Bend, Oregon’s EarthCruiser — not to be confused with Colorado-based EarthRoamer — produces two overland adventure RVs that get top billing: The 2020 EarthCruiser FX and EXP, both based on the Fuso FE160G Class 4 medium truck chassis. Sold in two-door single-cab form since their introductions, the difference between them is that the FX fits a fixed roof living space, whereas the EXP is designed with a pop-top section allowing the truck to fit into a shipping container for international travel when the upper section is closed. As company GM Chad Knight told Autoblog, “The Fuso platform has been available in the dual cab for many years outside of the US, so EarthCruiser Australia has built a number of dual cab models” of the FX ad EXP. But the U.S. has only had two-door trucks available — can you guess the next part? — until now. With the arrival of a four-seater Fuso here, U.S. roamers can add friends and kids to their overlanding supply lists.
Another unique feature of the American versions is their gasoline V8 engines. With diesel facing higher hurdles throughout the world and Fuso parent company Daimler cutting back on oil-burner development, EarthCruiser decided last year to retire the previous four-cylinder diesel here for a GM-sourced 6.0-liter Vortec V8 producing 297 horsepower and 361 pound-feet of torque, shifting through a six-speed Allison 1000 transmission. So now, not only does EarthCruiser build the only retail cabover adventure four-wheel-drive in North America, Knight told us the new model “is the first V8 4WD dual cab built anywhere in the world. The ones EC Australia have built are on the four-cylinder diesel truck.”
A 60-gallon fuel tank, 20 gallons more than what comes from the factory, can power long runs to the horizon. The only diesel necessary will be for the four-gallon tank that supplies the air and water heater.
Above all that, the Fuso dual cab — which now qualifies as a salon — houses four Scheel-Mann Vario captain’s chairs. Cleaving in the two extra doors extends the rig’s wheelbase by 34.5 inches to 168.5 inches, and the overall length by 39 inches to 289.
Otherwise, the trucks haul all the same goodness that EarthCruiser has put into the 160 two-door units sold over the past 10 years. Although the company starts with a Fuso chassis, the end product is a long way from what left the assembly line. The FX and EXP get Hero two-speed transfer cases with exclusive gearing, full floating Dynatrac Pro 80 axles with ARB air lockers front and rear, Rad Flo 2.5-inch gas bypass shocks with remote reservoirs, and custom leaf springs. When needed, chassis articulation is helped by flexible mounts that let the box twist independently of the frame. The Method wheels with 37-inch Toyo Open Country M/T rubber provide 11.25 inches of ground clearance.
As for the living space, which has always slept four people in stock trim, it makes more sense to say that it’s got almost everything found in your home, more cleverly packaged and perhaps nicer to look at, sit on, and use, as well as enough storage to bring back chunky souvenirs from every land the EarthCruiser gets you to. And that’s the standard truck; as we’ve seen with various hardcore go-anywhere rigs from around the world, only a buyer’s imagination limits the optional upgrades.
The 2020 EarthCruiser Dual Cab in its current incarnation starts at $420,000, and takes four months to build.