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