Trendy mini-motorhome is an alcove-topped camper van alternative
We've seen a few 540-cm (213-in) camper vans with compact wet bathrooms shoehorned into their load areas. Drop below that van size, though, and you're usually looking at a toilet stowed below the bench seat ... at best. If you want a dry bathroom with separate shower and toilet areas, you had better upsize and/or use some trickery, like Rapido's swing-away wardrobe. Or, start with a Fiat Doblo small van chassis, bolt on a motorhome cabin with alcove bed, and get a 515-cm (203-in) mini-motorhome with a full-width dry bathroom, for something of an ideal #vanlife mobile that's not quite a van.
While the larger Iridium motorhome was impressing the crowd with its all-electric powertrain, the Bela Trendy 1 next to it at Wohnmobil Outlet Factory's (WOF's) 2019 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon exhibit was wowing visitors with its tiny size and fully equipped interior. With the Trendy, Bela plants its own fiberglass living module atop a Doblo chassis, creating a Class C motorhome that's shorter than many a Class B (camper van). It's designed to drive more like a passenger car, less like a delivery truck.
With its combination of small, nosey Doblo cab and robust alcove, the Trendy definitely makes a strong first impression. Like many other visitors, we had sought WOF's booth out solely to check out the Iridium, an all-electric Class C motorhome, but we walked away even more impressed with the tiny Trendy.
By stashing the main transverse 130 x 180-cm (51 x 71-in) double bed in the alcove, Bela opens up the entirety of the main camper floor for other furniture and equipment. So, in addition to a kitchen and three-person dinette with two dedicated benches, the Trendy 1S has room left over for a dry bathroom stretching the full 187-cm (74-in) width of the motorhome. The shower cell is located on the driver side, the toilet on the passenger side and a small sink in the middle. A central door closes the bathroom off from the main living area.
Beyond that, the Trendy is a pretty simple small motorhome. The kitchen block features a 78-L compressor fridge and a stove/sink combo below a worktop lid. The dinette converts into a single bed, combining with the alcove bed to sleep a total of three people. Looking at the cabin, though, it seems the Trendy would be best used as a two-sleeper, and mostly for happy couples that love spending a lot of time close together. The driver cab is totally separate from the living area, but a passthrough allows for easy movement between the two.
The Trendy 1S starts at €39,990 (US$43,900), an affordable camper van-level price that makes it an intriguing option for those that value a dry bathroom but want a small, nimble vehicle with more car-like handling. It's not quite as photogenic as a camper van, but we're guessing couples will forget all about that as they simultaneously brush teeth and shower.
In Düsseldorf, WOF showed the new Trendy 1G floor plan, which features a tall outdoor storage compartment (garage). To accommodate this feature, the bathroom is compressed down to around 3/4 of the van width. It still has the passenger-side toilet, but the shower moves to the center, with a longitudinally positioned sink at the other end. The 1G floor plan adds just under €1,000 to the base price, and the show model in our photos was optioned up to €44,168 (US$48,475) with equipment like an awning and bicycle carrier.