We've been watching the new third-generation Mercedes-Benz Sprinter morph into different camper vans in Germany, the UK and the US. Now Australia's Trakka, builder of small on- and off-road motorhomes, has given us our first look at a gen-3 Sprinter camper van from down under, and it's arguably the most impressive yet. The Jabiru camper van uses a full off-grid power suite and multifunctional, space-optimizing components to support highway and backway adventurers as they escape on quick holidays or extended off-grid expeditions.
While we were busy preparing for summer by checking out camping vehicles of all sorts at Overland Expo West, Trakka was announcing the new Jabiru van in the lead-up to Australian winter. It's not quite as burly as some vans of Overland Expo, but with the standard all-diesel and electrical power system and optional factory all-wheel drive, it's ready to venture comfortably to all parts of the map.
Trakka is initially launching the 7.1-m (280-in) Jabiru in two-seat/bed 2S floor plan. Two longitudinal single beds fill out the bedroom area in the rear and can combine into a double bed. Each bed features a hinged head that can adjust into chaise lounge configuration for reading and relaxing during the day and evening.
Trakka uses flared van sides to create what it calls "space pods," offering a sense of individualized bedroom space with extra elbow room and opening windows. The skylight overhead brings plenty of light to the rear bedroom area but can be replaced with an optional air conditioner for those expecting hot, muggy nights.
Directly ahead of the righthand driver-side bed, the wet bath uses an electric-retractable toilet to get the most out of its compact space. Simply power-slide the cassette toilet away under the sink and enjoy a fuller shower area. In addition to sliding, the toilet swivels for added legroom when seated. Water to the bathroom and other fixtures is supplied by a 140L fresh water tank and drained to an 80L gray water tank.
The aisle-spanning kitchen area packs in a glass ceramic cooktop, microwave, stainless steel sink and plenty of storage. The diesel cooktop, cabin heater and hot water boiler are all fueled by the same diesel fuel powering the 188-hp turbo-diesel V6 engine, eliminating the need to deal with LPG, something that Trakka explains can be difficult to source in the Outback. Another handy feature is the available dual-fridge layout — the standing fridge/freezer inside gets augmented with a "refridgerotator" drawer that swivels around for easy outdoor access.
The dining area is a very compact, simple space for two, rotating the driver cab seats around to face a removable table. Integrated tabletop cupholders help keep things stable.
The Jabiru's onboard electrical equipment comes powered by a 200Ah lithium house battery wired to 200 watts of solar charging (upgradeable to 300W). Jabiru owners can keep an eye on battery levels and other van metrics via the touchscreen and accompanying smartphone app. A 2000W inverter is available optionally.
Those that prefer cooking and working outside will want to opt in on the available Alfresco Pack, which includes a worktop that attaches to the side of the van, a collapsible sink, a hot/cold outdoor shower to feed the sink, and the aforementioned indoor/outdoor swivel fridge. Also available is an indoor/outdoor induction cooktop that turns the outdoor worktop into a full kitchen. A retractable awning and LED lighting overhead complete the highly functional outdoor space.
Beyond the 3.0-liter turbo-diesel and 7-speed automatic transmission mated to it, the base Sprinter brings with it cruise control, active brake assist, attention assist, nav-infotainment, front, side and window airbags, parking package with 360-degree camera, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Additional features like Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control and leather upholstery are available as add-ons.
The Jabiru 2S starts at AU$180,000 (US$125,600), and the all-wheel drive option tacks on AU$20,000 ($14,000). Trakka also plans to offer off-road equipment options like all-terrain tires and protective armoring. After getting the 2S rolling out, Trakka will add the 4S floor plan with a front-facing dual-seat bench in front of the bathroom compartment and a transverse double bed in back, prices to start at AU$185,000.
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