Words: Mike Ryan
Photos: Earthcruiser Australia
With COVID-19 making international travel difficult last year, if not impossible, many Aussies looked at a holiday within Australia. That trend seems likely to continue in 2021, so for those looking to put their cruise dollars into something else, Earthcruiser Australia has plenty of options.
If you’re looking for something that’ll tackle some heavy-duty off-road work, the latest ‘Expedition Earthcruiser EXP,’ based on the new Iveco Daily 4x4 platform for 2021, may just fit the bill.
"An Earthcruiser is definitely no ordinary motorhome built on the back of a 4x4 truck. It is derived from personal experiences, a passion for excellence, comfort, reliability and significant field testing, not only in our Australian outback home but across the globe,” said Earthcruiser Australia boss, Mark Fawcett.
"This Iveco Daily 4x4 7-tonne GVM version provides the discerning adventurer or explorer with the perfect vehicle with which to undertake their dream trek.”
As the basis for the go-anywhere Expedition Earthcruiser EXP, the latest version of the Iveco Daily 4x4 makes a lot of sense. Its 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine produces 134kW (180hp) and a healthy 430Nm. This four-cylinder powerplant is also Euro6-compliant.
On the four-wheel drive system, the previous three-speed transfer case has been replaced with a two-speed unit, but it’ll still ensure you can get into – and out of – all kinds of tough situations.
New for 2021 on this platform - and a feature that’s sure to appeal to Earthcruiser customers - is the option of an 8-speed automatic transmission over the standard 6-speed manual.
Able to tow 3.5 tonnes, the new Iveco’s well-equipped to pull a boat, runabout vehicle or trailer with extra kit, if required, but the truck’s 7-tonne rating means a light- or medium-rigid licence is required.
To handle off-road work, the MY21 Iveco Daily 4x4’s chassis is much stronger than previous models, which makes the camper conversion easier for Earthcruiser to execute, as there’s no longer the need for chassis extensions or GVM upgrades.
Seventeen-inch forged alloy wheels, rated at 2250kg, are the default rims chosen by Earthcruiser, while the Kevlar reinforced mud terrain tyres (Black Bear 37x13.50 R17 LT in the images) are rated at 2300kg and feature TPMS as standard.
The thought that has gone into the camper fitout of the new Expedition Earthcruiser EXP is evident even before you look inside. To make ingress and egress easier from the Daily’s raised platform, the power-operated 3-step entry system that featured on previous Expeditions remains standard on the new model.
Other standard kit includes a 100-litre water tank and 85-litre AdBlue tank to extend cruising range from the Iveco’s standard 90-litre fuel tank. If you’re planning to really go off the grid, both the water and fuel tanks can be upgraded to 400 litres each.
With both the larger fuel tank and AdBlue tank in play, Earthcruiser claim a range of around 2,800km, depending on driving conditions and vehicle load.
A welcome feature is the modification to the Daily’s cabin to allow direct, walk-through access from the driver’s area into the camper. Both front seats have been reshaped and lowered, with swivels added, too.
Space and Access
Depending on the chassis length of the Iveco Daily base unit, the camper body for the Expedition Earthcruiser EXP is available in 3.2mt, 3.6mt and 4.4mt lengths.
"The Iveco Daily chassis provides a very flexible basis for the ultimate adventure camper, as it is available in many configurations, so there's a solution for everyone," Fawcett explained.
To reduce weight and improve structural rigidity, each camper body is a one-piece mould, with high-density thermal foam in the walls, floor and power-operated pop-top roof to insulate the interior against extremes of heat and cold.
An awning is standard on the nearside of the camper body, with a pair of opening windows on each side and three exterior LED spotlights (one each side and one on the spare wheel mount at the rear). The main entry door appears a little wider than previous, but Earthcruiser says this double-leaf design (main and screen) is all-new and “opens up the living area to enhance the sensation of a more spacious environment within.”
A 270-watt solar panel system on the roof and 1800-watt inverter/charger are standard, but both can be upgraded. A trio of 120 Amp batteries handle the 80 different electric and electronic functions within the camper, all of which are accessed via an easy-to-use touchscreen controller.
External features seen on previous generations of the Expedition Earthcruiser EXP, like the slide-out electric BBQ and fold-down kitchenette with pantry, hot water system, external shower, pressure washer and gear storage, are still available as options on this new version.
Make it Your Home
To suit individual needs, the camper interior of the Expedition Earthcruiser EXP can be configured in several ways, from single to queen-sized beds, inside and outside showers, and a choice of diesel or the increasingly popular induction operation for the two-burner cook-top.
Standard fitout includes a slide-out internal toilet, upright 122-litre fridge/freezer, freshwater drinking fountain, microwave, stainless-steel sink and fold-down table with legs that can be removed for outdoor use.
A continuous hot water system and diesel-powered climate control system are also on the standard spec list.
Make it Your Own
Beyond these standard features, Earthcruiser can incorporate a range of accessories inside and outside – everything from bullbars and spotlights to a UHF CB radio, reversing camera, toolboxes, winches, Bilstein shock absorber upgrade, air conditioning, scrub rails, LED lights bars and even a washing machine.
"There is an almost unlimited choice of accessories and fittings that can be added at the production stage, for a fully integrated and very high-quality finish, that will stand the test of time and off-road exploring,” Fawcett concluded.
Pricing for the Expedition Earthcruiser EXP on the new MY21 Iveco Daily 4x4 7-tonne chassis will depend heavily on fitout and options, but expect to spend somewhere north of $300,000 to get one of these beasts in your (very big) garage.
For full details on the standard and optional specification, go to: earthcruiser.net.au