The latest new Titanium from Aura Caravans is an impressive package
It’s only two years since the first Aura Caravan rolled out of their factory in Victoria’s caravan building hub at Campbellfield, north of Melbourne. And when On The Road reviewed one of their first models we reported the company had made a big splash with their brightly coloured Earth Series vans.
From day one the Aura mission statement was “to manufacture a range of products to suit the diversity of the ever evolving market place.” True to their word the range has grown and now includes Titanium models in both single and dual axle versions to suit those looking for a well-equipped van capable of being taken off the beaten track, but on a limited budget.
That Aura has delivered for this group without compromising on equipment levels or build quality that is testament to the years of caravan building experience that the three owners have brought to the company.
Our test van is a 17’6” Titanium Series 2 with an optional Explorer pack and was supplied by Queensland Aura dealer, Kratzmann Caravans in Burpengary, north of Brisbane. According to sales executive, Jason Lawrence, the Titanium is designed as a Semi off-roader, a van you can safely take to most of the places you want to go with the proviso that you drive to the conditions.
Raised profile sides are a departure from the smooth panels of the Earth Series, but that composite Alucobond material is employed to cover each end, silver at the front and black at the back to blend with those colours along the sides. Checkerplate on the lower sections and a high ground clearance speak of a tough van ready to hit the dirt, and a single piece fibreglass roof will keep things dry inside.
The van was brand new when we set out, but as the photos show we managed to splatter it in mud during our drive. The pictures still show the bright red springs and shocks of the Al-Ko Endura independent trailing arm suspension rated to 2700kg and a high degree of care in routeing the electrical and water lines, so they are well protected. The whole thing sits on shiny black and chrome 16” alloy wheels with 265×75 all terrain tyres and is slowed by 12” electric brakes.
Preston Chassis Industries supplied the Duragal chassis, which is 150mm x 50mm from A-frame to the rear. It connects to the tow vehicle with a Do-35 hitch that gives superior articulation for tricky off-road use. The A-frame has a mesh tray for storage, two 9kg gas bottles and a heavy-duty jack. Sometimes little things are neglected in supposedly off road vans, so it was reassuring to see both the gas regulator and water tap shielded with checkerplate guards.
Front boots can be difficult to seal on rough roads, so the Titanium has a large tunnel boot instead, neatly lined with galvanised sheeting, with a light and mounting points for the wheel brace and jack handle.
Along the side is a full-length awning, an entertainment hatch with TV bracket and 12v plug, while further back is a fold-down picnic table with a nifty map of Australia as a background. Finishing off the outside features is a single spare tyre on a bracket high enough to ensure it won’t scrape on steep departure angles.
The caravan body is built on marine ply, securely fixed to the chassis and covered with a single sheet of vinyl flooring. The frame is meranti timber with polystyrene blocks in the voids under the aluminium skin.
My experience with some of the off road vans has convinced me that installing a fold down entry step can be a waste of time, because they seem to collect enough rocks and mud, or they are so badly dented that they are unusable. Aura has solved this by doing away with the outside step, but I’m sure they would throw in a lightweight plastic one that you can store in the stairwell when travelling.
A sturdy stainless steel grab rail inside assists entry and I was greeted by a clean, modern almost minimalist look, which is the latest design trend in vans. I don’t decry this as I think it looks great and really there is only so much that can be done in less than thirty square metres of floor space. Where Aura has set itself apart is by executing the cabinetry with flair and care.
Where possible construction is from lightweight poplar ply securely screwed and glued to the walls, and perfectly cut on a CNC machine. Strong metal-sided drawer runners are smooth and close securely. A 6’8” ceiling is higher than average and means the top cupboards can be larger. Even so, that’s a place for lighter items to keep centre of gravity low and to avoid overstressing the cabinets’ weight capacity. Drive and pack to the conditions as they say.
Forward of the entry door is the bedroom with side cupboards, and under bed storage and large Aussie Traveller double glazed windows, which ran smoothly and include midge proof screens.
Kitchen appliances are all quality products and comprise a Swift 500 Series cooktop and oven, NCE touch-control rangehood, microwave, and a tropical grade Thetford 184L three-way fridge freezer that has been lifted off the floor for easier access. The sink and draining board are set in a granite style laminate rolled benchtop that fits in well with dark grey cupboards and light tone grey drawers.
A club lounge, covered in dark grey microfibre leather, is neatly upholstered and comfortable and surrounds a three-fold table and takes advantage of the view through a large window.
Like the rest of the van, the ensuite is well equipped and neatly finished. A Daewoo 2kg washer is mounted on the back wall alongside a decent size wall mirror and vanity with floating china bowl. The Thetford china bowl toilet is located at the driver side end with a moulded shower with opaque door at the opposite side. Both sections of the bathroom have vents and extractor fans while the main room has a hatch over the bed and a slimline air conditioner at the kitchen.
Because the Titanium is destined for off-road travel, it is also self-sufficient. Two 150w solar panels feed two 105ah deep-cycle batteries and are managed by a BM Pro 35ah system and the twin 95L water tanks should be plenty with judicious use.
The compact single axle layout will be easily manoeuvred in tight places and its light 2042 kg tare keeps it able to be towed by a big range of 4WD vehicles.
The Aura Titanium presents as a quality van with a full range of equipment for long distance travel on rough roads. That Kratzmann Caravans sell this model at $59.990 is a bit of a surprise as, to my mind, it represents excellent value.
Manufacturer: Aura Caravans
Model: Titanium Mk2 17’6” with Explorer Pack
Body length: 5.33m
Travel height: 3050mm
Tare weight: 2042kg
Ball weight: 215kg
Price as reviewed: $59.990
Find Out More
Contact: Jason Lawrence
194 Eastern Service Road, Burpengary Qld. 4505
Ph. 07 3888 2755