It’s often said that “family is the basic unit of society” - and I for one wholeheartedly subscribe to this theory. This baby boomer enjoyed a humble – albeit happy and loving – upbringing where family values were number one. And if you were silly enough to stray from that ethos, you were quickly hauled back into line! The wise sage will also say “you’re a product of your environment”, and that’s why family time for me has been equally paramount in parenthood.
The Cadet II XLi Platinum is badged as an on-roader, but it also cuts the mustard in the semi-offroad stakes. That is, it’s more than capable of heading off the bitumen and boasts some serious off-grid credibility. For starters, it comprises a tough ali-comp and high checkerplate armour all-round, and a sturdy 6in ARV DuraGal chassis. This has been reinforced for extra strength and is undercoated with 98 per cent zinc rich primer prior to painting, thus providing excellent corrosion protection. And it rides on a robust 3.3t AL-KO Enduro Cross Country suspension and heavy-duty offroad tyres.
Meanwhile, safety matters are attended to thanks to AL-KO ESC, a gas detector, and a reversing camera. I towed the Kokoda, which has a Tare weight of 2620kg, with a Toyota LC200 that wouldn’t have blown out a candle traversing some narrow, albeit unchallenging, winding roads within the Nillumbik Shire. And it’s pertinent to mention that this van has a generous payload – 680kg in fact – which definitely qualifies it as a home away from home. Additionally, this versatile Kokoda has the capability to take the family away from powered sites, if so desired, courtesy of its battery (2x100Ah), solar (2x150W) and water (2x95L – fresh; 1x95L – grey) setups. I hasten to add that the water tanks are protected by galvanised sheeting and the plumbing pipes have been carefully placed to avoid damage while driving. Undercarriage checkerplate plumbing protection is an optional extra.
I’m also impressed with the van’s seemingly endless external storage – toolbox on the A-frame, dual access tunnel boot, and a galvanised generator hatch and a rear hatch which are both on the offside. And it’s matched by abundant internal storage (there’s more on that later).
Externally, the Cadet II XLi Platinum also has a DO35 coupling, two 9kg gas cylinders, storage mesh and a tap (albeit with no checkerplate protection) all on the A-frame, a roll-out awning, fold-out picnic table, two external speakers, gas bayonet, blue LED strip lighting at the footwell, an illuminated blue LED door handle, single pull-out step, exterior shower, two water fillers, reversing camera, two jerry can holders, and two spare wheels mounted on the three-arm bumper bar. (I thought a stoneguard would have completed a near-faultless exterior picture).
This ‘smart living’ Kokoda is totally up-to-the-minute in the high tech department. There’s plenty of internal emphasis on family due to its Smart intel system consisting of a RV Wi-Fi setup (your choice of Australian data providers including Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, Virgin and others), which provides connectivity with your loved ones. The new RV Wi-Fi model now comes with an in-built media server letting you watch your own movies/photos on your phones/tablets and computers, and an NCE Smart 24in TV which is iOS and Android capable, allowing the streaming of internet movies on Netflix etc. There’s also a stereo CD/DVD/MP3/radio system, and the Dometic antenna reads horizontal and vertical signals.
Typical of the Kokoda line-up, there’s plenty of internal ‘spit and polish’ about the Cadet II XLi Platinum. Let’s start with the stylish faux leather vinyl club lounge, which simply invites relaxation and family socialising, and the gloss cupboard doors which are scratch and UV resistant.
The acrylic full-height kitchen splashback really caught my eyes, as did the modern ceramic basin with upgraded tapware in the bathroom.
Meanwhile, the main bedroom exudes comfort and luxury complete with a caravan-queen-size bed and pillow-top innerspring mattress. And the boudoir continues the ‘endless storage’ theme with deep robes, dressers, and the sheer practicality of slide-out drawers within a deep lift-up under-bed compartment.
I also appreciated the panoramic double-glazed, midge-proof, Euro-style Aussie Traveller windows and a large centrally located Ranger hatch (700x500mm), both of which allow plenty of light and ventilation in the bedroom.
The kitchen truly reflects the van’s functionality for the travelling family, including a Swift four-burner cooktop, grill and oven, 12V LED rangehood with twin fans, single bowl stainless steel sink with water filter tap, 185L Dometic three-way automatic fridge-freezer and a 20L Sphere microwave, which I thought was set a trifle too high.
There’s also plenty of rolled-edge laminate benchtop space and a slide-out half pantry. And it’s not difficult to detect the attention to detail in this van, which extends to the piano-hinged cabinetry with user-friendly RV pull-lock handles. Climatic comfort for the whole family is provided by a roof-mounted Dometic Harrier inverter reverse-cycle air-conditioner, which is complemented by roof and wall insulation.
THE BOTTOM LINE
We’ve got some magical ‘Hollywood on the Gold Coast’ shots in our family album. But I can tell you, I wouldn’t mind adding to that pictorial memorabilia travelling in a caravan the calibre of the Cadet II XLi Platinum.
This van will take you to most corners of Australia, in comfort and luxury. And it won’t blow the budget, at $64,990 plus on-road costs. It’s purpose-built for the family guy. Or this ‘geriatric gypsy’ who wants to show his grandchildren there’s more to young holidaying life than the Gold Coast’s pseudo comic book heroes, Marilyn Monroe impersonators, performing seals and hoop-jumping dolphins.
HITS AND MISSES
- RV Wi-Fi setup
- Endless storage
- Loads of payload
- Comfortable and liveable
- Family friendly
- Missing a stoneguard
- No DVD players for the kids
- Doesn’t sit under my carport
Weights and measures
- Overall length 8.7m (28ft 7in)
- External body length 6.6m (21ft 8in)
- External body width 2.37m (7ft 9in)
- Travel height 2.95m (9ft 8in)
- Internal height 2.2m (6ft 8in)
- Tare 2620kg
- ATM 3330kg
- Payload 680kg
- Ball weight 180kg
Price as shown
$64,990 + ORC
The full feature appeared in Caravan World #568. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!