· 7.3m (24ft) rear bathroom layout
· Al-Ko chassis and suspension
· Can be towed by a sedan
· Light and bright interior
Jurgens Caravans is a company with an interesting heritage. Its caravans are made in Australia and are a kind of cross between Australian vans and those built in Britain and the rest of Europe. The company also has a connection to South African manufacturer Jurgens CI.
Jurgens has its origins in the Netherlands but the CI part of the name is a bit more complicated, with its origins in Britain and associated companies in Germany, Sweden and New Zealand.
That's all a bit historical now but the Jurgens Lunagazer J2405 that I collected from Queensland's Kratzmann's Caravans certainly isn't. In fact, it's just the opposite - modern and contemporary, with large windows and a streamlined shape.
A major asset of Jurgens caravans is their weight - or lack thereof. This 7.4m (24ft 3in) Lunagazer has a Tare of just 1752kg and an ATM of 2152kg, making it ideal for any number of tow vehicles, including a sedan such as a Ford Falcon. That rendered my Toyota LandCruiser tow vehicle complete overkill, but at least it made towing the van a breeze...
A look under the Lunagazer reveals how some of the weight has been reduced. The Al-Ko chassis looks a bit different to the more traditional Australian variety. In some places, it looks like someone has drilled big holes through the rails, but that's just a clever way of reducing the weight while retaining structural strength. It's been designed using finite analysis, CNC fabrication and bolt-together fabrication.
Like most Jurgens products, the Lunagazer has Al-Ko torsion suspension and shock absorbers. The corner stabilisers are all of the quick-drop variety and the spare wheel is mounted under the chassis at the rear.
The drawbar is quite sparse because the 4.5kg gas cylinders are in the front boot, leaving just the handbrake, swing-up jockey wheel and Al-Ko stabiliser coupling. Most newcomers will need a quick lesson in using the coupling, but it's actually pretty simple.
Although the front and rear of the van are fully-moulded fibreglass, the walls and roof are all composite ply/polystyrene/timber matrix/aluminium. This setup is lightweight, works as insulation and, above all, is designed for strength.
The Lunagazer has Seitz acrylic hopper windows and a Camec security door. External storage comprises a front boot, Thetford toilet cassette door, and a storage bin at the front nearside.
For outside activities there is a picnic table, single wall light and a Dometic awning. Because the rear vertical arm of the awning blocks the bathroom window, the window can't be opened when the awning is closed.
All Jurgens vans have characteristic light-hued cabinetry and the Lunagazer is no exception. The lightly-mottled walls and contrasting upholstery create a great first impression when you step in the door.
Caravans often have a slightly angular look about them, due to the layout and the cabinetry, but a lack of square edges throughout softens the overall effect. Some of the overhead lockers are shelves rather than cupboards and some of the doors have clear acrylic inserts rather than wood.
LED lighting is used throughout but the fittings are concentrated around the large skylight and the nearby dinette - I wondered if they should have been spread a little more evenly throughout the van.
The rear bathroom is not quite rectangular as it has an angled door and is recessed slightly by the entry door. That not only gives a greater impression of space but allows for a couple of small cupboards by the door.
The general layout is quite simple. To the right of the van door is the full-width rear bathroom and, to the left, is a dinette on the nearside wall with the kitchen bench opposite. Upfront, of course, is the bedroom, which has large surrounding windows - they allow you to have an easy chat with the neighbours, if you choose to. At night, the integrated blinds and curtains give plenty of privacy.
Measuring 1.73x1.73m (5ft 8in x 5ft 8in), the bed can be extended to 1.83m (6ft) at the expense of some space at its foot. The mattress sits on an easily-lifted posture slat bed base. Beneath is a roomy storage compartment. Around the bedhead are the usual bedside cabinets, side wardrobes and overhead lockers. The radio/CD player is centrally mounted on a locker, which means you have to kneel on the bed to do anything more than just turn it on.
The Aircommand Sparrow air-conditioner is mounted on the ceiling above the bed, rather than mid-van like most. If nothing else, this setup will keep you cool at night.
TAKE A SEAT
Jurgens has opted for a traditional cafe-style dinette, complete with tri-fold table and wall cushions. Overhead lockers, shelves above and below the table, and the under-seat space, accessible by floor lockers, create a useful range of storage options. The flatscreen TV mounting point is at the end of the kitchen, so it can be seen from the bed as well as the dinette.
Below the rear seat is a powerpoint and, on the other side, is the battery/transformer switch and LED gauge for the battery. The only problem is that it's set very low and a bit awkward to read.
There is a considerable variety of cupboards, overhead lockers, drawers and floor lockers in the kitchen. And you have all the other kitchen essentials, too: stainless steel sink with drainer, Thetford four-burner Minigrill and Thetford 164L three-way fridge with microwave above. It's a kitchen that works very well.
While it's not as big as some I have seen, the bathroom has all the necessary items: separate shower cubicle, Thetford cassette toilet and vanity cabinet. The latter is fitted into a semi-circular cabinet with shaving cabinet above. Extra bathroom fittings include towel rails on the door, towel ring by the vanity and book racks by the loo.
THE BOTTOM LINE
It's not hard to see the attraction of the Jurgens Lunagazer. It's well built, nice-looking inside and out and can be towed by just about anything the size of a Ford Falcon or larger.
In addition, it comes with a front bedroom/rear bathroom layout which is a popular, practical and proven floorplan. When you add it all up, the Lunagazer is a very attractive proposition.
· Relatively lightweight van
· Kitchen layout
· Variety of cupboards and overhead lockers
· Small cupboards by the entry door
· Bathroom layout and fittings
I WOULD HAVE LIKED...
· Radio/CD player in different location
· To be able to open the bathroom window without first opening the awning