2018 Review: Mars Saturn 13 Limited Edition

John 'Bear' Willis — 20 December 2018

Houston, this is Camper Trailer Australia. We have an intergalactic invasion on our hands.

The new Mars Saturn 13 has entered the atmosphere and is infiltrating remote campsites at an alarming rate of knots, infecting humans with the wanderlust disease. 

Telltale signs of contact include ear-to-ear grins and a constant desire to light campfires. The result: exploration, fun and relaxation!



Those wonderful men from Mars Campers have been at it again, producing yet another fine offering to the camping community.

HELLO TO HYBRIDS

Mars’ new Saturn 13 hits the nail on the head by narrowing in on the popular trend toward well-equipped hybrid-style campers. We are finding many offroad enthusiasts replacing soft and hard floor campers with the likes of such offerings. There is certainly a feel of greater security forged by an insulated, hard-shelled camper. 

With superb pulling power of Isuzu's MU-X, you have a winning combination!

But the Saturn one goes a step further in catering to those who appreciate life’s pleasantries; there’s a complete internal ensuite with vanity, shower and toilet. No longer will you see that nude dash to the shower tent or the hurried rush into the bush with a shovel in hand.

Another attractive thing about hybrids such as the Saturn is the ease of setting up, either for an overnighter or an extended holiday. You simply find an ideal campsite, level the camper, pop open the roof, unfold the back, hit the open button for the automatic awning, and make your queen size bed! It’s all so simple. 

With the Saturn, I was a bit worried about how heavy the tailgates with their twin spare wheel mounts may be, as I was about the amount of strength required for lifting and dropping the roof. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the well-weighted springs and struts taking the load. Similarly, although I was initially concerned about the rear fold-out sections which extend the living space, I am now very satisfied with their design and construction.

We have seen the same basic format from any number of manufacturers and importers, but Mars make their motto: “What others call upgrades come standard with a Mars Camper!” This is indeed a very complete unit featuring all of the bells and whistles, but you will pay for it with its base 1,800kg Tare weight (which may be closer to 2,000kg with options). 

That’s not all too much for a hybrid, but it represents quite a load in the bush, especially when packed with gear up to the ATM optioned between 2,400 and 2,700kg.

FROM THE GROUND UP

Mars Campers have proven themselves time and time again with their offroad-ability, as witnessed during our many journeys through the outback cosmos. 

This camper has a full box chassis of 100 x 50 x 3mm galvanised steel, culminating up front with a gutsy 150 x 50 x 4mm drawbar. 

The Mars independent trailing arm suspension felt terrific both on and off road, and never felt insecure even when clambering over some deep ruts and wash-outs on the beach. 

It has four gas shock absorbers, two per arm, combined with coil springs and 12” electric breakaway brakes. It travels through the atmosphere on 265/75/16” wheels with black Sunraysia style mags and a six-stud bolt pattern (note that later models now have alloy mags).

The sides are protected by a good set of rock sliders, with the two 100L water tanks and the grey water tank all neatly tucked up and shrouded in the chassis.

The package is towed by the McHitch 3.5 tonne offroad coupling, with a hand brake, Ark XO 750kg jockey wheel and a full-width stone screen protecting the front of the hybrid. Our Isuzu MU-X matched up perfectly.

Behind the stone screen are mounts for two 9kg gas bottles, twin jerry can holders and a toolbox of black powder-coated checkerplate either side.

THE LUNAR MODULE

The main camper module itself is made from insulated composite alloy panels. It looks quite attractive with its basic white panels, black checkerplate lower and front wear protection, and distinctive decals. 

Out in front you’ll find a pair of traditional caravan ‘boots’ that allow good storage, while also housing twin 100 amp AGM batteries to keep the Mars Saturn lit up and rocking for days. 

Mars also tell me that they are going one step further for future offerings, by providing the unit with twin 110 amp Panasonic gel batteries, as part of their continual upgrade program.

This little lunar module features a seven-stage Projecta 21 amp charger, plus 50 amp Anderson plug input and optional solar panels (not included in the price). You can have either a 300 watt unit permanently fixed to the roof or a portable one of your own selection.

On the topic of power, inside the cabin there’s an extensive electrical control panel with individual analogue gauges for your water tank capacity, LED readout for voltage level, and Truma UltraRapid hot water controls. It also features an individual circuit breaker switch panel for lighting, pumping and 12 volt circuitry, plus a dual 240 volt outlet. The 240 volt system features a 15 amp inlet and full circuit breaker. 

I was pleased to see a pure sine wave, 1,000 watt constant, 2,000 watt peak inverter included in the price for running accessories. The system is also easily expandable for air conditioning and a variety of electrical options.

SPACE WALK AROUND

On the passenger (living) side of the Saturn, we find our first compartment with a sliding tray large enough for the biggest portable fridge-freezer. Mars offer this one with a Dometic/Waeco 75 litre dual zone unit as part of the Limited Edition package. There’s a really handy full-width compartment above, which is terrific for the safe transport of tent poles, fishing rods and other long objects. 

