Automotive

EarthCruiser makes ultra-capable off-grid motorhomes out of Mercedes' most rugged

EarthCruiser makes ultra-capab...
Two flavors of Mercedes EarthCruiser: The Unimog-built Explorer XPR440  in front of the G-Class-based G-Pro Escape
Two flavors of Mercedes EarthCruiser: The Unimog-built Explorer XPR440  in front of the G-Class-based G-Pro Escape
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EarthCruiser gives the XPR440 an advanced telematics system with GPS, Hema mapping, 3-axis pitch and roll monitoring and more
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EarthCruiser gives the XPR440 an advanced telematics system with GPS, Hema mapping, 3-axis pitch and roll monitoring and more
EarthCruiser offers a multi-use crane for helping load things up
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EarthCruiser offers a multi-use crane for helping load things up
EarthCruiser XPR440 with leveling rams deployed
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EarthCruiser XPR440 with leveling rams deployed
A look back from the XPR440 driver cab to the dining table and beyond
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A look back from the XPR440 driver cab to the dining table and beyond
The Explorer XPR440's main double bed teams with one or two "Skybeds" for up to four sleeping berths
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The Explorer XPR440's main double bed teams with one or two "Skybeds" for up to four sleeping berths
Mercedes' VarioPilot design means that you can quickly shift the steering wheel and drive pedals from left to right or right to left
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Mercedes' VarioPilot design means that you can quickly shift the steering wheel and drive pedals from left to right or right to left
Like other pop-top EarthCruisers, the Unimog-based XPR440 can fit inside a shipping container, making it easier to send around the world
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Like other pop-top EarthCruisers, the Unimog-based XPR440 can fit inside a shipping container, making it easier to send around the world
A peek inside the XPR440's rear storage area reveals the compact washing machine, a nice luxury when way out in the hinterlands, if ever there was one
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A peek inside the XPR440's rear storage area reveals the compact washing machine, a nice luxury when way out in the hinterlands, if ever there was one
EarthCruiser Explorer XPR440 kitchen area
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EarthCruiser Explorer XPR440 kitchen area
A better look at the EarthCruiser XPR440 interior
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A better look at the EarthCruiser XPR440 interior
An available motorcycle carrier makes it easy to haul a bike along for the ride
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An available motorcycle carrier makes it easy to haul a bike along for the ride
The Unimog brings legendary toughness and capability, and EarthCruiser adds the comforts of home
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The Unimog brings legendary toughness and capability, and EarthCruiser adds the comforts of home
The pull-out outdoor cooking area includes an electric grill
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The pull-out outdoor cooking area includes an electric grill
As we've seen on American-market EarthCruisers, the entryway doubles as the washroom/toilet room
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As we've seen on American-market EarthCruisers, the entryway doubles as the washroom/toilet room
EarthCruiser Explorer XPR440
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EarthCruiser Explorer XPR440
EarthCruiser Australia has previously built expedition vehicles with Mitsubishi Fuso and Iveco chassis, and now it's turning more attention to trucks from Mercedes 
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EarthCruiser Australia has previously built expedition vehicles with Mitsubishi Fuso and Iveco chassis, and now it's turning more attention to trucks from Mercedes 
Two flavors of Mercedes EarthCruiser: The Unimog-built Explorer XPR440  in front of the G-Class-based G-Pro Escape
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Two flavors of Mercedes EarthCruiser: The Unimog-built Explorer XPR440  in front of the G-Class-based G-Pro Escape
Serious navigation and system management inside the XPR440
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Serious navigation and system management inside the XPR440
The XPR440 includes a rear air conditioner and two refrigerators
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The XPR440 includes a rear air conditioner and two refrigerators
Ready for dinner inside the XPR440
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Ready for dinner inside the XPR440
A closer look at the XPR440's outdoor kitchen
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A closer look at the XPR440's outdoor kitchen
The G-Pro Escape is a smaller, more agile EarthCruiser
