With its grey composite cladding and purposeful stance on the road, the Kokoda Caravans Force range is the manufacturer’s top-end offroad line-up.
Kokoda Caravans changed hands in 2019 and is now under new ownership and we recently had the opportunity to look over the Force VIII X-Trail, with bunks, a separate ensuite, and much, much more.
INSIDE THE KOKODA CARAVANS FORCE VIII
Stepping inside, I was struck by how classy the interior was. With its modern-look and glossy locker doors, along with tastefully arranged LED downlights, the van offers a very pleasant ambience.
Starting with the rear bed, I noticed there was less storage space beneath the mattress than you might expect. This is the result of the van’s rear cutaway – a serious advantage for an offroad caravan.
Despite the reduced size of the under-bed storage space, there is enough room to store general living items, and there is plenty of storage space elsewhere in this van.
Three overhead lockers and side wardrobes are standard with this layout, as are two full-height cupboards at the foot of the bed. Each wardrobe was fitted with an optional niche complete with 12V USB points and 240V points. A swivel arm has been fitted to the offside wall, allowing the TV to be viewed from the bed, and there’s an optional 12V fan either side of the bed.
The kitchen comes with a Swift cooktop, griller and oven, a stainless steel sink with flick-mixer tap and filtered drinking water, and a large compressor fridge.
The fridge sits above a floor-level locker and a Sphere microwave sits above the fridge. Though kitchen bench space is on the small side, I don’t see it as a major problem, especially since there is a hinged section of benchtop above the cooker.
Within the kitchen overhead cabinetry, Kokoda has mounted a sound system that’s hooked to internal and external speakers.
There are a few features of the lounge worth pointing out. First, it has a table that can swivel in any direction to allow easy access, and its telescopic leg allows the table to lower to form the base of another bed by pressing a button with your foot.
There are a couple of LED reading lights provided, along with 240V and 12V powerpoints at the rear end of the lounge. A 12V point at the forward end would be a welcome addition but was not fitted to our van.
A BMPRO Genius battery management system takes up one of the lounge’s overhead lockers – as standard, the van comes with two 150W solar panels and two 100Ah AGM batteries.
There are a number of things that appealed to me here. One: each bunk had an optional 12V fan, a standard 240V powerpoint and a standard 12V USB port. Two: the kids’ wardrobe is good and large, and Kokoda has even fitted a front-loader washing machine here. Three: there is easy access to the under-bunk storage space.
Meanwhile, on the offside, you’ll find a separate and surprisingly spacious toilet cubicle complete with a small vanity/washbasin, and another separate cubicle for the fully-moulded fibreglass shower.
Ultimately, it’s fair to say that this rig comes out of the factory fully fitted-out for comfortable, convenient caravanning for two parents and two kids. Kokoda has even fitted piano hinges to the locker doors for extra rigidity.
The Kokoda Caravans Force VIII is built on a 6in chassis with 6in drawbar. It rides on Al-Ko Enduro Outback suspension rated to 3.5 tonnes and has a DO35 coupling as standard.
The drawbar is also home to a mesh stoneguard, two 9kg gas cylinders, a large checkerplate storage box complete with offside slide-out tray for a generator. A gas bayonet mounted to a piece of folded checkerplate, which itself is mounted to the chassis, is fitted on the nearside.
The van was also wired up with an optional reversing camera. The cabling is provided at the drawbar – just plug it in to the vehicle once the van is hooked up.
No front or tunnel boot is provided; however, dual nearside locker doors provide external access to the storage space beneath the front bunk.
A couple of jerry can holders are mounted to the three-stay bumper bar, along with the spare wheels, which is a handy addition, and the batteries are secured in a checkerplate box fixed to the offside chassis rail. An optional bike rack was fitted to the rear, too.
As standard, the Kokoda Caravans Force VIII gets dual 95L water tanks and a 95L grey water tank. Anyone would agree this is decent water storage capacity. A little more protection for the tank’s dump valves, including the large PVC fitting on the grey water tank, would be welcome, considering this van is designed for offroad touring.
True, the Kokoda Caravans Force VIII doesn’t break new ground in terms of build techniques or layout, but it appears to be a solid caravan equipped with the essential features and comforts you are likely to need.
There is room to customise the van further, such as by adding more solar, but it comes out of the factory ready to hit the open road and undulating tracks of Australia on a long-term basis in complete comfort.
FIT AND FINISH –
HITS & MISSES
Overall length: 9.3m (approx)
External body length: 6.5m (approx)
External width: 2.5m
Internal height: 2m (approx)
Travel height: 3.1m (approx)
Unladen ball weight: 200kg
Group axle capacity: 3500kg
Cladding: Composite aluminium
Frame: Meranti timber
Chassis: 6in DuraGal with 6in A-frame
Suspension: 3.5-tonne Al-Ko Enduro Outback
Brakes: 12in electric
Wheels: 16in alloy (optional)
Fresh water: 2x95L
Grey water: 95L (optional)
Battery: 2x100Ah with BMPRO Genius 15-25 BMS
Sway control: No
Cooking: Swift four-burner cooktop with griller and oven
Refrigeration: 193L 12V Novakool compressor fridge-freezer
Toilet: Dometic Saneo cassette
Shower: Variable height
Washing machine: Front-loader
Lighting: 12V LED
Hot water: Swift gas/electric
Sirocco 12V fans