During the 2018 AL-KO Toughest Tow Test, held at iconic Eldee Station, every van in our six-member convoy was either fitted with AL-KO’s Enduro Cross Country or Enduro Outback trailing arm independent suspension. It’s an understatement to mention that these suspensions were subjected to severe punishment through the Barrier Ranges and Mundi Mundi Plains. But did the reliable and robust AL-KO underpinnings crack under pressure? Not on your life!
They certainly impressed all and sundry, taking shocks and jolts, exceeding our performance expectations as the convoy traversed the rugged and unforgiving terrain. This was tough territory, and when the going gets tough AL-KO’s Enduro suspensions got going. “There were washouts throughout the whole station, and the ability of the Enduro Outback and Cross Country suspension systems to drop and compress to keep the caravan level was pretty good,” explains AGH senior editor, Tim van Duyl.
“There were plenty of corrugations outside the station and we could run out on those without fatiguing the shocks,” he said.
Driver comfort was excellent, too, while towing over the corrugations encountered during our four days of extreme testing, “especially on those van fitted with twin shocks”.
Indeed, AL-KO’s Enduro suspensions were designed and tested in Australia for the harshest local conditions, with both Cross Country and Outback withstanding similar exhaustive, real-world endurance testing in the field and at the Australian Automotive Research Centre at Anglesea, Victoria, before release.
They unequivocally passed an authentic offroad litmus test with flying colours and gained the admiration of all the TTT participants, who were confident of their real-world performance.
“It was no surprise to see the AL-KO Outback Suspension backed by AL-KO’s Australian engineering successfully handle the endurance of the extreme testing at the 2018 AL-KO Toughest Tow Test,” said Ken Nizan, director for Roadstar.
“When paired with a quality caravan engineered to tackle offroad terrain, it more than meets the comfort and performance expectations, ” said Ken. Chris Michel from Sunseeker Caravans concurs. He was one of the first manufacturers to install the Enduro Outback suspension when it was released in 2016 and he’s been fitting it under all his vans ever since.
“I am a mechanic by trade and I’ve done a lot of testing on the suspension already. I do tests for all my products and I have broken five cars already but not one suspension yet! I feel very comfortable pushing the van beyond its limits,” said Chris.
A key feature of the Enduro product range is the integration of leading-edge Australian and overseas technology.
While Australian-made four-wheel-drive coil springs, Australian steel suspension arms and maintenance-free bushes are key components of both Cross Country and Outback systems, AL-KO looked to the unmatched experience of its global shock absorber facility to manufacture Enduro’s shock absorbers after they were first designed and engineered in Australia for our local conditions.
Enduro Outback ticks all the boxes for go anywhere travellers. Its sturdy trailing arms employ coil springs manufactured from high quality, 4×4 grade coil springs.
Of course, not all travellers have the same needs. AL-KO Enduro Cross Country is designed for comfort, control and durability on bitumen and graded dirt roads. It is also suitable for use on corrugated roads as demonstrated here. Dedicated road-going travellers might prefer the drop-axle option, where the axle stub is welded on top of the front-hinged trailing arm to lower the van’s ride height for easier handling on bitumen.
It goes without saying that its ‘big brother’―the Outback―is purpose-built for hardcore territory. And AL-KO Enduro Outback suspension system weighs only 10 to 15 per cent more than a similarly-rated leaf spring suspension. Quite simply, both these trailing arm independent suspension systems provide comfort and peace of mind on tough topography.
Undoubtedly, they were star performers during the Toughest Tow Test ‘tour of duty’.
MEET THE AUTHOR
With more than 30 years’ journalistic experience, Peter’s brief predominantly centres on editorial reviews for Caravan World and Camper 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.