The attention to detail is obvious in the workmanship on the body, which uses 28mm thick composite sandwich foam and fibreglass construction, and only four sections of fibreglass joined to make the whole shell. Using these boat-like materials translates well to a caravan having exceptional strength, waterproofing and a modest weight for its size of 18ft and six and a half inches, coming in at 2100kg.
After producing Sportscruiser caravans for a decade, John — who is in his 70s — decided it was time to spend more time on his other passions. In 2019 Joel, the Sportscruiser factory manager for many years took over the ownership and since then has focussed on taking over what is already a great product, to project it into the future.
MIXING CLASSIC WITH MODERN
With the profile of an old school teardrop shaped trailer, the SportsCruiser 1800 shouldn’t be mistaken for something old because that is exactly what it's not. The materials used throughout the van have been carefully thought out and are well up to modern standards, with no shortcuts in terms of assembly.
When I think of an offroad caravan, I see black checkerplate, bright colours and conspicuous decals, so the SportsCruiser's design doesn’t strike visually as an offroader but rather a tough rig in disguise.
Walking up to the SportsCruiser and looking at its finer details is impressive. The exterior is a white, high gloss smooth finish with minimal but elegant design features and light grey trimmings. The decals and font choices lend themselves well to the overall look, with just a few splashes of colour for an eye-catching appeal. Even smaller details like the Sportscruiser logo, laser cut into the rear steel bar, heighten the feel of quality.
IN FOR THE LONG HAUL
The Sportscruiser, with its graceful lines and charming design, isn't a slouch on harsh Australian roads. This van can easily eat up whatever the outback can throw at it and that has a lot to do with how it's put together.
With the ever popular and robust Brisbane-made Cruisemaster ATX air bag suspension, there’s no reason why you couldn’t take this van on some pretty serious offroad adventures. If I have to be nitpicky, the tyres could be better when it comes to reputable brands but that’s no deal-breaker.
The 100mm x 50mm and 75mm x 50mm stacked 4mm gal steel chassis, also manufactured by Cruisemaster, is the strong platform that holds the full fibreglass shell. The fibreglass shell, including the floor, is highly resistant to stone chips, and water and rot-proof.
Racking up over 15,000km, the review van had been hauled around Tassie and up to Gregory River, tackling some harsh outback roads along the way. On close inspection, all exterior materials had held up remarkably well. Using high quality parts and a stone guard makes for a hardy and durable undercarriage.
An advantage of this caravan being built with fibreglass is that it can be easily repaired if you’re unfortunate enough to seriously damage the panels.
Sitting on the drawbar is a generously sized storage box that houses the water controls, generator slide and a couple of John’s own upgrades when it comes to using water, like the custom mounted retractable hose reel. There’s also room for chairs, a toolbox and some other various items you may need to take on your travels. You’ll also find a decent sized boot tunnel lined with marine carpet to store those dirtier items.
At the rear is just a simple steel bar with the spare tyre mounted. While there’s no built-in cooking options outside, there is a gas bayonet fitting and 240V outlet if you want to hook up any cooking appliances.
With the flick of a button, conveniently installed just inside the entrance door, an electronically retractable two step staircase reveals itself, making it a luxurious way to enter and exit the Sportscuiser. Inside is a clean, modern setting, instantly giving you the feeling of class and style. In parts of the interior walls, you can see the rippled texture of the fibreglass — which I quite like — reminding you of the unique materials that make up the body of this caravan, and are excellently married with the high gloss coverings in the rest of the interior. This makes for an eye-pleasing mix of appearances.
Light and bright is the aim of the game inside
In this particular layout at the front end, there are two single beds laid lengthways with a center nightstand and cabinet and an adequately sized window on each side. The ceiling swooping down over the beds may feel a little encroaching for some, but for me I wasn’t fazed as the white tone of the ceiling kept things feeling open and light but cozy. If you’re the type to take a huge amount of clothes and possessions on your travels, there’s only the fairly compact closet and cupboard under the nightstand, so be mindful of what you pack.
There are two Sirocco fans each looking down at the beds and if they don’t quite cut the mustard on those sweltering days, just chuck on the Truma air conditioning unit, which worked a treat on the review day, while running off the battery.
Moving to the heart of the van, there is a humble, modern kitchen area with dark marble-like bench space and a sufficient area to prepare meals. An air fryer oven is included and good-size granite sink with a two-burner induction cooker and microwave as well as the 188L Dometic fridge freezer. There are overhead storage cupboards above the kitchen and couch area, including drawers and compartments in the kitchen. This stowaway space in the living area makes up for the minimal amount in the bedroom.
In the living area is a nicely upholstered couch with a detachable table, comfortably fitting you and your fellow traveller with ease. The windows that run along each side of the living area walls keep plenty of light flooding in and making for a good view of the outside landscape. The floor covering is made with stylish commercial grade vinyl paneling floorboards which should last a lifetime.
At the rear, we meet the bathroom. Just like the ergonomic living area, the space feels contemporary and light. The cabinetry is beautifully finished with good quality fittings. The Thetford ceramic flushing toilet is a big plus, as is the 2.5L washing machine hidden in the cupboard under the basin.
The size of the shower is great also, sporting high quality fittings and handy soap dispensers, which I thought was a great idea.
If you’re longing to do some extended stays in the outback and not have to worry about hooking up to mains for a number of days, the SportsCruiser will accommodate just that.
Without compromising on power, this caravan is set up with a full Enerdrive system and a whopping 900W of solar covering the roof, which keeps the 400Ah hours of Enerdrive lithium batteries topped up with ease. All the information from the system is well displayed at the entrance, showing water and battery levels.
A small removable remote is handy for levelling the van, wirelessly adjusting the Cruisemaster suspension with ease.
Lithium, in my opinion, is without a doubt the best battery option for today's standard of powering your touring needs. So it's great to see John taking advantage of this type of quality system in his vans.
Under the seats inside the heart of the whole operation is housed — a 2600W inverter, DCDC charger and a 3-bank multistage charger plus high capacity solar regulator.
Water storage isn’t a problem, with 300L of drinking water and a grey water tank.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
Being able to tour this diverse country comfortably in a caravan is becoming more important for many people these days, with the obvious lack of travel options abroad. While today's offroad caravan market is predominantly made up of rugged looking, visually striking vans, the SportsCruiser takes a step back with its handsome appearance and uncomplicated design. Being influenced by the craft of boat building, some great attributes trickle down into this caravan that is a hardy and graceful mix of two very different worlds.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
Body length 5.69m (18ft 8in)
Overall length 7.32m (24ft)
Ride height 2.95m (9ft 8in)
Width 2.18m (7ft 2in)
Height 2.92m (9ft 7in)
Max ATM 2800kg
Ball weight 220kg
Body High density foam/fiberglass composite panels
Chassis 175mm x 50mm 4mm gal steel
Suspension Cruisemaster ATX
Coupling Cruisemaster DO35
Brakes Drum (disc optional)
Wheels 265/70r16 A/T
Water 4 x 80L
Battery 2 x 200Ah Enerdrive Lithium
Air conditioner Truma (wired to run off batteries)
Gas 2 x 4.5L
Sway control N/A
Cooking 240V Induction cooktop and air fryer oven
Fridge 188L Dometic compressor fridge/freezer
Bathroom Ceramic toilet and shower recess vanity combo
Hot water Truma combined hot water service and air heater
$81,500 (Standard Cross Country)
PRICE AS SHOWN
94 Enterprise St, Kunda Park QLD 4556
Ph: 1300 88 28 21