Red-hot RUN

YOU WON’T BE­LIEVE WHERE MDC HAS TAKEN ITS ALL-NEW XT12-HR LUX­URY OFFROADER.

Camper Trailer Australia - - REVIEW - WORDS MICHAEL BORG PICS MATT FEHLBERG

Okay, so you’ve been around the cam­per trailer scene for a few years now.

Your back’s not quite what it used to be, which makes set­ting up a bit of a mis­sion. Your trips are get­ting a bit length­ier and you find your­self long­ing for a lit­tle ex­tra com­fort. But you don’t want to tow a 22ft-long car­a­van around like all the other grey no­mads out there. Sound like you? If it does, MDC just might have the so­lu­tion. In­tro­duc­ing the all new XT12-HR! Now I know what you’re think­ing; that’s not a cam­per trailer, that’s a car­a­van! And you know what? You’re right. But let’s be hon­est – as much as we all love rough­ing it, the whole rea­son we buy a cam­per trailer in the first place is be­cause we still want to get well off the beaten track and main­tain that lit­tle bit more com­fort than tent camp­ing of­fers, right? So let’s look at the MDC XT12-HR as the next evo­lu­tion­ary step. The idea of this all-new de­sign is pretty sim­ple; to pro­vide un­ri­valled lux­ury in a nim­ble, goany­where pack­age. But how does it fair? Well, let’s take it for a test drive shall we?

TOUGH TEST­ING

When it comes to the test­ing a cam­per trailer, or car­a­van in this in­stance, not many man­u­fac­tur­ers can brag they dragged them from one side of the coun­try to the other just for the heck of it. But that’s ex­actly what the MDC crew were smack-bang in the mid­dle of do­ing be­fore I in­ter­rupted their char­tered stop at Birdsville, Qld, and crashed the party. They were ad­ven­ture-bound on a mam­moth trip right across the top of the coun­try, tack­ling pretty much our tough­est tour­ing routes and try­ing to break their new range of car­a­vans. So when it comes to re­search and de­vel­op­ment, it’s pretty safe to say they’ve got things cov­ered. In fact, we were lucky enough to watch LowRange co-pre­sen­ter Kenno drag the XT12-HR up and down the largest dune in the desert – Big Red! Yep, that bloke’s as mad as a cut snake! But the car­a­van did the job no wor­ries at all; then it tack­led an­other few thou­sand tough kays over to Broome, WA – bap­tism by fire, eh?

As you can see, the van is quite high which, let’s be hon­est, is a lit­tle off-putting at first.

But it’s ac­tu­ally quite well be­haved both on

and of­froad, con­sid­er­ing its height. Sure, off cam­ber an­gles can give you the jit­ters, but after watch­ing it tackle Big Red, I’m fairly cer­tain it’ll do any­thing you ask of it!

It’s al­ways re­fresh­ing to see a com­pany that gen­uinely war­rants their prod­uct for the tough­est tour­ing you can throw at it in Australia, and ac­tu­ally gets out there and does it them­selves! If any­thing, this expedition of theirs has shown that these vans mean busi­ness, and don’t let any­one tell you other­wise.

IS IT BUSH READY?

While of­froad use is bred into the XT12-HRs DNA, it’s still not what you would call the tough­est of the tough, and it’s not ab­so­lutely bul­let­proof. It is, how­ever, a great lit­tle pack­age for those who want to tackle those tough iconic des­ti­na­tions com­fort­ably. The chas­sis and draw­bar are con­structed us­ing 120x50x3mm hot-dip gal­vanised RHS, and the body is con­structed of an alu­minium frame with ex­ter­nal com­pos­ite pan­els too. So the back­bone is both ad­e­quate and proven over time.

The whole van weighs about 1860kg Tare, which is get­ting up for a cam­per trailer but is quite low for a car­a­van. It’s cer­tainly not heavy to the point where it hin­ders your tour­ing abil­ity too much. In­de­pen­dent trailer arm sus­pen­sion takes care of the bumps in the road, and 12in elec­tric of­froad brakes plus a 3500kg-rated McHitch Uniglide cou­pling come as stan­dard.

CLOCK­WISE FROM ABOVE: Borgy en­coun­tered the MDC crew mid-way through the XT12-HR’s long-haul test; MDC’s cam­per trailer kitchen pegs the XT12-HR as an out­door en­ter­tainer; Twin dam­pers and chains per wheel tame the coil springs in un­du­lat­ing ter­rain; Bash plates pro­tect the twin un­der­slung tanks; The stone­guard with heavy duty can­vas hugs the aux­il­iary fuel; LowRange show­man Kenno takes on Big Red with the MDC XT12-HR on tow. Not recommended but im­pres­sive nonethe­less.

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