Plenty of roadside stops are dusty and gravel strewn, blistering you in scorching heat due to the lack of shade, with all the charm of stale beer. Pioneer Park, near Kenilworth in Queensland, isn’t one of those. It is a beaut, shady spot with a history that dates back decades and tells the story of a community. If you’re roaming the Sunshine Coast, keen to check out your new caravan, it’s worth stopping. So there I was, in Pioneer Park pouring over a new Roadstar GT Sport Cross-Country caravan, wishing I had more time to get to know it better – like a week or three.
The Roadstar GT Sport Cross-Country is handsome enough with all the presence and personality you’d expect from an offroad van. As the name promises, it has a striking GT strip dipping off the roof and on to the front and back, along with jaunty red and blue strips along the sides. That means it’s got the goods in the looks department. But, as they say, beauty is more than paint deep – or something like that. So let’s take a more pragmatic approach, starting from the ground up.
The van rolled along the Bruce Highway and Hinterland Road atop its 150mm SupaGal chassis on AL-KO Enduro Outback offroad suspension. That meant a combo that boasted a sturdy chassis with well-protected members, as the RHS sections are galvanised on both the external and internal surfaces. AL-KO’s Enduro Outback is an Australian product made with high-grade springs and shock absorbers that are rated for a 4.1t tandem wheel rig. That’s heaps for a van that weighs in at around 2.6t empty and a maximum of 3t with a payload on board. Better still, the suspension provides ample clearance for navigating across the rough stuff.
A partitioned storage box, jerry cans at the front and rear, together with a front tunnel boot, make up the external storage options. You can put your feet up while watching TV, thanks to an external TV inlet and speakers under a Carefree awning. There’s gunmetal grey checkerplate protecting the van walls on all sides from stones or swishing branches. Box aluminium framing supports aluminium sandwich panelling, keeping the van an acceptable weight without compromising strength.
The advantage of the aluminium composite material for manufacturers is its formability, exceptional flatness and reusability. The upside for caravanners is the wall panel’s durability. Given the sturdiness of modern wall panelling, the checkerplate protection is arguably superfluous. Having said that, if you don’t mind the extra weight of the checkerplate, the extra protection’s probably worthwhile.
By way of protection, a stone shield on the drawbar and large mud flaps on the front and behind the tandem wheels, add to the package. A sturdy Vehicle Components DO35 hitch keeps the rig and the tow vehicle moving in the same direction.
With a ball weight at around seven per cent of Tare, and with conventional wisdom suggesting between eight and 10 per cent is ideal, this van towed beautifully. It offered a sturdy solid feel on the road, and behaved nicely even when travelling at 90km/h.
Once in camp, a double pull-out step helped me inside. I have to admit that I found the height of the first step just a fraction higher than I’d like. Nonetheless, an illuminated handgrip by the door helped me heft my caboose inside.
My first impressions of the inside were that of a tried-and-tested layout with well-built and elegant furniture. The fact that none of the furniture is chipboard is great, and likely to bring a smile to the face of anyone who’s seen the result of moisture damage on chipboard furniture. Also noteworthy are the large windows, convenient tri-fold dinette table, pull-down mesh screens and block out blinds.
The camp cook will also love the deep pots drawer and the Swift stove with four burners and grill. Then there’s the very large 210L EvaKool fridge. While the word in the caravanning fraternity is these fridges offer reliable, efficient service, it runs on 12V or 24V power only. Also likely to have the gourmet cook cheery are the pull-out pantries by the fridge, and under the kitchen bench, which add to the ample storage options. A Gree air-conditioner helps keep the interior room temp right, helped by a 12V Sirocco fan.
As for the bathroom, there’s plenty of storage including convenient cupboards and shelves and a washing machine. On the downside, the shower is probably a little small. You just might find you have to pop outside the shower to pick up the soap if you drop it.
ELECTRICITY AND WATER
Given this is a van that needs good power storage in order to keep the milk, eggs and meat cool, it’s heartening to see that its equipped with two 100A AGM batteries and two 150W solar panels. Since our review, Roadstar has upgraded the batteries to 2x120Ah HardCore batteries, which gives you even more capacity!
When it comes to keeping clean and hydrated, the GT Sport Cross-Country van boasts storage for 190L of water spread across two tanks. There’s also a grey water tank. Of course, that means almost half the maximum payload is used up on water storage. But it still leaves a payload of around 200kg for the beans, beef, beer, boots and assorted bric-a-brac.
THE BOTTOM LINE
For anyone interested in doing some extended touring on or offroad, this is a worthy caravan. It has most of the right stuff for would-be adventurers who want a touch of comfort while still having the ability to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. For those with $80K-plus in the wallet shopping for a new van, this rig is worth putting on your shopping shortlist
HITS AND MISSES
- Ample kitchen storage including pantry cupboards and deep pan drawer
- A good sized fridge
- Stylish and well-built furniture
- Large windows with privacy blinds
- High first step
- Small shower
- I’d prefer three gas and one electric burner on the stove rather than four gas burners
Weights and measures
- Overall length 8.5m (27ft 10in)
- External body length 6.3m (20ft 6in)
- External body width 2.5m (8ft 3in)
- Travel height 2.9m (9ft 8in)
- Internal height 1.9m (6ft 5in)
- Tare 2590kg
- ATM 3000kg
- Payload 410kg
- Ball weight 190kg
Price as shown
$84,990 (pick up, Qld)
The full feature appeared in Caravan World #567. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!