Outdoors

Knaus Tabbert brings the Caravisio caravan concept to reality (kind of)

Knaus Tabbert brings the Carav...
The 2015 Eurostar doesn't share the Caravisio's dramatic shape, but it does have some ties to the concept
The 2015 Eurostar doesn't share the Caravisio's dramatic shape, but it does have some ties to the concept
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A defining feature of the 2015 Eurostar's exterior is the LED taillight design
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A defining feature of the 2015 Eurostar's exterior is the LED taillight design
The 2015 Eurostar doesn't share the Caravisio's dramatic shape, but it does have some ties to the concept
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The 2015 Eurostar doesn't share the Caravisio's dramatic shape, but it does have some ties to the concept
Inside, the bathroom sink is surrounded by various storage cubbies and drawers
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Inside, the bathroom sink is surrounded by various storage cubbies and drawers
The 2015 Eurostar's main bed isn't so sharply V-shaped as in the Caravisio, but it shares a similar design
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The 2015 Eurostar's main bed isn't so sharply V-shaped as in the Caravisio, but it shares a similar design
One of the more interesting features carried over from the Caravisio: the corner secretary desk and adjustable cushion
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One of the more interesting features carried over from the Caravisio: the corner secretary desk and adjustable cushion
Thanks to this tucked-away desk, occupants can keep their work off the dining area
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Thanks to this tucked-away desk, occupants can keep their work off the dining area
Looking out toward the en-suite bathroom from inside the bedroom
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Looking out toward the en-suite bathroom from inside the bedroom
The main bed has cushioned backrests for comfortable reading and relaxing
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The main bed has cushioned backrests for comfortable reading and relaxing
The kitchen includes two gas burners and an induction hob
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The kitchen includes two gas burners and an induction hob
The corner sofa offers plenty of seating
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The corner sofa offers plenty of seating
The fresh water tank, gel battery and other equipment are integrated into the floor
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The fresh water tank, gel battery and other equipment are integrated into the floor
Double DIN radio with CD and USB
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Double DIN radio with CD and USB
The yacht deck is gone, but the Eurostar does keep the yacht-inspired flooring
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The yacht deck is gone, but the Eurostar does keep the yacht-inspired flooring
The bathroom includes a shower/toilet room and separate sink area
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The bathroom includes a shower/toilet room and separate sink area
The shower has a folding partition
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The shower has a folding partition
Under-bed storage
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Under-bed storage
The 2013 Eurostar in Düsseldorf
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The 2013 Eurostar in Düsseldorf
The 2013 Eurostar looked much the same as the new 2015 model on the outside, but the interior has been overhauled for the latter
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The 2013 Eurostar looked much the same as the new 2015 model on the outside, but the interior has been overhauled for the latter
Knaus Tabbert 2013 Caravisio design study
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Knaus Tabbert 2013 Caravisio design study
The Caravisio had a dramatic design and high-tech features like app control and an HD projection system with inside/outside screen
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The Caravisio had a dramatic design and high-tech features like app control and an HD projection system with inside/outside screen
Knaus Tabbert 2013 Caravisio design study
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Knaus Tabbert 2013 Caravisio design study
The Caravisio included covered wheels for aerodynamic improvements
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The Caravisio included covered wheels for aerodynamic improvements
Knaus Tabbert 2013 Caravisio design study
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Knaus Tabbert 2013 Caravisio design study
Caravisio design study at the 2013 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
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Caravisio design study at the 2013 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
Caravisio design study at the 2013 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
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Caravisio design study at the 2013 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
Caravisio design study at the 2013 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
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Caravisio design study at the 2013 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
The Caravisio's back deck and entry didn't make it to production
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The Caravisio's back deck and entry didn't make it to production
Unfortunately Knaus had the velvet ropes up, so we didn't get a close look inside the Caravisio at the 2013 debut
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Unfortunately Knaus had the velvet ropes up, so we didn't get a close look inside the Caravisio at the 2013 debut
The Caravisio had a different look, but it shared features like the side table/desk with convertible cushion backrest
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The Caravisio had a different look, but it shared features like the side table/desk with convertible cushion backrest
The Caravisio had more of a V-shaped bed because of its aero exterior
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The Caravisio had more of a V-shaped bed because of its aero exterior

With a bit of inspiration from the slick, yacht-inspired Caravisio concept camper revealed in 2013, Knaus Tabbert has developed an all-new version of its Eurostar flagship caravan. While the "motorhome in a caravan" has lost a bit of the flash and feature of the Carivisio, the Eurostar is a real camper born from the same forward-looking vision: comfortable, adaptable interior, the latest in construction technology, and a touch of "yacht for the road" feel.

Wild concept cars are standard fare at auto shows, and often we get to see those cars move from crazy, experimental stage models to toned-down, mass market-ready commuter vehicles. It's rarer to see that type of evolution in the motorhome and caravan market, but the Caravisio-to-Eurostar journey provides an interesting parallel to the auto world.

