Andrew McPhee

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Find out more about the Knaus Sun Ti 600LF in the Practical Motorhome review

Overview

When it was launched at the Düsseldorf caravan show, then appeared at the Earls Court show in 2004, the Sun Ti was credited as having taken motorhome design a big step forward.

Nearly two seasons later, it still looks fresh, though it’s not been without its imitators. Bavarian manufacturer Knaus has continued to turn heads with its yet more radical C Liner – the Renault Master-based, A-class ‘van. But over time we’ve found that despite its stunning looks, form does indeed follow function here.

Design

It’s hard to fault the Knaus’ looks – sleek and stylish without being too overbearing – and everywhere we’ve taken it, the comments have been positive. The entrance door is on the offside, but includes a slim window and one of the best flyscreens we’ve seen: it’s mounted to the right of the door, and slides across firmly.
Access to services is good, too. The battery is found in a slide-out skirt locker behind the driver’s door and the gas bottles are at a convenient height, just above the skirts, behind the rear nearside axle. The waste drop is located just infront of that axle and unfortunately its handle is prone to collecting road dirt.
The rear storage locker, with a side-opening door akin to a garage, makes excellent use of the space created by the low chassis. The door provides better access than the long, narrow, versions on similar layouts and opens with a key so there are no fiddly catches. Best of all are the shelves along the locker’s rear wall, whose elasticated string fronts store all manner of small items.

On the road

In the two months that we’ve been running the Sun Ti, we’ve covered just under 2500 miles and all of us agree that it’s the most driveable low-profile ‘van around. We found the 600LF’s 115bhp engine adequate, though we would prefer slightly more power for overtaking and hill climbs (forthcoming Renault engine ranges will feature more bhp). Even with a passenger and 200kg payload, though, it cruised comfortably at 70mph, with sixth gear being ideal for good economy over long motorway stretches, settling at 2500rpm when cruising at 70mph.
The ‘van returned an encouraging 23.57mpg overall, though this could be bettered, bearing in mind we collected the vehicle with just 92 miles on the clock. Our last 389 miles clocked in at 28.31mpg.
The Knaus is just under 6.5m long and so fits into many car parks, provided that there’s room for an overhang, and it is easy to manoeuvre through towns. The reversing camera is an excellent addition and there are good all-round views from the side windows. Sadly, the rear-view mirror offers an insufficient view of the blind spot when overtaking.

Lounging & dining

The Aguti swivel cab seats, which are comfortable when driving, make great on-site lounge chairs, swivelling into place with minimum fuss thanks to the relatively wide Renault Master cab. The TV mounting, though a little cumbersome until you get used to it, is the best we’ve seen. It swivels 360 degrees and so enables viewing from the cab seats or the L-shaped lounge. It stores swiftly and securely for a quick getaway in the morning.
Our only issue was with the fixed table. It’s a practical piece of design but we felt it limited potential for socialising in the lounge. The table slides back and forth so it can be moved out of the way to allow movement through the ‘van, but if you wanted to have four friends around for drinks they would have to sit behind the table. Visitors would enjoy much more room if the table were removable and could be stowed away.
The Knaus caters well for couples using the vehicle throughout the day, who want an easy-to-use dining area.

Kitchen

What you see is what you get: a small basic kitchen with rather limited oven and no grill. Although there is no specific worksurface, we found the small space which arises from the curvature of the stylish Cramer sink and hob units just big enough to rest a pan on when cooking. Also, the slim integral drainer is just about big enough to cope with your crockery and pans when washing up dishes for two.
We found the oven door a little fiddly and were surprised to see no ignition button on the hob – although a minor oversight, it can be frustrating.

Sleeping

The corner bed has a comfy mattress, and a curtain to act as a partition. The designers have not put a window in behind the bed so there is room to sit up and read, although the presence of storage pockets across the head of the bed might make it a bit awkward.
We found the dinette bed puzzling, because the cushions didn’t quite fit together and there was no explanation in the manual of how they might. It’s unlikely that many owners will use this bed, but it’s fine for one person for a night or two. Cab blinds make getting ready for bed quick and easy, though the basic caravan windows and pull-down blinds don’t quite match the Knaus’ upper mid-market feel.

Washroom

The Sun Ti features a fairly typical washroom layout for its floorplan, and it’s one that works. There is a separate shower space and a usable toilet, and although there’s not a huge amount of room, it’s as much as you will find in layouts of this type.
Our only criticisms were the fiddly shower door, which might simply require adjusting, and the sink which was difficult to wash your face in due to the position of the overhead cupboard.

Storage

The versatility of its under-bed space marks the Knaus out ahead of the fixed-bed low-profile pack, as does its unique and ingenious TV storage system and battery locker. Overhead lockers abound: there are three over the lounge and five by the bed.
The Sun Ti falls short of full marks on two counts. First, though the kitchen has a good-sized cutlery drawer, its fridge is small for the price and only one of its lockers is tall enough to hold a big box of cereal. Second, an eye-level cupboard with clear plastic doors between the bed and the lounge seems completely misplaced. Its catches are too flimsy to store anything while on the road, so perhaps it’s intended as a drinks cabinet.

Technical specs

Sleeps3
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload520kg
Length6.33m20′9″
Width2.3m7′7″
Height2.65m8′8″
Waste water100L
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Washroom
Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Truma Gas Blown air heater, Truma Gas water heater

Verdict

The Sun Ti 600LF oozes style and pitches itself just right: it’s big enough to be liveable and small enough to be driveable, while all its bells and whistles serve a purpose. It will provide immense pride of ownership.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Good standard equipment; looks; versatile under-bed storage; stylish, comfy lounge

Cons

  • Blind spot when overtaking; lounge table; basic kitchen
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