GehoCab turns new Bronco and Defender into sleek, go-anywhere mini-RVs
The last time we looked at the work of Germany's GehoCab, it was concentrating its skills on creating gorgeous little off-road motorhomes out of the Volkswagen Amarok. It's now expanding its reach in a rather big way, reconfiguring its carbon-shelled chassis-mount campers for a selection of the world's favorite 4x4s, including the all-new, much-hyped Land Rover Defender and Ford Bronco. The result should be some of the world's lightest, most nimble 4x4 campers for escaping civilization to overland through wide-open spaces.
GehoCab's original Kora camper always impressed with its sleek, glossy carbon fiber construction. Unlike typical bed-top and chassis-mount truck campers, which tend to stand out like sore thumbs when mounted behind truck cabs, the Kora's smooth-edged carbon design, wide-stretched windows, flush integration with the base truck and color-matched paint give it an almost-futuristic look and feel – like something out of a dystopian sci-fi thriller. When we took a tour of the exterior and interior at Abenteuer & Allrad 2018, it felt more like we were looking over a design study than an actual product readily available to purchase and adventure in.
Knowing GehoCab is applying that seamless camper design to a who's who of the world's favorite off-road 4x4s only makes us like its campers more. In fact, the company is designing two 4x4 motorhome modules, the compact Fiete and the larger Findus.
We've been wondering who would be the first to give the Land Rover Defender and Ford Bronco camper treatments more expansive than the roof-top tents with which each has already been photographed, and GehoCab nabs both models with the Fiete. The smallest model in its fast-growing lineup, the 13-foot-long (4-m) Fiete will attach directly to the rear chassis. Along with the Defender and Bronco, GehoCab targets the Jeep Wrangler and Mercedes G-Class.
Sadly, GehoCab has not yet published any renderings of the Fiete atop the red-hot Bronco, but the motorhome does look quite natural on the shoulders of the new Land Rover Defender 110. Given that the Defender and other compatible utility vehicles do not have pickup beds, GehoCab's attachment process includes removal of the base vehicle load area behind the C-pillar, for a snug, natural fit. As it does with the Kora, GehoCab matches the fenders and works to create as seamless a camper-to-SUV transition as possible.
GehoCab's carbon construction results in an exceptionally lightweight camper, with the Fiete base weight estimate barely breaking the 1,000-lb mark at 1,014 lb (460 kg). And for those willing to spend extra, GehoCab can cut that weight even more by building interior fixtures and components out of carbon.
Inside, the Fiete does remind its two occupants that they're living on the back of a Land Rover Defender, its floor plan noticeably squished as compared to the 19.7-foot-long (6-m) Kora. Still, it manages to fit a full-time alcove bed, central dinette and compact rear kitchen block in comfortably. GehoCab also says there's a shower and toilet, and an optional conversion kit creates a third bed out of the dining bench. The interior height of 6.4 feet (195 cm) provides standing room, but those that prefer can opt for a lower, sleeker roof design instead.
The Fiete will start at €104,500 (approx. US$123,700) when it launches in October. That price includes the conversion, which buyers should be happy to leave to company pros, but not the base SUV itself. Standard equipment includes a frost-proof 90-L fresh water tank, 100-W solar panel, 100-Ah lithium battery, 29-L compressor fridge, and luggage trunk across the departure angle-optimized lower rear-end.
Those looking to upsize their overland adventures without losing too much off-road capability might prefer the new Findus. GehoCab steps up to a roomier 15.4-foot-long (4.7-m) two-/four-sleeper layout by relying on longer-wheelbase SUVs, including the Jeep Gladiator, Toyota Land Cruiser and extended-wheelbase Mercedes G-Class. This one weighs in at an estimated 1,162 lb (527 kg).
Inside, the Findus features a roomier layout that takes advantage of clever expandable design features. The dual-bench L-shaped dinette is completed by sliding the bench forward over the folded base vehicle seats, while the compact corner wet bath relies on a slide-out partition to expand interior space enough for comfortable use. The dinette can be optionally equipped to convert over to a double bed to complement the alcove bed.
GehoCab seems a bit further along in developing the Findus, but plans call for the same October 1 launch date. Pricing will start at €134,850 (US$159,625) and include a 150-L frost-proof water tank, 300-W solar charging, 160-Ah lithium battery, induction cooktop and 55-L compressor fridge.