Trakmaster Pilbara: Review

By: Michael Browning, Photography by: Stuart Grant


Trakmaster PilbaraCW TRACKMASTER PILBARA 28 Trakmaster PilbaraCW TRACKMASTER PILBARA 28
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Trakmaster PilbaraCW TRACKMASTER PILBARA 65 Trakmaster PilbaraCW TRACKMASTER PILBARA 65
Trakmaster PilbaraCW TRACKMASTER PILBARA 66 Trakmaster PilbaraCW TRACKMASTER PILBARA 66
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Trakmaster PilbaraCW TRACKMASTER PILBARA 96 Trakmaster PilbaraCW TRACKMASTER PILBARA 96

The new-look Trakmaster Pilbara should go just about anywhere your 4WD can.

The Trakmaster Pilbara made its debut at the Victorian Caravan Show in March last year, with its stylish ‘blotches’ available in a wide range of colours, including purple, blue, green, ochre and grey.

One of the secrets to the Pilbara’s instant success is that it can be ordered in a wide range of sizes, from a 3.8m (12ft 6in) to a 5.4m (16ft 6in) pop-top, or as a 15ft (4.6m) to 6.1m (20ft) full-height caravan and in widths from 2m (6ft 8in) to 2.3m (7ft 6in), and in a range of interior layouts with transverse and island beds, corner and full ensuites.

LAYOUT & DESIGN

Built on an extremely sturdy 150x50mm full-length chassis and fitted with Trakmaster’s signature trailing arm coil and twin shock absorber Sugarglider suspension, with 12in brakes, the single-axle Pilbara is as tough as they come. But what is impressive and yet expected from an experienced offroad custom builder is the way that key components, from the twin A-frame-mounted gas cylinders and exterior tap and front bodywork, to the twin 82L water tanks, their plumbing and the 16in spare wheel tucked up in between the rear rails, is stone protected.

The van had a transverse double bed at the rear and a huge double-pedestal café dinette table and double-seater lounge up front that converted in a few seconds into a second double bed, with the kitchen, fridge and other cupboards arranged along the walls in between.

There were also fewer home comforts, with no air-conditioning, the smallest standard 80L Engel compressor fridge and a single 90W solar panel fitted to the front of its sloping roof to feed the twin 100Ah AGM batteries on their slide-out tray.

A roof-mounted air-conditioner, a larger 12V fridge up to 215L capacity and multiple solar panels were on the option list, but they would have swollen the $70,000-plus bottom line of this particular van.

BEDROOM & STORAGE

For such a compact offroader, with space limited by its cutaway rear end, the single-axle Pilbara has an impressive storage area. Inside, the pop-top is lined with cupboards with positive latches to keep them closed and their contents inside on rough roads, while the kitchen boasts five cupboards and drawers to supplement the roomy pantry next to the fridge. There is more space for longer items under the lift-up bed, save for the intrusion of the slide-out tray for the twin AGM batteries on the left and the Suburban gas hot water system on the right.

Outside, there is space for all the dirty stuff – hoses, cables, wheel chocks – in the well-sized front boot. Had the owners not specified a slide-out barbecue on the left-hand side, this space would have been supplemented behind by a full tunnel boot.

THE BOTTOM LINE

With its extreme cutaway styling, eye-catching graphics and the option of new high-gloss interior cabinetry, the Pilbara has single-handedly broadened the 20-year-old brand’s appeal to a younger demographic, with Trakmaster promising more surprises to come later in this, its 20th anniversary, year.

MEASURING UP

I liked...

  • Styling
  • Custom-built design flexibility
  • Extreme offroad ability
  • Uncompromising quality

I would have liked…

  • A Portaloo hatch under the bed
  • True block-out blinds
  • To own it!

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The full test appears in Caravan World #536 April 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!