Hymer reinvents RV life by bringing disruptive Vision camper to market
Hymer has actually gone and done exactly what auto lovers always want but rarely get – brought its wild, innovative concept to market, without even watering it down. The revolutionary VisionVenture B+ camper van concept it premiered at the 2019 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon becomes reality at this year's Caravan Salon. Now called the Venture S, the all-wheel-drive Mercedes Sprinter off-grid RV keeps the concept van’s look and style intact while bringing to market cutting-edge features like the rear yacht deck, interior staircase, transforming two-in-one bathroom, and inflatable pop-up second story.
As amazing a concept as it was, we never thought the VisionVenture was destined to see the light of day as a production model, especially not in three years' time. Hymer even called it a design study at launch, and it looked solely like an exploratory vessel for next-generation features and innovations, some of which have already made it into Hymer Group products like the Bürstner Lyseo Gallery TD and Niesmann + Bischoff iSmove motorhomes.
But here it is, the production Venture S. Three years later, and it's still arguably the coolest, most cutting-edge camper van the world has ever seen, only this time aspirational van lifers can actually buy it. The production version sticks so closely to the concept, the two are nearly indistinguishable, whether you're looking at the exterior from a distance or standing inside the cabin.
"With the Venture S, we have reimagined motorhoming from the ground up while drawing inspiration from the needs and ideas of the van-life community," said Hymer president Christian Bauer in introducing the model on Friday. "The result is a completely new category of motorhome which we are now launching on the market – driven by the outstanding feedback on our concept vehicle and supported by the expertise of our company – after only a short development phase."
The base Venture S wears a "stone gray" paintwork that's more subdued than the concept's paint job, but buyers that want to match the concept more closely can upgrade to the optional “sea blue metallic” paint. Either paint is underpinned by gray lower and rear cladding that emphasizes the plus-size van’s all-terrain toughness — Hymer stresses the point that the Vision S, like the VisionVenture, is an “off-roader," riding atop the 188-hp 4.1-tonne AWD Sprinter chassis-cab with off-road tires.
Instead of building the Venture S into a Sprinter van, Hymer follows the same formula it wrote for the VisionVenture in preparing its own cabin to sit atop Mercedes' bareback chassis. That 216-cm (85-in)-wide cabin flares out from the 202-cm (79.5-in)-wide driver's cab to add extra interior space without becoming as wide and boxy as a Class C motorhome. As a result, the 646-cm (254-in)-long Venture S takes the form of a true B+ design meant to deliver confident, capable handling on and off road with an interior that a couple can make a permanent home without any feelings of claustrophobia.
Approaching the Venture S from the rear, you'll immediately note that the yacht-inspired tailgate deck carries over from the VisionVenture, though it doesn’t come with any sign of the slide-out grill. That deck works in conjunction with the lift-up glass to create a floor-to-ceiling opening for the indoor/outdoor lounge and al fresco dining area. The tailgate is built to hold up to 350 kg (771 lb), offering plenty of strength to serve as a legitimate rear deck for sitting atop and taking in the views. Airline-style tie-down track on the outside of the tailgate can be used to mount accessories or carriers, such as bicycle racks.
Even on rainy days that require closing up the tailgate hatches, the Vision S delivers a scenic, open feel by bringing to life the wraparound glass previewed on the VisionVenture. Hymer calls it the “Infinity Screen,” a three-sided tinted glasshouse that connects the rear windshield with rear windows on each side, broken only briefly by the rear pillars.
At launch, the Venture S is designed for only two travelers, so the table between the dual benches of the dining area does not drop down to create a bed, though it seems like it easily could if Hymer wanted to add the option of one or two extra berths. The dining table can fold up and slide via floor rails below the bench to open up a roomier rear sofa lounge.
Hymer indulges Venture S RVers with homey touches like the hanging lights and yacht deck-inspired wall paneling that includes integrated grooves for hanging plants, hooks, lights and other accessories. That paneling becomes particularly useful around the kitchen, where owners can customize it with shelves, baskets and other storage solutions for keeping all their tools, spices and cooking essentials within arm’s reach. The kitchen also includes a dual-burner gas stove, sink with stylish, concept-style wall-mounted faucet and plenty of overhead storage.
Across from the kitchen, the Venture S bathroom shares an expandable, transformable layout with the VisionVenture concept and the iSmove motorhome, offering dry bath convenience within the permanent footprint of a wet bath. The space-saving design allows the user to quickly expand the interior via a push-out outer wall and switch from toilet room to shower room via a rotating inner wall. In shower mode, the toilet and sink disappear away behind the wall, giving the user an uncluttered shower room clad in chic slate.
A final concept feature that makes it to production in the Venture S' downstairs living area is the front workstation, an elegant solution for the digital nomad lifestyle that has absolutely taken off in a way that no one was even thinking about in Fall 2019. A console built into the interior passenger-side wall has a fold-out bamboo desk that works with the swivel passenger seat to create a workstation separate from the dining lounge, meaning both occupants can enjoy individual onboard work spaces. An adjustable skylight overhead supplies natural lighting; an integrated desk lamp provides not-as-natural lighting; and storage shelves keep things organized.
With all that functionality and style downstairs, Venture S occupants may not be all that keen to go to bed, but eventually they’ll need some sleep. The upstairs bedroom rises into place in fewer than three minutes via compressor-fed inflatable walls that offer more sound and weather insulation than traditional single-wall fabric.
As homey as the downstairs, the bedroom area includes a double bed that can be adjusted in firmness via Hymer’s app, a hanging lamp of its own, and a side table with electrical outlets for storing phones, wallets, flashlights, water, etc. As debuted on the VisionVenture, the space is accessed via a tiny-home like illuminated staircase next to the kitchen block, which doubles as a storage area thanks to compartments built below the stair treads.
The Venture S is designed to stay fully off-grid for up to 10 days, utilizing a 320-Ah smart lithium battery bank supported by 345 watts of roof-mounted solar. The 120-L fresh water tank is connected to a drinking filter system for cleaner-tasting water. Hymer ensures that any time spent in the van can be enjoyed to the fullest by adding in a standard mobile Sonos speaker that can be mounted on the grooved wall paneling. Buyers can also add an optional projector system with wall-mounted screen. The Hymer Connect smart system offers centralized and mobile app systems control and monitoring.
The Venture S should very much appeal to the same broad population of experienced camper van and small motorhome owners, outdoor enthusiasts, design fanatics and general onlookers as the VisionVenture, but not every admirer will be driving one home. The €225,000 (approx. US$225,000) base is a premium price for a premium product, especially when you consider that it only seats and sleeps two people and can't even be for an entire family.
Hymer launched the Venture S for order when it announced the model on the preview day of this year's Düsseldorf Caravan Salon. Its announcement doesn't mention when production or deliveries will begin, but Saturday is our first day on the floor of the Caravan Salon, and we’ll look to bring back more details about the Venture S and Hymer’s other new vehicles.