JAYCO TERRAIN: Mercedes-Benz turbo-diesel four-wheel-drive camper van leads the way in innovation and functionality

Four-wheel-drive camper vans are rapidly increasingly in popularity as more and more adventuresome couples are attracted to these Class B RVs because of their maneuvarability and off-grid capabilities. Camper vans  can be used as a daily driver like any other van, whereas a motorhome is usually left parked for months at a time, and a diesel model van saves on fuel costs compared to a gas model.

One of the best four-wheel-drive diesel camper vans on the market is the 2022 Jayco Terrain. This new model is based on the class-leading Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 diesel 4×4 van with the 144-inch wheelbase.

It’s the perfect couples van, comfortable to drive and loaded with features that make happy camping memories for years to come. (Locate a Jayco Terrain at Bish’s RV.)

Ideal Camper Van For Off-Grid Use

The Jayco Terrain’s roof is fitted with four 50-watt solar panels that power the big Lithium-ion battery. This supplies power instead of an on-board generator. A fifth solar panel trickle-charges the vehicle’s starting  battery. (Photos by Josh Winters)

The diesel-powered Jayco Terrain is a jewel among the camper vans found at Bish’s many RV dealerships located across the country.

Unlike the majority of today’s camper vans, the Jayco Terrain has enough roof-mounted solar panels to provide electrical power to run the A/C system and all the other electrical components without the need of a noisy, often low-hanging onboard generator.

The four 50-watt panels generate 200 watts of solar energy that are run through a 3500-watt inverter paired with a 48-volt, 210Ah smart lithium battery.

This powerful battery system is capable of running the 13,500-BTU Coleman-Mach 10 A/C for up to 10 hours on its “Low” setting without recharging help from the solar system or the diesel engine’s charging system. That’s awesome news for those who love boondocking in the desert southwest or humid southern climes.

If you are running the A/C a lot and are off-grid, a good upgrade at a Bish’s RV service center is to install a high-idle kit so the diesel can be run to recharge the house battery while the van is parked.

When the time comes to hit the road, Jayco claims the Terrain’s 188hp 3.0L M-B turbo diesel’s heavy-duty twin 220-amp alternators can recharge the huge lithium house battery is just two hours. (There is also a much smaller fifth solar panel on the roof that is dedicated to trickle-charging the Sprinter’s chassis/starter battery, which is independent from the lithium system.)

All The Comforts Of Home

Jayco designers have done a remarkable job maximizing the 2022 Terrain camper van’s functionality in such a small space while taking comfort and convenience to the next level.

Power-lift bed system allows the queen bed to be raised/lowered as needed. Floor anchors in the tracks secure cargo during transit.

For example, the Queen bed in the rear is on a power-lift system so it can be raised/lowered as needed, there are multiple anchor points in the “garage” floor to secure bicycles, E-bikes, motorcycle, a dog kennel, coolers, totes, or other items while in transit.

The Jayco Terrain also features built-in, multi-configurable bug screens/vinyl coverings for both side and rear doors, and the two sliding windows and rear dual-pane window have retractable cassette-type shades.

The living area of this four-wheel-drive camper van is filled with European-style Technoform cabinetry that feature numerous modular, retractable cabinets and the rear storage area.

Not only are there plenty of overhead storage, this four-wheel-drive camper van has various pull-out tables, drawers, and cabinets with adjustable shelves to make the most use of the van’s available space.

Dry camping isn’t an issue, either. Twenty-two gallons of freshwater are onboard, as well as a 20-gallon gray water tank and cassette-style toilet in the shower/bathroom. This makes multi-day stays off the grid doable with judicious use of water.

The wet bath is typical of camper vans, but the privacy curtain and design of the shower is quite functional. The wet bath also serves as a storage locker with the sauna-type bamboo seats acting as adjustable shelving.

The food prep area looks small, but it has hidden slide-outs that double the space.  Cooking is done on a portable induction cooktop.

An Efficient Modern Galley

The galley area is compact, but efficient with a cool pull-out top to expand the food prep area toward the front of the van, and another slide-out that comes out from the bottom of the pantry located on the opposite end of the kitchen counter.

