When is a caravan a camper trailer, or vice versa? When it’s a hybrid, of course! The all new Mountain Trail LXV Luxury Off-Road Vehicle combines brute strength, for true offroad adventure, with the creature-comforts and amenities of a luxury caravan. Company principles Nick and Heidi Edwards were happy to put their money where their mouth was by submitting to excursions into Victoria’s rugged yet beautiful High Country at the end of a very chilly Autumn, when the countryside was at its picturesque peak.
Touring isn’t only about crashing through challenging offroad tracks to find secluded campsites in out of the ordinary places. There are no rules that state that you can’t have some luxury and comfort on the road, and that’s exactly the design criteria at the crux of the new Mountain Trail LXV design. And at the end of the day, when it’s time to lay your head on the pillow there’s no shame in demanding a comfy, insulated and secure cocoon where you can put your mind and body to rest, ready for the challenges of another day of exploration.
Mountain Trail describes the LXV as a go-anywhere off-road caravan that is modular, rugged and self-contained. It will allow a couple to comfortably travel our wonderful country for an indefinite period with the flexibility to explore our harshest environments. Purist offroaders will be a little concerned by the overall height, however, Mountain Trail make no apologies for the insulated composite fibreglass shell that not only provides terrific head-room for their growing demographic, but delivers a real sense of security at the same time. It’s a shell that keeps you either warm or cool in Australia’s dramatically varying climate range. Add to that optional air-conditioning, a Sirocco fan and diesel-powered heating and you can be a comfortable lounge lizard in any climatic extreme.
The design has created a very low centre of gravity to keep the LXV upright even through the harshest terrain. We traversed some very nasty washouts and culverts on the start of the infamous “Blue Rag” track and she simply walked over all obstacles with ease. The overall width of only 2m allows the LXV to track behind most suitable 4WDs without protruding, and the time-proven Mountain Trail EROK fully independent trailing arm suspension with interchangeable stub axles provides terrific tow-ability no matter the terrain, dirt, sand, corrugations or blacktop.
We have come to expect only the best from the Albury-based Mountain Trail Campers, and the crew’s sense of quality and pride extends throughout this brand new unit. The LXV is based on a heavy-duty hot dipped galvanised chassis and drawbar construction with 12in electric breakaway off road brakes with handbrake, 3500kg DO35 off-road tow hitch, 17x8in, 6in stud alloy wheels with all terrain tyres (265/70 R17) for strong reliability. The wind-down spare wheel is located under the trailer body along with 125L and one 85L food grade plastic water tank plus a 55L grey water tank.
Out back is a hitch mount for carrying the mountain bikes or similar, as well as two fully engineered recovery points should you ever get a little too ambitious. There are four wind-down stabiliser legs, a strong jockey wheel and an Anderson plug out on the gutsy 125x75x3mm A-frame drawbar. The drawbar also supports a very practical tool box/storage unit with two jerry can and two gas bottle holders, as well as plenty of lockable storage for all of your heavy recovery and travelling necessities. The box is vented, plus dust and waterproof and coated with a black rubberised material creating a suitable stoneguard.
ON THE OUTER
Whilst the LXV is really a big white composite box, it is still really quite attractive and features including the laser cut stainless steel badging, double-glazed Euro-style windows and even the lockable external door with flyscreen provide shape and strong accents. Use all of your senses when evaluating quality of the LXV. It’s not only the aesthetics; close your eyes and feel the quality. Open and close some hatches and run your hands over its sides – it’s like the feel of a big old Chevy that just screams solid workmanship combined with Euro finesse.
Whilst I really liked the convenience of the full-length 2.5m electric awning I’m not sure if it’s really warranted. I’ve never had a problem simply winding them out for much lower cost but hey, it’s there and it’s so very, very easy. There are side walls to protect the kitchen area, a mesh floor as standard and full enclosures are optional. There are three compartments forward of the axle with the first housing the Waeco 95L Fridge (CFX-95) on beautifully smooth stainless-steel slides. Next is the twin stainless-steel drawer pantry with a tonne of room for life’s necessities as well as your pots and pans.
