Wonderland RV Amaroo Hornet: Review

By: Michael Borg, Photography by: Matt Fehlberg


We spent a month in 'wonderland' to find out what the Amaroo Hornet is really made of.

Amaroo -Hornet -(1)

What is the ideal caravan? Some would say it needs to be lightweight, nimble and bulletproof. Others place luxury, spaciousness and a bucket load of the latest gizmos at the top of the list. Personally, a van that oozes comfort yet still lets you get off the beaten track is what tickles my fancy. Funnily enough, that’s exactly what you’ll find with Wonderland RV’s Amaroo Hornet. I had the pleasure of taking this caravan on the mother of all tow tests, and by that I mean we tackled an absolutely epic 10,000km adventure from Sydney to Port Augusta, straight up the centre of Australia to Darwin and all the way back, stopping at all those must-see attractions along the way. Of course, we let the big boss foot the bill too! So after all that, it’s safe to say we learnt a thing or two about how the Amaroo Hornet performs in the real world. Here’s how it fared...

LAYOUT

Amaroo Hornet Kitchen

Wonderland RV offers over 20 different layouts, all of which have the bed located up the front and the bathroom down the other end at the back. The main difference is how things like the kitchen and lounge are positioned. The van we tested had a two-storey bunk-bed for the kids complete with DVD players to help keep them occupied. They were pretty spacious compared to others I’ve seen, too. I mean, I’m 6ft tall and punching a hundred kilos on a good day, and I managed to crawl in there quite comfortably! Being located up the back of the van means you won’t wake the kids up while stumbling up the stairs after happy hour (yes... we tried it). Oh, and there’s even concertina doors fitted to make the rooms a little more private! In terms of storage, there’s plenty of it. Best of all, it’s all fairly usable. We carried enough gear to support a platoon of soldiers, and it all seemed to be pretty accessible and practical for the most part. The storage area under the bed was a bit of a lifesaver for keeping those larger items safe and secure, and the outside storage bins and tunnel boot came in handy too.

INTERIOR

After a few days in the hot seat getting settled in, the Amaroo Hornet felt very much like a home amongst the gumtrees. The layout and internal colour palette felt spacious and inviting, the pillowtop mattress was a bit like a big fluffy cloud and the large windows offered plenty of light and ventilation. The air-conditioner worked a treat when we got further up north, too. In fact, with temperatures cracking over 30°C at night-time, I’d happily say the air-con quite literally saved the trip!

The bathroom includes a toilet, shower, cabinet and washbasin. It’s a fairly good size compared to a lot of other models on the market. I mean it’s not what you would call spacious, but more than adequate for on the road.

The kitchen is fairly standard in design, yet well-read and proven in the grand scheme of things. Bench space is a bit limited if you’re using the four-burner cooker, which naturally is when you actually need the space. The 190L Dometic fridge suits the size and intentions of the van with plenty of room to stock up on supplies, and there’s a Sphere microwave thrown in for good measure. The dining table’s position is fully adjustable too, which makes it incredibly versatile when you’re trying to seat the whole family and quite comfortable to sit around in terms of space.

Interior lighting is a big strong point in this particular caravan – it’s exceptionally well lit. The light reflects off the rest of the bright white interior, so there are no dark and gloomy spots anywhere, even when you’re cooking. The van also has a washing machine, which is always handy on the road.

OFFROAD TEST

The whole idea of the Amaroo Hornet is to get you off the beaten track and into those spectacular campsites in absolute comfort. You know what? That’s exactly what it did for us!
Now the Hornet weighs in at 2920kg Tare with an ATM of 3500kg. That gives you a payload of just under 600kg. Sounds good right? Well it is, but one thing’s for sure – it’s no lightweight! You’ll need a decent tug to haul it around safely and comfortably. Our brand spanking new 200 Series 'Cruiser did the job well enough, although a set of heavier rear springs would have helped!

The van sits on a tough-as-nails full custom offroad chassis, which is all galvanised with built-in skid plates. It runs a 4in raiser, which gives the van plenty of ground clearance. Trust me, the added clearance comes in super handy on those steep washouts and water causeways you find in the middle of nowhere. The body is constructed using 3mm aluminium alum composite panelling, which really are the ducks-guts in terms of construction these days. You’ll find the framework is timber. But it’s not your average old school "sticks" structure made from individual pieces of wood to form the structure. It’s actually made with full ply sheeting for added strength.

You’ll find the water tanks are protected by checkerplate guards and there’s a DO35 offroad coupling bolted up the front there, too. Couple all that with the tried-and-tested independent trailing arm suspension system from Cruisemaster, and it really is one capable bit of gear that sits on a near-on bulletproof platform.

In saying that, on a cross country adventure of this magnitude you would expect to see a few cosmetic failures, right? We had a few niggly things let go. The first being a couple of busted water hoses that run to the tap on the drawbar. They rubbed against a bracket on the chassis, which wore a hole straight through them. The spare wheel come loose and went for an adventure of its own and a trim on the freezer door along with the kitchen faucet come loose too. So a few small repairs while tackling more than 10,000kms of Australia’s best adventures.

BOTTOM LINE

What can I say? This caravan really is loaded to the hilt with features, and jam-packed with value for money. The van we tested had a 300A lithium battery, 450W of solar power and a 3000W inverter, plus three 95L fresh water tanks and an additional 100L tank for all your grey water. There’s even the 30A Redarc BMS charger thrown in for good measure too. But it’s the little things that make a big difference here for me, you know, the attention to detail. Like the glossy acrylic splashback in the kitchen, or how good the finish is on the CNC cut double laminate furniture. You can feel the quality of the microfibre leather upholstery, and even the cabinet drawers all have metal sides for long term durability. The outside of the van is well-equipped too. There’s a large toolbox with a generator slide and external fridge slide up the front. Then there’s the external TV entertainment access hatch and a set of high quality audio speakers to top it all off. LED lighting illuminates the entire side of the caravan and the second shower is external too. Heck, even the grab handles are sturdy stainless steel.

Put it this way, if you a well made van that’ll offer you plenty of comfort in the middle of nowhere, this one is definitely worth a look.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES

  • Overall length: 9.2m (30ft)External body length 6.8m (22ft 4in)
  • External body width: 2.48m (8ft 2in)
  • Travel height: 3.12m (10ft 3in)
  • Internal height: 1.98m (6ft 6in)
  • Tare: 2920kg
  • ATM: 3500kg
  • Payload: 580kg
  • Ball weight: 220kg

The full feature appeared in Caravan World #573. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!