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The G-Pro Escape is a smaller, more agile EarthCruiser
EarthCruiser's G-Pro Escape capitalizes on the tried-and-true off-road toughness of the Mercedes G-Class
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EarthCruiser's G-Pro Escape capitalizes on the tried-and-true off-road toughness of the Mercedes G-Class
Like the XPR440, the G-Pro Escape has a full pop-up roof
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Like the XPR440, the G-Pro Escape has a full pop-up roof
The G-Pro comes powered by a 181-hp diesel engine
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The G-Pro comes powered by a 181-hp diesel engine
Inside the G-Pro driver cab
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Inside the G-Pro driver cab
The G-Pro Escape is the latest vehicle at EarthCruiser
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The G-Pro Escape is the latest vehicle at EarthCruiser
EarthCruiser G-Pro Escape
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EarthCruiser G-Pro Escape
The G-Pro Escape starts at AU$320K, but the model in photos would run $360K
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The G-Pro Escape starts at AU$320K, but the model in photos would run $360K
The XPR440 gets ready to tow the G-Pro
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The XPR440 gets ready to tow the G-Pro
Big brother, little brother
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Big brother, little brother
EarthCruiser G-Pro Escape
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EarthCruiser G-Pro Escape
Both the XPR440 and G-Pro include outdoor showers
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Both the XPR440 and G-Pro include outdoor showers
EarthCruiser has done a nice job of making the G-Class look even tougher, not to mention turning it into a home on wheels
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EarthCruiser has done a nice job of making the G-Class look even tougher, not to mention turning it into a home on wheels
EarthCruiser G-Pro Escape
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EarthCruiser G-Pro Escape
The G-Pro has a more compact interior but still packs a kitchen and entryway washroom with toilet
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The G-Pro has a more compact interior but still packs a kitchen and entryway washroom with toilet
Why stop at a car wash when you can use the included wet/dry vac to clean the XPR440 up?
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Why stop at a car wash when you can use the included wet/dry vac to clean the XPR440 up?
The EarthCruiser Escape features a full camper interior with wet bath, kitchen and convertible dinette/bed
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The EarthCruiser Escape features a full camper interior with wet bath, kitchen and convertible dinette/bed
Up in the XPR440's face
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Up in the XPR440's face
A look through the G-Pro's pass-through
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A look through the G-Pro's pass-through
A closer shot of the XPR440's entryway washroom
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A closer shot of the XPR440's entryway washroom
No tent pitching here - pull up, pop the awning and camp is ready
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No tent pitching here - pull up, pop the awning and camp is ready
EarthCruiser's XPR440 is one of the latest massive expedition vehicles to make its way across Mother Earth
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EarthCruiser's XPR440 is one of the latest massive expedition vehicles to make its way across Mother Earth
Getting level
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Getting level
The XPR440's compact washing machine makes it easy to clean out the mud and dust
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The XPR440's compact washing machine makes it easy to clean out the mud and dust
Whether it's a motorcycle or an electric Ubco 2x2, the XPR440 carries it with ease
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Whether it's a motorcycle or an electric Ubco 2x2, the XPR440 carries it with ease
EarthCruiser makes its way across Australia with a small fleet of expedition rigs
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EarthCruiser makes its way across Australia with a small fleet of expedition rigs
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In the United States, EarthCruisers come built on Mitsubishi Fusos or pickup trucks. Over in the company's original stomping grounds of Australia, though, they come in other flavors. This year, EarthCruiser has been pushing some all-new Mercedes options, building its most capable exploration machine on a Unimog U430 and a smaller, more nimble escapee on a G-Wagen base. Both feature pop-top cabins, plenty of capability in getting you out into the wildest of wilds, and more than enough everyday comforts to keep you out there awhile.