Caravisio design study at the 2013 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
Caravisio design study at the 2013 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon

Knaus debuted the Caravisio design study at the 2013 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, where the "caravan of the future" was put forth as a vision for attracting new faces into the fading ranks of caravanning. Knaus didn't seem to have even the slightest production intentions at the time, but as automakers often say of concept cars, the Caravisio attracted so much attention and praise that Knaus couldn't ignore it ... or at least parts of it.

"The public interest that we achieved with this project exceeded even our highest expectations", Swen Dluzak, Knaus/Weinsberg head of product and brand management, explained earlier this year. "The numerous positive responses for us were a confirmation that with this study we had hit the nail on the head."

Knaus knew that it couldn't let the Caravisio concept rust away in a dark warehouse without bringing at least some of its design to market. It also knew the futuristic 2013 concept needed some toning down before becoming a series production-ready caravan.

Knaus dropped the hitch-able bullet train shell of the Caravisio, along with the concept's cutting edge technologies - no two-way projection TV system, fingerprint entry or smartphone-controlled air suspension. The new Eurostar's body shape and styling look virtually identical to the 2013 Eurostar model that Knaus showed alongside the Caravisio in Düsseldorf that year.

The 2013 Eurostar in Düsseldorf
The 2013 Eurostar in Düsseldorf

A lightweight, weatherproof "Top Value Technology (TVT)" sidewall construction rises from the AL-KO tandem chassis and is insulated with long fiber injection technology. The roof between those sidewalls is made from fiberglass.

The design motif on the walls is printed with a digital imaging technique that Knaus calls "Freedom of Design" (Knaus apparently doesn't think much of succinct, specific technology names). The company explains that the technology allows it to give the caravan a textured 3D look without resorting to foils and decals, as in the past.

The 2013 Eurostar styling isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's an attractive design, as far as towable living crates go, with automotive-inspired LED taillights and chrome trim. It even won a 2013 Red Dot product design award. Still, we would have liked to see at least a little Caravisio, especially if it meant carrying over the rear drop-down deck.

It's the interior that really makes or breaks a caravan, and that's where the Caravisio's influence shines through. The square, stodgy floor plans offered on older Eurostar models have been cleared out in favor of a more open, fluid layout derived directly from the Caravisio.

A defining feature of the 2015 Eurostar's exterior is the LED taillight design
A defining feature of the 2015 Eurostar's exterior is the LED taillight design

The bedroom is located at the very front of the Eurostar. Without the rounded bullet face of the Caravisio to work with, Knaus had to restructure its front-end boomerang V bed into more of a squared off U bed for two. That bed includes individual adjustable-tilt headboard cushions designed for sitting up and relaxing throughout the day.

Moving back from the front-end master bedroom, the first stop is the open en-suite bathroom, which includes a partitioned fiberglass shower and toilet opposite a sink/wardrobe. The open design of the bathroom provides a nice update from the usual cramped wash closet and allows multiple occupants to use different fixtures at the same time without tripping all over each other.

As in the Caravisio, the main cabin has an open living area with a wraparound convertible sofa-bed and table opposite a compact kitchen. The living area is a multipurpose design optimized for dining, relaxing and office work and includes a secretary's desk next to the front-most couch cushion. When work calls, simply move the cushion into backrest position and get down to business on the desk, leaving the table open for other campers to use. The desk area includes outlets for plugging in electronics, and the surface doubles as a side table when not being used as a desk.

Thanks to this tucked-away desk, occupants can keep their work off the dining area
Thanks to this tucked-away desk, occupants can keep their work off the dining area

The kitchen has a worktop for preparing food and two gas burners plus single induction hob for cooking it up. Food stays fresh inside the 39-gal (148-l) refrigerator/freezer, and dishes get cleaned in the stainless steel sink with extra-high swivel faucet.

Yacht-inspired PVC flooring ties the individual rooms together, and LED lighting illuminates the interior at night. A Truma C6 gas heater provides interior and water heating. The main bed and convertible sofa provide sleeping space for four.

An 11.9-gal (45-l) fresh water tank, gel battery and electrical hardware are located under the floor. The exterior has a 230 V input, and the interior has both electrical and USB outlets. It is wired with coaxial cable, and TVs are offered optionally.

The corner sofa offers plenty of seating
The corner sofa offers plenty of seating

The new 31-ft (9.4-m) Eurostar 650 ES launched earlier this year and starts just under €50,000 (US$56,500). It has a curb weight of 4,916 lb (2,230 kg). Options include air conditioning, sound system selections, and increased 20-gal (75-l) fresh water capacity.

Much like a production car often loses the edge and style of its concept predecessor, the Eurostar falls quite short of the futuristic design heights reached by the Caravisio concept. It does seem to be a more comfortable, livable space thanks to some of the ideas floated on the 2013 concept, though. You can compare the two designs in our full photo gallery.

Source: Knaus Tabbert

2 comments
Germano Pecoraro
Very nice! I agreethe yacht solution, many more prectis
oldguy
I agree, beautiful design work. Its understandable that some adjustments were made in order to put this into production. From the pictures, it looks as if MDF was used in some of the cabinetry. I'm wondering if newer, stronger materials without the weight factor that MDF brings to the table, are available. It would certainly add to the towing vehicles range.