Automotive

Westfalia's latest VW camper van works as holiday RV and everyday MPV

Westfalia's latest VW camper v...
With its compact size and pop-up roof, the Kepler Five drives and parks with ease and offers enough space for a family of four at camp
With its compact size and pop-up roof, the Kepler Five drives and parks with ease and offers enough space for a family of four at camp
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Westfalia's Kepler Five is built as an MPV/RV
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Westfalia's Kepler Five is built as an MPV/RV
Westfalia shows its lineup at the 2020 Caravan Salon
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Westfalia shows its lineup at the 2020 Caravan Salon
With its compact size and pop-up roof, the Kepler Five drives and parks with ease and offers enough space for a family of four at camp
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With its compact size and pop-up roof, the Kepler Five drives and parks with ease and offers enough space for a family of four at camp
Swivel cab seats and a removable pedestal table create a dining area for five people
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Swivel cab seats and a removable pedestal table create a dining area for five people
Unlike other Kepler models, the Kepler Five has a three-seat rear bench to seat a total of five people during driving
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Unlike other Kepler models, the Kepler Five has a three-seat rear bench to seat a total of five people during driving
Folding the bench down into bed form
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Folding the bench down into bed form
While slim, the kitchen block still packs in the usual dual-burner stove, sink and drawer stack
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While slim, the kitchen block still packs in the usual dual-burner stove, sink and drawer stack
The 51-L compressor fridge stands atop a compact clothes closet
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The 51-L compressor fridge stands atop a compact clothes closet
The drop-down bed in the pop-up roof
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The drop-down bed in the pop-up roof
Lower bed all made up
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Lower bed all made up
The Westfalia Kepler Five has an outdoor shower with convenient towel hanging and optional hot water
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The Westfalia Kepler Five has an outdoor shower with convenient towel hanging and optional hot water
A portable toilet comes optionally
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A portable toilet comes optionally
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Westfalia may be still thought of fondly for its classic Volkswagen pop-top camper vans, but the company continues to innovate its way into the future with versatile, new floor plans built into large and mid-size vans. Something of a Franco-German design, the all-new Kepler Five shrinks down to sub-5-m mini-campervan size while offering a fully equipped layout with two beds, a full kitchen, and even an available toilet and hot shower. The downsized van is designed to move seamlessly from everyday city commuting to high-mileage road trips.

The latest member of Westfalia's Kepler family looks quite different from its older siblings, the Kepler One and Kepler Six. Unlike the more traditional sidewall-hugging central kitchen layouts of those two vans, the Kepler Five has its kitchen in the rear of the van and keeps the center reserved for the living and dining area. This reconfiguration takes place as Westfalia drops the Kepler Five down to a 490-cm (193-in)-long VW Transporter, from the 530-cm (209-in) model that underpins the Kepler One and Six.

The Five's compact kitchen block stands in the passenger side of the load area, pairing a dual-burner stove with a round sink. There's no extra countertop, so working is limited to the fold-up counter extension and stove and sink lids. A series of drawers offer storage below the counter, pushing the 51-L compressor fridge over to the driver side, where it stands atop the half-height wardrobe.

The 51-L compressor fridge stands atop a compact clothes closet
The 51-L compressor fridge stands atop a compact clothes closet

Much like Volkswagen and its California Beach, Westfalia created this Kepler alternative in part to comfortably fit in a three-seat rear bench. The smaller length of the van makes it more nimble for city driving and parking.

The Kepler Five's rear bench folds down into a 190 x 110-cm (75 x 43-in) bed. The bed inside the pop-up roof measures 190 x 120 cm (75 x 47 in), making the Kepler Five a proper five-seater family van during the week and four-person family camper on the weekend.

Westfalia's Kepler Five floor plan doesn't leave any room for a bathroom, but the van does include an outdoor shower connected to its 64-L fresh water tank. The shower head is fed via electric pump but is cold water only, unless the buyer adds in the optional 10-L water heater. Hooks on the outside of the fridge cabinet provide a place to hang a towel and soap-on-a-rope. A portable toilet is available optionally and stores between the wardrobe and rear bench.

The Westfalia Kepler Five has an outdoor shower with convenient towel hanging and optional hot water
The Westfalia Kepler Five has an outdoor shower with convenient towel hanging and optional hot water

Buyers looking for a comparably compact van with inside bathroom should consider Westfalia's 490-cm VW Club City Joker pop-top, which we checked out at CMT earlier this year. It has a built-in toilet located across from the rear-corner kitchen and a shower floor in the center of the aisle. The downside of that floor plan is that it only has a two-seat rear bench and comes standard with only the pop-up roof bed, a smaller 180 x 90-cm (70 x 35-in) folding bench bed available as an option.

The Kepler 5's standard features package also includes a Webasto diesel heater, removable dining table, swivel cab seats, a 100-Ah battery, LED lighting and a 36-L waste water tank. Available camper options include a 180-W solar panel, rear tent and mosquito nets for the doors.

Though Westfalia is a German marque building the Kepler series on a German van, the Kepler Five's design was influenced heavily by the French market, home to parent company Rapido Group and Westfalia's Benet plant. The Five debuted in July with an explosion of teasers, announcements and videos in France, ahead of a more formal world premiere at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon in September.

Westfalia shows its lineup at the 2020 Caravan Salon
Westfalia shows its lineup at the 2020 Caravan Salon

The Kepler Five starts at €52,900 (approx. US$61,775) in France when built atop the T6.1 base van with 89-hp 2.0-liter TDI engine and five-speed manual transmission, rising slightly to €53,290 in Germany. Vehicle upgrades include various powertrain options up to a 195-hp TDI mated to a seven-speed DSG transmission, 4Motion all-wheel drive and a locking differential.

Source: Westfalia

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3 comments
sdw
Looks like a pain in the butt to use.
alm
yes and besides hard to use, its more a clumsy driving wardrobe never improved design for decades
BlueOak
Not a fan of the latest front end T6 facelift styling. Looks cheap and pedestrian, a step backward.

As to the Westfalia conversion, we had the opportunity to drive and camp in both the last VW Westfalia model when it was available directly from VW... and compare it to the Winnebago conversion that was converted in the US.

The Westfalia being on the short wheelbase was smaller and easier to park than the long wheelbase Winnebago. But the thing that struck and surprised us was how much quieter and rattle-free the Winnebago conversion was. Very few rattles and squeaks that are common in conversions. Whilst the Westfalia was a rattle-squeak monster. And both vehicles were new.