobes. Moving down through the kitchen and you’ll find a Thetford induction cooker beside a full-size black sink and mixer opposite a sumptuous L-shaped lounge. The lounge features real leather and headrests that make a great spot for a late afternoon snooze in the cool AC breeze.
Interestingly, there is no internal oven. The standard Swift has been optioned out in favour of more storage with the microwave and external Weber Pulse expected to do more cooking. The internal fridge is a 244L Compressor. The benchtops and table are wood laminated and look fantastic. The floor is vinyl which is nice and easy to sweep out and the kid’s zone has a privacy curtain.
Being a 21ft van, it would be forgivable to not have a separate shower and toilet in the ensuite but by having the toilet opposite the bunks, with a washer overhead, behind a sliding door and the shower tucked into the corner, there is a heap of room. This is one of the best layouts I’ve seen in a van this size.
Of course, being an offroader with enviable off-grid capacities, it also has an external shower for rinsing off after playtime but that is not all.
THE BEST SEATS IN THE HOUSE
By my comments on the Dometic 224L fridge being the indoors fridge, you might have picked up that there is a second outside. There is an Engel on a slide out from the massive front toolbox. There is also a slide-out kitchen that houses the second Thetford Induction cooktop, a decent-sized bench and sink plus the Weber Pulse. The slide-out is not immensely long as the other side has had storage prioritised. The orientation of the cooktop has the user standing with their back away from the space under the awning, my favourite place in every van. The awning is manual, as is the step.
This layout has the chef part of the crowd as well as leaving easy access to the second tunnel boot that is part of the Storage King layout. Whoever is cooking will be a little unsheltered, but they could always swing to the otherside or duck inside if the weather packs in.
You’ll see the three Fusion marine-grade speakers around the map table. These are the Signature Series that can be set to change colour with the tempo of the music and are seriously powerful. They get their power from an amp inside and can be controlled by an app right down to volume by the individual speaker.
UNDER THE SKIN
Doing the work to keep the substantial weight of this 2100 off the ground is the highest spec suspension Cruisemaster offer, their ATX Air with Level-4 control. Think of it as the next step up on their excellent XT with much beefier trailing arms, the use of remote reservoir shock absorbers and airbags where you’d normally see coil springs. The benefit of the ‘bags is the ability to change the ride height quickly to level the van on uneven spots and with the Level-4 comes self-levelling while underway and a remote control as well as a hose with tyre valve to make reinflation quick and easy.
The chassis is one of the best in Australia in a Road King. Road King is made in Melbourne and specialises in heavy-duty trailers for custom builders like Wonderland RV. The chassis rails measure 100mm x 50mm with a 100mm x 50mm riser. It is coated in DuraGal and features a good number of spreaders under the floor supporting the one-piece honeycomb composite floor. There are attachments for eternal taps, recovery points and a long drawbar that makes backing easier and allows space for the massive front toolbox and fridge compartment.
The topsides use Wonderland RV’s Wonderwall construction method using interlocking marine grade ply for the structure, which is clad in Dibond composite external cladding that, where needed, is protected with checkerplate. Building this way is heavier than traditional meranti or alloy frames but it is very well insulated with notches routed into the ply for wiring and all cutouts lined with fire-resistant foam panels to minimise gaps.
BIG VAN REALITIES
A lot of you readers point out that there are extra costs in owning a van of this size and price. Things like the tow vehicle, which immediately needs to be more than a 10-year-old LandCruiser or modern ute. You need to invest in a light truck or if you want comfort too, an American pick-up like the Ram 1500 we used. There goes another $150,000. Are they any good though? You betcha, aside from the fuel usage which hovered at or over 30L per 100km travelled for our 3000km. I would highly recommend getting an upgraded fuel tank though as standard they are around 90L so good for up to 300km only. Options exist for up to 200L of capacity, seek that out.
I glossed over the kids area as there is more to a good family van than some bunks. They need ample power at the beds, excess storage and the van as a whole needs to offer them their own space and places to be themselves.
As there are only two 1.9m bunks in this van (three is optional), there is more storage under the lower bunk and more headroom for both. Access is by way of laminated ply with rounded edges to lessen bumps and bruises. Both have 240V and 12V power points and Sirocco fans (there are two over the main bed too) plus reading lights. By having the washer wall mounted above the toilet, there is room between the bunks and the ensuite for a massive set of shelves and drawers that will swallow the van’s manchester and kids’ stuff with ease.
Extras like the optional ISI bike rack add a lot of value to the family as does the filtered lift pump and external shower to give the kids more freedom to run amok without the worry of soiling the van. The floor is vinyl, as mentioned, so is easy to clean and the lounge will wipe clean easily too. The upgraded TV will give the family a chance to relax together either inside or under the awning with the stereo upping the quality of the sound. The 1280kg payload is the most I’ve seen and with the low-ish water capacity, means this could be one of the few vans out there that you could not overload.
WARRANTY AND SUPPORT
For all of the above reasons, Wonderland RV is a fast-growing brand. New dealers have been added around the country and production has ramped up with a second Campbellfield, Vic, yard specialising in handovers and retail opening recently. With the expansion of the network comes more dealers to act as warranty agents, always a good thing in my opinion. The warranty on Wonderland RV product is three years for the manufactured parts and supplied components (appliances etc) are covered by their manufacturer warranty.
Impressively for the caravan industry, the warranty document is available publicly online and is thorough, and from my untrained standpoint, in line with federal legislation. Wonderland RV warrants their product for use on unsealed roads and water crossings up to the height of the floor (that’s quite high if you pump up the airbags) which is nice to see.
The big numbers stack up. The massive payload suits the Storage King option pack while the huge solar array and epic battery bank ensure the appliances will run almost all day, every day, off-grid. The build is tough, and the chassis and adjustable suspension combination would have to be close to the best in the business for remote touring. Dealer support is growing, and the company backs its product openly giving me a lot of confidence that they’ll stand behind what they build. Wonderland RV’s tagline is Love This Land — if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford it, I think you’ll love this van.
FInd more Wonderland RV vans here.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
Overall length 9m (29ft 6in)
External body length 6.4m (21ft)
External body width 2.5m (8ft 2in)
Travel height 3.1m (10ft)
Internal height 1.95m (6ft 5in)
Ball weight 200kg
Frame Structural grade ply (side walls), 39mm composite floor, 35mm one-piece roof
Cladding Dibond composite
Chassis Roadking 12in lightweight chassis
Suspension Cruisemaster ATX Air Level-3
Coupling Hitch-Ezy 5t
Brakes Cruisemaster disc
Water 255L Fresh (65L drinking and 2 x 95L general use), 100L Grey
Power 800A lithium, 3000W & 2000W inverters, 120A AC charger, 50A DC to DC chargers
Solar 1200W, 24V
Air-conditioner Truma Aventa
Sway control N/A
Cooking Thetford induction
Fridge 244L Compressor & 40L Engel
Toilet Dometic Composting
Hot water Eberspacher Hydronic
- Enerdrive power suite upgrade
- Dual induction cooktops
- Carafan DRS
- ISI 4 Bike Rack
- Outdoor BBQ
- Tracking mate with GPS
- RV WI-FI
- Smart RV
- ATX Air Upgrade
PRICE AS SHOWN
Ph: 03 8692 0032