Kedron Caravans is well-known for its purpose-built offroad range of caravans. Like other manufacturers, the team spends time analysing the devices and materials that are fitted to its caravans. And it was one of those devices that prompted me to take a second look at one of Kedron’s latest TopEnder 3 models.
Deep-cycle batteries take up a considerable amount of boot space and weigh a fair bit, especially when there are two or three of them. However, when I looked in the front boot of this TopEnder, I was in for a surprise. The three batteries normally present were not there and, instead, there was a white box bolted to the wall. That white box was actually a 300Ah lithium ion battery, a recent optional addition to the Kedron range. What a great space and weight saver!
A recent Kedron innovation has been the way the spare wheels are stored. Instead of hanging off the back bumper bar, they are now bolted on a rack that is partly recessed into the rear wall of the van. It not only looks neat but it is quite practical, too.
LAYOUT & DESIGN
This TopEnder 3 has what seems to have become the standard caravan layout, but with a few special Kedron touches. It has a front island bed, nearside kitchen, offside dinette and full-width rear bathroom with the entry door being just forward of the bathroom. One of the features that immediately catches the eye is the glossy ceiling, cabinetry and benchtops. The cabinets are all finished in a ‘Cooloola’ Italian-made veneer which is bonded to a lightweight ply timber. What also helps the interior shine are the LED lights sprinkled throughout, both in the ceiling and under the lockers.
BEDROOM & STORAGE
Up front, one of the characteristics of the bedroom is that the bedhead cabinets, which are often quite square, aren’t as boxy as usual. That is because the overhead lockers above the bed have been angled out. It means the side wardrobes and bedside shelf/drawer sit further out but I reckon it looks quite good. It also creates space behind the pillows for a shelf. Measuring 1.88x1.52m (6ft 2in x 5ft), the mattress sits on a posture slatted bed base that can be lifted to get to the storage underneath, although that space is partly taken up by the front tunnel boot and the second storage bin on the nearside.
In the catering department, the kitchen bench is typical Kedron with a cooktop, grill, oven and stainless steel sink with drainer, and a microwave oven at overhead locker height. There’s a good number of cupboards, lockers and drawers but there’s also a front-loading washing machine. It takes up space in the kitchen but does create a more generous benchtop than normal and leaves more space in the bathroom, where the washing machine is more commonly found.
On the opposite wall, a Waeco 215L fridge sits between the dinette and bathroom wall. The cafe-style dinette, complete with drawers under the seats and a tri-fold table, is comfortable to sit at. On the other side of the dinette, between the dinette and bedroom, there’s a waist-high cabinet that sits behind the seat and, against the wall, a pantry runs up to the ceiling. It all creates a considerable amount of usable storage space.
Given there isn’t a washing machine in the bathroom, there is plenty of space for everything else. That includes all the normal features – a nearside shower cubicle, offside cassette toilet and a centre stage washbasin on a very impressive vanity cabinet. Like the bedhead design, it has angled cupboards and offers a copious amount of storage, both in cupboards and drawers. I noted also that, happily, the cabinetry has been designed to allow plenty of elbow room around the loo!
THE BOTTOM LINE
Built to Kedron’s usual high standards, this TopEnder 3 has much to offer the offroad traveller, being fitted with all the usual items that are now almost considered standard features. With this particular van, the major feature of interest is definitely the lithium battery which, together with the solar panels, allows for extended travel in the many remote areas around Australia.
- Travelling with the Gall Boys!
- External bin capacity
- Lithium battery set-up
- Neat under-body, with everything strapped up out of the way
- Interior look with glossy finish
- Good-sized kitchen
- General cabinet design and layout
I would have liked...
- Labels on 12V fuses in the front boot
The full test appears in Caravan World #540 August 2015.