Niall HamptonSee other News articles filed in ‘Motorhome’ written by Niall Hampton
German manufacturer Knaus continues to enjoy good fortunes after a major restructuring and change of management five years ago. It is still the best-selling motorhome brand in Germany, which is about as good an endorsement as you can get.
The brand portfolio stretches from van conversions (BoxStar) to A-classes (Van i, Sky i and Sky Plus i), with low profile coachbuilts (Van TI, Sky TI, Sun TI and Sky Wave) in between. There’s also an overcab coachbuilt range, called Sky Traveller.
For 2015, there are changes across the portfolio, thanks to the transition to the facelifted Fiat Ducato base vehicle. This brings a range of features into the mix as standard kit, including safety systems like ESP, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and gear-change indicators.
Inside, new furnishing schemes including an optional leather finish have been unveiled, and enhanced media packages are being offered. Lowdhams Leisureworld will be stocking a selection of 2015 Knaus models in the UK, summarised below.
Five new layouts have been added to the BoxStar range. The line-up is split into segments to denote the length of the base vehicle.
The BoxStar 540 has two models, including the new Road 2Be with a transverse rear make-up bed and space-saving walk-through midships wet room. The front lounge has a distinctive table-top arrangement, too; it slides out from its stowed position above a cupboard on the nearside wall, so with the cab seats rotated you can have a cosy dinette for two – not bad on a 5.4m-long floor plan.
The BoxStar 540 Road carries the same layout, save for a dinette table and a pair of belted travelling seats that convert into an optional lengthways guest bed, measuring 1.8x0.8m.
The BoxStar 600 has six models, including the Street, which will be available at Lowdhams. This is a longer version of the 540 Road model, again with a lengthways bed available in the lounge. The BoxStar 600 Lifetime 2Be features twin single beds in the rear, accessed via a walk-though midships washroom.
Buyers looking for a compact form factor will find it in the Van TI range, which has three layouts: the rear transverse bed 550 MD, plus 600 ME and 600 MEG, both carrying twin single beds. All models are sub-3500kg, 2.2m wide and come with generous payloads.
The 600 MEG will be available at Lowdhams. It has two belted travel seats in a half-dinette, a midships washroom on the UK nearside with the kitchen opposite, and twin singles above a rear garage.
Moving up the ranges, the Sky TI features seven layouts covering the popular fixed bed configurations. The 550 MF and 650 MF have French beds with corner washrooms, while the 650 MEG, 700 MEB and 700 MEB have twin single beds. The 650 MG has a transverse rear bed, while the 700 MX features an island bed. All Sky TI models have four travel seats; with the exception of the two-berth 550 MF, all models are four-berth ’vans. The MTPLMs are 3500kg, with 500kg-plus payloads.
The Sun TI range features double floors, which can be used for storage. Models also have a rather large panoramic sunroof (the biggest in the motorhome industry, says Knaus), so you can enjoy the view upwards from the lounge. Five layouts are available, again covering the popular bed flavours: twin singles (650 MEG and 700 MEG), French bed (650 MF), transverse rear bed (650 MG) and island bed (700 MX). Two models will be available to view at Lowdhams this season, the 650 MF and 700 MX. All Sun TI models have four travel seats and can sleep four people. The MTPLMs are 3500kg, with payloads ranging from 430kg to 510kg.
Two models were available to view at the press launch in Germany: the 650 MF and the 700 MEG. Knaus promised yacht-like interiors, and we weren’t disappointed. The intriguingly named ‘Cocobolo Hell’ contrasting mid- and dark-toned wood finish scheme looked very classy, set off by a myriad of ambient lighting, and combined well with the dark floor covering. Metal handles on the overhead lockers and cupboard doors, and on the leading edges of shelves, looked very contemporary and referenced the brushed aluminium sink in the washroom. All Sun TI lounges feature an integrated seating group in the front dinette, with a side sofa or seat opposite; an ‘L’-shaped lounge is retained as an option.
With their name derived from their sweeping front roof sections, the mid-profile Sky Wave models have drop-down beds above the lounge to provide extra berths. Three ’vans in this range can sleep up to six people, and again, the popular fixed bed options are covered, with French bed (650 MF), transverse rear bed (650 MG), twin single bed (700 MEG) and island bed (700 MX) variants. MTPLMs are 3500kg, with payloads in the 440kg to 540kg range.
For larger families, the overcab Sky Traveller offers three layouts. The four-berth 500 D has a double bed in the lounge and above in the overcab; the six-berth 600 DKG has rear bunks and a double in the dinette and overcab, and the six-berth 600 DG SL has a double bed at the rear, plus a double in the dinette and overcab. Sky Traveller interiors feature mid-toned woods with two-toned overhead lockers and granite-effect worktops, a colour palette that should stand up to the rigours of family touring. Fully laden weights are 3500kg; payloads range from 490kg to 720kg.
Knaus’s A-class offering comprises the Van i, Sky i and Sky Plus i ranges. Two Van i models (550 MD and 600 MG) have transverse rear beds, with twin singles available in the 600 ME. All models have drop-down beds above the lounge.
Two twin single bed layouts are available in the Sky i line-up, the 650 LEG and 700 LEG. The 650 LEG has a transverse rear bed and the 700 LX a rear island bed. Sky i ’vans have large panoramic front windows, double floors with fibreglass underskins and plenty of storage options. The 700 LEG and 700 LX will be sold by Lowdhams.
Super-plus versions of Sky i are offered, carrying the same model numbers and layouts, in Sky Plus i guise. All models have silver and graphite sidewalls featuring wood-free construction, have four travel seats and can all sleep up to six people.
All Knaus A-class motorhomes have MTPLMs of 3500kg. Engine upgrades are available for all models, and Al-Ko AMC chassis upgrades, and weight plate increases, can be specified for all but the Van i 550 MD. This could be useful in the Sky i and Sky i Plus ranges, as standard payloads are just 265kg to 320kg.
Knaus offers a comprehensive list of paid-for extras for all ranges, in addition to range-specific options bundles. These cover areas like cab and habitation upgrades, entertainment, media, safety and insulation performance.
Buyers can choose from three standard soft furnishings schemes, with a further four available as cost options, including two leather finishes.
All Knaus coachbuilt motorhomes come with a five-year bodyshell integrity warranty, and two-year parts and equipment warranty.
Want more? Why not read our full 2015 preview of Continental motorhomes, our look at the new 2015 'vans from Dethleffs and budget sister brand Sunlight, Roller Team's and Auto-Trail's new season models, more 2015 'vans this time from Adria,Auto-SleepersCarado and Hymer plus you can read our preview of the new for 2015 Swift motorhomes