ECHO KAVANGO CROSSOVER
FRP body and a galvanised chassis promise long life - December 2016
Designed, engineered and extensively tested in Southern Africa the crossover Kavango incorporates Australian componentry that has been tested here – notably independent coil-spring suspension.
The Kavango was designed to allow rapid setup for two adults – around two minutes from towing to sleeping mode – but it’s one of the few crossovers that caters for up to three kids or two more adults, because the dinette converts into a second double bed.
Construction of the Kavango is innovative, combining an insulated monocoque fibreglass body, with an engineered, hot-dip galvanised chassis. The FRP body is light and flexible, and has no corner or end joins. Doors and panels are fitted with automotive seals and cam-locks.
The drawbar that is said to exceed Australian Design Rule 62/01 and the chassis are CNC-cut from sheet steel, bent and robot-welded in the factory before the hot-dip galvanising process.
Connected to that assembly are off-road independent coil suspension, travel-limiting straps, replaceable stub axles, 12-inch electric brakes, 265/70R16 tyres on steel wheels, 4WD off-road shocks and an Alco two-tonnes-rated off-road hitch.
The outside kitchen allows access to the stove and fridge without opening the van. South African campers come with great attention to storage detail and the Kavango is no exception: right down to fabric pockets for the six-place cutlery set and specific slots for the supplied crockery.
The electrical system includes an integrated battery management system; two 105-amp AGM deep-cycle batteries; 120-watt, roof-mounted solar panel; LED lights; two Hella sockets; two USB points; one 50-amp Anderson plug at the rear to connect a portable solar panel and one 50-amp Anderson plug on the drawbar to connect to the tow vehicle, for charging caravan batteries.
Kitchen gear includes a two-burner Smev stainless steel stove; stainless steel fridge and freezer; and a portable slide-out stainless steel table. Also supplied are a four-kilogram gas bottle, one-kilogram fire extinguisher, fire blanket and smoke alarm.
There’s a Girard instant gas hot water system, with pressure water to the shower and kitchen, plus a gravity-fed tap on the drawbar.
There are three ensuite choices: a slide-out shower and vanity basin; a shower door with storage cupboard and shower tent; and a slide-out shower with Dometic CT 4000 electric-flush toilet with ceramic bowl inlay and drop down vanity unit.
The Kavango comes with a five-metre by two-metre, full-length vinyl awning; a galvanised storage basket mounted at the rear of the chassis; a wood rack mounted on drawbar; BBQ grid mounted on the spare wheel ; two, steel ADR-approved fuel jerry cans; two Alko rear stabiliser legs and one on the drawbar.
Options include: a side wall set including draught skirt; mesh ground sheet for awning area; padded canvas nose protector; Stone Stomper stone protector; TV with DVD player; Webasto diesel and cabin heater; and an air conditioner.
The Kavango measures 5150mm x 1960mm and is 2070mm high. Claimed tare weight is 1380kg and Aggregate Trailer Mass is 1800kgs. Tow ball weight (empty) is 160kg.
We tried for some months to borrow a Kavango crossover for a test, but they were sold before we could get our hands on one. We had a test scheduled for late 2017, but we heard that the brand was no longer being sold in Australia. We hope that situation changes in 2018.
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