Jurgens J2205

By: Bill Savidan


Jurgens J2205 Jurgens J2205
Jurgens J2205 Jurgens J2205
Jurgens J2205 inside Jurgens J2205 inside
Jurgens J2205 inside Jurgens J2205 inside
Jurgens J2205 Jurgens J2205

Bill Savidan reviews the Jurgens J2205 and finds that excursions on two continents have shaped a solid, hard-working caravan that can stand the tough knocks.

Jurgens J2205
Jurgens J2205

Australia. South Africa. Two countries that have near perfect climates for outdoor life – warm, sunny, not too much wind and rain; vast outback areas to tempt explorers and stretches of sandy shoreline, offering boating, fishing and surfing. It's not surprising that caravanning is a popular past time.

Jurgens has manufactures caravans in both countries - South Africa since 1952 and Australia since 2008. The Jurgens product we get here is made in its factory in Tooradin, Victoria. Shortly, the company will be moving to a new, purpose-built factory in nearby Pakenham, Victoria.

While the Australian-built caravans reflect the different requirements of the Australian market. The Jurgens Classique is the South African equivalent of the J2205 being reviewed, and although there are minor differences to the cabinetry and layouts, the most noticeable difference is the tare weight. At 1440kg, the J2205 is around 170kg heavier than its South African counterpart. Although Jurgens Australia isn't saying, I suspect most of the extra kilos are the result of 'beefing up' the J2205 to cope with what Australians expect from their caravans.

As Jill and I experienced when we toured Australia for three months (25,000km) in 2010. Australians have high standards. The 2008 model Concorde 6.2m tandem-axle caravan we borrowed had done more than 60,000km and was in 'as-new' condition when traded in by its owner (as it happens, for a new Jurgens caravan) three and a half years after he purchased it new.

So the Jurgens J2205 is a blend of Australian and South African caravanning ideas. But how does this combination stack up?

Construction

With its fibreglass front moulding, large sloping window and moulded front locker hatch, the J2205 looks more kiwi/European than Australian. The side panels are sandwich construction, with a polystyrene core, vinyl-covered ply on the inside and alloy, featuring a fine-hammered finish on the outside. The windowless rear panel and roof panel are made of fibreglass.

The body (5542mm long) sits on a galvanised steel chassis over a single axle located just aft of the midpoint, so it should achieve the recommended tow ball weight of 140kg without too much fussing over load distribution.

The chassis is fitted with one of the new Alko AKS 3004 stabilising hitches and Alko Independent Rubber Suspension (IRS). Alko claims, "The suspension compression and rebounds are dampened for a smoother ride." The brakes are Alko electric.

Exterior

An awning track, fitted to both the kerbside and driver's side of the caravan continues across the bottom edges of each side panel, so wind skirts can be fitted. Another track is fitted above the front window to accommodate a shade awning. The colour scheme is simple: white above the waistline, mushroom below and a pair of discreet 'swirl' decals each side. I like the way the kerbside external locker easily swallows the Coleman barbecue we used in the photo shoot. There is a second smaller locker on the other side of the caravan. Another plus is the Dometic 'roller' awning. These are easy to pull out and put away and are stable in breezy conditions.

Behind closed doors

The J22 series offers five layouts, each with a full-width bathroom across the rear. There are two layouts with island double beds and three with twin beds. Two more layouts offer a set of two bunks at the expense of the bathroom, as they occupy that space across the rear of the 'van.

The J2205 is a twin bed layout without a dinette. The twin beds also serve as settees. The cabinet between them has a fold-out tabletop, providing places for up to four diners. The settees are well padded and the cushions are not too high, so they are comfortable to sit on during a meal or for 'happy-hour' entertaining.

If preferred, the dinette can convert to a double bed. A set of slats housed in the forward cabinet bridge the gap between the settees, creating a base for the backrest cushions to form a bed 2200mm long and 1400mm wide (approximately).

The hanging locker is conveniently located at eye level at the foot of the kerbside settee berth and while it is light and airy inside, there are plenty of private corners to retreat to.

The double-glazed windows are the latest from Dometic, all fitted with fly screens and blinds. There are two ceiling hatches by Remis – small in the kitchen, large in the lounge – so warm weather ventilation should be a breeze.

The colour scheme is fashionable charcoal and off-white, warmed up with chestnut-coloured cross threads in the coarse linen cushion covers. The uoholstery is serviceable and smart – just what is needed in an RV.

Not having a dinette means there is room for extra cupboards and drawers, as well as a lot more bench space. There are three benches in the J2205, with a total length of over 3m.

The hob/grill oven is set into a bench on the kerbside. There is generous working space to the right of the hobs and should you need more, there is a folding extension to the left. Opposite, the stainless steel sink/drainer tray has its own separate 1200mm-long bench. Alongside that above the Thetford N404.3R fridge is a third bench. Having benches either side of the 'van provides extra room for anyone walking through the work area from the bathroom at the rear to the lounge at the front.

And of course, under and over these benches are extra cupboards, drawers and lockers. In fact, there are a total of six drawers/hatches, six overhead lockers and four cupboards for stashing goodies. But wait, there's more! Beside the fridge is a bench-high pull-out pantry; beside the entry door are two cupboards serving as a liquor cabinet and glass storage; under the sink bench is a built-in rack for a dozen bottles of wine – this South African/Australian collaboration is really working.

Bathroom

The same bathroom fitted at the back of the J2205 is fitted in all Jurgens Australia caravans, except those with bunks. It is a practical layout and very well executed.

The shower tray, walls and ceiling are all moulded from acrylic plastic. It is not a one-piece unit but the joins are so well finished that, at first glance, you could mistake it for being one moulding. It has a bench seat moulded into one wall – very convenient for washing feet or drying toes and most helpful for those who are unsteady on their feet. The shower comes with all the necessary fittings: a ceiling hatch with fan, shelves for shampoo bottles, a light and a handpiece with a faucet tap.

Between the shower and the Thetford swivel-bowl cassette toilet is a vanity unit, with a circular, flat-bottomed hand basin large enough to wash your face in, while being economical with water usage. Two mirrors are provided, both sensibly positioned: one is over the vanity for shaving and applying make-up and the other is full-length and forms the shower door. There is a towel rail, big enough for three or four towels, on the back of the solid door leading to the kitchen, as well as hooks, holders and power points for every thing else you need. I believe this bathroom will become one of the reasons buyers choose a Jurgens caravan.

To my mind, the Jurgens J2205 stacks up superbly. It is an attractive-looking package with all the features we have come to expect in a well-made Australian-built caravan. With it hitched up behind your car, (note that you don't need a 4WD off-roader to tow it) you will be proud to say you own it.

For more information contact ALM Group, 10 Udy Place, Te Rapa, Hamilton, ph 07 850 5512 or visit almgroup.co.nz.

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