Caravan Review: Kokoda Counterstrike C196
Kokoda Caravans has been on a roll lately. In fact, this manufacturer has been steadily developing a new range of caravans. This new range isn’t comprised of meranti and aluminium, either. In fact, it perhaps heralds a new era for Kokoda Caravans in which traditional construction methods are pushed aside in favour of the composite fibreglass panel beast we see here. It’s called the Counterstrike and it’s slowly becoming available in a variety of different sizes and layouts.
Mid last year, we looked at the first Kokoda Counterstrike off the production line, though it was then known as the Commando. However, it’s since undergone a name change, and this 19ft 6in variant has all the hallmarks of a serious offroader, with a layout that offers a few surprises.
KOKODA COUNTERSTRIKE HAS ‘ENDLESS’ POWER
The 19ft 6in Kokoda Counterstrike has quite a high stance on the road, riding on air-bag suspension and a 6in chassis with 4in raiser. At the back, there are rated recovery points and a 110L water tank, while towards the front are another two 110L water tanks.
The C196 Kokoda Counterstrike makes excellent use of the latest technology. It comes as standard with the DCX 7kW/h lithium battery system by OzXCorp, which has a built-in 5000W inverter. This chassis-mounted system isn’t your standard lithium battery. It offers a host of benefits, including the ability to accept up to 4kW of solar. You can even let other caravanners plug in to share your power! It boils down to this: the DCX system means never needing gas, and you can head into the remote yonder confident that you’ll have all the power you’ll need. It’s truly a world-class system designed here in Australia.
The Kokoda Counterstrike is a seamless design. Take the fold-dow picnic table. It’s not a bog-standard third-party table screwed to the side that will require yet another key. Instead, Kokoda has created a table out of the same fibreglass panels used for the walls, and integrated the table to the nearside accordingly. The result is a mini-kitchen complete with a powerpoint for a portable electric hotplate that would be powered by the inverter.
This level of in-house customisation extends to the rear bar. It’s built specifically to fit this van and contains a few storage compartments, with dual spare wheels mounted to the body of the van above, which means they won’t add to its overall length.
Some steel storage lockers are mounted to the chassis rails either side of the van, with the control panel for the suspension inside the nearside locker, and up front, on the 6in A-frame, you’ll find yet another custom storage box complete with a slide-out tray. Brilliant stuff.
Space precludes me from detailing every innovation and design feature. However, I’ll quickly point out the integrated stoneguard and triple-bin storage space that runs the width of the van where the A-frame meets main chassis rails, and the external washing machine. More on that later.
Step inside and things get… comfortable. This is the first new caravan I have seen to come with the Better Living Australia double bed. It features two seperate memory-foam single mattresses that can be infinitely adjusted by remote control to suit your preferred position. Both the head and foot of each mattress can be electrically raised and how do I know these beds are amazing? Well, I bought one for use at home and sleep on it every night!
The bedroom also includes a couple more highlights. On either side, Kokoda has included a locker built into the floor – the perfect spot to put your shoes. Meanwhile, each bedside gets a table with a top that slides forward on smooth runners to reveal a cavernous storage space which would suit a CPAP machine – and that’s one of the reasons Kokoda has fitted 12V points inside each.
In lieu of a traditional dinette, the Kokoda Counterstrike has two leather recliners and a foldable table, which might not be for everyone but I loved it.
At first glance, you might be wondering if something is missing in the kitchen. Where’s the cooktop? Well, what Kokoda offers here is perhaps the logical evolution for a gas-less caravan, which would typically have a built-in induction cooktop. However, Kokoda reasons that a cooktop is a cooktop, whether it’s built in or not. Therefore, the manufacturer offers a portable induction hotplate which can be stored away when not needed, and placed on the kitchen bench and plugged in when it is time to cook. The result is a cleaner kitchen with much more usable bench space. To me, it makes sense but again, it might not be for everyone.
As expected for a van with such a generous 12V system, the fridge-freezer is a compressor unit, mounted aft of the kitchen. Behind that, you’ll find the beautiful bathroom. What sets it apart? For starters, it’s not your typical caravan ensuite.
Here, you’ll find a massive linen cupboard, a range of drawers, generous bench space, a cassette toilet, a shower cubicle in the nearside corner… and even a laundry chute. Remember that external washing machine? The idea here is, you can drop your washing down the chute, where it will stay inside a compartment next to the washing machine until you’re ready. What a great idea. Honestly, inside this bathroom, you’ll never feel cramped or as though you’ve compromised. I loved it.
I have only scratched the surface in terms of what this rig offers. The Kokoda Counterstrike includes all the usual features as well, from Sirocco II fans and a 32in flatscreen TV in the bedroom, to a reverse-cycle air-conditioner and microwave above the fridge.
While Kokoda has clearly covered all the basis and more in terms of features and functions, it’s the seamlessness of the van, the innovation, the obvious rigidity and out-of-the-box thinking that appealed most to me. You need to check it out for yourself.
I’m aware that I sound gushy. However, to see a manufacturer produce something so cohesive and innovative is exciting. The 19ft 6in Counterstrike, I hope, is a sign of even better things to come from Kokoda Caravans. I admire this caravan. In fact, I even asked Trevor Price, the owner of Kokoda, if he had plans to include a single-axle unit in the range because, if so, I would have to put it on my list for when my time comes to hit the road full-time. Great stuff, Kokoda.
FIT AND FINISH –
HITS & MISSES
Overall length: 8.5m
External width: 2.5m
Internal height: 2m
Travel height: 3.18m
Tare: 2880kg (up to 3080kg)
ATM: 3500 (up to 3900kg)
Unladen ball weight: 200kg
Construction: Composite fibreglass sandwich panel
Chassis: 6in with raiser and 6in A-frame
Suspension: Independent level 4 air-bag
Brakes: 12in electric
Wheels: 17in alloy
Fresh water: 2x110L
Grey water: Portable bladder provided
Battery: 7.1kW/h DCX with 5000W inverter
Air-conditioner: Dometic Series 7 reverse-cycle
Gas: Not applicable
Washing machine: Front-loader
Sway control: No
Cooking: Two portable induction hotplates provided
Refrigeration: Compressor fridge-freezer
Shower: Separate cubicle, fully-moulded fibreglass
Lighting: 12V LED
Hot water: Electric
TV: 32in smart
Dometic Dust Reduction System
Additional 110L water tank
14kWh DCX battery