This is a tough one as it was clear to all the judges that the quality control wasn’t the best on this camper. The Ranger had arrived from overseas, the electrics, gas and plumbing installed and then it was towed from Adelaide to Port Macquarie with no time for Bailey Winen to check it out before being the second camper to be judged. The safari roof hadn’t even been installed. The camper had stickers falling off, metal shavings in the rear storage boxes, loose wiring and poor caulking internally, something easily fixed with time in hand, something Maverick didn’t have on this occasion.
The price quoted included some good options including the floor and walls for the annex and kids’ room plus the folding roof rack, however, the electrical spec could be improved. The slide-out kitchen offered great bench space, but weather protection was poor with the awning not quite covering the entire kitchen, a problem often found with camper awnings and something a sloping wall wouldn’t fix. At $23,990 the Ranger is at competitive price that will attract those in the 25 to 55 age brackets that this camper is aimed at. Maverick Campers provides a lifetime warranty on structural, chassis and drawbar and a three-year warranty on workmanship, something that should cover the issues we saw at CTOTY.
The “X-Factor” for me was spotted during the downpours on Showcase day, with the Maverick Ranger coming out as one of the best performers in keeping the rain out, which was great to see. I’m sure the team at Maverick will have learnt a lot from the Camper Trailer of the Year experience and so arrive at the next one much better prepared.
The Maverick Ranger has plenty of gear onboard to keep you outdoors longer. With its 120L water tank, two 20L jerry can holders, and two 9kg gas bottle holders, cooking and cleaning are well catered for. The model we reviewed included a 160W folding solar panel, dual 100Ah AGM batteries, Projecta 1000W inverter, and a plumbed-in Country Comfort hot water system. A standout feature was the massive double drawer pantry system alongside the 96L dual Evakool fridge which promises to keep everyone fed
Below the waistline, the Maverick Ranger’s overseas origins are evident in some runny welds, spotty paint and several sharp edges exposed within the storage cavities. On the review model, some of the cabling on the underside was drifting loose of its adhesive anchor points and would warrant attention by a buyer planning to take the rig off the blacktop. It would also have been preferable if the front storage box was accessible once the forward fold was deployed.
Having said this, the Maverick Ranger comes in at a competitive price point and offers some welcome and unexpected features.
Underneath, the 100 x 50 x 4mm one-piece galvanised chassis has an impressive life-time warranty and is protected by checkerplate and a heavy-duty underbody mud flap for extra piece of mind.
While basic, the internals of the Maverick camper are cleanly finished, the seat covers are practical, and the queen bed is comfy.
Importantly, when faced with a torrential downpour at the CTOTY showcase, the 15-ounce canvas and tropical roof kept the camper dry and cosy while many others caved under pressure. In all, the Maverick Ranger is a competent camper that will appeal to buyers looking for a comfortable and easy-to-use weekend escape at a competitive price point.
The Maverick Ranger is a big forward-fold, which comes with both benefits and penalties. There is room to move about inside, and carry more gear, if that’s what you need, but it also means it’s going to be heavy. With a tare of 1600kg and an ATM up to 2250kg, it will have an impact on your fuel consumption and your abilities on soft ground or steep slopes. However, it has a surprisingly low declared ball weight of 120kg, which would dispense with one of the usual consequences of an overloaded tow rig. In our test driving, behind a Dodge Ram, it was not even detectable.
The trailing arm suspension, with its Lovells springs and shocks, seems well set up, and the addition of an underbody mud flap to protect the suspension from stone damage is an excellent idea — though the weight of the rubber seemed underdone as one end of our test rig’s was badly torn even though it was only days old.
I was also concerned about the front winch post becoming a rebound point for errant stones on any rough outback trail.
With a TV and stereo, the Ranger we saw had those extra touches of comfort that lure some buyers, but I was more impressed by the large rear fold-over bench and end extension on the kitchen, though the former was not sheltered by the awning. The large pantry drawer set-up next to the fridge slide was good, as was the queen-sized HD foam mattress, but the awning was minimal even if the attached ensuite worked well.
Setup time is claimed to be just a 90 seconds on the tent (without spreader bars, which would give it added rain resistance), but we watched it take 35 minutes to set it up with the awning, though this admittedly involved fitting the tropical roof as well, and this would normally remain installed. The awning involved eight poles and spreader bars, the tent a further four spreader bars and the windows require eight support poles under the storm shades.
The cooktop opening is fiddly, with the two side wind-guards connected by a chain requiring two hands for it to be held open while you need a third hand to lift the glass lid.
TIM VAN DUYL
New to us, from its South Australian headquarters,
Maverick is punching out great sales numbers and not
just locally. Although the brand has been around a few years, it took until Sales Manager Bailey Winen was let loose on a national marketing campaign for it to really hit its straps as an affordable, entry-level camper specialist. Now Maverick campers, especially the Ranger, are popping up everywhere.
The Ranger is one of its best sellers — as forward-folds tend to be thanks to their inherent ease of use and masses of space — and it’ll set you back bugger all, yet comes with pretty much everything you need, albeit at a sacrifice in
some areas. This is a real ‘you get what you pay for’ kind of camper that will appeal to a shrewd buyer comparing specs who can forgive a few paint runs.
For a young family or a couple touring, the Ranger offers up plenty of positives. The lounge is a decent depth, the bed a good size, the storage capacity actually pretty good and the payload what you’d expect, but what you probably didn’t expect is to get so much for only a few grand over $20k. It is seriously affordable and barely dents a paycheck if you buy on finance — I know as I checked with Credit One and after a small deposit, it was about $60 a week for me to tick one up.
But in terms of innovation, it is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that’s the case, the Ranger is begging to make friends with everyone. There is nothing really innovative about it. It cuts a familiar shape and if you’ve set up an imported forward-fold before, you’ll find your way around the Ranger quickly and easily but there were a couple subtle ideas that stood out to us.
Through Bailey’s love of hard offroad driving, there is an emphasis on ground clearance, uncommon in imports, and the storage, particularly the pantry, is well thought out making space more usable in loading and in use.
Ball weight 110kg
Chassis 150 x 50 x 4mm triple galvanised steel
Body Zincanneal steel
Style Forward -fold
Tyres 265/75R16 MT on alloy rims
Brakes 12in electric brakes
Suspension Independent with coils and dual shocks
Hitch McHitch Uniglide coupling
Width 1820mm (minus the rack)
Height 1470mm (minus the rack)
Battery 2 x 100Ah AGM with Projecta 16A AC charger
Solar 160W folding solar panel with input via Anderson plug
Hot Water Country Comfort portable hot water unit
Stove Three-burner Dometic
Fridge EvaKool Travelmate 96L dual zone
Awning 15oz canvas awning
Hi-Fi FM/CD with 2 internal speakers
Awning LED lights
Suspension Lovells Springs and dual 40mm bore shocks
Address 1920 Hume Hwy, Campbellfield VIC
Phone 1300 628 494