Over the years, we have had a fair bit to do with Wonderland RV, having reviewed several models seen plenty on the road and at shows. They have all been great-looking vans with plenty of presence. But despite the hints in the Hornet name, I wasn't expecting the eye-catching yellow and black version that rolled into view for our review. Not shy of delivering some very impressive vans in the past, the team has really amped up the ‘wow factor’ with this oversize family van.
The Wonderland team recognised the growing trend for a younger demographic joining the caravanning scene a while back. They saw a niche market for family vans and began offering roomy bunk vans with a dirt road capability. The plan was so successful these bunk models became the core of the Wonderland range.
The new Hornet 2206 takes the family van concept even further — it’s a big van for a big family with all the comforts expected for long journeys and sleeping for six across a queen and four single beds. The Hornet range is made up of premium vans, and like all Wonderlands, they are designed for travel and extended camping off the beaten track. Since its introduction as a custom design, the four-bunk 2206 layout has proven very popular and now appears across their range of semi and full offroad models as well.
According to Wonderland Managing Director Kevin Dani, he was surprised how popular the layout has become. “We didn't realise there were so many larger families who needed a van this size,” he told us.
Given its size and intended use, the van needs a significant foundation. The custom-built galvanised chassis from Roadking has dual 100 x 50mm main rails and a 150 x 50mm A-frame. That's a seriously robust chassis. Offroad capable AL-KO Outback Independent trailing arm suspension rated at 4.1T gives the option to upgrade the van's ATM if you have a suitable tow vehicle. As reviewed, the van has a 3500kg ATM, but all the engineering can convert the ATM to 3990kg if the customer chooses.
To put the optional upgrade into perspective, the van has a tare of 2980kg, leaving a carrying capacity of 520kg, which might sound enough for many families. But with full water and gas tanks, you only have 270kg of available payload, so plating the van to its maximum rating could make sense.
Weight is saved wherever possible without compromising durability. For example, Wonderland recently moved to a Composite honeycomb floor that is light and so strong that it needs less metal bracing to hold it for a double saving of weight. Joinery is lightweight ply, and it's glued, screwed and bolted in place for trouble-free travel on rough roads.
The walls are a mix of materials in a construction the builder has called their WonderWall (cue the Gallagher brothers). Sections of 19mm CNC cut structural ply are joined together in a jigsaw pattern to give the wall shape and integrity. Voids are cut in the plywood and filled with polystyrene foam for better insulation, then clad in marine grade Dibond with a smooth, modern aluminium look.
Space for the whole family isn't an issue
The roof is a fibreglass panel supported on a timber frame strong enough to handle the Dometic Air conditioner, a Dometic Dust Reduction System and three solar panels. It's worth noting that since this review, all Wonderlands now have a 34mm composite roof for added insulation and strength.
The bright livery emphasises the large size of the van, where the model number refers to the external body length of 22ft (6.9m) and the accommodation for six. Black checkerplate wraps high around the sides and across the ends, while the back has a grey Dibond panel with funky grey digital graphics. The colour scheme joins with the impressive size and high stance for a look that’s a real standout wherever it travels.
A Cruisemaster DO45 hitch is fitted low at the drawbar to help the van tow flat behind most vehicles. A mesh stone guard protects two 9kg gas bottles that sit between a pair of checkerplate toolboxes with a bike rack above. The boxes open from the sides and include slides for a fridge and generator — not that you’d expect to need one with the impressive 560Ah lithium battery, but more of that later. Two exterior taps have a guard, and it’s unusual and innovative to see a hot one outside.
Moving back along the passenger side, we find a slide-out kitchen with a gas cooktop and provision for a Webber Q. This setup is perfect for outdoor cooking with the fridge right at hand in the forward storage box. A full-length awning covers the outdoor space, and I noted the usual fold-down table and plugs for 12V, 240V, and television, as well as a set of weatherproof speakers.
A four-arm bar at the back supports a single spare wheel and two jerry can holders neatly emblazoned with laser cut Wonderland logos. Chassis mounted boxes have room for some tools or recovery items and also house the tank for the electronic Dexter disc brake actuator. An external shower will be handy for washing off after a swim or to help with the morning lineup in the bathroom.
Entry to the van is just forward of the wheels, and this allows a forward opening door that should be better for rough road travel — should it ever come unlatched, it won’t fly open and cause damage.
At the entrance is an east-west bed, which won’t be everyone’s favourite, but it’s 6ft 9in long, so it will suit a lot of taller folk. The layout with the bed crossways is the best use of space in a van that packs a lot inside. A narrow window at the bedhead gives natural light, and fresh air and each occupant has USB points, a reading light and storage nooks.
Down the back is a usable full-width ensuite with the bunkroom forward and separated from the central living space by a concertina door. Big windows in the main area and three roof hatches offer good ventilation through the van.
One of the enduring features of the Wonderland brand is the attention to detail of everything inside. This goes to the colour choices from Ana, one of the co-owners at Wonderland, who helps customers along the right path. Colour makes a huge difference to the long-term value of any van, as can be seen by some of the more edgy choices we saw in some brands ten years ago that are now hard to sell on the second-hand market.
