Review: Urban Tungsten X Terrain 18'9

Malcolm Street — 5 June 2023
Despite the slightly deceptive name, Urban Caravans builds its vans for anything but urban travel. Take your pick – semi-offroad or offroad?

Since 2012, the manufacturer has gone from strength to strength and now has a range of vans to suit any rough road or offroad condition.

A good example is the Tungsten X Terrain 18’9 that I borrowed from Hinterland Caravans at Morriset (Newcastle), NSW. Apart from anything else, the van looks the part with its slightly muscular look, good ground clearance and the ubiquitous checkerplate everywhere. 

Travelling along

On the road, the Tungsten X Terrain handles quite well, with little snatching and jerking as it moves along. The caravan is up there in the weight stakes. With a tare mass of 2701kg and an ATM of 3500kg, a dual cab ute with a GCM of 6000kg will be a marginal towing proposition. Especially when the water tanks, if all filled, will absorb 285kg of the payload. A heavy-duty tow vehicle in the Toyota LandCruiser/Jeep Grand Cherokee arena is a better consideration.



Steelwork

Underpinning the X Terrain van is a 250mm (10in) trussed SupaGal chassis built by ARV. In case there’s any doubt about the van manufacturer, the Urban name is etched into the truss several times. Included in the chassis design is a Z channel along each side. It’s designed to hold the walls in place rather than just having the wall sit on the chassis. Four water tanks are fitted between the chassis rails – two 110L freshwater tanks, one 65L drinking water tank and one 65L grey tank. Still, they are not easily seen because much of the chassis area, except for the suspension mounts, is covered by an alloy checkerplate. That’s a neat way of ensuring that nothing hangs down and is damaged by flying rocks. It does make the entire sub-chassis area look very neat. The independent suspension is rated at 4000kg and has trailing arms, coil springs and dual shock absorbers. Fitted with 17in alloy wheels, the stopping power is provided by 12in electric brakes. 

At the front end of the extended drawbar, a recessed Cruisemaster DO35 stands ready for the tow hitch. Surprisingly the drawbar isn’t a busy place. The usual items are there, a handbrake, jockey wheel and safety chains, a stone guard and a checkerplate storage box. One side for the 9kg gas cylinders and the other for a generator slide-out 

Bodywork

All Urban caravans are built with an aluminium frame. The Urban team is very keen to explain that for better strength, the frame is not pop riveted C-section aluminium, but Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welded instead. Lock bolts are used to join the panels together. Before the frame is fitted to the chassis, the internal walls are clad with fibreglass composite panels. Once the frame is installed, the interior fit-out is done and the insulation and external PROBOND aluminium composite-clad walls are added last. A little differently, the roof is made from a single fibreglass sheet. 

Around the outside, there are the usual items like the Camec security door, Mobicool double-glazed acrylic windows and the all-essential awning. Being able to see around the outside of the van at night-time isn’t a problem because there are external lights on each wall and in addition to the tunnel storage, there are two smaller bins on both sides at the rear. The latter are handy for smaller items and in the case of the nearside bin, handy for fishing rods. TV viewing and sound outside the van aren’t a problem. There’s an entertainment unit with a TV mounting, the necessary 240V/12V connectors, and external speakers higher up the wall. 

Off the grid

Hiding under the bed is the heart of the 12V power system, two 100Ah lithium LiFePo4 batteries and a BMPRO 35HA battery management system. The BMS is awkward to get to for maintenance, being at the back of the bed. In addition to the 35A charger, two 210W solar panels are on the usual rooftop location. There’s enough battery capacity for extended remote stays, as long as the microwave oven or the air conditioner are not used extensively.

There’s plenty of water capacity in this van, too, with the two 110 litres of fresh water and a further 65 litres of drinking water, in addition to the 65-litre grey tank.

Inside look

Inside the X Terrain, the colour scheme is primarily black and white, with shades of Acrilam Magnolia (off-white) for the cupboard doors and Luuk Oak for the laminate bench and tabletops. Colour schemes are very much in the eye of the beholder, but this one offers a bright interior. The aesthetic is aided by the large window area by day and the numerous ceiling light fittings by night. 

The X Terrain has a spacious interior with a rear door entry and an external length of 5.8m (19ft). The layout is the tried and trusted rear bathroom and front bed layout with a dinette and kitchen in between. All the ply timber cabinetry is CNC cut and fitted together using a primary tongue and groove technique. According to the Urban team, it’s all glued, screwed and sealed!

