Aussie By Design Humpback Smartvan Review

Mike Pavey — 29 January 2014


The Humpback Smartvan by Aussie by Design decisively breaks that mould with its upswept tail. Road testing of the prototype van confirmed the humpback improved the stability of the van on the highway, without the normal unsettling turbulence experienced from passing trucks. Bring along your wish list to Aussie by Design and they will help design a van to meet your requirements, constrained only by practicalities and value retention.



A generous specification is offered as standard including a split-system air-conditioner, dual batteries with smart charger, alarm, 270W solar and controller, VAST satellite system HD TV/DVD, dual checkerplate tool boxes, twin 95L water tanks, external shower, 2.5kg washing machine, picnic table and 2000W pure sine waver inverter with quick cutover switch, converting all 240V points to 12V power.



The foundations of the trailer are built around a substantial 6in DuraGal chassis which is finished in Rustguard paint for further protection from the elements. The test van had optional Control Rider independent coil suspension to massage out the bumps, rolling on 16in alloys shod with LT285/75 all-terrain rubber and 12in electric brakes to help wash off speed. Three inch risers add additional clearance for offroad work, keeping components such as the large 230L grey water tank off the deck.

The body uses a Meranti timber frame, aluminium cladding and checkerplate protection on the lower sills, front and compartment doors. Both front and tunnel boots maximise the available external storage for a range of items.



The Humpback Smartvan is unphased by varying road surfaces, including offroad. During our test, 4WD tracks show the versatility of the van, up and down some sharp rises that occasionally leave the rear axle hanging in fresh air, far beyond what most owners would entertain, yet it was stable and predictable in its passage. The shielded 230L grey water tank rides at axle height, although it does hang down a little in the breeze, but even after our enthusiastic driving demonstration there were no signs of damage. The only restriction with a van this big is the towing mule required to move it along, limiting towing tugs to large 4WDs such as the Toyota 200 Series with a 3.5t limit.



It is hard not to be impressed with the Humpback Smartvan. Not only is it well specified as standard, it comes packaged with plenty of innovation to make touring more enjoyable and, better still, by dealing direct with the manufacturer, you get a lot more bang for your buck. Warranty is a generous; four years on the chassis, three years on structural components and one year on the whitegoods. From $87,800 (base model) for a well-appointed 24-plus footer, there is plenty of change for a tow vehicle upgrade, if required.



  • Standard touring inclusions
  • Macerator toilet and plumbing system
  • Split system air conditioning
  • Inverter set-up



  • Slimmer profile grey water tank
  • A barbecue as standard


Test_Aussie_By_Design review australian design humpback smartvan


Anita Pavey