The current trend for internal design seems to be black as a feature, and it should be easy to live with over time as long as it’s not overdone. The mainly white cupboards and walls enhance the light and spacious interior. Little details like the copper sinks and matt black tap wear in the kitchen and bathroom are individual touches that add to the appeal.
The L-shaped lounge is beautifully finished with intricate pleating. It should seat four, so diners will need a couple of extra chairs if eating inside. Lots of overhead cupboards and two slide-out pantries have ample room for a big family’s needs, and the larger than usual 224L fridge is a bonus. I would imagine most families will cook outside, but a Swift cooktop and grill and a floor level microwave are on hand for less pleasant weather.
Some intelligent thinking in the bunkroom should make it popular for the younger crew, especially the dividing door to the living room and individual curtains at each bed for some welcome privacy (and that works both ways). On top of that, each bunk has its own window, USB and 240V plugs and a Sirocco fan. Built-in ladders make top bunks easy to access, and the large section between top and bottom bunks has loads of storage in a cupboard and two drawers on each side.
I thought the ensuite might be a little squeezy for larger folk at the toilet, but the space is well ventilated, and the shower is roomy enough to move about. The triple locks on the door to stop it from flying open on rough roads seem like a good feature.
It's got a colour palette that matches the sunset
A van like the Hornet is all about getting away from it all, and it’s perfectly equipped to handle extended stays off-grid in comfort, with 600W of solar power charge a 560Ah lithium battery through a Redarc 30 Battery Management System and a 50A DCDC charger. With this amount of power, you can even bring some of the essentials of home because 240V appliances, including the air conditioner, will run from the 3000W inverter. That's good news for many because it means even a coffee machine can be packed.
Displays near the dinette show water tank levels and all the information you need about battery condition and charging, making it easy to keep an eye on power use if the weather is cloudy and you need to conserve energy.
Wonderland's warranty is comprehensive and includes the relevant Consumer Law clauses as well as the limitations of offroad use. Conditions spell out that the van is not covered for 4WD only tracks and should be driven at sensible speeds over unsealed roads. Mind you, that's good advice for any van.
Third-party items are covered by those suppliers, but I’m assured that the warranty team makes every effort to smooth the repair process.
Wonderland’s VW Touareg was an excellent match in performance and looks for the big van. Even empty, the 2206 is close to 3T, so it demands a decent tow rig. This is especially true when rated and packed to its 3900kg ATM, where the Touareg wouldn’t cut it. You would need something like an upgraded LandCruiser or an American Ute.
The VW had plenty of grunt for the near-empty van in the hills around Healesville for our run. The Wonderland was well-balanced and engineered and behaved perfectly without any pitching or wallow.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The base price of the Hornet 2206F-A4 is $113,990. As reviewed, with lots of additions and upgrades, including more solar and battery power and a bigger fridge, it’s $142,989, placing it amongst the elite level of offroad caravans.
The 2206 will suit that family looking for a comfortable retreat in some of the more isolated sites around the country. Hooked up to one of the more capable tow vehicles, it has loads of carrying capacity and the self-sufficiency to stay off-grid for as long as you like.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
Overall length 9.1m (29ft 10in)
External body length 6.9m (22ft 8in)
External body width 2.45m (8ft)
Travel height 3.1m (10ft 2in)
Internal height 1.98m (6ft 6in)
Tare Ball weight 240kg
Per cent ball to tare 8 per cent
Frame Structural ply WonderWalls
Cladding Marine Grade Dibond Cladding
Chassis Roadking Wonderland Spec Off-Road
Suspension ALKO Outback 4.1T Independent Coil
Coupling Cruisemaster DO45
Brakes Disc Brakes
Water 2 x 100L Fresh, 70L Dedicated Drinking & 100L Grey
Battery Lithium Lab 560Ah HED Battery
Air-conditioner Dometic Harrier
Gas 2 x 9kg
Sway control Nil
Kitchen External: Custom with Weber Internal: Thetford Cooktop Cooker
Cooking Swift Minigrill
Fridge Dometic Compressor 224L
Bathroom Ensuite with separate toilet & Shower
Washing Machine 2.5kg Wall Mount Washing Machine
Hot water Truma Aquago Continuous
PRICE FROM $113,990
- All options fitted to review van
- Full Height Pantry
- Chassis Boxes
- 4.1T Suspension
- Disc Brakes
- Triple Bike Rack
- Double Rear Bike rack
- Honeycomb Floor
- 50A DCDC Charger
- 3000W Inverter upgrade from 2600W Standard
- 560Ah Lithium Battery Upgrade from 200Ah Lithium Standard
- 600W solar (450W standard)
- Insect Repellent Awning Lights
- Explorer TV Input
- Dometic Harrier AC
- 5 x Sirocco Fans
- RV Wi-Fi
- Concertina door @ Bunks
- Black Taps & Copper Sinks Upgrade
- Truma Aquago HWS
- 224L Fridge
- Custom External Kitchen
- High Checkerplate
- Vantec Paint Protection
- Dometic DRS
- Benchtop Laminate Upgrade
PRICE AS TESTED $142,989
46 Lara Way, Campbellfield VIC 3061
Ph: (03) 8692 0032