It’s interesting what draws the attention; in this case, the cafe dinette offers an immediate invitation to sit down and take in the rest of the interior. Finished in Shann Vegas Zodiac (black to you and me) leather, it’s a comfortable seat. The stylish upholstery isn’t a surprise. Steve Trajcevski, the founder and head of Urban Caravans, is an upholsterer by trade and owns an offshoot of Urban, New Age Upholstery, which does much caravan work. I liked the drawers under the seats. So much easier than scrabbling with seat cushions. 

Facing the dinette, the kitchen is moderately sized and fitted with the expected fridge, hob/grill and stainless-steel sink. What’s impressive is the drawer space which, together with the overhead lockers, should hold all the kitchen essentials. 

Across the rear, the bathroom is well-appointed. While the shower cubicle is spacious, things around the Dometic cassette toilet are a little tighter. The trade-off for that is a substantial amount of cupboard area, a vanity top with space and a top-loading washing machine fitted into the cabinet. 

In the forward area, the island bed measures 1.85m x 1.53m (6ft 1in x 5ft) and has large windows on either side. Like the rest of the van, it has a generous cupboard and locker space appointment. That includes the pillow cubbies with 240V mains and charger sockets. As someone who regularly charges all devices overnight, that’s always a good idea. 

Customer care

Urban offers a five-year warranty on the structural side of its caravans. As usual, though, the individual accessories and appliances have their OEM warranties applied. Urban though will assist with any warranty matters that arise on those items. 

The bottom line

Urban’s Tungsten X Terrain looks to be a well-put-together van. It has a purposeful look about it and that’s reflected in the build of the van, both externally, particularly in the chassis area and the cabinetry construction. An ideal van for a couple who wants to get away in style with more than a few home comforts.

HITS AND MISSES

Hits

  • Spacious layout 
  • Good internal and external storage
  • Generally good fit and finish
  • Dinette comfort

Misses

  • Requires a heavy-duty tow vehicle
  • Microwave oven sits quite high
  • Limited space around toilet

Urban Tungsten X Terrain 18’9 Ratings

VALUE FOR MONEY 

It’s a big van, with plenty of features and offers comfortable travel for a couple who like their bush travel experience

TOWABILITY 

Tows in a very stable way but will require a substantial tow vehicle.

SUITABILITY FOR INTENDED TOURING 

Designed for offroad travel, the van has all the necessary features.

BUILD QUALITY

Inside and out, the van looks to be well put together.

LIVEABILITY

Quite a spacious van for two, with room to move.

SELF SUFFICIENCY

There’s plenty of battery, solar panel and water capacity for extended remote camping.

CUSTOMER CARE

Urban offer a five-year warranty on all the van’s structural items, along with the OEM warranties on all the appliances and accessories.

INNOVATION 

Not so much innovative as a van that’s well put together using tried and trusted. techniques

X-FACTOR

Some manufacturers are a little coy about their manufacturing techniques, Urban isn’t one of those, being quite detailed in its explanations

Urban Tungsten X Terrain 18’9 Specs

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES

Body length5.8m (19ft)
Overall length8.28m (27ft)
Width (incl awn) 2.42m (8ft)
Height (incl AC)3.32m (10ft 10in)
Tare2701kg
ATM3500kg
Payload799kg
Ball weight155kg


EXTERNAL

FrameTIG aluminium
CladdingPROBOND
ChassisARV SupaGal 150mm rails and drawbar
SuspensionAlpha independent, coil springs, dual shock absorbers
CouplingCruisemaster DO35
Brakes10in electric
Wheels17in alloy
Water2 x 110L freshwater, 1 x 65L drinking water, 1 x 65 grey water
Battery2 x 100Ah Lithium
Solar2 x 210W
Air-conditionerDometic Ibis 4
Gas2 x 9kg
Sway control N/A


INTERNAL

CookingFour-burner cooktop with griller
MicrowaveYes
FridgeDometic 153L compressor with built in freezer
BathroomCombo toilet and shower
Hot waterYes


Urban Tungsten X Terrain 18'9 price from $119,990.00

THE NEXT STEP

If you need help choosing your first caravan or are considering upgrading your existing one, check out all Urban Caravans models available on TradeRVs today. 

The sellers will be happy to help and answer any inquiries you may have about the products advertised for sale. 

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Tags

Urban Caravans Tungsten X Terrain 18'9 Semi-offroad Offroad Tandem axle Front bed and rear bathroom layout Luxury Couples van

Photographer

Malcolm Street