Goodbye soft-floor, hello lounge!

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The Centurion has had a baptism of fire – being towed to some crazy difficult places and returning unscathed. It is light, it’s compact, it has a queen-sized mattress and a very comfortable indoor lounge. Tested beyond what a normal 4WDer would do, the Centurion is as tough as its Roman namesake.

 

It is Aussie-built in Brisbane from quality components and comes in at the price of some soft-floor campers. The Centurion gains its space from being a forward-fold hybrid. The cooking is done on the outside while the living room and sleeping area is inside. It would be perfect for tackling some of the toughest tracks while doing a lap of Australia.

 

Inside

The design takes the best features of different designs and puts them in one package that looks good, is easy to manoeuvre and works really well. It does have a canvas roof which could be seen as a negative by some. The benefit of the design is the large internal space that a forward-fold affords.

 

There are large screened windows on all sides of the roof walls to take advantage of the slightest breeze from any side on those hot summer nights. If the weather is wet, the windows can be zipped to keep the rain out. I’d like to see a tropical roof on future versions.

 

I particularly like the large lounge area where you can go to escape the elements including the inevitable bugs and flies that following us camping. The lounge has a high back allowing you to comfortably stretch out after a hard day on the track. The living area feels spacious; has windows all round to let light and air in; and is secure, as you can shut and lock the door. The design gives it a ‘caravan’ feeling of space but keeps the camping ethos by staying in touch with the outside.

 

There are plenty of 12V and 240V power outlets to run and charge all those mobile devices, computers and many other appliances thanks to a 1,000W invertor and 200Ah of AGM battery power. There is even an arm to mount a TV screen so you can keep up to date with sports and movies. There is plenty of storage under and around the lounge. There will also be a swivel table to convert the lounge into another sleeping area… a good location for the kids although you will have to step over them moving in and out of the camper.

 

Outside

When parked, there are four wind-down legs that stabilise the Centurion so it is rock solid when you’re inside. The chassis and drawbar are 6-inch hot-dipped galvanised steel – providing a solid mounting for the Vehicle Components XT independent suspension. The connection to the tow vehicle is via the proven DO35 off-road hitch; and stopping power is provided by 10-inch electric brakes.

 

The large awning is the ever-reliable and popular Supapeg Batwing awning which is easy to set up and provides wall attachments if needed. I would like to see the awning roof extend out over the kitchen bench – which could be easily achieved with a longer awning. As with many campers, water will drip down between the awning and the camper. On the rear left corner of the Centurion is a large, lockable storage area for dirty or wet gear – this is perfect for recovery gear or muddy boots.

 

On either end are hand winches that facilitate the opening and closing of the forward-fold section. This is easily done by one person and doesn’t required muscle to set up/pack down. There is a full-sized spare on its own swing arm at the rear that easily swings out of the way when in camp.

 

The rear door moves independently so it’s easily opened/closed from either outside or inside the camper. The steps are separate and adjustable for uneven ground; they are stored in the large toolbox storage area.

 

On the solid drawbar behind the winch is space for two 20L jerry cans, and a lockable, protected storage box for two 4.5kg gas bottles. Behind these is the very large storage box that runs the width of the camper with doors on either side. On the front of the storage box are the dual supports for the forward-fold section of the camper. This is a very simple and good solution to support the bed while allowing access to the drawbar-mounted storage.

 

Two 80L water tanks are mounted on the underside of the camper with their fillers on the driver’s side. This side also has a large access door for the batteries, charger, inverter and other electrical components. The 14L Truma gas hot water system vents are located on the side near the water tank filling points.

 

The slide out stainless steel kitchen is well appointed with hot/cold water over the sink, a thee burner gas stove and space for a 50lt Waeco 12v fridge. Above the slide out is a bank of switches and the battery monitor. A large fold down bench on the side of the camper reveals a large pantry with stereo controls and speakers.

 

Verdict

The AUS RV Centurion is a quality hybrid camper that will tackle the roughest tracks with aplomb. It is great as an overnight tourer and also as a base camp. It is different to just about everything out there… in both large and subtle ways. It is suitable for a couple or a family that wants to get out there and explore.

 

Pros

Roomy interior

Rugged dependable construction

Small footprint when towing and at camp

Well featured

 

Cons

Needs the awning to extend over the kitchen bench

Would like to see a tropical roof