$1-million Unimog RV gentrifies unwelcoming lands in ultramodern style
Already highly experienced at upfitting the Volkswagen Grand California camper van into various grades of aggressive off-road mayhem machine, Germany's Stone Offroad Design (SOD) super-sizes its all-terrain camper game with the new Rise 4x4. The unique adventure motorhome tasks a Mercedes-Benz Unimog with carrying a sleek, pop-up four-person mini-apartment to make home out of the most hostile terrain on or off the map. The result is one of the world's most convincing combinations of land-conquering off-road capability and comfortable modern living.
Bolting a luxurious motorhome box atop a rugged 4x4 chassis certainly is far from a new formula, but it's one that's been steadily evolving to encompass more high-end motorsport- and aerospace-grade materials, homier interior spaces, and ruggeder base vehicles fully adorned with aftermarket off-road upgrades. The TruckHouse BCT, Darc Mono and EarthRoamer XV-HD serve as a few of the better, no-expense-spared examples we've seen over the past half-decade.
By opting for the square-jawed Unimog 5032, SOD eliminates the need for much, if any, aftermarket upgrading. The base truck brings not only the expected off-road hardware, such as a proper 4x4 system with locking front and rear differentials, but also standard performance-boosting add-ons like clearance-lifting portal axles, tire pressure management, an eight-speed transmission with off-road gear set, and a raised air intake system that allows for fording through depths of nearly 4 feet (1.2 m). Whether it's muscling raw tree trunks out of the lightless recesses of the forest or plumbing those recesses for the most scenic patch of ground to make camp, the Unimog is up to the task like few to no other stock trucks on the market.
SOD tacks on a grill guard atop the embedded-winch bumper and offers Rise 4x4 buyers both 230-hp four-cylinder and 394-hp six-cylinder diesel engine options.
With Mercedes putting in nearly all the work on the overland-anywhere capability front, SOD dedicates its time to creating a large, luxurious custom alcove motorhome module that can be used on or off the truck. Its clean, sleek body is lightly dressed in accessories that include an alcove-front stone guard and LED light bar, a rear spare tire carrier that also hauls a motorcycle or small ATV, and an aluminum cargo box.
Inside, the Rise 4x4 looks every bit as impressive as outside, albeit in a much more delicate, fashionable way. The camper appears to derive its name in part from the small pop-up roof extension that creates added headroom and wraparound views in the alcove bedroom with fixed double bed. Just next to the steps up to that bed, behind a door that looks pulled straight out of a house, the bathroom compartment comes with a rather artsy pyramid shaped toilet, floating vanity sink and rainfall shower.
The other half of the "rise" function of SOD's Unimog RV is found over top the rear dining lounge. The second bed lifts away and stores over the U-shaped sofa and round table, leaving a nesting-ring chandelier dangling artfully over the lounge. At night, that double bed lowers down just over tabletop level, the chandelier collapsing quietly and neatly.
The central kitchen spans the aisle and includes an appliance set pulled directly from a luxury home order catalog. The four-burner induction cooktop sits between an extractor hood and oven. Across the way, the full-height double-door fridge/freezer provides plenty of space to keep the meat red and veggies green and crisp. The sink features a tall, arched faucet.
The Rise 4x4 comes specced to 2021 technological standards, bringing a global-ready internet package, multimedia system with app control and full sound system. Power comes stored in a 400-Ah/24-V lithium-ion battery pack wired up to 840 watts of solar panels. Temperature control is provided via air/water heating, underfloor heating and A/C.
Other Unimog-based expedition motorhomes have nicely appointed interiors, but assuming the Rise 4x4 renderings prove true to life, we think SOD is pushing its design a step further. Its interior mirrors the type of carefully appointed, homey ambiances that have risen to the upper echelons of Europe's road-going motorhome and caravan design. The company puts heavy emphasis on neutral colors and natural-style materials to give its interior a standout look that hardly feels like an RV at all.
The Rise 4x4's floors, counters and step treads are trimmed in a marble-look stoneware, while furniture, cabinets and tabletops flash the gloss of "Conform Graphite" surfaces. Copper-steel fixtures and copper accents appear throughout. The books, plants, centerpieces and general freestanding decor around the interior certainly look nice in the renderings, but we doubt any serious overlander will try to recreate those images before rumbling down rock-strewn trail. Even without them, though, the hard-mounted appliances, furniture, surfaces and trim combine to create a very upscale, ultramodern residential atmosphere.
The Rise 4x4 debuts as a sibling to SOD's Rise 4x2, and the company plans to begin production in 2022. It currently lists the 400-hp six-cylinder model at a cool €899,900 (approx. US$1 million). It does not have a listing for the four-cylinder version, but we'll go out on a limb and say that whatever price drop is attached won't be enough to get it remotely flirting with mass-market territory.
Source: Stone Offroad Designs