Ultimate produces immaculately constructed and finished campers that seem to owe their design inspiration to a marine cruiser more than a camper. Expecting to see a familiar ‘nautical but nice’ offering this year at CTOTY, the judging panel were in for a surprise. You see, the X25 is Ultimate’s 25th anniversary special edition and, ‘buoy’ is the team out to make a splash with this limited-edition model.
Walking up to the X25 at the judging grounds at this year’s CTOTY event was like being welcomed to an enchanted garden where moonbeams burst in the sunlight and fairy dust glistens. This effect was due to the camper’s lustrous, glittering, silver metallic, multi-layered paint that was unlike anything we’d seen on a camper before. And it clearly signalled that we were in for something different. Summon the angelic choir and the picture would have been complete.
But there’s far more to the Ultimate X25 than just fancy paintwork. This camper has some fundamentally new features on show. The most significant innovation is that Ultimate has stepped away from the standard 12V system to deliver, instead, a 24V system that’s capable of providing twice the amount of power with the same number of amps. In practice, this means that this camper can provide enough power to support a modern home kitchen. So, if you’d been ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ about packing the thermal convection cooker, coffee machine or even a second fridge, fill your boots. The Ultimate has you covered with its custom 5.2kW lithium battery and 600W solar input (or more if you ask nicely). Oh, and did we mention that every USB port has 120W of power, meaning that your phones and other techno-gadgets will recharge in half the usual time of a 12V system? ‘Beam me up, Scotty’.
At its core, the X25 is an Ultimate GT360 with all the options included — and more besides. This camper is clearly pitched towards Ultimate’s target market of discerning couples and families looking for a high-end, boutique Australian camper. And while the $95K price tag may limit potential buyers to those with an enviable disposable income, it’s worth remembering that to up-spec an Ultimate Nexus with the same features, you’d be paying around $30K more than the X25’s price tag. This sparkling camper is a rare gem that promises to deliver diamonds to its lucky owners.
Looks can be deceiving with the Ultimate X25, especially thanks to its sparkly paint job, but this camper is built for remote overlanding. In fact, the X25 was the off-grid camper that offered the most comfort. The 100 x 100 x 3mm central beam is high tensile Duragal 350mpa and the chassis 100 x 50 x 3mm and is painted with Rhinocoat. The Cruisemaster independent trailing arms with long-travel coil springs and Ironman foam cell pro shocks will handle any corrugations, washouts or ruts you can throw at it. All the plumbing and wiring is run internally using cable trays meaning nothing can get caught up or damaged when you’re off the beaten track. Articulation won’t be an issue with the Cruisemaster DO35 coupler and the PDW alloys were wrapped in 305/65R17 Mickey Thompson Baja’s. There is no sign of a stone guard, instead, the front and underbelly of the camper are painted with Rhinocoat to protect the fibreglass.
As judges, we certainly were surprised by the reduced temperatures inside the X25 thanks to the air conditioner that was running in the background. When you have a 24V electrical system powered by a 5.2kW lithium battery, this sort of comfort is possible, and when it’s cold the Truma heater/hot water combo will warm you up. Full-grain cow’s leather wraps the 70mm Enduro foam lounge and the internal kitchen benchtop and table is carbon fibre. The king size memory foam mattress has a depth of 130mm with a 60mm mattress topper and being trifold, can be turned into a day bed/lounge.
This was one of the simpler campers to set up, with the rear steps easily set up with gas struts assisting and then opening the top either via a remote control or a manual button with only a minor bit of help needed at the peak of the lift. The tent itself is erected by lifting two gas strut assisted hoops then attaching four spring-loaded spreader bars (already connected at one end with the preset length) to tension it. The awning, that can remain attached to the tent, provides 360- degrees of coverage and is held up by stainless steel poles that attach to the body of the camper.
TIM VAN DUYL
The X25 took out the big gong. It was the highest-scoring camper overall as well as the highest-scoring Fold Out and, to us judges, had the most X-Factor among all 21 entrants but there is an elephant in the room — the price.
