Kedron TopEnder 5: Review
As the name suggests, the new Kedron TopEnder 5 is built to explore the great outdoors, and when you travel offroad in this van, you definitely won’t be disappointed.
On first impressions, it’s clear the TopEnder 5 is a little different to the usual Kedron style. Although it has a similar bush style to previous models, it maintains a sense of modern elegance with its tri-colour livery, including a white top that blends with the rooftop paraphernalia above two-tone walls. And it still holds to the traditional look with its ribbed aluminium cladding. But however interesting the van’s new look, it is not the defining moment in caravanning history – there’s more to this story.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
Anyone who’s ever towed a caravan over bush tracks like the Canning Stock Route or the Maytown Track will have experienced the beauty of the outback while risking some damage to the van. And perhaps the greatest fear for most caravan convoys up north is the dread of a damaged stub axle.
What this means is, should you damage a stub axle, you will be delayed for only a few short hours rather than days. The Kedron stub axle arrangement means undoing just five nuts and a locking nut, and you’ve pretty much got it sorted. To help you on your way, the TopEnder 5 comes standard with a Kedron Recovery Suspension Kit, stowed out of the way in a van compartment. Inside the kit you’ll find everything you need for the job including airbag, guards, jack, replaceable stub axle and airlines.
The recovery axle is only available on Kedron vans, made for Kedron from Australian steel and SA5-treated – a reliable anti-corrosion process that doesn’t cause distortion or fouling of machined surfaces. Consequently, this remarkable axle and its surrounding components boast strength and longevity.
The Kedron crew has also worked on the airbag and shock absorber combo, picking up the best shocks and using stiffer and thicker airlines, a pump and air-controller system with an alloy tank with no longitudinal welded seam.
The interior of the TopEnder 5 has a certain sense of style, which will keep those with a love for ‘chic and slick’ design smiling.
Settle into the cosy dinette and you’ll discover attractive blue suede seating with a clever under-seat storage that slides-out with the footrest. Again, all the dinette furniture is made in-house at Kedron.
Once again, details are important. For example, the controller for the surround sound system, which is also connected to the TV, is tucked neatly below a small shelf by the dinette table. It’s centred between small recesses that allow storage of bits and pieces, and is well protected.
Out front is a rugged McHitch coupling, room for two gas cylinders, jerry cans and a diesel heater. It was nice to see the front toolbox protected the heater tank and the water tap on the drawbar. For those who find their arms and back don’t like to struggle with a jockey wheel, never fear as this van comes with a handy 12V jockey stand.
It is set up well for life outdoors with a beaut slide-out kitchen featuring a three-burner cooktop and fold-down table. And you can hose off the sand before going inside thanks to an exterior shower with hot and cold water.
THE WRAP UP
Kitted out with an impressive array of standard fixtures, there’s also an extensive list of options from which to choose. What’s more, with two spare tyres and the Kedron recovery kit on board, buyers of this van won’t have any qualms with getting out and about, and exploring the extreme corners of the great outdoors.
HITS AND MISSES
- Stub axle recovery kit
- New airbag suspension
- Generous external and internal storage
- Well-appointed cupboards and lockers
- Shower isn’t overly spacious
KEDRON TOPENDER 5 SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall length 9.3m (30ft 6in)
- External body length 6.9m (22ft 6in)
- External body width 2.4m (7ft 11in)
- Travel Height 3.1m (10ft 2in) with 60mm variation on airbags
- Internal height 1.98m (6ft 6in)
- Tare 3300kg
- ATM 3990kg
- Ball Weight 210kg
- Frame Aluminium
- Cladding Aluminium
- Chassis Hot-dipped galvanised double 100x50mm (4x2in) rails
- Suspension Kedron airbag
- Brakes 12in
- Wheels 17in
- Water 2x100L (fresh); 1x60L (filtered for drinking)
- Battery 300Ah Lithium Slimline pack
- Solar 3x150W
- Air-conditioner Dometic
- Gas 2x9kg
- Sway control Al-Ko ESC
- Cooking Thetford Caprice combo four-burner with fan-forced oven
- Fridge Waeco 218L compressor
- Microwave Samsung
- Toilet Thetford cassette
- Shower Separate cubicle
- Lighting 12V LED
- Hot water Gas/electric
- Auto satellite system; front toolbox; diesel heater; slide-out kitchen; utility slide-out; drop-down table; 1800W inverter; barbecue
Price as shown
- $148,680 (on-road, Qld)
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The full test appears in Caravan World #552 July 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!