Best Aussie Vans Finalist 2014 JB Scorpion Test Review
The offroad JB Scorpion is a tough, go-anywhere van with all the gear for year-round touring.
Much like its namesake, the JB Scorpion is tough, sturdy, gutsy, and clearly up for some rough and tumble action.
Layout & Design
On the outside, its durability is evidenced by accessories such as the go-anywhere DO35 offroad hitch, 3.7t Cruisemaster independent suspension with dual shock absorbers per wheel, the full-width mesh stoneguard, 12in brakes, cutaway rear, and high checkerplate protection. All that sits on a custom-made 6in SupaGal chassis with a 2in raiser, and an extended (by 200mm) A-frame built on 6in drawbar rails.
The JB Scorpion is superbly kitted out for extended stays off the grid. With three 95L water tanks (with separate filler points), 310W (2x155W) worth of solar panels on the roof plus a 30A charger/1600W inverter, twin 120Ah AGM batteries under the chassis, twin 9kg gas cylinders, two front jerry can holders, a rear generator hatch, and an Anderson plug, you could literally shun civilisation for weeks, or probably even months, at a time, provided you had access to additional water.
With a Tare weight of 2588kg and an ATM of 3158kg, you’ve got a pretty decent carrying capacity of 570kg – just be aware that loading all three water tanks, your gas cylinders and jerry can holders will bite a huge chunk out of the van’s payload.
Bedroom & Bathroom
This is a well-presented van with stylish, high-gloss charcoal cabinet doors, white walls, marble-look bench tops, and a dark grey ‘linen look’ floor.
JB hasn’t tried to reinvent the wheel here and has gone with the tried-and-tested front-bedroom/full-width rear bathroom layout favoured by many modern vanners.
The forward entry door brings you into the van at the foot of the lift-up bed with innerspring mattress. The bed measures 1.87x1.53m (about 6ft 2in x 5ft) – perfectly standard for a modern caravan – but, in my opinion, a couple of inches too short to be truly comfortable for the taller travellers among us.
Kitchen & Storage
The offside kitchen bench is angled slightly at the forward end to aid easier access to the bed, which is a nice touch – just one of many thoughtful little touches throughout the van.
The kitchen seems to be a reasonable size for a van of this length, and it comprises a round sink and drainer, full Swift 500 Series cooking suite including four-burner cooktop with grill and oven underneath, a Daewoo microwave (at a good, low height), a 175L Waeco RPD-175 compressor fridge and about 240mm of free food preparation space at the rear end of the bench. Storage is catered for by a half-height slide-out pantry, five under-bench drawers and four lockers, plus a further three overhead lockers.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Scorpion sits mid-range in JB’s caravan line-up which, given its extensive list of inclusions and high quality of finish, makes me eager to see what a top-range model has!
JB offers a huge amount of customisation to clients, so design and layout changes are welcomed and can usually be easily accommodated.
As tested, the 20ft van starts at $79,990 and, at this price, includes a huge list of features and is a very well-equipped offroad van, which should see you vanning in comfort absolutely anywhere in Australia.
- Strength of build
- A-frame protection (stoneguard)
- Internal décor
- Innovation of bilge blower
I would have liked…
- The optional external kitchen
- Comfier dinette cushions
The full test appears in Caravan World #534, February 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!