Close enough to $100k to say it is as much, it goes down as one of the most expensive campers we’ve tested. Does that automatically preclude it from doing well in Value for Money? No, as it's subjective criteria and the fact that we judges know a few things we can break down the cost to replicate most campers. It gets a bit harder with a paint finish as we saw, or what it costs to put in a 124V, 5kW battery plus AC and oodles of carbon fibre finish so it makes for an interesting conversation.
I appreciated what the X25 could do but to me, there were some unnecessary expenses that pushed my final Value score down a touch. However, this is why we have four judges to average out our subjective feelings, one glance at the scoresheet and the X25 did well for Value for Money even with its big-ticket.
There is pretty much nothing I can say to add to the panel's argument that the X25 was outright, the best and most exciting camper at CTOTY 2021. I could wax lyrical about the key features, build quality and the epic amounts of options but at the end of the day, the X25 beat all comers for X-factor. No one will miss the sparkle of the X25 Anniversary and one look inside and it's obvious the beauty and quality carry on throughout the camper.
The X25 is a camper to be proud of, to be seen in, and I envy the lucky 25 who roll into camp at dusk with the light reflecting off that outrageous paintwork only to set up and know they have the power reserves to relax in real comfort. Well done David and Bronwyn for presenting to us and to the whole team at Ultimate for the hard work and effort in designing and delivering on such an extraordinary camper.
While the reborn Ultimate has been undergoing its hyper-evolution from a competent and classy camper into an industry leading vessel of everything that’s amazing, its credibility as a rugged outback explorer has remained undiminished. The 24 volt electronics make maximum use of its 5.12 kWh of lithium battery capacity. Unless you’re foolishly running the air conditioner all night, that’s never going to evaporate. The Victron 70A battery management system will ensure that it stays at its optimum, as will the 3000 watt pure sine wave inverter, and you can monitor it all on the provided tablet with its installed software (or your phone, if that’s more convenient).
There’s plenty of water, with 165 litres in a single tank, plus a 55L grey water receptacle, so you will be secure in compliance in national parks everywhere. There is a mains water input for those times when you’re in reach of town supply that will feed to your taps or the water tank and the Truma Combi gas hot water system will ensure a ready supply of clean dishes and bodies. There’s two 3.8kg gas bottles to ensure you can fire up that system at any time, and the Combi has the capacity to lift water from an outside source.
The whole setup, from the commercial grade resettable fuses and isolator switches to the hidden cable trays for all circuitry to the 135L Bushman fridge, was fine quality.
If any camper at CTOY made you stop and stare in terms of finish it had to be the Ultimate. The finely finished body shell, with its immaculate fibreglass mould preparation to its two coats of fleck and three coats of clear, was outstanding. The detail of newly remanufactured hinges, reflective ropes, springs, cowhide leather seating, rope slides and the rear step Seadecking is all in the finest finish with moulded or etched branding. This camper had the works.
Build quality was, as usual, up to the best standard. From the doubled 100 x 100 350mpa Duragal main central beam for the chassis, to the fully coated underbody in Rhinocoat, to the carbon fibre internal benches and shelves and stainless-steel tent bows, this camper had it all.
Ball Weight 80kg
Chassis High-tensile Duragal
Coating Rhino coating with limited edition metallic Silver Colour
Style Fold out
Rims 17in alloy wheels
Coupling DO35v3 off-road hitch
Suspension Independent Trailing Arm Suspension
Tent Material: Premium Australian Manufactured Canvas with Safari roof
Victron 24v/3000 inverter, 5.12kw lithium battery
Water: 110L + 55L
Grey Water: 55L
Gas: Gas install plus 2x 3.8kg gas bottle
3 Burner Stove/Sink Combo
Hot water, heater, and external shower
Truma Air Conditioner
Price: $95,000 (as tested)
Address 1A Livestock Way, Pakenham VIC 3810
Phone 1300 500 077