Aura Earth Series: Review
The Aura Earth Series ticks all of the main offroad boxes, and then some.
Masterminded by experienced caravan sales and marketing professional Paul Golding, the Earth is the first of a series of new Aura off- and on-road caravans – all clearly based on concepts and components that have already proven their worth under typically harsh Australian conditions.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTIONS
At 8.74m (28ft 8in) from its DO35 offroad hitch to the end of its single, rear bumper-mounted spare wheel and with an external body length of 6.63m (21ft 9in), this is a relatively big offroad caravan and its Tare weight of 2780kg confirms that it is built of solid stuff.
It starts with a hefty Preston hot-dipped galvanised 150x50mm A-frame and chassis that sits on tandem Cruisemaster XT independent trailing arm suspension employing single shock absorbers and coil springs per wheel, and rides on LT265/75 tyres.
Twin 105Ah AGM batteries, twin 150W roof-mounted solar panels and two A-frame water taps – one for cold and the other for hot water supplied by the anode-free Attwood hot water service – are other de rigueur remote area items.
A 15° kick-up in the tail of the chassis gives extra rear ground clearance in difficult terrain, but the relatively low-slung bumper-mounted spare wheel remains vulnerable – something that was confirmed during our review when it hit the ground, bending its mounting bracket.
Other external features designed for long-term remote area travel include a solid checkerplate A-frame toolbox with twin doors (one incorporating a jerry can holder) providing room for both a 2kVA generator and a portable 12V fridge on slides, plus a separate front locker with a slide-out Weber Baby Q.
At the rear, there is a fold-down alloy ladder providing access to the roof for cleaning the solar panels. Meanwhile, in case you need reminding what parts of Australia there are left to explore, there’s a map of the continent behind the drop-down external picnic table on which you can trace your travels.
It all looks like it’s built to last and this impression is supported by Aura’s bold three-year offroad warranty on all components.
Many Australian vans have the bedroom up front and the ensuite at the rear, but the model we reviewed had the reverse of that. Turn left as you enter and behind a solid sliding door you’ll find the well laid-out ensuite, with its shower cubicle on the nearside, central vanity and toilet on the offside.
Measuring 1.3m (4ft 4in) deep, this is one of the largest ensuites of its type that I have encountered – certainly in a caravan with a modest 6.15m (20ft 2in) internal length.
HITS & MISSES
- Ticks all the major remote travel boxes
- First-class interior layout
- Large, well-executed ensuite
- Well-equipped for the price
- No lithium power system option
- Low-hanging mounting for the spare wheel
- Could do with an extra tether for the rear ladder
- No wind-stays on the toolbox and barbecue hatch doors
AURA EARTH SERIES SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall length 8.74m (28ft 8in)
- External body length 6.63m (21ft 9in)
- External body width 2.49m (8ft 2in)
- Travel height 3m (9ft 10in)
- Internal height 1.95m (6ft 5in)
- Tare 2780kg
- ATM 3280kg
- Ball weight 260kg
- Frame 42x19mm meranti
- Cladding Aluwell 3mm aluminium composite
- Chassis Preston 150mm hot-dipped galvanised
- Suspension Cruisemaster XT independent tandem with single shock
- absorbers per wheel
- Brakes 12in Al-Ko electric offroad
- Wheels 16in with LT265/75-16
- offroad tyres
- Water 2x80L (fresh); 1x90L (grey)
- Battery 2x105Ah deep-cycle AGM and Redarc BMP30 BMS
- Solar 2x150W Air conditioner Aircommand Ibis 3
- Gas 2x9kg
- Sway control Al-Ko ESC
- Cooking External Weber Baby Q plus internal Thetford Minigrill combo four-burner with grill
- Fridge 184L Thetford fridge-freezer
- Microwave Camec
- Toilet Ceramic Thetford cassette
- Shower Fibreglass cubicle
- Lighting LED throughout
- Hot water Attwood gas/electric
Price as shown
- $93,990 (on-road, Qld)
The full test appears in Caravan World #549 May 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!