AL-KO Best Aussie Vans sets out to uncover the best caravans for sale right now. Evaluated against ten criteria from Innovation, to Suitability for Purpose to all important X-Factor and more; we had thirteen of the nation’s premier caravans grace the Grampians for AL-KO Best Aussie Vans 2017.
The classy convoy of caravans was a travelling showcase from scenic Hamilton in the south, to spirited Horsham in the west, across to old-style Ararat in the east and iconic Halls Gap in the north.
Four industry judges critiqued the high quality ‘baker’s dozen’ within five categories – ranging from small to entry-level vans, mid-range models, right up to a couple of high-enders priced beyond $100K.
They honed in on 10 specific attributes. But who were the value-for-money stars?
Below are judges’ excerpts on the ‘dollar dazzlers’ – and not all were category winners!
As naming sponsor, AL-KO provided the support needed to create this years’ event. AL-KO are market leaders in essential caravan, trailer and RV component manufacture and supply. Their support not only provides the backing needed to complete the mammoth event but it also provides a chance to integrate their product into real world testing and evaluation.
KOKODA CADET II XLi PLATINUM
The Kokoda Cadet II XLi Platinum is a quintessential home-away-from-home while on the road.
And most importantly, the kids can actually ‘meet the parents’.
The ‘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 WiFi setup (your choice of Australian data providers), which provides connectivity with your loved ones.
This van will take any family to most of Australia’s favourite destinations, in comfort and luxury.
The judges’ say:
“You can experience the essence of Australia and its natural beauty in this Kokoda. It screams out ‘harmonious family travelling’, and that’s worth its weight in gold!” – Peter Quilty
“An awesome family holiday package that’s affordable and complete.” – Michael Borg
“This is interesting to compare to the Dreamseeker F1. The latter is shorter and with less room but more expensive. For the average punter who likes a bit of space, this is the better deal.”
– Malcolm Street
LEGEND TRACKLINE OFFROAD
The tough-as-teak Legend Trackline Off-Road gives the distinct impression it could sustain some real punishment on our iconic outback trails.
A bona fide offroad brute, the Trackline boasts a ruggedly handsome exterior combined with a sparkling interior… It really is a rough diamond.
One of its key external attributes is an offroad aluminium frame which, on a pound-for-pound basis, offers greater strength than a timber frame and is rot-resistant.
Undoubtedly, the Legend Trackline Off-Road is a made-to-measure offroader for tackling the outback and trekking towards uncharted territory.
The judges’ say:
“Great package with classy looks and high quality appliances.” – Ron Moon
“At just under $75K, it’s attractively priced for a dyed-in-the-wool offroader. What you get is a ruggedly handsome exterior combined with a sparkling interior.” – Peter Quilty
“A good quality caravan with plenty to offer the keen tourer.” – Michael Borg
It’s not the ‘size of the dog in the fight’ but the ‘size of the fight in the dog’. And to that extent, the MDC XT12 is a go-anywhere battlewagon that will more than ‘nip at the heels’ at the harshest of Australian terrain.
This pocket dynamo will ‘sink its teeth’ into the budget hybrid market, given its functional layout and raft of features.
The XT12 is a camper trailer-cum-caravan that makes the thrill of outdoors adventure trouble-free and uncomplicated.
The judges’ say:
“Put simply, you get plenty of bang for buck.” – Michael Borg
“It certainly has an attractive and affordable pricing.” – Malcolm Street
“Lots of features and good quality components – electric awning, solar, air-conditioning, and five-year structural warranty.” – Ron Moon
A tandem-axle on-road tourer, the Atlantic Endeavour is predominantly pitched to first-time buyers that don’t want to blow the budget.
And if one had to bundle up its key features, this would be a likely short list – towability; cosy and spacious bedroom; snazzy ensuite; pragmatic kitchen; chic club lounge; wall-mounted miniwasher.
All in all, it’s a phenomenal entry-level van with high-end appeal, and enticing for a young family contemplating a more adventurous lifestyle.
The judges’ say:
“In many ways this is something of an entry-level van, yet one with just about all the essentials that are expected in a contemporary caravan.” – Malcolm Street
“Good price for a 22ft van and appliances.” – Ron Moon
“A ‘dollar dazzler’, coming in at a tad over $60K. Basically it’s got the whole kit and caboodle for on-road adventuring.” – Peter Quilty
Check out the Most Innovative caravans of of AL-KO Best Aussie Vans 2017 here
MEET THE AUTHOR
With more than 30 years’ journalistic experience, Peter’s brief predominantly centres on editorial reviews for Caravan World and CamperTrailer Australia magazines.
A relative late starter to the trials and tribulations of the RV industry, Peter has been making up for lost time caravanning and camping with his family around Victoria. Initially, Gippsland was the primary stamping ground free camping in idyllic bush settings such as Dargo and Licola, beside the Wonnangatta and Macalister rivers respectively. Other favourite haunts also became ensconced on the family camping itinerary – Jamieson in Victoria’s High Country, Whitfield in the King Valley, Princetown on the Great Ocean Road, and Bright in the Ovens Valley.