AL-KO Enduro Outback: Product Test

By: Michael Borg, Photography by: Jack Murphy


We put AL-KO’s Enduro Outback suspension through a tough, real-world test in the mighty Victorian High Country.

Let’s get one thing straight; you just can’t compromise on the quality of your caravan’s suspension, especially if you’re planning on tackling the rough stuff. In human terms, suspension is right up there with the heart and liver, which makes it one of the most crucial parts of your setup.

So when AL-KO decided to take some big, beefy caravans into the heart of the Victorian High Country as part of the Toughest Tow Test, we had to ensure they had the right suspension for the job. And that’s where the Enduro range came into play.

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Now, truth be told, we tested a whole range of gear on our Toughest Tow Test mission, but the Enduro range of suspension is what we were really all there to see. It was a battle of gigantic proportions and this was the top contender!

THE TECHNICALITIES

The Enduro range has been cleverly designed. The coil springs are Australian made, and boast high stress X5K spring steel, which is 30 per cent lighter than standard grade alternatives yet still as strong as an ox.

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AL-KO’s shock absorbers, manufactured at the AL-KO plant in Spain, have always been a work of art, in my opinion, but for the Enduro range, the engineering team has enhanced them to suit Aussie conditions even better! They’ve focused on improving their heat dissipation qualities, which means there’s significantly less degeneration in the dampening ability of the shocks. And the failure point is around 40°C higher than competitor products tested in its class.

This really gives the Enduro range an edge when it comes to conquering Australia’s most challenging terrains.

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Maintenance-free bushes top the whole package off, along with AL-KO offroad electric brakes and a range of weight ranges or models to choose from.  

FEATURES

There are two distinct suspension systems available in the Enduro range – the Enduro Cross Country, and its big brother, Enduro Outback. Both are independent trailing arm setups designed wholly and solely for adventure. But there are a few key differences that are worth taking into account.

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Enduro Cross Country is designed for on-road to semi-offroad (or rough-road) use. It’s a true multi-purpose system, making it a real winner for those caravanners looking to cover most Aussie touring routes. From wide open stretches of blacktop to graded dirt roads with a few light corrugations, Enduro Cross Country is the one for you.

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Then there’s the Enduro Outback. This capable system is designed to handle absolutely anything you can throw at it, and we mean anything! It’s engineered and designed for extreme offroad use, and takes those tough, gruelling, outback roads in its stride.

For those that want the freedom to go absolutely anywhere, the Enduro Outback will be right up your alley. Like Cross Country, it’s been designed and tested in Australia for Australian conditions, so you could say it’s literally engineered for adventure.

It’s been put through the wringer with loads of rigorous testing – even before Toughest Tow Test!

ROAD TESTING

On AL-KO’s Toughest Tow Test, we had the enviable task of putting the Enduro Outback to the test, as we traversed everything from the tallest mountains, right down into the deep valleys of the Victorian High Country.

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The whole point of this test was to really get a feel for how it handled things in the real world – how it handled a three-tonne caravan on top while navigating uneven rocky sections, deep ruts and holes, and river crossings.

And, after three days of non-stop testing during the offroad section of the Toughest Tow Test, we reckon it proved its worth ten-fold. Perhaps the most noticeable characteristic of the ride was just how stable the caravan felt as we navigated serious offroad obstacles and countless river crossings. Another thing worth mentioning is that, as well as providing a well-cushioned ride, there was very little ongoing bounce, which is usually quite typical of an independent coil sprung system.

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We reached the boundaries of our 4WDs well before the caravan suspension came anywhere near its limits; you can thank the perfect combination of a practical ride height (208mm), plenty of suspension travel (140mm) and class-leading manufacturing techniques for that. The suspension soaked up the worst impacts we could throw at it and, in terms of stability and control, well, it’s got it in spades. Some of the vehicles didn’t come through the High Country terrain unscathed – we encountered overheating and flat tyres amongst other things, but the Enduro suspension didn’t miss a beat.

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But the real surprise was just how well it handled things on the blacktop. Usually, if a component’s been designed for full offroad use, you have to compromise a bit with onroad performance. But not with the Enduro Outback! It was as firm, stable and comfortable on the road as it is off it.

When you’re touring around Australia with a caravan in tow, you really need to have a heap of confidence in your entire setup. You want to be able to take it wherever you choose to go and know it won’t let you down halfway there.

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The problem is, with so many different caravans and campers on the market, it’s hard to sort out what’s good, and what to steer clear from. Usually, buying Australian made or designed is a good place to start. And that’s the real beauty of AL-KO’s Enduro range –it has been designed and tested in Australia for Australian conditions, so you know exactly what you’re going to get! If you ask us, that sort of peace of mind is worth its weight in gold. And that’s just the beginning!

You can win the Ultimate Tough Towing Kit (including a set of clearview mirrors), valued at $6,811. Enter HERE.

The full feature appeared in Caravan World #564. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!