Cooking is provided by a portable induction stove (you’ll need the appropriate cookware to use it), which has become almost a standard feature in the newest vans. And there’s plenty of electrical power via the Lithium battery system to accommodate its use.

Under the counter is the 3.0 cu.-ft. DC fridge, which can also be accessed from the outside when the sliding door is open.

Hot water is instant, on-demand with built-in water filtration system and an Aqua View Showermiser system to better manage water use when boondocking. Of course, the Jayco Terrain has all electrical, sewer and water connections for staying at campgrounds with full-hookups and 30-amp service.

Jayco Terrain On-Road & Off

There’s no doubt the real benefit of the Jayco Terrain 4×4 is it’s road manners—both on-road and off-pavement. The 3.0L turbo diesel has the muscle to move the 9,050-pound (gross vehicle weight rating) van down the road, and doing so with better fuel economy than you’d achieve with a similar size van powered with a gas engine.

Off-pavement, the electronically-selectable four-wheel-drive system allows you to choose “low-range” when the road surface gets a little dicey, which is quite often the case when heading into the backcountry, exploring side roads and desert or mountain 4×4 trails. Going off-grid safely is no problem for this camper van.

The M-B 4×4 system and BFGoodrich A/T tires make this an excellent camper van for off-grid camping and backcountry explorations.

On- and off-road traction and body control are two strong points of the Jayco Terrain with BFGoodrich all-terrain T/A KO2 tires and the brand-exclusive JRIDE suspension that employs Koni shocks and a heavy-duty rear sway bar as part of the package.

(The special-tuned Koni shocks help smooth the ride, especially off grid, while the Hellwig rear swaybar reduces the side-to-side rocking motion the van would have without this special Jayco suspension.)

The four-wheel-drive Sprinter vans are well known for their ability to handle off-pavement forays and have become the go-to four-wheel-drive camper van of choice for discerning RV adventurers around the world.

Takeaway: All-Season Jayco Terrain

As for the driver’s compartment, the Jayco Terrain is as nice as any custom van with all the latest creature comforts, safety features, and advanced electronics to accommodate today’s digitally-dependent lifestyle. The high-back bucket seats slide, swivel and recline, and there’re two additional bucket seats that face forward where the collapsible dinette table is located.

The interior of the Jayco Terrain is one of the nicest in the four-wheel-drive camper van market.

The 2022 Jayco Terrain is a stellar Class B camper van; it has all the right features to make camping trips, whether weekenders, week-long, or cross-country excursions, enjoyable and stressless.

The Terrain is equipped for four-season use with excellent heating and cooling systems, an on-board air system, a top-notch solar power platform, and being a four-wheel-drive camper van, it can handle extreme weather conditions and traversing over unimproved backcountry roads.

The Terrain is priced at the upper end of camper vans. But the money is well spent in the quality of product when Jayco innovations combine with Mercedes-Benz van technology.

Four-wheel-drive camper vans are the most popular Class B RVs and Bish’s RV has a great selection at all their locations. Check them out at Bishs.com, watch Josh the RV Nerd’s in-depth video tour, or stop by a Bish’s RV dealership to see a Jayco Terrain in person.

Jayco Terrain Specifications

Make/Model:  2022 Jayco Terrain
Chassis:   Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 4×4
Engine:   Mercedes-Benz / 3.0L V6 Diesel
HP:   188 hp @ 3,800 RPM
Torque:   325 ft-lbs. @ 1,400 RPM
Transmission Type:   M-B 7-Speed Automatic
Length:   19.58 ft. (235 in.)
Width:   7.08 ft. (85 in.)
Interior Height:   6.08 ft. (73 in.)
Wheelbase:   12 ft. (144 in.)
Towing Capacity:   3,500 lbs.
GVWR:   9,050 lbs.
Fuel Capacity:   24.5 gal.
Fresh Water Tank Capacity:   22.0 gal.
Gray Water Tank Capacity:   23.0 gal.
MSRP:   $210,750