Bruder drops a hard hat on its ultra-capable beauty-and-beast off-road caravan
Already an absolutely muscular, angry bull of an off-road caravan, the Bruder EXP-6 gets a touch tougher when you strap a helmet on. The recently launched 2019 EXP-6 GT replaces the pop-up roof with a raised hard roof capable of accommodating average- and above-average-height adults. Beyond that, it's still the same stormproof, go-anywhere boutique motel with custom adjustable air suspension, burly composite shell and cushy interior.
Australia does camping trailers like Germany and Austria do truck-sized expedition vehicles — absolute bombproof, overbuilt construction from the tire contact patches up to the tip of the tallest communications antenna, with interiors most global citizens would be happy to call a full-time home. Bruder's caravans are easily the best example we've seen of that proud Aussie caravan heritage, precisely engineered to handle the harshest obstacles Mother Earth can dish out while living in residential-like comfort and style along the way.
Incidentally, the Bruder name comes from everyday German, meaning "brother," and the caravan design uses German composite for the body construction. So the two worlds of Australian-built Bruder caravans and world-class German engineering share a couple of concrete links, as well as design parallels.
The original EXP-6 power-lift roof system looks plenty robust, especially when the camera zeroes in on the heavy duty scissor lift and the family of three standing atop the open roof. But some folks might still prefer to eliminate the fabric walls and lift hardware altogether and go with a simple, always-effective hard roof. So, in late 2018, Bruder launched the EXP-6 GT, a rock-solid hardshell from floor to ceiling.
In place of the pop-up rear roof seen on the standard EXP-6, the GT, which Bruder crowns the flagship of the line, has a heightened trapezoidal upper roof section stretching most of the length of the trailer. This hard-top doesn't quite offer the EXP-6 pop-top's impressive 7-foot (2.1-m) interior standing height, but its 6.4-foot (2-m) ceiling will be high enough for all but pro basketball player-sized campers ... and even plenty of pro point guards won't have to worry about crouching while camping.
Beyond that, the 22-foot-long (6.7-m) EXP-6 GT shares its build and layout with the standard EXP-6, starting with the airtight galvanized chassis capable of shouldering 11 times its own weight. The epoxy-bonded closed-cell composite body benefits from a standalone design that doesn't rely on the chassis or interior furniture for structural integrity – you could all but cement it to the forest floor and call it a cabin.
The GT model also carries over the fully adjustable multi-link air suspension with two remote canister monotube shocks per wheel offering 12 in (30 cm) of adjustable wheel travel. Campers can use that system to level the caravan out at camp or lower it for easier ingress and egress, all with a swipe-n-poke of a smartphone or tablet. They can also adjust the height on the fly during towing to adapt to terrain changes, counteracting a steep side slope, ducking below low-hanging tree branches, or jumping up to maximize ground clearance up over 25 in (65 cm).
The yin to Bruder's rugged off-road yang is the surprisingly elegant and well-equipped interior, which includes many of the comforts of home. Up front, the proper queen-size (60 x 80-in/153 x 203-cm) bed provides a permanent, raised master suite-like space. The living area sofa converts to a pair of bunks to complete a layout tailored to a family of four.
We initially thought the transition from pop-top to hard roof might eliminate the possibility of adding the optional high-set roof-area kids' beds, but Bruder assures us those are still available for accommodating an additional two small children, sleeping a family of six in total.
The centralized kitchen area is split around the trailer interior and exterior, a main block positioning the available induction, diesel or gas cooktop and pantry for both indoor and outdoor use. Standard indoor and sliding outdoor refrigerators complete the dual-sided indoor/outdoor kitchen space. Both the worktop and kitchen sink are better positioned for outdoor use, though the sink appears perfectly situated for grabbing a late-night drink of water without leaving the comfort of the master queen bed. An electric awning puts some shade over the kitchen area.
Other interior amenities include a corner wet bath, adjustable dining table, diesel heating, dual adjustable fans, and plenty of storage cabinetry. Available options include an indoor/outdoor swivel-mount HD TV and compact clothes washer just inside the rear entry hatch.
The EXP-6 GT comes standard with a 225-Ah lithium battery, 600 watts of solar, and plenty of 240V, 12V and USB outlets. The standard touchscreen control system makes it easy to monitor the electrical equipment and operate components and includes a compatible smart device app for controlling everything remotely.
Other standard onboard equipment includes a 170-L water tank, diesel water heater, outdoor hot/cold shower, cabin pressurization system to prevent dust, and 4-wheel ventilated disc brake system. Bruder also offers all kinds of available add-ons, including increased water storage, remote water fill-up/filtration, additional awning options, and added lithium battery storage.
Bruder's average customer really thrives on add-ons and customization, so the company doesn't have a hard-and-fast base price, but it tells us that buyers can expect EXP-6 GT pricing to start around AU$141,500. The company manufactures all its trailers in Australia and can build each to Australian, European or American road compliance standards. Its electrical equipment is designed specifically for global use, offering support around the world. American Bruder models are priced according to exchange rates, which today would put the above Australian-priced EXP-6 GT at roughly US$102,000, plus a shipping fee of around $5,000.
The five-minute video below introduces the 2019 EXP-6/GT models and does a nice job of walking through all the features. And for those who think the EXP-6's are a bit excessively sized and priced, Bruder also recently added the smaller EXP-4.