CAMPER AUSTRALIA CREATIVE DIRECTOR - TIM VAN DUYL
Bloody hell, what a way to come back to Camper Trailer of the Year! MDC used to be a regular and always did well with their simple folding campers but this year what they brought was wildly different. A full-size pop-top with ensuite and internal cooking with an ATM of 3000kg - this thing is a beast!
Does it suit everyone? No. It's big at 2.6m tall when travelling and with its 2.2m width and near 7m length, so you’ll have to have your wits about you in tight tracks. The comfort factor is off the scale though, so look at it as a base to get exploring. Hook a capable 4WD to the front of it, find some remote camping, unhook and explore for a night or two with a tent or swags and come back to a hot shower, excellent cooking and a night of great sleep - I cannot think of a better getaway and that's what campers are all about.
The specs of the power and water are decent (200Ah lithium with 650W solar and 200L freshwater) and will last you a little while. I’d expect a couple to go through 20-40L of water a day so you’ll get around a week before cracking into some reserve jerry cans. You might struggle for power if the weather is bad first though. With its fridge and a lot of lighting, I expect you’ll consume around 2-3 amps an hour which would mean less around three to four days before you’re out of juice without solar or DC-DC top-up. In good weather, you could see 100A back into the battery from the 650W of solar, which does mean almost off-grid living. Charging via 240V is rated to up to 50A from the Projecta IC5000L and there is a Bluetooth module built-in to monitor your state of charge which looked easy to use.
The MDC towed exceptionally well behind the lightly modified Y62 Safari, a wickedly underrated tow vehicle that although known to be a bit thirsty (expect 22-27L per 100km travelled with a combo as we had) has all the grunt you want and seats like a lounge chair. I liked that the camper rode on a single axle as it helped keep the camper more agile in tight turns and allowed the independent suspension to do its thing which it did better than expected. The MDC was one of the better tows I’ve undertaken in the last few years.
CAMPER AUSTRALIA EDITOR AT LARGE - GLENN MARSHALL
The inside of the XL15E looked like any caravan constructed in Melbourne within the same price range. The fit and finish were good specifications and the attention to detail was obvious. The positioning of Sirocco fans and 12V outlets showed that a lot of thought has gone into the layout of this hybrid. Even the wiring in the underbed electrical section was neat and tidy.
Inspecting the underbody of the XL15E was a delight, with all the hoses and electrical tubing going through designed holes in the chassis, very neat and tidy. The body uses a welded aluminium frame bonded with high-quality composite panelling while the roof is an insulated aluminium frame bonded with fibreglass externally and a composite sheet internally.
The strong hot-dipped galvanised chassis is backed by a lifetime structural warranty, which gives confidence in taking this hybrid off-road. With an ATM of 3000kg, the XL15E handled our test track well behind the Y62 Patrol.
The fully engineered and certified MDC X-Track Independent Suspension boasts a robust solid welded stub axle fitted with 12in electric drum brakes rated up to 3000kg. The DO35 hitch is a good choice, and an ESC system is installed. The XL15E is protected by scrub rails that run the entire length of the body, handy for getting in and out of some of those challenging riverside free camps. There are even purpose-built jacking points for if you ever blow a tyre on the Gibb River Road.
The XL15E screams comfort with the press of a button electric roof lift and the same can be said for the electric awning that measures 4.3 x 2m. The faux leather club lounge converts to a bed in the front, perfect for the kids, while the parents enjoy the comfort of the king-sized bed at the rear. Keep cool with the Aventa air conditioner and warm with the diesel heater. Hot water is supplied by the 14L Ultrarapid hot water system.
The internal Thetford three-burner stove is mirrored with the external slide-out kitchen. Beneath the internal kitchen is a convenient inside/outside pantry that allows you access to all your items in one spot instead of carrying them inside and outside. There is also a 12V 109L Dometic Fridge and 12V TV which run off the batteries, as well as a microwave installed for those times you have mains power or a portable generator running. For sleeping, there is a great king-sized bed and club lounge that converts to another bed up front.
CTOTY 2023 JUDGE - KATH HEIMAN
The MDC XL15E MkII is remarkably sympathetic to its target audience. In my view, this is a camper for a couple, perhaps older or with mobility issues, who have no intention of giving up their claim to a piece of the great Australian outdoors anytime soon. Everywhere you look, there are thoughtful inclusions designed to make life easier on the road. Push a button and the electronic lift roof exposes a roomy internal living room with a comfortable and easily accessible club lounge.
The upsized queen bed has a welcoming 200mm innerspring mattress and even the toilet in the spacious ensuite has a swivel seat so you can use it without being squeezed up against the ensuite walls. The camper is fitted with quality Thetford stoves both inside and out, and these are serviced by a super-handy pantry that can be accessed from within the camper as well as from outside. With all this attention to usability, there remains some room to improve the rear latching mechanism on the expander-unit that frames the bed so it’s easier to pack away for people with a range of abilities. Having said that, a feature that really stood-out in this camper was the folding walls of this unit because they are made of a composite insulated sandwich board. This is the first example of an insulated sleeping bay of this type that I’ve seen showcased at a Camper Trailer of the Year event and it promises enhanced levels of comfort in what might otherwise be a thin metal box.
When it comes to the bottom line, $74,990 is a substantial outlay for a couples’ camper but there’s a reason that MDC has sold over 30,000 units across its range of campers nationwide. The XL15E comes packed with everything you need to spend some quality time off the grid in real comfort. Plus, with MDC 15 years’ in the market, nationwide showrooms and being the first to obtain accreditation from the Recreational Vehicle Manufacturing Accreditation program, there is real support (and care) for the buyer. The scale of MDC’s operations is self-evident in, for example, the comprehensive user guides developed for each model, along with an impressive library of YouTube instructional videos. This level of support promises peace of mind – and its value is hard to quantify.
AUSRV XL15E MKII SPECS
Weights and Measures
|150 x 50mm Q345 galvanised steel
|Frame: Aluminium 50mm x 25mm, 75mm x 25mm, 40mm x 20mm RHS and 25mm x 25mm SHS
Coating: Painted aluminium sandwich panel and powder
Floor: Fibreglass and polypropylene honeycomb hybrid
Wall: Aluminium sandwich panel composite
Roof: Aluminium frame and FRP (fibreglass)
|Goodride 265 x 75 R16
|12in electric drum
|X-TRACK Independent trailing arm
Accessories and Inclusions
|LiFePRO+TM 12V 200Ah Lithium Iron Phosphate battery
|3 x 150W and 2 x 100W solar panels (650W total)
|14L Truma UltraRapid Hot Water System (gas-operated)
|Internal Cooker – Thetford Stainless steel three-burner gas hob cooktop with glass lid
External Cooker – Thetford Stainless steel three-burner gas hob cooktop with glass lid
|109L Dometic CoolMatic CRX 110 Compressor Refrigerator (12/240V)
|200L freshwater, 80L greywater
|Truma Aventa comfort 2400W roof-mounted air conditioning system with integrated heat pump
AUSRV XL15E MKII price $74,990 plus registration and delivery (as tested)
Supplied by MDC Camper Trailers and Offroad Caravans