The motorhome specialists at Hymer call it a "Loft," but those at sister brand Carado prefer "Studio." The new Axion Studio becomes Carado's first North American-market pop-top camper van, doubling sleeping capacity over the two-sleeper Axion. With its rear bathroom, expanding central sofa-bed and lower price point, the new Studio is also quite different from the Hymer Aktiv 2.0 Loft, giving it a place all its own in Hymer Group's expanding American lineup.
Based on the same 280-hp, 213-in (541 cm) Ram Promaster 1500 as the fixed-roof Axion, the Axion Studio is decidedly less fancy and more compact than Hymer's longer, more well-equipped Aktiv 2.0 Loft pop-top. But the Studio's US$83,533 base price should look attractive to those shopping for a simple, functional pop-top camper van, at least once they've price-checked it against the Loft's six-figure starting point.
One big downside, though: The Axion Studio lacks the space for the front-facing dining/passenger seats built into the Aktiv 2.0, so it only seats two during the ride, drastically limiting its appeal with families and groups who intend to ride and camp together. We guess it's more of a "you take the Studio, and we'll meet you at the campground in our car" type of motorhome, though Carado seems to be positioning it as a spacious option for #vanlife couples, with the pop-up roof serving as a roomy full-time bedroom and the convertible sofa-bed an option for visitors spending the night.
The Axion Studio floor plan does find space for the other essentials of campsite living, carrying a rear wet bath, a passenger-side kitchen block, and a convertible bed just behind the swivel driver seat. The bed works as a sofa in daylight and can overnight as a single or expand out into a 72 x 47-in (183 x 119-cm) double.
If that 1-/2-sleeper layout sounds familiar, it's because it's the same configuration that appears on the fixed-roof Axion we looked at in November. In fact, the cabin layout of the Axion Studio remains virtually identical to the standard Axion, right down to the expanding worktop and indoor/outdoor 88-L fridge integrated into the front end of the kitchen block.
It's not until you climb up into the roof that you see the real difference between Axion and Axion Studio. The top-floor "studio" houses a second bed that's roomier than the main bed below, offering 78 x 51 in (198 x 128-cm) of sleeping space, just like the bed in the Aktiv 2.0 Loft. Another change that comes with the pop-up roof is the relocation of the standard air conditioner from rooftop to underbody.
Back downstairs, cooking gets done on the dual-burner propane stove and in the 700-watt microwave up above. When the meal's ready, it can be served on the pedestal dining table mounted in front of the sofa or between the swivel driver-area seats.
Other standard features include a toilet, flip-up bathroom sink with pullout shower faucet, Alde furnace/hot water heater, 105-Ah battery, 2,000-W inverter and 67-L fresh water tank. Options include a 200-W solar system, lithium battery storage, 24-in HD TV with Blu-ray player, and generator.
Carado announced the all-new Axion Studio in late December and plans to show it at the Florida RV SuperShow later this month.
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