AL-KO's Best Aussie Vans 2018: Wonderland XTR

By: Tim van Duyl, Photography by: MATT WILLIAMS AND CAM INNISS


Having been blown away by the Wonderland XTR 1906 early in 2018, we had to have one at AL-KO’s Best Aussie Vans. Luckily for us the company were keen to showcase their latest example, now with added fruit.

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MODERN WONDER

Tim van Duyl

Back in CW issue #577 we knew we were onto a winner. Our Field Editor Malcolm Street was fortunate enough to sample an equally stand-out example of the Wonderland XTR 1906 seen here courtesy of Sydney dealer, Five Star Caravans. He came away raving about this extreme family off roader, impressed with its Creature Comforts, Towability and Suitability for Purpose. At AL-KO’s Best Aussie Vans 2018, our judging panel also fell in love with the bright red offroad warrior’s Towability and level of Innovation.

Inside the battle ready body were some of the latest powered gadgets and battery management systems in the market. The 3500W inverter and Redarc Red Vision battery management system were powered by no less than 700w of solar, with excess energy stored in 450Ah of lithium batteries – enough to run the economical Truma AC for short bursts. This made the van one of the most popular spots to be when the weather got hot.

Watching the team interact with the Wonderland was exciting to say the least. With self-levelling suspension that could rapidly lower and raise the van, eye-catching red body work, and bright, colourful lighting, the judges found plenty to impress. Once inside, little details kept the positive feelings going, with standouts such as the rain-sensing roof hatches, anti-insect lighting and decent sized bunks. I could see myself and family happily exploring the far reaches of our country in this.  

Representing Wonderland were founding partner in the business Kevin, and his partner Ana. Having Kevin on site meant no answer was left waiting,  although we did have to fight for attention as his phone ran red hot all week. The reason he sais was that the factory was taking more orders than they could deliver by Christmas – a fantastic sign for a company, just four years old, working out of the Campbellfield battlegrounds.

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Peter Quilty

Total score: 92

The Wonderland XTR 1906 is a versatile family van with genuine offroad capabilities.
It’s capable of taking you to the other side of ‘The Black Stump’ and back without a worry in the world.
This is a good-looking rooster, glistening with a Dibond composite armour that’s sheer eye candy. But it’s what lies beneath that’s arguably more important.
Undoubtedly, for a tough-as-teak offroader, structural integrity is at the forefront of construction. And this van has it in spades, given a structural grade ply, CNC-cut interlocking jigsaw frame and hot-dipped, galvanised chassis. It also rides on wireless Cruisemaster ATX airbag suspension. Meanwhile, a one-piece fibreglass roof completes the build strength.
The XTR 1906 also holds its own when it comes to capacities - a 450Ah lithium battery pack plus 3500W inverter; 190L of freshwater, 95L of drinking water and 100L of grey water; and 700W of solar power.
It also carries its fair share of innovation, particularly the Redarc RedVision Total Vehicle Management System which allows you to control and monitor multiple on-board devices.
Modernisation wise, you also receive complete climatic comfort, an LCD controller for the gas heating, hot water system and air-conditioning, a higher charge for tablets etc. (2.4A), and a polypropylene honeycomb floor.
The XTR 1906 also came with a slide-out kitchen, slide-outs for a small fridge and generator, hot/cold taps on the A-frame, stone deflector, reversing camera,rear worklight and exterior shower, as well as the expected requisites. I also liked the convenience of a service hatch for the fridge plumbing, and an access hatch to the hot water system.
Internally, the XTR 1906 has a compact and intelligent family layout that maximises space - emphasised by an east-west main bed and bunks.
And you’ll be as snug as a bug in a rug with the attention to climate control - Truma Aventa air-conditioner, combo gas/electric hot water system and gas heater, and three Sirocco fans (for front bedroom, bunks and the living zone).
The XTR 1906 comprises a raft of mod cons - including fast-charge USB points, and iPad holders for the kids - and a 190L Bushman compressor fridge, Sphere microwave and 4kg Camec front-loading washing machine.
The solid furniture (16mm double laminated ply) is definitely an eye-catcher, as is the ‘disco’ lighting. I also appreciated the rain -ensor hatch above the main bed.
All in all, this Wonderland’s amazing off-grid cred, family-friendly qualities and external eye candy sets it apart from many offroaders in its genre.

 

John ‘Bear' Willis

Total score: 82

When the wanderlust bug starts eating away at your explorer's soul it's time to hook up your Wonderland and hit the road, or track as the case may be. This is a seasoned, compact van with lots of sensibly selected and manufactured high quality components that will take you off the grid with all of the comforts of home.

If it’s extended stays in holiday parks you are after then save your money, but if you lust to take your young family on a real Aussies adventure then the Wonderland may well be your sweetheart.

This is the bunk version of the 19’6" XTR so if you are looking for a two person tourer then consider other Wonderland layouts. But if it’s a capable companion that will serve you well as a home away from home, carry all the toys and keep the family happy, comfortable, clean, refreshed and fed, even in the harshest of elements, then you're cooking with gas with the XTR - literally!

