Automotive

Morphable VW pop-top RV erases divide between camper van and motorhome

Morphable VW pop-top RV erases divide between camper van and motorhome
The Tourer CUV MQ includes a raised rear bed over top a roomy garage
The Tourer CUV MQ includes a raised rear bed over top a roomy garage
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Knaus seeks a careful balance between Class B camper van and Class C motorhome
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Knaus seeks a careful balance between Class B camper van and Class C motorhome
Knaus previews the new Tourer CUV
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Knaus previews the new Tourer CUV
Unlike the full-size camper vans and motorhomes at Knaus, the Tourer CUV comes based on the midsize VW T6.1
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Unlike the full-size camper vans and motorhomes at Knaus, the Tourer CUV comes based on the midsize VW T6.1
Knaus uses a variety of space-optimization strategies including a full-length pop-top
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Knaus uses a variety of space-optimization strategies including a full-length pop-top
The pop-up roof lets the Tourer CUV maintain a low ride height and 2 full meters of interior headroom
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The pop-up roof lets the Tourer CUV maintain a low ride height and 2 full meters of interior headroom
The Tourer CUV MQ includes a raised rear bed over top a roomy garage
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The Tourer CUV MQ includes a raised rear bed over top a roomy garage
The Tourer CUV is easy to recognize thanks to its T6.1 cab and ducktail-like roof flip
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The Tourer CUV is easy to recognize thanks to its T6.1 cab and ducktail-like roof flip
At the helm
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At the helm
The Knaus Tourer CUV has a standard motorhome/camper van floor plan with front dinette, central kitchen and bathroom and rear bed
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The Knaus Tourer CUV has a standard motorhome/camper van floor plan with front dinette, central kitchen and bathroom and rear bed
Inside the Knaus Tourer CUV
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Inside the Knaus Tourer CUV
Soft-sided overhead kitchen storage
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Soft-sided overhead kitchen storage
A signature feature of the Knaus Tourer CUV MQ floor plan is the expandable dry bathroom that operates in conjunction with the retractable bed panel
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A signature feature of the Knaus Tourer CUV MQ floor plan is the expandable dry bathroom that operates in conjunction with the retractable bed panel
Folding down the bathroom wall to open up the shower
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Folding down the bathroom wall to open up the shower
During the day, the temporary wall replaces part of the bed to create a separate shower room in the bathroom
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During the day, the temporary wall replaces part of the bed to create a separate shower room in the bathroom
The toilet and sink are available all the time, but the shower deploys only when it's needed
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The toilet and sink are available all the time, but the shower deploys only when it's needed
Back to a tapered double bed
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Back to a tapered double bed
Pictured here on the slightly larger Tourer Van model, the expandable shower room's folding shower door
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Pictured here on the slightly larger Tourer Van model, the expandable shower room's folding shower door
Separate toilet/sink and shower areas (pictured on the Tourer Van)
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Separate toilet/sink and shower areas (pictured on the Tourer Van)
The sink slides out of the way for better toilet access (pictured on the Tourer Van)
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The sink slides out of the way for better toilet access (pictured on the Tourer Van)
Lifting the bed and folding out the wall (pictured on the Tourer Van)
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Lifting the bed and folding out the wall (pictured on the Tourer Van)
Removing the bed cushion before expanding the shower room (pictured on the Tourer Van)
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Removing the bed cushion before expanding the shower room (pictured on the Tourer Van)
When in sleep mode, the upper shower room is inaccessible (pictured on the Tourer Van)
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When in sleep mode, the upper shower room is inaccessible (pictured on the Tourer Van)
View gallery - 22 images

Nearly a year after making waves with a rotary range-extended electric motorhome, German RV giant Knaus-Tabbert has emptied the tricks out of both sleeves in another attempt to change the RV game. Its all-new Volkswagen T6.1-based Tourer CUV sizes shorter than many camper vans despite its semi-integrated motorhome construction. At camp, it lives more like a Class B+/C motorhome thanks to a van-style pop-up roof and rear bed that partially folds away when expanding the dry bathroom. The new CUV looks to create the perfect balance between nimble van-like driving and spacious motorhome living.

Knaus and sister company Weinsberg previously reserved the term CUV (caravanning utility vehicle) for camper vans, building up a complete lineup based on full-size vans like the Volkswagen Crafter and Fiat Ducato. With the all-new Tourer CUV, Knaus extends the moniker to a Class B+ motorhome with an in-house-built living module planted atop the midsize VW T6.1 cab chassis. At 588 cm (232 in) long, the Tourer CUV is shorter than most of the CUV camper van models, which measure 599+ cm (236+ in).

Despite the shorter length, the Tourer CUV is optimized for comfortable living more akin to a typical semi-integrated motorhome. The flared sidewalls of the motorhome module deliver an extra 3 cm (1.2 in) of interior width compared to a 599-cm-long Fiat Ducato CUV camper van and an extra 18 cm (7 in) over a 598-cm-long MAN TGE-based CUV camper van.

Knaus seeks a careful balance between Class B camper van and Class C motorhome
Knaus seeks a careful balance between Class B camper van and Class C motorhome

To create a comfortable interior height to match the added width, Knaus installs a pop-up roof. Unlike the wedge-shaped pop-tops on its CUV van models, the Tourer's pop-up extends the full-length of the roof, raising the RV's standing height to a full 2 meters (6.6 feet) throughout the floor plan. The pop-top can also house an optional slide-in-place double bed.

The pop-up roof lets the Tourer CUV maintain a low ride height and 2 full meters of interior headroom
The pop-up roof lets the Tourer CUV maintain a low ride height and 2 full meters of interior headroom

Down below, the added size of Knaus' module allows for a motorhome layout with a raised bed over top a storage tunnel with interior and exterior access. And that's where Knaus gets extra creative — during the day, the driver-side front bed panel lifts out of the way, working in conjunction with the fold-out expansion on the upper rear wet bathroom wall. Once fully folded out, the design opens up the shower room, essentially doubling the space of the narrow wet bath cell and turning it into a dry bath with individual shower and toilet/sink areas separated by a folding shower door.

Separate toilet/sink and shower areas (pictured on the Tourer Van)
Separate toilet/sink and shower areas (pictured on the Tourer Van)

The remainder of the Tourer CUV floor plan is straightforward, combining a passenger-side kitchen block with a driver-side front dinette. Along with the "MQ" floor plan described, Knaus will offer an "LT" floor plan with a larger front dinette that converts into the double bed (no rear bed) and an alternative bathroom design.

Knaus previewed the 2023 Tourer CUV family at its annual conference this week but has not yet released the full spec list, price sheet or photos of the actual model. We've included a few more photos of the expandable bathroom operation as seen on the similar but taller and wider Tourer Van model (Knaus' naming structure is getting quite confusing) to better illustrate the design. We'll look to fill in more of the Tourer CUV details, and hopefully grab some real photos, when Knaus shows its latest offerings at the 2022 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon in August.

Source: Knaus

View gallery - 22 images
3 comments
3 comments
Larry W
Think how much better this would be with an all electric power and powertrain. With batteries below the floor--the floor sits 6 inches lower making access easier and less need for as much popup height saving in weight. With all electric appliances, heat pumps you reduce the fire danger substantially by not using propane tanks, noisy and dangerous diesel generators which cannot be used after 9 pm in many places that RV's park at for the night. It's time to focus on EV RV's NewAtlas right now your just 'oldatlas'.
pbethel
Re-invent the wheel and call it revolutionary.
jerryd
A lot smarter would be dropping the isle floor down between the frames and no need for a poptop, it's extra weight, cost, drag, leaks.