Towering Chinese smart RV features elevator to second-floor sunroom
A very different style of Asian RV to the tiny Japanese and Korean mini-campers that inspire endless wanderlust, the SAIC Maxus Life Home V90 Villa Edition lives considerably larger. That's thanks to a pair of slide-outs widening the first floor and a pop-up, full-height glass-encased second story served by its own elevator. Smart tech and clean, sharp aesthetics, inside and out, team to put the finishing touches on a stylish mobile domicile that lives as comfortably as a townhome ... with a price to match.
Not long after we looked at the much humbler Maxus RG20 pop-up camper van, SAIC Maxus went nuclear with one of the more astounding RV designs we've seen in recent years. It revealed the Life Home V90 Villa Edition at a premiere event last October to show the possibilities of its customization program. The large, cutting-edge Class C motorhome serves as something of an aspirational flagship of its RV family.
The Villa Edition initially caught our eye with its large pop-up glasshouse, not to mention the small attached balcony over the driver cab. We're not sure we'd want to spend long days motoring all the Villa Edition's weight up and down mountains, and certainly not through snow or mud, but it does make for a gorgeous living space once it plants temporary roots at camp.
In contrast to larger two-story on-road and off-road Class A motorhomes, SAIC Maxus integrates its standing-height pop-up second floor rather neatly into a Class C alcove configuration, using split window walls that fold in half below the oversized roof. Maxus has semi-successfully styled around the roof's huge size with a smoothed-over, aeronautical-inspired construction, but that bulging forehead is still pretty hard to overlook.
Occupants should quickly forgive the roof's hulking size when they arrive at their destination, though. It rises high to open the upstairs into a roomy lounge with near-floor-to-ceiling glass walls providing a high indoor vantage point from which to connect with nature. The glass itself can adjust between clear and opaque, allowing owners to adjust between greater privacy and crystal-clear views.
The multipurpose upstairs space puts the focus on health and well-being. Even non-yogis might be inspired to face the window with the best sunlight-drenched view and strike a pose, and the room is also equipped to work as a dining area, tea room and study ... essentially a place to fully escape and enjoy the natural scenery, without abandoning the warmth and comfort of the indoors. The small, illuminated deck out front provides a nearby option for a breath of fresh air.
The upstairs measures 12.4 sq m (133 sq ft), but the downstairs houses a larger 20-sq m (215-sq ft) floor space thanks to the dual sidewall expansions. This area is largely dedicated to a roomy lounge and kitchen separated by a bar counter, offering the look and feel of a condo or apartment. The kitchen comes equipped with a cooktop, oven and sink, and the fridge is just across the hall in a closet next to the entryway.
The living room, meanwhile, offers a generous amount of legroom around an L-shaped corner sofa set next to a long side window. On the wall opposite the window, the large transparent TV anchors an entertainment system that also includes full audio and a ceiling-mounted multi-unit projection system.
Maxus' X-Connect RV smart system controls the fully connected electronics and amenities around the living area and vehicle cockpit. Occupants can access the system using a wall-mounted touchscreen, mobile device or compatible wearables. App, voice and gesture control round off an advanced smart home environment optimized for road travel.
The wall behind the kitchen is occupied by the bathroom and another Villa Edition highlight: the compact single-person elevator that provides a more modern way of getting up to the second floor, eliminating reliance on the usual ladder or mini-staircase.
When night falls, the main bed can be found in the alcove above the driver cab. We don't see any mention or visuals of other sleeping berths, but both the downstairs sofa and upstairs benches could easily provide room for the rest of the family, assuming they convert into beds.
Back outside, the Villa Edition's vibrant graphics package befits a flagship motorhome. Bright gold trim outlines the various shades of blue on the broad sides, while sharp LED lighting and illuminated "Maxus" badges throughout brighten things up. The design motif even extends upward onto the pop-up windows, adding a little extra flair when the motorhome is parked with its top up.
The Life Home V90 Villa Edition serves as a showcase of high-end customization possibilities, now and in the future, but SAIC Maxus did slap a CN¥2.68-million price on it during the debut last year. That converts over to around US$413,000 using current exchange rates, so it's a pretty penny for a Class C motorhome no matter which side of the ocean you find yourself RVing on.
Our pictures are limited to renderings, but SAIC Maxus did in fact prepare a full vehicle, complete with working roof, elevator and components, which you can view a quick tour of starting around 1:10 of this video (with English subtitles). There are some other interesting RVs in the video, as well.
Source: SAIC Maxus (Chinese)