Like all good off-road warriors Wonderland starts with a very rugged 4" + 4" galvanised chassis and combines it with the mighty DO-35 coupling and supreme Cruisemaster XT airbag suspension for total safety and peace of mind when the going gets rough. That's back up by a terrific array of tough intrusion protection, from skid plates to shrouded water tanks and checker plate side panels, plus a variety of wear resistant finishes and materials.

Touring families need lots of life’s essentials, namely power and water, and the XTR has you covered with 190L of water in two tanks plus one 100L grey water tank. There's a huge 3000W inverter to run all of creature comforts backed up with Redarc Red Vision BMS, lithium batteries and solar generation to keep you off grid but still in total control - and entertained. You've got to love the array of power and USB sockets!

Wonderland has fitted a massive array of internal features into the compact shell by making only a few minor space compensations with an east-west bed and a small but entirely functional ensuite. But then there’s the large leather dinette, great kitchen with big fridge/freezer, plus the kids' bunks with individual iPad holders, and an external kitchen that I loved! This is truly the family offroad or long adventure tourer.

As they say, "Memories are made in Wonderland"

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Malcolm Street

Total score: 84

From the outside, the Wonderland XTR might look like a typical Campbellfield product but, under the skin, it’s a little different. There's a timber frame but it's not the traditional Meranti version. Instead it's structural 19mm plywood which starts as a blank sheet and then has the appropriate holes for windows and doors cut out using a CNC machine. At the same time, cable 'trenches" are cut for the 240V and 12V cabling. The wall sheets are then fitted together in a jigsaw fashion to give strength to the overall structure. Where the four walls meet, tongue and slot joints all the way down the corners give rigidity to the entire frame structure.

At floor level, a purpose-cut, one-piece polypropylene honeycomb sheet is used, again for rigidity and weight reduction purposes. Wonderland says the joints are held together with a ratio of 80 per cent bolts to 20 per cent staples. Bolts are also used for fitting the walls and floor to the chassis, while the Dibond cladding is glued to the frame/insulation with polyurethane.

Inside the van, a similar construction approach is used. All the load-bearing sections of furniture are screwed in place from the outside of the caravan frame, enhancing the overall structure. Double laminated 16mm plywood is used for all the cabinetry and the benchtops are all laminated and postform. To get all this to fit together properly, AutoCAD software is used throughout the design process.

Underpinning the body structure is a 150mm/6in railed, hot-dipped, galvanised chassis, welded together in the traditional box section structure. The water tanks, located between the rails, all have alloy chequer plate protection to minimise damage, as do the lower wall areas and the tool boxes mounted on the front drawbar.

Given the XTR is designed as an offroad caravan, it is not surprising that that tandem axles are fitted with Cruisemaster ATX suspension, fitted with airbags. To control the air bags, there’s an on- board air compressor, electronic tank drain valves and wireless suspension control, allowing easy level control both when parked up and on the road.

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Laura Gray

Total score: 85.5

The only Victorian contestant in this battle of the big boys, it’s great to see Wonderland RV mixing it with the Queensland contingent.

It was impossible to miss the Wonderland XTR 1906 as she rolled into Moama with her glossy bright red Dibond composite flanks. Right from the get-go, I knew this van was something special.

A 6m-plus, 2900-odd kilo luxury off roader, the XTR matches well with the others in its class but where it stands out is its internal layout, designed for a family.

In terms of comfort, you don't want for much in the XTR - except possibly some more living space. But fitting a caravan-queen-size bed, two bunks and a full bathroom into a 6m van is no easy feat, so kudos to Wonderland for achieving that.

Its fixtures and fittings are not over the top, but it has virtually everything you’d expect in a van in this price range, such as a 3000W inverter (for air-conditioning and coffee off-grid!), 700W of solar, a high-tech Redarc RedVision control system, and Cruisemaster ATX Level 3 airbag suspension, to name just a few.

I was intrigued and impressed by some of the XTR’s fixtures, such as the Bushman 190L fridge, it's Tuscon sway control, and HitchEzy coupling. By no means are these brands unknown in the RV market, but they are definitely less common. However, they are obviously highly regarded by Wonderland’s Kevin Dani, who has put a lot of thought into the fixtures he chooses, rather than just defaulting to the obvious choice.

Inside, small touches such as the stylish matte black tapware, and the 12V fans and iPad holders for each of the kids’ bunks again shows the thought that’s gone into the design of the XTR.

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Peter Quitly

Laura Gray

Malcolm Street

John Willis

Value for Money

9.00

8.5

8.00

7

Self-Sufficiency

9.50

9

9.00

9

Towability

10.00

10

8.50

8

Suitability for Intended Touring

9.00

9

8.50

8

Layout

9.00

7

8.00

8

Quality of Finish

9.50

8.5

9.00

8

Build Quality

9.50

8

9.00

8

Creature Comforts

9.00

9

8.50

8

Innovation

8.50

7.5

7.50

9

X-Factor

9.00

9

8.00

9

Totals

92.00

85.5

84.00

82

Judges Average

85.875

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MORE INFORMATION

To enquire about this caravan, please visit: www.wonderlandrv.com.au  or call (03) 8692 0032 
The full feature appeared in Caravan World #582. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!