Top end of town

Rough it in com­fort with the 2013 Ke­dron Topen­der.

Motorhome & Caravan Trader - - 2013 Kedron Topender - Clock­wise from above:

Ke­dron Car­a­vans had a humble be­gin­ning as a car­a­van deal­er­ship many years ago, but has grown into a very suc­cess­ful car­a­van man­u­fac­turer, not to men­tion the equally-suc­cess­ful Gall Boys movie busi­ness. The busi­nesses are di­rectly con­nected, as the movie side of things de­vel­oped from the Gall fam­ily go­ing to ex­treme places and lengths to test Ke­dron’s prod­ucts – and this is some­thing that still con­tin­ues to­day.

EX­PE­RI­ENCE COUNTS

All of that goes a long way to ex­plain­ing why our re­view car­a­van, the 2013 Topen­der, is built the way it is. The Topen­der has an alu­minium-framed and clad body, built on a hot-dipped gal­vanised chas­sis. Al­though the draw­bar uses 150x50mm rails, the ac­tual chas­sis has tan­dem 100x50mm rails run­ning the en­tire length of the van. Pro­tec­tion bars are fit­ted along the for­ward side of the van.

It’s not only the chas­sis that gets at­ten­tion in a Ke­dron car­a­van. The walls are se­cured to the chas­sis us­ing a Z chan­nel re­cess in which they are ‘huck’ bolted (a col­lared bolt that has a cir­cu­lar thread which is clamped on) down­wards and side­ways. This process cre­ates a very se­cure base to which the fur­ni­ture in­side is then glued and screwed for added strength.

Cupboards and pine frame struc­tures re­ceive an in­creased num­ber of sup­ports and the frontal frame struc­ture of this 2013 model is also crafted from solid Tas­ma­nian oak tim­ber, as are the draw fronts and doors. These are mitred and have ex­tra V-nail­ing to again im­prove the strength fac­tor.

De­signed to Ke­dron re­quire­ments, the Cruise­mas­ter in­de­pen­dent sus­pen­sion has leaf springs, trail­ing arms and one shock ab­sorber per wheel. The brakes are 12in and de­signed with flush plugs in case they get wet go­ing through creek cross­ings.

Three poly­eth­yl­ene 100L wa­ter tanks sit be­tween the chas­sis rails, two for­ward of the axles and one be­hind. On the draw­bar, in ad­di­tion to the gas cylin­ders and other com­mon items, are two jerry can hold­ers, an op­tional Fi­amma bike rack and a mesh stone­guard. A Mchitch cou­pling gives the van a good deal of ar­tic­u­la­tion.

At the front of the van, ex­ter­nal stor­age con­sists of a front boot and a three-quar­ter tun­nel boot with a slide-out gen­er­a­tor at the other end. A quick look

at the weight rat­ings – Tare 2955kg and ATM 3500kg – re­veals a sound load ca­pac­ity of 545kg, which is handy be­cause in ad­di­tion to the ex­ter­nal stor­age, the in­ter­nal stor­age ca­pac­ity in this front bed­room/ rear bath­room Topen­der is ex­ten­sive.

In ad­di­tion to the usual in­clu­sions, there is a large cup­board be­tween the dinette and bed­room, a large drawer un­der the bed, and draw­ers un­der the dinette seats.

A front-load­ing wash­ing ma­chine, of­ten lo­cated in the bath­room, is fit­ted un­der the kitchen bench. This has the ef­fect of in­creas­ing bench­top space but re­duc­ing kitchen stor­age. The flip­side is a slightly smaller bath­room that’s nonethe­less very func­tional.

IN­NER GLOW

All the es­sen­tials are present and ac­counted for in the kitchen: four-burner cook­top, stain­less steel sink, mi­crowave and a good-sized Waeco 215L fridge. The mi­crowave is set lower than the sur­round­ing over­head lock­ers – great for shorter peo­ple. There’s a mod­er­ate amount of bench­top space and gen­eral stor­age con­sists of a mix­ture of draw­ers, cupboards and over­head lock­ers.

On the op­po­site side, the dark leatheruphol­stered dinette, with tri-fold ta­ble, of­fers all the ba­sics for com­fort­able seat­ing and din­ing, plus un­der­seat draw­ers and 240V and 12V sock­ets above the ta­ble.

The bed­room at the front of the van has large win­dows, but the ex­ter­nal stor­age bins take up bed­side space and re­duce the un­der-bed stor­age. There are still all the ex­pected items, such as the bed and wardrobes, cor­ner cupboards at the foot of the bed and a flatscreen TV mount­ing point above. Even with the cor­ner cupboards, there is enough room to walk around.

Like the rest of the van, the rear bath­room has been built ready to go, in­clud­ing a near­side shower cu­bi­cle with non-slip floor pattern, off­side cas­sette loo with good el­bow room, a gen­er­ous amount of cup­board and drawer space, and a good-sized van­ity cabi­net.

Ke­dron put a lot of ef­fort into equip­ping the 2013 Topen­der for self-con­tained liv­ing. Three 120Ah deep-cy­cle bat­ter­ies sup­ply the 12V ca­pac­ity. They are charged by ei­ther a 40A mains charger,

Ke­dron Topen­der 20ft 2010 • $73,990 • QLD • (07) 3073 8202 Ke­dron Topen­der 25ft 2006 • $75,000 • VIC • 0437 771 580 Ke­dron Topen­der 21ft 2011 • $95,000 • QLD • 0418 744 644

Clock­wise from top left: The in­te­rior has a tra­di­tional tim­ber look; love the po­si­tion of the mi­crowave; cook­ing is han­dled by a four-burner combo cook­top with grill and oven be­low; ex­tra stor­age for­ward of the dinette.

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