JB Gator: Video review
Tough on the outside, luxurious on the inside, the JB Gator is an offroader built for the Aussie outdoors.
With a Tare of 2160kg and ATM of 2500kg, the Gator is not a hefty offroader but it fills the void between JB’s Dirt Roader and Scorpion models. It was hitched to a Toyota Prado GX 2.8L turbodiesel, six-speed manual for this test.
The Gator is a go-anywhere van that’s easy to tow and designed to take you off the grid for extended periods. I was impressed with its navigability around tight corners, helped by its relatively modest length, and the ease with which it handled the undulating terrain. It stayed virtually glued to the earth, with infinitesimal bounce and sway.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
The Gator’s offroad capability comes largely from the 3.2mm-thick zinc galvanised chassis, built in-house by JB, with a 2in raiser. Two 65L fresh water tanks and 95L of grey water storage capacity, all neatly guarded with checkerplate, as well as two 150W roof-mounted solar panels will keep you on the road when you’re away from home for long periods.
The Gator gains further offroad cred courtesy of its extended (200mm) A-frame complete with a DO35 hitch, Al-Ko ESC, a stoneguard, two 9kg gas cylinders and two 25L jerry can holders. It also rides on 2.6t Cruisemaster independent suspension, 12in electric brakes and 16in Cooper all-terrain tyres.
Fully-insulated and clad in high-profile silver stucco aluminium, the Gator has a myriad of external features, including an entertainment hatch, drop-down picnic table (30kg rated), gas bayonet and Dometic awning on the nearside. The offside reveals two 120Ah AGM batteries (safely concealed in a steel box), a 12V exterior shower (which can be connected to 240V), a Suburban 22.5L hot water system (240V/gas), generator storage hatch, two water fillers and a mains water inlet with one-way valve.
The rear of the van is aesthetically appealing courtesy of a tough-as-nails burgundy-coloured aluminium composite panel, along with low-profile aluminium cladding, 900mm black checkerplate, stainless steel grab handles, three-arm rear bumper, LED taillights, spare wheel and a work light. Meanwhile, the Gator’s front also has low-profile aluminium cladding, a window protector, 900mm black checkerplate and a work light.
Externally, the van is also equipped with a full-length gal-lined tunnel boot with a 12V LED light positioned on the offside, 600mm black checkerplate sides, a toilet hatch, external marine-grade speakers and adequate LED lighting to light your way at night.
Immediately to the right of the front entry door is a stylish and relaxing four-seater cafe lounge, with slide-out drawers underneath. I quite fancied the monogrammed adjustable headrests and the recessed flip-out footrests, which have steel bi-fold latches for added support. There is more storage capacity here in the four overhead lockers, plus a panoramic window, tri-fold table, reading lamps, double powerpoint and 12V outlet, and a magazine holder adorning the outside wall of the rear ensuite.
HITS & MISSES
- Light weight and durability
- Towing agility
- Light, bright interior and practical layout
- Tough exterior look
- No slide-out barbecue
- Height of microwave
- An inverter would complete the electrical suite
JB GATOR SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall length 7.62m (25ft)
- External body length 5.44m (17ft 10in)
- External body width 2.44m (8ft 1in)
- Travel height 3m (9ft 10in)
- Internal height 1.98m (6ft 6in)
- Tare 2160kg
- ATM 2500kg
- Ball weight 118kg
- Frame Meranti
- Cladding Stucco silver aluminium
- Chassis SupaGal
- Suspension 2.6t Cruisemaster independent
- Brakes 12in offroad electric
- Wheels 16in alloy with 265/75R16 LT tyres
- Water 2x65L (fresh); 1x95L (grey)
- Battery 2x120Ah AGM
- Solar 2x150W
- Air-conditioner Aircommand Ibis 3
- Gas 2x9kg
- Sway control Al-Ko ESC
- Cooking Swift four-burner combo with grill
- Fridge Waeco compressor 190L
- Microwave Sphere 25L
- Toilet Dometic ceramic bowl
- Shower Full-height fibreglass
- Lighting LED 12V
- Hot water Suburban gas/electric 22.5L
Price as shown
- $66,500 (on-road, Vic)
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The full test appears in Caravan World #549 May 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!