AL-KO's Best Aussie Vans 2017: Olympic Javelin X8 Review

By: Michael Borg, Peter Quilty, Ron Moon, Malcolm Street


The Olympic Javelin X8 delivers touring comforts off the grid.

Although new to the market, the Olympic Javelin X8 quickly hit its stride with a smart package geared to the long-term tourer, riding on a solid foundation. The roll-out kitchen will draw crowds at camp but did it leave our tough audience at Best Aussie Vans impressed? Let’s find out and see.

PREMIUM WELDS

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The Javelin X8 looked like a flash bit of gear from the second it rolled into camp. It seemed well made on the inside and out, and sports a genuinely comfortable feel as you step inside. It’s classified as a semi-offroad model. However, a few clues suggest it’s more an on-road model with upgraded suspension, which is great if you need to cruise up a gravel or gazetted dirt road, but not ideal if you’re a little more adventurous. Why do I say that? Well, I think corrugations would tangle those Roman blinds inside in no time at all, and I spotted a fairly large gap between the bedroom cabinetry and the front storage bin – easily fixed, but duly noted. Structurally, the main chassis sports some top workmanship with premium quality welds throughout, and nobody’s introduced any weak points by drilling holes into anything structural either. But the old plywood floor with tech-screws punching through the bottom is getting a bit dated these days. And while I’m stoked it comes standard with three 100Ah batteries as standard, the massive big battery box does nothing to help with ground clearance in its current location. In saying all that, it would be a great choice for somebody looking for an on-road van with a bit more mongrel than most.

TOP-END TOURING

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This semi-offroad 22ft van is built on a fully galvanised 6in chassis and rides on a dual-axle independent suspension backed up by single shocks and 12in electric brakes all round, while 15in all-terrain rubber keeps contact with mother earth.

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While you can have the option of aluminium cladding or composite panels for the body of the van our unit was of insulated composite construction with a lower skirt of black checkerplate for those offroad forays the van is designed to handle.

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While the Tare is 2625kg, the ATM is a respectable 3200kg giving a payload of 575kg meaning this van is really meant to be towed behind something like a LandCruiser or similar.

The rear entry door of this Javelin opens into the kitchen area with the full-size ensuite, complete with washing machine, immediately to the rear. The well equipped and smart looking kitchen with its formed benchtops includes a 215L two-way fridge which in my opinion is the only way to go when travelling northern Australia.

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The front section of the van is taken up by a queen-sized lift-up bed (for even more storage) framed by a robe on each side.

The van has a slide-out kitchen for outside living and with its impressive battery storage (3x100Ah) and solar panels (2x150W) plus two 95L water tanks and a grey water tank you are well set up to stay anywhere for an extended amount of time.

GREAT OFF-THE-GRID

Olympic’s Javelin X8 is in many respects a fairly conventional caravan – tandem axles with Vehicle Components CRS independent suspension and a timber frame with composite panel construction. Olympic classes its Javelin X8 as a semi offroader meaning it is good for gravel roads and bush tracks but nothing too serious. Apart from anything else, the ground clearance is an issue but that’s not really a problem for what this van is designed for.

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What is a little surprising, is the remote travel capability. With three 100Ah deep cycle batteries, two 150W solar panels and two 95L water tanks, living off the grid really isn’t going to be too much of a problem. That is aided by the Javelin’s payload capacity of 575kg.

More conventional is the internal layout with a full-width rear bathroom, front island bed, mid-station kitchen and cafe-style dinette. It’s all designed to offer a relatively spacious lifestyle, with the van being 6.7m (22ft) long.

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With a price tag around $76,000, it’s handy that although the van is really in LandCruiser/Patrol towing territory it could also be towed by the slightly cheaper range of ute vehicles currently available on the market.  

OLYMPIC FLAME

Olympic Caravans has unveiled a worthy torchbearer – the semi-offroad Javelin X8.

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It bursts out of the blocks with self-sufficient attributes such as a Swift al fresco kitchen slide-out, Dometic front-loading washing machine, exterior shower, and a full rear ensuite.

And its semi-offroad status stems from a 6in Supagal Preston chassis and Cruisemaster independent coil suspension.

Meanwhile, the van’s off-grid prowess is showcased by three 100Ah batteries, dual 120W solar panels, and a water tank threesome (2x80L fresh; 1x95L grey).

The trailblazing Javelin X8 also wins the external race with a lockable front boot, entertainment hatch, and a rear hatch – all complementing the pull-out barbecue and exterior shower.

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And it hits the finish line hard with a trendy interior that comprises a full raft of mod cons and creature comforts.

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Caravanners with a culinary bent will be ecstatic with the dual kitchen configuration. Obviously, you can whip up a feast in the fresh air given the pull-out barbecue with sink, but if preparing meals indoors is your whim then you’re catered for perfectly.

I’m taken with the amount of post-formed benchtop space, all adorned in an eye-catching laminate. And I relished the classy contrast between the ‘Arctic’ overhead cupboard doors and the ‘Graphite’ lower doors. The kitchen has bountiful storage, a continual theme throughout the van, and the overhead cupboards have dividers and shell-lock handles.

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A good night’s slumber is assured in the spiffy front bedroom thanks to a caravan-queen-sized bed with innerspring mattress and supportive slat base. And you can pack away travel garments to your heart’s content.

The snazzy living room has a cafe dinette bedecked in black upholstery, with footrests and headrests for added comfort, and the full rear ensuite certainly gives off plenty of swagger. Surely a maxim for the Javelin X8 is "value for money, off-grid capability, creature comforts".

Burning bright as the Olympic torch, the trendsetting Javelin X8 appears certain to light up the ‘caravanning cauldron’.   

Weights and measures

  • Overall length 8.5m (27ft 11in)
  • External body length 6.56m (21ft 6in)
  • External body width 2.34m (7ft 8in)
  • Travel height 3m (9ft 10in)
  • Internal height 1.96m (6ft 5in)
  • Tare 2625kg
  • ATM 3200kg
  • Payload 575kg
  • Ball weight 200kg

Price as shown     

$75,990 (on-road, Vic)

The full feature appeared in Caravan World #571. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!