Send in the clones?

Here you can find the very clever differences between KEA Jackpot and HiTop!


Motorhome Review: KEA HiTop and KEA Jackpot

 

They may look like clones superficially, but it's what lies inside that distinguishes the KEA HiTop and KEA Jackpot. I recently conducted a comparo on this ex-rental duo and while they present as dead ringers, it's the antithesis internally! It's quite refreshing to see to see how the two models have been carefully thought out and designed to offer very different options with the smaller space available.

One model - the HiTop - favours the traditional campervan layout while the other - the Jackpot - eschews convention for a plastic moulded, more contemporary feel.

 

Oh,  What a Feeling!

 

In terms of 'dead spits', both campervans have an identical base vehicle (Toyota HiAce) along with a 2.7L four-cylinder petrol engine and manual gearbox. They also comprise the same Tare (2180kg) and GVM (2800kg), plus battery (12V) and fresh water (25L) capacities. And they only differ minimally in overall length – HiTop 4.9m (16ft 1in) and Jackpot 4.65m (15ft 3in). The HiTop also comes with a 4.5kg gas cylinder concealed in an external bin. I'm impressed with the base vehicle, which delivers plenty of oomph – 111kW (maximum power) and 241Nm (maximum torque).

 

The Toyota HiAce has been the foundation for many a great van roadtrip, indeed its reliable and practical underpinnings have surely moved almost everyone at one point or another. With Toyota’s famed indestructibility and the abundance of both dealers and parts, it is no small wonder the Toyota HiAce is the 'go to' for a campervan vehicle in Australia.

 

In fact, KEA Motorhomes utilises the HiAce to underpin three of its models – including the two-berth HiTop and the 2+1 Jackpot.

 

Both iterations are based on the same Toyota HiAce model, sharing the same dimensions and weights (the HiTop is 250mm longer due to a rear step). They share the same 2.7L four-cylinder petrol engine and are avilable in either a manual or automatic.

 

All KEA models spend the first part of their life as rental vehicles with the Maui and Britz marques, and come off the fleet to be sold at varying times and with equally varying numbers of kilometres on the odometer. They are routinely serviced throughout their spell on the rental fleet and undergo a solid refurbishment before they arrive on the KEA sales yard.

 

Step inside the HiTop

 

When it comes to interior layout, both campers express their own originality and internal features.

 

The HiTop offers a large, light-filled layout with a double bed that converts to a spacious dinette. It has all the regular campervan mod cons such as a two-burner gas stove, microwave, 55L fridge, next to a traditional troop seating arrangement that is both the dining area and converts to a bed. Whilst this means there is greater seating and a larger table, it does require the bed to be made up each night.

 

The benefit of this, however, is that there is room for guests to eat indoors, as well as having a clear, light-filled interior with windows on both sides. The HiTop also offers pull-out sections in the roofline that create a cavernous storage area up above that can also be turned into a bed (there are three seatbelts).

 

The team at KEA say the the HiTop is a great option for those after a spacious, light-filled camper with an abundance of space. I liked the HiTop's L-shaped kitchenette that maximises internal space, bench-style dinette, and raised roof for increased storage.

 

Inside the Jackpot

 

The Jackpot’s interior, on the other hand, features a quick-folding double bed, hammock for third person/storage, and feed-through rear storage for long items (surfboard/snowboard etc).

 

The Jackpot is fitted out with a custom plastic moulded interior that is both simple and robust.

 

With a sink and a fridge, it has the typical basics that customers expect in a campervan. The unique foldaway bed is what will grab attention.

 

One side of the Jackpot’s interior is made up of an interior wall from which the dining table folds out. At bedtime, the table folds back up before the whole wall folds down to reveal a large double bed. This clever design allows the bed to be permanently made, transitioning from dining to sleeping in mere seconds.

 

The Jackpot’s capabilities extend to a retractable canvas hammock in the roofline which becomes the third bed – and can be used as storage during the day.

 

I was impressed with the bed/dining configuration, the user-friendly foldaway bed and retractable bunk (canvas hammock). A table top that compensates for limited benchtop space in the kitchen and a pull-out picnic table ideal for the al fresco set also caught my eye, as did internal storage nooks, and excellent storage space at the rear.

 

On both vehicles, the rear door opens upwards to allow any manner of luggage, camping equipment or surfboards to be stowed. Their short wheelbases and car-like road manners make for an easy and maneuverable driving experience.

 

The Bottom Line

 

Whilst different internally, both of these vehicles are likely to appeal to similar, albeit broad, spectrums of the campervan market.

 

As always, their low-cost and fuss-free attitude endears themselves to budget travellers and in particular younger travellers. However, the industry is seeing a rise in older solo tourers – and in particular women, for which the HiTop and Jackpot are very well suited.

 

Those that don’t need the creature comforts of a big campervan and who will spend the majority of their time outside will find great value in the practical, affordable and functional HiTop and Jackpot, built in Australia by KEA.

 

KEA Jackpot 2+1 Berth

Beds: 3

Base vehicle: Toyota HiAce

Engine: 2.7L four-cylinder petrol (manual transmission)

Overall length: 4.65m (15ft 3in)

Tare 2180kg   

Cooking: None

Air-conditioner: Cabin air-conditioning only

Fridge: 55L

Bathroom: None

GVM: 2800kg

Licence: Car

Passengers: 3

 

KEA HiTop 3 Berth

Beds: 2

Base vehicle: Toyota HiAce

Engine: 2.7L four-cylinder petrol (manual transmission)

Overall length: 4.9m (16ft 1in)

Tare 2180kg   

Air-conditioner: Cabin air-conditioning only

Cooking: Two-burner gas stove

Fridge: 55L

Bathroom: None

Licence: Car

Passengers: 3

 

For more information about the KEA HiTop and Jackpot, please contact your local dealer:

Phone: 1300 720 020

Website: KEA Jackpot T465 2+1 Berth

               KEA HiTop T490 3 Berth