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November 15 2002

Jayco's Bruce Astbury recently had some work done on his Pajero and Mitsubishi lent him glamour wheels that proved to be as tough as it was sporty.

Mitsubishi's high performance Ralliart Magna is almost certainly considered one of the most unlikely tow cars because of its motorsports image, but the temptation to use it as a tow vehicle was just too much because its 3.5 litre, 24-valve V6 engine produces 180kW of power and 333Nm of torque, the stuff of towing toughness.

That kind of torque means it has real grunt so when it came to towing a Jayco Dove camper trailer, weighing in at 850 kg, with a towball weight of 120kg, it was a pretty simple task.

Another highlight of the Magna is the "tiptronic" gearbox, which allows you to change from a standard 5 speed automatic gearbox to a sequential manual with a simple flick of the lever. The manual mode is ideal for towing as you can hold the appropriate gear and keep the revs up to suit hill climbs when you have a camper trailer hooked up. As someone that enjoys driving a manual car I found the automatic / manual gearbox an excellent practical compromise for city traffic.

The car's spacious boot is also wonderful for taking along extra holiday gear.

Another bonus with the Ralliart Magna are its seats, which give excellent back support, making for easy touring over long distances.

The car's height is 1.435 metres and the Dove when being towed is just 1.6 metres high. That means there is little wind drag over the entire combination.

Built on Jayco's unique honeycombed, galvanised steel but lightweight sturdy Millennium chassis, the Dove has leaf spring suspension with a solid beam axle.

It rolls along effortlessly behind the Ralliart Magna and as it can sleep up to five people, it is ideal for a family.

Once the rig arrives at a caravan site, it takes only a few minutes to wind up the camper roof and slide out the front and rear double bed ends. The front bed width is a roomy 1.52 metres, with the rear bed marginally narrower at 1.2 metres. The other berth can be on a club lounge or on the drop-down table.

The tent section's spacious, separate windows ensure that the inside is bright and as the tinted plastic windows can be unzipped, leaving just flyscreening, the outdoors are practically invited indoors.

The Dove has a club lounge along the front, below the double bed, and the dinette, which takes up part of the club lounge also includes a dinette seat, which backs on to a sink and cupboard area which includes the refrigerator. Opposite there is a buffet unit with good storage and a four-burner griller that includes one electric element.

Holiday gear can also be stored in the lockers underneath the seating.

To pack down the camper for the return trip, it again takes just minutes to be ready for the road.

As for the entire Magna range, they are underrated tow cars, which really have the necessary power to do the heavy work. Definitely worth considering if you are looking to change a car to suit your camper trailer or pop-top. From my experience the 150Kg tow ball weight and 1500Kg overall towing capacity is a conservative figure set by Mitsubishi. So I would not hesitate in advising anyone to tow around the maximum weight, provided the correct towing equipment has been fitted,

The Ralliart Magna and Dove combination looks great and creates a very different tow vehicle-camper trailer rig that is sure to turn heads anytime they are seen on our highways on in our caravan parks.

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