Compact, cozy $53,000 camper van carries four people and a bathroom
The specialists at Westfalia certainly aren't the only ones who see the advantage of shoehorning compact bathrooms into 17-foot vans. The all-new Karmann Danny 530 debuts as a compact, Fiat Talento-based camper van complete with rear bathroom. Karmann uses some serious space-optimization strategies to seat and sleep four people while providing a full kitchen, dining area and wet bath with toilet, sink and shower. And it still keeps the price of its clever pop-top well below €50,000.
Unlike its little brother the Danny 490, the Danny 530 was just a touch too long to make it into our Düsseldorf mini-camper van gallery. Its name suggests it might have slid right inside our 17.4-foot (5.3-m) cutoff, but it actually measures 17.7 feet (5,399 mm) long, so just a little over.
That said, the 530 displays much the same spirit of compact, strategic packaging as its smaller brother and the other small camper vans on that list, managing to fit a bathroom, four dedicated dining seats, four sleeping berths and an L-shaped kitchen inside the Fiat Talento.
The Fiat Ducato is the more popular choice for creating a camper van with bathroom, and we saw plenty of those in Düsseldorf, but there's something much more impressive about including one in a smaller Talento pop-top. Karmann carves out a dedicated bathroom corner at the driver-side rear.
You can enter the bathroom from inside or outside the van, and you'll find a toilet and a sink with pull-out faucet that works as the shower. The van's rear-popping, frontward-sloping roof pushes the 5.9-foot (1.8-m) standing-room apex over to the rear of the van, though the limited bathroom compartment wall height looks to leave something to be desired in the privacy department, should you wish to stand.
The Westfalia Ford Nugget Plus is a couple inches shorter in total van length at 17.5 feet (5,339 mm), but it includes a high roof, measuring 9.2 feet (2,800 mm) from ground to rooftop. With its pop-top down, the Danny 530 measures just 6.8 feet (2,060 mm).
The bathroom and adjacent cabinetry take up the entire rear, leaving no room for the type of rear bed that features in many camper van conversions, including the Talento-based Danny 490. Instead, Karmann relies on a central convertible bed that sits over top the dinette and living space next to it, offering a mattress top for two. Two additional campers are accommodated by the pop-up roof bed.
During the day, the dinette provides for a dedicated sitting, eating and game-playing space. It includes vis-a-vis two-seat benches with a table between them – the front driver cab seats do not need to swivel to work as dining/living area seating.
Along the passenger side, the Danny 530 houses a long kitchen block with dual-burner stove, sink and plenty of drawers, cabinets and shelves. The 41-L compressor refrigerator is located next to that main block, within the rear cabinet, capping off an L-shaped kitchen layout.
The Danny 530 comes standard with diesel heating, a 68-L fresh water tank, 59-L waste water tank, outdoor showering, and electrical system with 75-Ah battery. The base Talento is powered by a 120-hp 1.6-liter DCI engine.
The Danny 530 isn't an unprecedented product at Karmann, and was in fact preceded by the Colibri 539, which offers much the same layout inside the Renault Trafic, the Talento's sibling van. The new Danny Talento vans replace the Colibri lineup and sit at the base of Karmann's triple-D family, which also includes the larger Dexter and Davis camper vans.
With a base price of €44,990 (approx. US$53,000), the Danny 590 is an intriguing little camper van for both couples and families. The model we looked over at the Caravan Salon was priced €50,410 ($59,230), with upgrades like a style package, electric-lift roof (mechanical lift is standard), and 143-hp engine.