Jackaroo Retro: Review
The team at Jackaroo have done it again, bringing out a lightweight model with decent storage.
Although Jackaroo might be a new name, the team behind the caravans are not. With previous experience in the industry, Jarrod Wade and Craig Walters have, for the last three years, been running the Caravan Repair Shop, a business that does everything from servicing caravans to undertaking insurance repairs.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
Recognising the level of competition in caravan manufacturing, the Jackaroo team did what quite a few other Queensland manufacturers have successfully done – build a van that’s a bit different from the mainstream.
I first saw the Jackaroo line-up at the Brisbane caravan show in June but, by the time I was able to fit one into my schedule, only the original prototype was available. I mention this because, although my review caravan is very typical of the Jackaroo product, there have been a few minor changes on later models. There are also several layouts available, including a bunk bed model.
Something we have become accustomed to in modern van design is the availability of external storage bins, plus either a front boot or tunnel storage. This van doesn’t have either of those, so something like a mesh rack between the drawbar rails would be quite useful.
Under the bodywork is a 100x50mm (4x2in) hot-dipped galvanised chassis with a ply timber floor above and a galvanised sheet in between, which protects the timber from water ingress. Looking very conventional (and, curiously, not much changed from 30 years ago) is the leaf spring suspension and water tank mounted in front of the axle.
Up front, the drawbar comes with the usual items – ball coupling, handbrake and a Trail-A-Mate hydraulic jack instead of a jockey wheel. On this particular van, the spare wheel is mounted on the drawbar, but on future models it will be mounted at the rear of the van.
This Jackaroo has a surprisingly light Tare weight of 1400kg, mostly due to its external length of just 5.2m (17ft 1in). On production models, the Tare may vary between 1400kg and 1500kg and the ATM between 1700kg and 1800kg.
There’s definitely nothing standard about the internal decor and it has a real retro feel about it; everything from the timbered benchtops to the orange and white striped bedspread. In this particular van, all the windows have built-in roller blinds but they will be changed for something more conventional in future models.
HITS AND MISSES
- Relatively lightweight van
- Nicely-proportioned layout
- Good-sized kitchen
- Decent internal storage
- Timber benchtops
- No external storage bins
- Small dinette
- Control switches/radio set quite high
JACKAROO RETRO SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall body length 6.5m (21ft 4in)
- External body length 5.2m (17ft 1in)
- External body width 2.45m (8ft)
- Travel height 2.65m (8ft 8in)
- Internal height 1.9m (6ft 3in)
- Tare 1400kg
- ATM 1700kg
- Ball weight 90kg
- Frame Aluminium
- Cladding Aluminium
- Chassis Hot-dipped galvanised
- Suspension Single-axle leaf spring
- Brakes 10in electric
- Wheels 15in alloy
- Water 115L
- Battery 1x100Ah
- Solar 120W
- Air-conditioner Dometic
- Gas 1x9kg
- Sway control No
- Cooking Thetford four-burner and grill
- Fridge Dometic RM8551190L
- Microwave Camec
- Toilet Thetford cassette
- Shower Combined cubicle
- Lighting 12V LED
- Hot water Suburban 23L
The full test appears in Caravan World #543 October 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!