You do have to duck your head slightly to enter through the three-way security door; however, there’s a pull-out step and illuminated handle to make entry and departure easier. In general, Mars have really put a lot of thought into this camper, attested to by many small examples, such as the addition of an external shower for washing off the beach sand and mud before entering the tub.

Toward the centre we find a small pantry that will be handy for holding the essentials needed for a quick lunch or cuppa on the road. Towards the rear is one of the many double insulated caravan-style tinted windows, and below it the kitchen slides out on strong, easy and secure tracks. 

The stainless steel kitchen features a four-burner hotplate with high wind deflectors, a sink with hot/cold mixer, a large utensils drawer, pull-out bench extension, stabiliser leg, and adjustable LED light. 

There’s even more lighting fixed to the side of the body. The water and gas lines have quick connect style fittings. Just inside the cavity we find the water level indicators, switch gear and 12 volt accessory sockets.

Around on the driver’s side, the two front compartments reflect the other side, with a large storage compartment with a sliding tray large enough to carry a generator if desired – and then some! 

Overhead, there’s the other side of the pole compartment, and then there’s the usual venting for the hot water system and cartridge compartment for the internal toilet.

COMPACT LIVING

The internal module is compact yet quite livable. It’s intended for a travelling couple, given there is only the large queen size bed, which sits well into the expanda. This bed is comfortable and secure, and is equipped with good windows and individual lighting. 

Throughout, there’s a good array of both internal and external LED lighting, with many of the internals being touch-sensitive. Mars have individualised the lighting by also combining flexible reading lights, table lighting, and the kitchen lights. It’s not all flashing lights though; the dark internal cabinetry was one thing I would like to see lighten up a little.

Our demonstration package featured the swivel internal table, that works with an upholstered seat compartment just inside the doorway to the right.

Whilst the ensuite in the front corner is a little squeezy for a big bloke like me, it’s still very usable and will satisfy a great deal of camper purchasers. In between the ensuite and the bed, there’s a large wardrobe for clothes storage. Across the leading edge of the camper is a further bench storage compartment.

For entertainment, the Saturn comes complete with a 12 volt 21” television and bluetooth sound system. There’s also a large array of 12 and 240 volt outlets throughout the hybrid to run all of your portable devices.

Access to servicing and monitoring all of the electrical and gas componentry is very easy; the switches are all easy to locate and in suitable positions. 

FLY IN SOON FOR THE LIMITED EDITION

Get your space suit on quickly to take advantage of the Mars Saturn 13 Limited Edition packaging, with total savings of over $8,000 on a completely optioned unit. 

This includes the Waeco fridge/freezer, Projecta charger and inverter, dual batteries, AL-KO 3.5 tonne coupling, grey water tank, swivel internal table, electric awning, Truma gas hot water system, galvanised chassis and trailing arm suspension, 12” brakes, and 60 months chassis and drawbar warranty.

Coupled with a powerful and comfortable tow-tug, like the Isuzu MU-X, and you have a complete package.

They say that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but at least both sides will agree on the overall appeal of the Mars Saturn 13, particularly with the addition of the internal ensuite. You’ll exceed the bounds of gravity when you start exploring in this attractive craft by the men from Mars.

SPECS

TRAILER

Tare 1950kg (as displayed)

ATM 2700kg

Suspension independent trailing arm with twin shock absorbers and coil springs each side

Brakes 12” electric with breakaway

Coupling McHitch Standard (AL-KO for Limited Edition)

Chassis 100 x 50 x 3mm galvanised box section

Drawbar 150 x 50 x 4mm galvanised box section

Body insulated aluminium composite 

Wheel/tyre 265/75/16” wheels with six-stud bolt pattern

Style black Sunraysia style mags (alloy for limited edition)

DIMENSIONS

Box size 2180 x 3840mm

Length 5400mm (hitch to tail-lights)

Awning size 2350 x 2850mm

ACCESSORIES

Gas cylinders 2 x 9kg (retainers only)

Water 2 x 100 litre

Cooktop four-burner gas with wok burner and wind deflectors

Kitchen stainless steel pull-out with hot/cold sink, utensils drawer, pull-out bench extension, stabiliser leg and flexible lighting

Battery 2 x 100 amp AGM batteries (soon upgrading to twin 120 amp Panasonic gel batteries)

PRICE AS SHOWN

Full Limited Edition package, including 75L fridge: $39,990 (reduced from $44,990)

ENQUIRIES

Mars Campers

Address Factory 7, 1695 Centre Road, Springvale, VIC 3171

Phone 1300 667 868

Email hello@marscampers.com.au

Web  marscampers.com.au

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camper trailer camper trailer hybrid review camper review mars mars campers saturn 13 limited edition