Explorer XPR440

EarthCruiser declares the Unimog-based Explorer XPR440 its "most advanced expedition model." The new model relies on 300 hp worth of Mercedes muscle to propel it forward and further benefits from the base 'Mog's portal axles, locking differentials, permanent all-wheel drive system, short overhangs and low-range transmission ratio. The available central tire inflation and monitoring system helps in keeping pressure fine-tuned to the ground below the rubber, and available run-flat tires help in getting the big, 12-tonner to safety in the event of a puncture.

No tent pitching here - pull up, pop the awning and camp is ready
No tent pitching here - pull up, pop the awning and camp is ready

Another handy feature the base Unimog brings with it is its VarioPilot adjustable driver cab hardware. The steering wheel and drive pedals slide quickly from left to right, or vice versa, helping the pilot maintain the best vision and performance while rambling up mountains, through canyons, across ice fields and over national borders.

With canvas pop-ups and basic interior trim, EarthCruiser's colossal expedition vehicles aren't quite as fancy as competitors from EarthRoamer or Unicat, but they certainly don't lack in creature comforts. Two individual fridges combine to give the XPR440 nearly 300 liters of cold storage, and the kitchen area includes a microwave, cooktop, sink and plenty of worktop in between.

A better look at the EarthCruiser XPR440 interior
A better look at the EarthCruiser XPR440 interior

As in other EarthCruisers, the shower and toilet are just inside the entryway, encouraging dirty adventurers to wash up immediately before tracking dirt around the cabin. A washing machine, wet/dry vac and air conditioner are luxuries you might not to expect to enjoy in the middle of nowhere, and a DVR surveillance recording system, FLIR thermal imaging camera, and five-HD camera system with 45 days of recording and live broadcasting capability are additions you might not think about at all, if EarthCruiser didn't list them on its brochure.

The XPR440 sleeps up to four on a main double bed and one or two lifted "Skybeds" and seats up to five. A multi-touchscreen command system keeps tabs on onboard capacities and system operation and incorporates 3-axis pitch and roll tracking and an ultrasonic weather station. The infotainment-nav system is upgraded with Hema mapping, Bluetooth and iPad connectivity, and there's also an 80-channel UHF radio and 4G cellular connectivity.

The pull-out outdoor cooking area includes an electric grill
The pull-out outdoor cooking area includes an electric grill

The outside of EarthCruiser's living module is equally impressive, housing an outdoor shower, slide-out kitchen area with electric grill, and rear motorbike carrier to hold your other adventure ride.

Lest you think EarthCruiser is going soft with all that fancy equipment, we should note that the XPR440 also counts a chainsaw, axe, and front and rear 20,000-lb (9,000-kg) winches as part of its special equipment package. It'll conquer the path ahead, even if that path is anything but clear and straightforward.

The 440 is designed to wander for up to 2,175 miles (3,500 km) without making a stop, owing to its 800-L fuel storage and 860-L fresh water tank. A thousand watts of roof-mounted solar keep the lithium battery bank topped off to ensure all that electrical equipment stays in running order. An Arctic-grade weatherproofing system keeps the water flowing, heat running and clothes drying in temperatures right down to -40 C (-40 F).

Like other pop-top EarthCruiser models, the XPR440 is sized to fit in a shipping container and ship off to the starting line of your overland adventure. It starts at a cool AU$580,000 (approx. US$421,000), and EarthCruiser says the fully optioned model featured in photos wears another $140,000 worth of upgrades.

EarthCruiser makes its way across Australia with a small fleet of expedition rigs
EarthCruiser makes its way across Australia with a small fleet of expedition rigs

As an interesting aside, we tried to get a more complete breakdown of base and option pricing, but EarthCruiser's sales and production manager Mark Fawcett said the full kit would be too large to send via satellite. He was deep into an overland trek through the heart of Australia doing some touring with the XPR440 but still managed to reply to our email inquiry within the hour, demonstrating how a machine like the 440 can keep you connected even when you're out well beyond the boonies. The photo just above is one of the most recents that EarthCruiser posted to Facebook from its trip across Oz - looks like our type of "office".

G-Pro Escape

Also a part of EarthCruiser's current Australian cross country trip, the G-Pro Escape is the very latest addition to EarthCruiser's lineup. It finds itself at the opposite end of the EarthCruiser size/weight scale from the XPR440, riding on a much more compact but still highly capable Mercedes – the G-Class.

EarthCruiser G-Pro Escape
EarthCruiser G-Pro Escape

The G-Pro Escape isn't a G550 4x42 so it lacks the portal axles of the XPR440, but EarthCruiser does offer them as an option. The G-Class base also brings front, rear and central differentials, a 181-hp diesel engine with 295 lb-ft of torque, and a five-speed auto transmission. Also present is the infotainment system complete with Hema mapping, Bluetooth and iPhone connectivity.

Earthcruiser mounts its walkthrough motorhome module directly to the chassis, filling it with a walkthrough toilet/shower room, sleeping for three and a kitchen with diesel cooktop and 122-L fridge/freezer. A dedicated air conditioner keeps things cool.

The EarthCruiser Escape features a full camper interior with wet bath, kitchen and convertible dinette/bed
The EarthCruiser Escape features a full camper interior with wet bath, kitchen and convertible dinette/bed

With 250-liter fuel and water tanks, the G-Pro doesn't have quite the nomadic autonomy of the XPR440, but its much smaller footprint will allow it to travel places the Unimog can't while offering a nimbler ride on the way.

Like the XPR440, the G-Pro offers lithium battery storage, solar panels, the 80-channel UHF radio, DVR recording, 4G cellular, the five-camera external recording system, and front and rear winches. It starts at $320,000, and the photo model prices in at $360,000.

Source: EarthCruiser via Mercedes-Benz

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1 comment
ljaques
What better than a modded Mog with which to bug out? Now to make my social security check stretch so I can get one...