Caravan Review: MDC XT19HRT Offroad Warrior!

It had been a long time since I’d climbed aboard a van by MDC. Too long. And, in all honesty, I didn’t know what to expect. The company started over 15 years ago importing campers, but over the years has invested heavily in its Australian operations. The upshot is, each van in the MDC line-up receives over 50 hours of ‘finishing off’, including gas and electrical, with a heavy focus on compliance. In fact, it was the first RV importer in Australia to receive RVMAP accreditation.

Interestingly, MDC even employed the former, highly regarded chief technical officer of the Caravan Industry Association of Australia, whose remit was to ensure each van met Australia’s compliance standards while offering advice in other areas of construction. Compliance is clearly a priority.

MDCIf MDC’s brand new XT19HRT, a tandem-axle offroader, is anything to go by, this manufacturer has come a very long way. In short, this 19-footer was much more than anything I expected.


The internal fitout appears just as rigid and as well finished as any offroad caravan I have seen lately, if not more so. The layout itself doesn’t break new ground, but it looks well executed. It is comprised of a forward north-south bed, a nearside L-shaped dinette, an offside kitchen, and a rather attractive bathroom in the rear. This bathroom, by the way, contains the first wall-mounted washing machine that MDC has fitted to any of its caravans.

MDCAside from the general fit and finish, there were numerous aspects of the interior that appealed. First, I loved the oversized bedside tables. While the rest of the bedroom cabinetry is fairly standard, these tables are different in that they fill out most of the bedside areas, which is space we don’t typically use anyway, while offering loads of bench and storage space within. More caravan manufacturers should offer this design. MDC had even included wireless phone charging pads!

MDCI also liked the series of LED strip lighting both above and below the cabinetry, while all the comforts of home are included as well. These include a European Auto Term diesel heater, Truma reverse-cycle air-conditioning, the aforementioned washing machine, a beautiful bathroom, a Thetford 175L compressor fridge, a flatscreen TV and more. 

As for cooking, there’s a four-burner gas cooktop with one electric element, and a gas-fired griller. However, MDC also supplies a separate induction cooktop. You see, this van comes standard with an impressive 400Ah worth of lithium battery power, and there’s a couple points to make here. First, the batteries are stored within an offside compartment, within the body of the van, rather than being ‘hung’ off the chassis rail behind some protective checkerplate. I like MDC’s solution better.

MDCThe batteries are paired to a whopping 1225W of rooftop solar – much, much more than you’d get with almost any other comparable caravan – as well as a 180A 3000W Projecta auto-transfer inverter, which essentially means the powerpoints will automatically draw power from the battery bank via the inverter when off mains supply. It’s a brilliant setup.

Ultimately, the interior left me with a couple of overriding impressions: it was clearly built solidly and to a high standard. No corners seemed cut, and the level of equipment on board is on par – and in some areas exceeds – comparable vans by other manufacturers. It’s done well.


Stepping outside, I discovered a caravan that has more than the bases covered. The first thing that grabbed my attention: the rear service ladder. MDC is certainly not the first company to include a ladder for roof access, but what a great inclusion. I climbed up to discover a rooftop absolutely covered with solar panels!

MDCThe nearside of the van isn’t short on features, either. I loved the fact that a slide-out tray for a portable fridge was included along with an Anderson plug to power it. And then there’s the stainless steel slide-out kitchen. This self-supporting unit not only looks good and contains things like hot and cold water and a Thetford gas hob, the water lines are permanently plumbed – fantastic. If I had to find something to criticise, it would be the fact that this van uses a gas bayonet mounted to the chassis rail. Nothing wrong with that – thousands of caravans are made each year with this same design. However, given how streamlined everything else is in this van, I’d like to see the bayonet fitted to the body of the van itself.

MDCOn the offside, you’ll even find that the mains water inlet has been mounted to the body of the van rather than the chassis rail. I wish all manufacturers would do this. I liked that each water filler was neatly labelled, too.

The van provides offside access to the tunnel boot where the slide-out fridge is stored. While there is storage space here, more impressive is the fact that MDC has included a service access hatch to the Truma Ultrarapid hot water heater. Not many manufacturers are as thoughtful.

Underneath, you’ll find two well-protected water tanks, a grey water tank (including steel sheeting to protect the dump tap), and there are even a couple of rated recovery points at the rear.

MDCOn the A-frame, you’ll find a checkerplate storage compartment comprised of three separate sections. The two outermost sections are open storage spaces, while the middle is set aside for two 9kg gas cylinders. Energy provision is something this van does well. Between the 400Ah of battery, all that solar and the inverter, not to mention 18kg of gas, you’ll be off-grid for as long as your water supply allows.

Now, all of this does come at a cost in terms of weight. At Tare, the MDC XT19HRT comes in at 2921kg, while the ATM is set at 3500kg. That’s a payload capacity of nearly 600kg – quite reasonable. But you’ll need a 3500kg-rated tow vehicle with 350kg TBM to realistically tow this rig.

MDCThat said, it has a heck of a lot to offer for its price. But value for money aside, it’s a very attractive caravan.


With above-average energy provision, a first rate fitout and an appealingly long list of features, the XT19HRT by MDC should be on the list of anyone in the market for a mid-size offroad caravan. Not for nothing but MDC is known for its extensive field-testing, hauling its models through the Simpson Desert or along the Canning Stock Route in the name of product improvement. And if I may be so bold, I think this investment in real-world testing has paid off. This van is worth the time spent in taking a good look.


FIT AND FINISH – 4 out of 5 stars

LAYOUT – 4.5 out of 5 stars

INNOVATION – 4 out of 5 stars


  • Excellent fitout and finish
  • Batteries stored in an external locker rather than on the chassis rail
  • Town water inlet mounted to body of the van rather on than chassis rail
  • Very good value for money

  • Very little is missing from this van; however, I’d also mount the gas bayonet to the van’s body


Overall length: 7.7m

External body length: 5.9m

External width: 2.34m

Travel height:3.14m

Internal height: 1.96m

Tare: 2921kg

GTM: 3243kg

ATM: 3500kg

Unladen ball weight: 257kg

Frame: Welded aluminium

Cladding: Composite aluminium and black checkerplate

Coupling: DO35

Chassis: 6in galvanised steel

Suspension: Tandem X-TRACK independent coil spring with dual Tough Trax HD shock absorbers each side

Brakes: 12in electric

Wheels: 16in alloy

Fresh water: 2x80L

Grey water: 1x80L

Awning: Manual roll-out 

Battery: 2x200Ah lithium with 3000W auto-transfer Projecta inverter

Solar: 7x175W (1225W total)

Air-conditioner: Truma Aventa everse-cycle

Heating: Auto Term diesel heater

Gas: 2x9kg

Bike rack: No

Sway control: Trail Assure

Cooking: Four-burner cooktop with griller; external slide-out kitchen

Refrigeration: 175L Thetford compressor

Microwave: Yes

Shower: Separate fibreglass cubicle

Toilet: Cassette

Washing machine: Wall-mounted front-loader

Lighting: LED

Hot water: Truma Ultrarapid gas

Entertainment: Flatscreen TV; stereo system with internal and external speakers;


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