Andrew McPhee

See other motorhome reviews written by Andrew McPhee

Check out Practical Motorhome's review of the Knaus Sport Traveller 600 DKG

Design

We’ve long admired Knaus for its stylish ‘vans. The German manufacturer remains a leader in terms of style and flair. The striking designs and modern graphics of the company’s motorhomes have long marked out Knaus as a brand with a clear grip on contemporary tastes.
The Sport Traveller’s exterior has a jaunty, sporty appearance. At the tail end of the motorhome, twin rear windows (one for each bunk) and a factory-fitted cycle rack help create a vibrant feel. 
The Renault cab appears modern and purposeful.
Taken as a whole, it makes you want to surf, cycle, kayak and bungee your way across the global playground. The large door to the under-bunk storage area begs to spew forth wet suits, walking boots and sports gear.
The design flair continues inside. This is not a big ‘van, and the permanent rear bunks certainly eat into living space. The fact that the cabin can retain enough light and airiness to limit any feeling 
of claustrophobia is a tribute to Knaus’ good use of space and materials.
Surfaces and fabrics are first class, and the fit and finish are excellent. From spotlights to taps, cushions to fabric inlay, it all feels of the best quality, while looking modern, attractive and unfussy.

On the road

These are exciting times in which to be a motorcaravanner as base vehicle and motorhome manufacturers are making big strides in terms of quality.
This Knaus drives extremely well. The cab is comfortable and the driver has easy access to switchgear and controls and a commanding view of the road aided by a wide area of glass – even in torrential rain, visibility was excellent. The vehicle feels taut, nimble and controllable. Noise levels are much lower than in most motorhomes, and this is at least partly due to the sturdy nature of the fixtures and fittings in the Sport Traveller.
The 2.5-litre turbo-diesel engine allows cruising in the 70-80mph range without serious noise intrusion and the ‘van displayed good stability at speed on busy motorways.
It should be mentioned that all this is relative. Our four-year-old tester was convinced there was a window open much of the time, for if not then “why is it so noisy, daddy?” Clearly, even though great strides have been made in ‘civilising’ motorhomes, 
the battle is not yet won.

Lounging & dining

The Sport Traveller is not a big ‘van, and with its permanent bunks there is little room to dance around the living area. This is a ‘van for outdoor types. You would certainly not want to have all six berths occupied on a wet holiday – there just wouldn’t be enough room. Even so, in the showery autumn weather our family testers had enough space for games, meals and reading – enough simple pleasures to keep them happy.
We chose to leave the floors bare – they are attractive enough with their blond wood finish, and we didn’t have to worry about ‘wellying’ the carpet with mud.

Kitchen

The kitchen area is well conceived, attractive and usable, with easy access to overhead and vertical cupboards, and to the appliances, sink, work surface and table. All that the cook needs is within easy reach.
The new-style three-burner hob is tucked behind a reasonably sized work surface. The deep under-sink drawer 
is extremely useful and the capacious, sliding, floor-to-ceiling food cupboard is simply superb 
– better than in some houses.

Sleeping

The layout tested here has fixed bunks at the rear, one double bed over the cab and another in the living area. 
The crucial question with this format is: are fixed bunks worth it, considering the loss of day-space? For our young family of testers, the answer is ‘yes’, for they offer four advantages.
First, they provide each child with an element of privacy. Kids can be quite territorial, and they clearly enjoyed having permanent access to their own space, their own light switch, and their own storage area. Second, each bunk has a ‘fun factor’. The upper one has its own stowable ladder (endless fun), and the lower one has its 
own wooden door (multiple uses, some of them not 
life-threatening).
Third, you don’t have to make and break the beds in the evenings and mornings 
– a blessed time saver. Fourth, permanence means quality materials. Also, the bunks are sufficiently large and comfortable enough for an adult to be able to get a good night’s sleep. All in all, they were a resounding success.
The overcab double bed has a neat ladder-storage system: it’s safe and quick. The bed is very comfortable although two autumn thunderstorms in one night vividly demonstrated how close the rain gets to your face before striking the overcab unit.
The other double bed, although it remained unused, was easy enough to make up.
This ‘van could easily accommodate six sleeping adults, though how they would make do during waking hours is another question. They would have to be very well acquainted.
Overall, the Sport Traveller was a very comfortable sleeping unit. And the blown-air heating system takes the temperature in the ‘van from chilly to toasty, in minutes.

Washroom

The washroom is simple and functional, with a powerful shower and ample storage space. The children were 
able to make use of the facilities without adult assistance (thankfully).
It’s not a huge area, but two large mirrors increase the illusion of space. The fixtures and fittings also look classy and feel robust – which is useful when you’re travelling with children.

Storage

Outside, access to the Thetford cassette, gas and fresh/grey water are as easy as one could wish, and the locker doors have solid locks and fittings.
Inside, there is plenty of cupboard space throughout, with multiple lockers and a deep wardrobe. The upper bunk has its own lockers, though the lower one has none, which is a shame.
The deep storage pit below the lower bunk is accessible from within and without.
A problem with the lower bunk, though, is that toys and other items can easily slip between bed and wall into the cavern below (if only Spider Man toys really could scale walls…) This area is accessible via an external door, or by raising the bunk but some care must be taken to pack carefully, with a view to which items will be accessed by which route, because the far corner is a long way from the exterior door. 
We’d be tempted to use a range of cheap plastic storage boxes to partition some of this unit.
Shelving units below the overhead lockers in the main living area were useful for storing items such as iPod docks and DVD players, which could be plugged into the mains sockets below the shelf and used either at the table or in the overcab area.
The shelves above the door, and the top of the overhead cupboards, offer extra shelving space. The nearest overhead locker top and shelf can also be used by sleepers in the overcab for items such as clocks, drinks and books.

Technical specs

Sleeps6
Travel seats6
MTPLM3500kg
Payload379kg
Length6.42m21′1″
Width2.3m7′7″
Height3.16m10′4″
Waste water100L
External Options
Aluminium sidewalls
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Washroom
Thetford C-200 toilet
Heating
Truma Gas/Electric heater, Truma Electric/Gas water heater

Verdict

As environmental issues and the desire to spend more time with children pressure us, such a motorhome as this provides welcome relief, offering freedom, control and that close-to-nature feel which all motorcaravanners know and love so well. This particular model is also elegant enough to fit into the iPod lifestyle without compromise, being practical and durable enough to absorb childish blows.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Neat, easy stowage of the ladder
  • It has a deep garage with internal and external access
  • The vertical storage cupboard with pull-out rack
  • The large amount of cupboard space

Cons

  • The gap between the lower bunk and wall (items fall into the garage)
  • The lack of living space
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