Mountain Trail has utilised the same deluxe kitchen as perfected in its EDX hardfloor camper that won its respective category at Camper Trailer of the Year in 2016. It’s a slide-out stainless steel kitchen and fold-out bench with sink, three utility drawers and a three-burner gas stove. Diesel-heated water is plumbed to mixer taps at the sink, the internal shower and the external pull out shower on the driver’s side. Heidi found some excellent folding chairs at BCF for entertaining at the fold-out bench-cum-breakfast bar.
Other external features include LED lighting all round and flush-mounted weatherproof speakers for the Rockford Fosgate entertainment system (internal head unit with remote). Electronics controls in the top of the kitchen compartment include 240V and 12V outlets, weatherproof six-way control panel with individual fuses, water level indicators and a 30A Redarc battery management system (AC/DC/Solar). On the driver’s side we find the pull-out shower, mains pressure water inlet (with regulator) lockable water tank inlets, 240V inlet, two massive storage lockers and the cabinet for the heater/hot water system. Overhead and out of sight are two strong skylights with blinds and block out screens, two 140W moulded film solar panels providing constant charge to the pair of 105Ah AGM batteries, and a Winegard Sensar HD antenna for the entertainment systems.
The Mountain Trail LXV has high ground clearance for offroad use so you’ll need a pair of portable steps to jump in and out of the van. The doorway is large and secure and even with my bulky proportions I found no difficulty entering in, nor did I hit my head, which tends to happen with shorter vans. Once inside, you are presented with the facilities of a small apartment with chic trim that lures you in to stay and relax. It’s now you will appreciate the full headroom throughout, plus the insulation. Mountain Trail has employed upholsterer’s hailing previously from Malibu Boats, another Albury-based manufacturer of premium products and the quality of trim is simply superb. The decor is very light and airy yet cosy and secure with clean, washable and hard wearing surfaces.
As we step in the doorway we find a premium-grade laminate benchtop and cabinetry providing tonnes of storage including soft close drawers for all your clothes and internal needs. It has its own bench and power for those that can’t survive without their morning coffee as well as the outlet for the optional air-conditioner below and heater outlets above. Mountain Trail can fit an internal cooktop as an option – and not a bad consideration in my book, yet an electric kettle and frypan would suffice for the few times you need to cook inside. In the rear corner is a surprisingly large fibreglass shower cubicle with toilet, vanity and shower combined.
One look at the queen-size pillow top innerspring bed up front and you just want to jump in for a cuddle and a long sleep. There’s cavernous storage underneath and a convertible dinette with swivelling table for four people to dine in comfort. You can invite the neighbours in from the cold for a drink and game of cards, if there are humans around your campsite, that is. Wombats don’t play cards!
If you have never listened to the quality of Rockford Fosgate sound then you simply haven’t lived. We enjoyed its brilliance around the campfire well into the night – well maybe the next morning, if the truth be told. The audio unit has Bluetooth connectivity for versatility but there’s even a TV/DVD mounted high above the dinette on a swing bracket if you really can’t help yourselves. (I hate TV!) The LXV has sensible LED lighting throughout including compartment lights, internal touch lights and individual reading lights above the bed, plus the light panels and trim are naturally bright throughout the day helped along by the skylights and large side windows.
I believe our friends at Mountain Trail have hit the nail fair and square on the head with their new Luxury Off-Road Vehicle (LXV). I was surprised with pricing under $100k as I predicted it would be considerably more. This is a unit for serious travellers on a mission to explore wherever their wanderlust leads them. It offers all the facilities to stay off the grid indefinitely, and the ground hugging strength to get you to that ideal campsite if remote offroad adventure is your thing.
HITS AND MISSES
- Overall concept
- On and offroad suitability
- Quality components
- It’s a little tall, but for good cause
- Tare 1860kg
- ATM 2680kg
- Suspension Mountain Trail EROK fully independent trailing-arm suspension with interchangeable stub axles
- Brakes 12in electric off-road with breakaway
- Coupling Vehicle Components DO35
- Chassis 150x50x3mm heavy-duty structural hot dipped galvanised chassis and drawbar construction
- Drawbar 125x75x3mm A-frame
- Body insulated composite fibreglass shell
- Wheel/tyre All-terrain tyres (265/70 R17)
- Style Six-stud alloy wheels
PRICE AS SHOWN