Jurgens Lunagazer J2401 Caravan Review
South African RV brand, Jurgens, burst onto the Aussie RV scene years ago, and then promptly disappeared
Now it's back and, according to Anthony Kilner, it's more Wallabies than Springboks.
Cruising along the Melba Highway towards Yarra Glen and the wine country beyond with Ross O'Reilly, MD of Bayswater RVs, we were discussing how Jurgens has changed over the years. Originally, the South African brand exported small, funky dirt-road caravans to Australia. But thanks to a number of quirks, they didn't catch on Down Under and Jurgens faded from view.
Then Jurgens Australia started up and instead of just importing whole caravans into the country and fiddling around to make them comply with our rules, it started importing the parts and then building the 'vans here in Victoria.
Ross and I had a great gab about the engineered C-section galvanised chassis system designed right here in Australia to suit our specific road conditions. This has been a breakthrough for the brand, allowing lighter, tougher caravans to be built. The chassis, designed by Aussies, is built in South Africa and a one-piece floor fitted. It's then popped onto a boat and sent Down Under.
Similarly, the walls arrive in one piece as a blank with all of the CNC cutting and fitting of windows, doors, vents, etc done here to suit the specific order. The walls are manufactured from a composite of ply inside, foam-filled middle and an aluminium exterior which is super tough.
Front and rear are fibreglass panels which are fully sealed to the walls and roof. Speaking of the roof, it is a one-piece aluminium sandwich panel to match the walls.
All the while Ross and I were chatting, I hardly knew I had the Lunagazer hooked up, which highlighted how easily it can be towed. That's down to the ALKO independent swing-arm suspension system complete with shockers, which is made specifically for Jurgens. Braking duties are handled via a full mechanical override system with 10-inch drums. I found these to be a bit clunky at first, and would probably, if it was my coin, go for the cost-optional electrical system.
In terms of 'pride in product' Ross gets a big gold stamp. He raved about how cool the Jurgens' full acrylic windows are, especially coupled with the separate screens for ventilation and privacy. He loves the look of the boot and the 9kg gas bottle with provisions for an optional second bottle.
"Look at how the tools are secured on c-clips for easy access," he raved. "And look at the side door that provides full access to the tunnel boot."
I interrupted his glowing speech to ask why there was only a steel spare when on the tandem axle there are four alloy wheels. His reply was that that's the standard configuration for the caravans and if anyone wanted an extra alloy as a spare, it's a cost option.
Day into Night
There's a lot to like about the inside of this Lunagazer.
For starters, there's a full ensuite across the back wall and while it's a little bit tight, everything is there ready for use and would be comfortable enough once you get used to the size. And you went on a diet. There is also plenty of storage space available.
On the driver's side of the Jurgens is the dinette which offers a plethora of options for seating, dining and sleeping. This club style affair can be comfortable for two people with a storage box for magazines hidden against the wall.
Take out the box, fit a pillow, swivel the table and seating for four people becomes available. Muck around with the drop table, add some pillows and there's a good-sized bed for one or two people. This means that touring grandparents can have little visitors for a night or two and it won't disrupt things too much.
Opposite the dinette is the kitchen which is jam-packed with gear for cooking up a storm and keeping drinks cool. I liked the storage space which includes a round cupboard between the cooker and the fridge to house the round sink. The layout of this space seems very practical. Well, at least it does to my boys' eyes.
At the front of the Lunagazer is an island-style queen bed with wardrobes either side, and large Jurgens windows. These windows provide massive amounts of ventilation and light with the bonus that they can also block out everything for privacy at night.
Practical and well laid out is the best way to describe this Lunagazer and well worth looking at in more detail if you are after a tough, light-weight shower van for under 55K.
Thanks to Ross and Jo O'Reilly from Bayswater RVs for their help.
One of the big advantages of this Lunagazer is its light weight.
I wasn't keen on the full mechanical override brakes and would prefer the electrical option.
|Country of manufacture||Australia|
|Price as tested||From $54,990 (ex-Vic)|
|Tare weight||1,680 kg|
|Gross weight||2,000 kg|