Jurgens Lunagazer J2403 Review
You’ll be over the moon with the dirt road-capable Jurgens Lunagazer J2403.
Caravan World tested the J2403 upon hearing it’s eclipsing all expectations.
The Lunagazer’s strong engineered Optima galvanised chassis, tough one-piece Duratherm walls, unique one-piece aluminium Uniskin roof and one-piece Integra floor are just the start. The CNC-fabricated Optima chassis is engineered for maximum strength and minimum weight, apparently giving it the capability to withstand forces beyond normal operating conditions.
Jurgens employs smart technology in the chassis design – a computer modelling process known as Finite Element Analysis is used to identify stress points, thus enabling the chassis to be strengthened in just the right places.
And typical of the Jurgens fleet, the Lunagazer’s chassis exemplifies its South African lineage and ‘everything bolted together’ philosophy. But, like its siblings, the J2403 is proven in Australian conditions. Lunagazers are shipped to Australia from the parent company in South Africa as a shell and finished off at Jurgens Australia HQ in Pakenham, Vic, to meet Australian standards.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
The Duratherm walls are impervious to impact, hail resistant and have no internal plumbing or wiring. In fact, CW has been invited, on a number of occasions, to thump the external walls as hard as possible to try and dent them. And it’s safe to say, the only issue has been a few sore hands afterwards. The walls are a combination of materials bonded together and vacuum pressed to create a strong and light sandwich panel – a composite construction for impact resistance, insulation and weight saving.
There’s a 26mm aluminium outer skin for protection; internal 20mm high density foam for insulation with structural matrix for strength; one-piece ply on both sides of the foam core for strength; and a wash-and-wear internal lining. And the front and rear panels are a sturdy moulded fibreglass construction.
The one-piece aluminium Uniskin roof is a special design for greater strength and water drainage. It has no joints to leak and Jurgens claims it is tough enough to walk on! However, OH&S policy prevented us from putting this claim to the test!
The one-piece 52mm composite Integra floor affords maximum strength and minimum weight, and is bolted and bonded to the chassis to add structural integrity. An aluminium outer skin provides protection underneath, complemented by 40mm internal high density foam for insulation with structural matrix for strength. There’s also one-piece ply on the top and bottom of the foam core for strength, plus a tough one-piece vinyl covering on top. And special reinforcing brackets strengthen the wall-to-floor connection to handle tough conditions.
The Lunagazer’s Al-Ko independent rubber suspension also provides a super-smooth ride and excellent control, which I enjoyed throughout my test drive, along with 14in alloy rims, 195-R14C offroad tyres and 10in offroad electric brakes which complete the setup.
The great news is, it’s not necessary to have a huge 4WD to tow the Lunagazer. At 1760kg Tare (ATM 2200kg), I can envisage many family sedans and mid-sized 4WDs capably towing the J2403. In fact, I hitched the tandem-axle Lunagazer to a Toyota HiLux SR5 4x4 dual cab and traversed around some dirt tracks in Maryknoll, about 60km south-east of Melbourne, where it displayed no sway and impressive manoeuvrability.
Its lower tow weight and aerodynamic design should also deliver noticeable fuel efficiency savings over larger, bulkier vans. And because you don’t need a huge vehicle to tow the J2403, you can save on your initial outlay.
BEDROOM & BATHROOM
The Lunagazer exhibits a clever and stylish interior. For those who love their creature comforts, this rear ensuite model features a full bathroom including toilet and shower. You can also opt for a bunk bed model if bringing the kids along is the plan.
The rear bathroom, to my mind, is a tad tight but the curved vanity bench with two curved shelves and rails underneath is trendy. There are also requisite mod-cons such as a deep stainless steel basin and tap, mirror, ample LED lighting and adequate storage, albeit space in a cupboard under the vanity is undersized.
Opposite the Thetford cassette toilet is a shower with a seat for extra convenience plus moulded ridges for holding accessories, while on the back of the ensuite door are four towel rails. On the front wall of the bathroom are a magazine holder and two hooks for hanging jackets, etc.
The kitchen, located directly opposite the dinette, comprises a recessed Thetford Minigrill Mk III and a 12V rangehood above for effective extraction of cooking aromas. Between the cooktop and sink with drainer and flicker mixer tap (hot and cold water) is adequate bench space and above a 23L Camec microwave at a good, sensible height.
And there’s storage aplenty, along with a supplementary hinged benchtop left of the cooktop, which lifts up from a side wall to significantly increase bench space.
But the creature comforts don’t end there. The front bedroom has an island caravan-queen-size bed (1900x1500mm) which abuts the front wall and allows plenty of space to move around. A plastic six-person crockery set is also concealed in storage drawers under the bed. Meanwhile, the robes, once opened, have greater depth than you would think, and the front and side windows, with full block-out blinds and flyscreens, are sufficiently panoramic.
Above the bed are two overhead lockers of generous proportions and two speakers, and in between are a clock and a radio/CD player. There are also a TV/DVD combo on a swivel arm bracket for audio-visual entertainment and a double powerpoint on the doorside, and two corner cupboards (one housing the electrical suite) on the offside.
Internally, I was also impressed with the precision CNC router construction Polar ply furniture, hard-wearing vinyl floor, washable wall covering and colour-coordinated upholstery.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Yes, the Lunagazer has landed! It’s one small step for Jurgens, one giant leap for caravanning.
At $62,990, as reviewed, the Jurgens Lunagazer J2403 doesn’t compromise on comfort and convenience. It also has the flexibility to take you to from the Nullarbor to the Daintree in luxury and peace of mind.
- Microwave at safe, sensible height
- Lighter weight and towable by medium-sized tow vehicles
- Convertible dinette
- Limited external storage
- Could benefit from solar and another battery