EarthRoamer once made the compact, Jeep Wrangler Rubicon-based XV-JP expedition 4x4, but it's long been focused primarily on roaming the Earth and world in larger and larger off-road motorhomes. The Colorado-based builder goes bigger yet again this week, revealing the Ford F-750-based XV-HD. Like a rustic cabin on wheels, this incredible feat of vehicular engineering takes up to six people into the deep, wild backcountry and keeps them comfortable in a four-season interior with self-sufficient electrical system, gorgeous wood and marble furnishings, and homestyle conveniences that include a full entertainment system and washer/dryer.
We've had the opportunity to look over the EarthRoamer XV-LTS, inside and out, several times, and it is by all means a large, rugged vehicle, and generally one of the most impressive motorhomes within the exhibitor area of Overland Expo. But the XV-HD makes it look kind of puny when the two are lined up side by side. Short of something comparably dramatic, like the six-wheeled Unicat MD77h, the XV-HD is sure to give other vehicles, on- and off-road, an unshakeable feeling of size and/or toughness inferiority.
The XV-HD's XXL sizing starts with the Ford F-750 that provides its foundation, delivering an all-around larger, meaner presence up front than the F-550 base of the XV-LTS. Since it first previewed the HD in 2015, EarthRoamer has refreshed the design of the XV-LTS, and the new HD follows suit, with the simpler front bumper design, integrated LED lighting and angular fender flares. The XV-HD camper cabin exterior has also evolved from the original renderings, featuring more sharply carved edges and an atlas graphic.
The XV-HD comes powered by Ford's 6.7-liter Powerstroke V8 turbo-diesel and TorqShift HD six-speed automatic transmission. EarthRoamer adds a 4WD with user-selectable transfer case. With the engine's 330 hp and 725 lb-ft (983 Nm) of torque, the XV-HD has plenty of grunt for all kinds of rough, slick off-road conditions. EarthRoamer bolts on a set of 46-in Michelin XZL tires and upgrades the base chassis with hydraulic leveling and rear air suspension with Fox shocks. A 30,000-lb (13,600-kg) Warn front winch and Baja Designs off-road lighting system add to the truck's ready-for-anything nature.
All told, the rugged XV-HD stretches 35 x 8.5 x 13.5 feet (10.7 x 2.6 x 4.1 m, L x W x H), compared to the LTS' 29 x 8 x 12 feet (8.8 x 2.4 x 3.7 m). Down below, it has 46/23/12-degree approach/departure/breakover angles and 12 in (30.4 cm) of ground clearance. Suffice to say, it's a big boy that's ready to tussle with Mother Nature's meaner side.
It's been about 2.5 years since EarthRoamer previewed the XV-HD at a rather anticlimactic Overland Expo press conference, in which the banner above substituted in for the actual vehicle folks were expecting. The XV-HD was originally expected last year, but it seems it took some time to get the build right.
The XV-HD doesn't just represent an all-new product for EarthRoamer; it represents an all-new construction process. The foam-insulated fiberglass living module is the first to be built using a vacuum-infused molding process that EarthRoamer says optimizes strength and weight, improves R-value, eliminates condensation and provides for freedom in exterior styling.
It's inside the fiberglass that EarthRoamer really steps things up. We've looked at a few ultra-rugged, seven-figure off-road expedition vehicles with luxurious, amenity-packed interiors, like the aforementioned MD77h and the Action Mobil Global XRS 7200. The interior of the XV-HD chassis #001 pictured is easily the most aesthetically pleasing we've seen.
Not that EarthRoamer shied away from sheltering nomads and explorers in backwoods luxury in the past, providing them with everything from outdoor entertainment systems to curios filled with meticulously etched glassware. But the XV-HD cranks luxury up a notch. With its hand-distressed alder cabinetry, reclaimed wood floor, stainless steel appliances and marble kitchen counters, the #001 chassis pictured looks less like a motorhome and more like a luxurious, slope-side ski condo.
The spacious kitchen doesn't just look pretty but offers plenty of capability for everything from elaborate Sunday dinners to quick ramen boils. It has a three-burner induction cooktop, Bosch microwave/convection oven, dual drawer-style fridge/freezers, and a separate counter area with sink.
The greater interior follows in well-equipped fashion, featuring a king-size bed, washer/dryer, and entertainment system with 43- and 32-in TVs and Bose surround sound. The bathroom includes separate toilet and shower areas.
All those amenities won't matter much if campers are shivering in the cold or sweating profusely, so EarthRoamer goes beyond just the usual heater and A/C units, taking pains to ensure that the climate stays as comfortable as can be with the least amount of effort and power draw. The primary heating system is an in-floor radiant system that spreads heat evenly throughout the living cabin. A redundant air heating system gives campers a faster option to get the cabin up to temperature, surely something they'll be thankful for after escaping the bitter cold of a winter hike or ski tour.
In terms of cooling, the HD has two separate direct current (DC) air conditioners mounted on the roof, together cooling the entire interior. The system can also be used to cool individual areas, so if only two people are sleeping in the main bed, they can cool only the bedroom using a single air conditioner, without wasting energy cooling the entire interior.
Energy conservation is no doubt important on trips well off the grid, but the HD does come prepared with plenty of onboard power, carrying its own 20-kWh battery bank, which relies on lithium batteries in place of the AGMs more common in the motorhome/caravan industry. The batteries stay charged with the help of the 2,100-W solar system and dual engine-driven alternators. An auto-charge system detects when the battery level dips too low and automatically delivers a 30-minute charge via the alternators.
The HD further supports extended, off-grid trips with 250 gallons (946 L) of fresh water (more than double the XV-LTS' 90 gal/341 L) and 115 gallons (435 L) of diesel, while the black and gray water tanks are each sized at 125 gallons (473 L). A touchscreen control center allows the owner to track and control various systems and functions around the interior, and iOS compatibility takes that capability mobile.
Outside, the XV-HD includes a slide-out kitchen area, exterior shower for washing off muddy feet and gear, and an auto-retract awning with integrated LED lighting.
The XV-HD definitely looks even more impressive than it did in renderings two-and-a-half years ago, and it also comes with an extra digit in the price. Originally estimated at US$950K to start, the HD is now priced at $1.5 million+. That's a huge chunk of change for any vehicle, but features and amenities like the in-floor heating, washer/dryer and battery bank all come standard, so the HD is equipped quite nicely out of the box without the need to start checking numerous option boxes above and beyond that 1.5 mill. EarthRoamer works with each customer on floor plan and materials.
The first XV-HD, which is pictured in the photos, has been completed, and EarthRoamer says it currently has several additional models under construction. Production reservations are available now – for a cool $375K down – and EarthRoamer's website puts the lead timeframe out to late-2018/early-2019.
EarthRoamer will present the XV-HD at the SEMA Show this week, and we'll be in Las Vegas covering all the motor madness, with new creations like the XV-HD and Hennessey Venom F5 at the top of our "must-see" list. Hopefully the HD is open, giving us the ability to poke around and bring you a more complete look at the interior, as well as equipment like the slide-out outdoor kitchen and awning. Stay tuned – SEMA gets rolling tomorrow.