Automotive

Trendy mini-motorhome is an alcove-topped camper van alternative

Trendy mini-motorhome is an al...
The updated Iridium motorhome next to the Trendy 1 was our original reason for visiting the WOF booth, but we found ourselves more enamored with the Trendy 1G on show
The updated Iridium motorhome next to the Trendy 1 was our original reason for visiting the WOF booth, but we found ourselves more enamored with the Trendy 1G on show
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The Bela Trendy 1 is a mini-motorhome that packs everything a pair of travelers need
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The Bela Trendy 1 is a mini-motorhome that packs everything a pair of travelers need
The Bela Trendy 1S day/night floor plan pictured above; the 1G floor plan cuts off the driver-side part of the bathroom to make room for a storage garage
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The Bela Trendy 1s floor plan; the 1G floor plan cuts off the driver-side part of the bathroom to make room for a storage garage
Bela previously offered an even smaller 499-cm 1xs variant, with a compacted corner bathroom, but it's no longer listed as an option on the Bela website or in the brochure we picked up at the Caravan Salon
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Bela previously offered an even smaller 499-cm 1xs variant, with a compacted corner bathroom, but it's no longer listed as an option on the Bela website or in the brochure we picked up at the Caravan Salon
By lofting the bed up over the driver cab, Bela is able to fit in a full-width dry bathroom
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By lofting the bed up over the driver cab, Bela is able to fit in a full-width dry bathroom
The compact kitchen has a single-burner stove, sink and compressor fridge
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The compact kitchen has a stove, sink and compressor fridge
Passenger-side toilet and slim central sink on the Bela Trendy 1S
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Passenger-side toilet and slim central sink on the Bela Trendy 1S
The dinette seats three on its two benches, leaving the driver cab seats to face forward all the time
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The dinette seats three on its two benches, leaving the driver cab seats to face forward
The updated Iridium motorhome next to the Trendy 1 was our original reason for visiting the WOF booth, but we found ourselves more enamored with the Trendy 1G on show
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The updated Iridium motorhome next to the Trendy 1 was our original reason for visiting the WOF booth, but we found ourselves more enamored with the Trendy 1G on show
Bela Trendy 1G on show at the 2019 Caravan Salon
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Bela Trendy 1G on show at the 2019 Caravan Salon
The alcove bed is set transversely
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The alcove bed is set transversely
The 1G has the sink on the end wall of the compacted bathroom
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The 1G has the sink on the end wall of the compacted bathroom
Bela Trendy 1G toilet area
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Bela Trendy 1G toilet area
Bela Trendy 1G shower
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Bela Trendy 1G shower
This external garage is the main piece that separates the 1S and 1G
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This external garage is the main piece that separates the 1S and 1G
The Bela Trendy looks like a functional camper car for travel and holidays
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The Bela Trendy looks like a functional camper car for travel and holidays

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.

The alcove bed is set transversely
The alcove bed is set transversely

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.

Passenger-side toilet and slim central sink on the Bela Trendy 1S
Passenger-side toilet and slim central sink on the Bela Trendy 1S

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.

Bela Trendy 1G on show at the 2019 Caravan Salon
Bela Trendy 1G on show at the 2019 Caravan Salon

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.

This external garage is the main piece that separates the 1S and 1G
This external garage is the main piece that separates the 1S and 1G

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.

Source: WOF

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