Knaus turns the MAN TGE into a plus-sized camper van
The launch of a brand new van model isn't necessarily the most exciting thing when it's happening, but it can lead to an interesting string of all-new campers in the years following. After debuting the TGE van in 2017, MAN whet our appetites for TGE camper vans with two concepts earlier this year. This month, we saw the first MAN off-road expedition camper van at Abenteuer & Allrad. Now, Knaus comes out with the first larger TGE-based motorhome we've seen. The German motorhome maker drops a compact but comfy living box behind a Manly nose, transforming the TGE into the Van Ti Plus.
As part of its 30th anniversary year, Knaus recently announced the all-new Van Ti Plus model among a number of model year 2019 updates and additions. The company's existing Van Ti model is based on the Fiat Ducato chassis, and the new Van Ti Plus becomes the first TGE-based motorhome in Knaus' stable. We've always found the Ducato face a bit sad and droopy, and the TGE cab fixes things with much stronger facial features.
On back of that TGE front-end, Knaus has placed an aluminum-walled camping module. The rear of that box matches the elevated aesthetic of the MAN cab with a sharp-looking set of Knaus' new "Cat Eye Evolution" LED taillights.
Driving dynamics and maneuverability have been top of mind for Knaus in developing the Plus. As an all-new van model, the TGE brings some of the latest driver-assistance and safety features, and Knaus seeks to complement the road-friendly package by creating a motorhome small and sleek enough to adeptly maneuver narrow roads and city traffic. By the looks of it, it's done a solid job.
As for the TGE's assistive technologies suite, drivers will find a list of available features, including lane departure warning, electronic stabilization, hill assist, automatic road sign detection, rear-view camera and fatigue recognition. Features like fatigue recognition and road sign detection seem like they should prove even more useful on a motorhome built for extended road trips than on an everyday driver.
Knaus will launch the Van Ti Plus with two different floor plans, the 700 MF and the 650 MEG. The 700 looks particularly open and spacious, with a booth-like, dual-bench dinette set just behind the swivel front seats, and a double bed and bathroom sharing the rear. The dinette converts over to a double bed, making the 700 MF a four-sleeper. Between the front and rear ends, the 700 offers plenty of floor space, a kitchen and storage.
The 650 MEG is more compact from front to midsection, but packs a fuller rear bed area with two single beds. The bathroom gets pushed to the center of the driver side, and the kitchen sits on the passenger-side wall. The front-set dinette is smaller and includes a pull-out bench for further space savings.
Knaus hasn't released all the 101 motorhome specs just yet, but it does say that it will offer a networked electronics package, along with an available Energy Plus Package with touchscreen command center, battery sensors and intelligent dock. Photos of the 650 MEG layout show an available LED TV, wet bath layout with swiveling sink, toilet and shower, and traditional kitchen block with two-burner stove and sink. The 700 MF has a larger, L-shaped kitchen with a three-burner stove.
The Van Ti Plus will launch for the 2019 model year with standard front-wheel drive. Rear-wheel and four-wheel drive will be available optionally. Knaus remains quiet on pricing for now (the Van Ti Plus hasn't been added to its comprehensive 2019 motorhome technical brochure or price list yet) but does promise a very favorable price-performance ratio. For reference, the Ducato-based Van Ti starts just under €60,000 (approx. US$70K) when furnished with a 650 MEG floor plan.
We suspect Knaus will get specific in the coming months, either before or at the 2018 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, where parent company Knaus-Tabbert has reserved plenty of booth space.