As we went to press, Bellarine Caravans in Corio, west of Melbourne’s CBD, announced the latest entry into the offroad market. And by all accounts, it’s a beauty. Bellarine’s principal, Paul Dean, told On the Road that the new van was a collaboration between his sales team and builder to offer an extreme off-road caravan with all the bells and whistles at a very competitive price.
Dean explained that the dealership needed a capable off-roader to expand their range and he wanted a boots and all approach. ” Lots of brands sell so-called dirt road vans, but when it comes down to it, they aren’t suited or warrantied for tough going. Our new Raider is not only tough; we stand behind it to go the distance.”
Built on a 6″ G@S Supergal chassis with a 4″ riser, and a set of 16″ off-road wheels and tyres, the Raider rides high. And with the yellow composite exterior of the first production model, it’s going to stand out against its white and grey rivals and should be easy to find after a long walk in the bush.
At the 6” A-frame is a custom alloy toolbox, a set of 9kg gas bottles with braided lines, a couple of jerry can holders, a breakaway system and an LED light. Connection to the tow vehicle is through a sturdy, high-articulation DO35 hitch.
Along the passenger side, you get an awning and no less than three LED lights including one over the forward tunnel boot. Other additions include a picnic table, entertainment hatch, external speakers, an outside shower and a generator storage hatch.
Underneath are a G&S independent trailing arm Control Rider suspension with single shock absorbers, (twin shocks are also available) and two 95L water tanks. A spare tyre sits on a sturdy three-arm bar at the back where there’s also a reversing camera and handy LED light.
The interior is neatly fitted out with an easily accessed queen bed in a north-south configuration, a complete kitchen and a full-width ensuite. In a thoughtful approach to maximising bench space and adding a design difference, the kitchen is angled out into the corridor without affecting movement through the van. A big 184L Thetford three-way fridge accompanies a Swift Mini-Grill and microwave, while the Malibu logo embroidered on the plush dinette seats adds flair and demonstrates pride in their craft.
In the ensuite are all the comforts we have come to expect including a ceramic toilet, neat vanity, moulded shower with glass door and a 3kg washing machine.
Included as standard are a 22” television with Winegard aerial and booster, Finch sound system with inside and outside speakers, 6mm Aussie Traveller double glazed windows, LED downlights, a programmable wall fan and an IBIS 3 Air conditioner.
Off the grid power comes from a pair of 120w solar panels connected to twin 110 amp gel batteries attached to the chassis and controlled by a Setec BM Pro Genius battery management system. Tare weight is 2280kg with an ATM of 2700kg, leaving a payload of 420kg, less water and gas.
One of the features I liked about the raider was the ability for customers to choose a broad range of composite wall hues and colour match the tool box, jerry can holders, battery boxes and even their suspension to give an individual touch to their van. But perhaps the biggest surprise is that the rig comes as a complete package for an introductory cost of $54,990, which for an adventure RV, seems excellent value.
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290a Princes Hwy Corio 3214
Ph 03 5274 9670