The great pleasure of an offroad van is not so much the rough and tumble towing (although that can be fun) but the incredible destinations to which it can take you. We have no shortage of remarkably beautiful, hard-to-reach locations in this country, and the Victorian High Country is right up there with the best of them. So when we looked for suitable offroad caravans to come along for AL-KO’s Toughest Tow Test, the well-equipped Coromal Pioneer XC 632 quickly sprung to mind.
The Australian-made, rough and ready Pioneer XC range comes in 11 different sizes and layout options, with the 632 on test sitting about in the middle. And while other layouts incorporate triple bunks to cater for adventurous families, the 632 is set up for free-wheeling, adventure-loving couples who just don’t want to sacrifice on comfort.
The sturdy, Aussie-made construction on the Pioneer XC is confidence inspiring, while AL-KO running gear makes it offroad ready. Weight is kept to a minimum, thanks to the innovative aluminium frame and the robust hot-dipped galvanised chassis is a solid foundation. Front and side walls are sheeted ply, while the rear wall is sandwich panel.
This all rides atop AL-KO’s Aussie-made Enduro Outback independent coil suspension with dual shocks, with the new AL-KO Off-Road Ball Coupling at the front, giving you the confidence to tackle the many challenges that await off the beaten track. And it proved its mettle on our High Country tests. While tight tracks are not the Coromal’s strong point, due to its size, it had no trouble handling the steep and rocky river crossings, rocky scrambles and rutted-out roads we urged it through.
Its electric brakes are bush-ready and the mesh stoneguard on the drawbar protected it against rogue stones that the loose, rocky tracks inevitably threw up. The steel wheels carry 16in ATV-style tyres, and there are two spares for when things go pear shaped twice – which, happily, did not happen to us, even once!
If you think all that sounds like it adds up to a decent offroad weapon, you’d be right – to an extent. There’s no denying this caravan has all the boxes ticked when it comes to the appropriate running gear for offroad, however, its sheer size and weight does restrict its movements, over a smaller, more nimble van which we noticed, at times, on our High Country test route.
The XC 632 weighs in at 2675kg Tare with an ATM of 3275kg. It has an overall length of 8.4m, is 3m tall and 2.5m wide. She’s a big girl and tight, overgrown bush tracks are not her forte; just ask a couple of the tracks we redecorated up in the High Country – whoops! It is the Toughest Tow Test, after all!
Three tonne is a lot of weight to be hauling up steep mountain spurs and steering through tight switchbacks, although AL-KO engineer Craig Greenaway, who took on towing duties, handled it just fine in the AL-KO 200 Series LandCruiser, so we proved that, with a bit of careful driving, it can be done. And, of course, if we can pull off what we did at the TTT, less challenging tracks – you know, the type attempted by sane people – should present no hassle. The upside to the size and weight of this van is the sheer level of comfort and self-sufficiency it affords.
Inside, the benefit of a large rig is immediately clear; the layout is spacious and the finishes luxurious. The bedroom spans the width of the van at the front and comprises a caravan-queen-size memory foam mattress surrounded by cabinetry that is both stylish and functional. Overhead storage is flanked by his and hers wardrobes, drawers and bedside tables, plus reading lights and a nifty hidey hole where your phone can charge via 240V or 12V outlets. There are two large storage drawers under the bed and the whole thing is on hinges should you want to access every last nook of storage in amongst the batteries and electrics. The identical, oversized windows on either side of the bedroom promise glorious cross-flow in the summer and are adorned in luxuriously thick, stylish curtains available in your choice of colour. The overall aesthetic in the bedroom is wonderfully symmetrical with more than a splash of ‘yacht chic’. I might have made that interior design reference up, but I’m sure you catch my drift.
Cabinetry throughout is high gloss and flush-fitting and also available in a range of colours, but the crisp white of the unit on test certainly pushed my buttons. Combined with the wooden-look floor in ‘Aspin Black’ (not really black at all) the overall appearance of the interior is modern, clean and inviting.
The amount of internal storage is innovative and wonderful. There are cabinets and drawers and wardrobes everywhere you look, sure to delight even the most pedantic of obsessive compulsives. One seemingly insignificant corner between the bedroom and the dinette has not one but five separate storage lockers. It’s enough to bring a tear to the eye.
The kitchen is equipped with all you need, including a stove and grill, four burners plus a rangehood with lighting. This is hidden away beneath a folding section of bench for added bench space and a tidy look when it’s not in use. There’s the aforementioned three-way fridge/freezer, a 190L Dometic number, plus a microwave for convenient cooking when there’s 240V connectivity.
At the rear of the caravan there’s a full-size bathroom running the width of the van with a separate shower room and a washing machine hidden under a beautifully finished marble bench. There are mirrors, towel rails and cabinets right where you want them and, true to the theme of this van, the overall feeling is of spaciousness and comfort.
Outside, additional storage can be had in the twin toolboxes on the drawbar plus undercarriage storage compartments. There’s an outdoor shower to hose off sand and muddy feet (or for alfresco bathing, of course), and a drop-down picnic table provides somewhere to host happy hour.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Coromal Pioneer XC 632 is an excellent proposition for a couple who have their sights set on extended touring with a bit of bush bashing and plan to make the most of free camps and national parks. It is offroad capable, incredibly self-sufficient and loaded with luxuries. Priced at $76,990 it’s plenty of van for the money, and carries the capacity to save you a bucket-load as you drive straight past caravan parks and paid campsites and head for the peace and quiet of the hills.
HITS AND MISSES
- Very self-sufficient
- Luxury interior
- Heaps of storage
- Offroad capable, but too large to take on extreme terrain
Weights and measures
- Overall length 8.36m (27ft 5in)
- External body length 6.3m (20ft 8in)
- External body width 2.48m (8ft 2in)
- Travel height 3.05m (10ft)
- Internal height 1.98m (6ft 6in)
- Tare 2675kg
- ATM 3275kg
- Payload 600kg
- Ball weight 227kg
Price as shown
The full feature appeared in Caravan World #564. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!