Wild horses: Off-grid adventure vehicles and 4x4 camper vans of CMT 2019
We spent several days last week walking the numerous halls of the CMT show in Stuttgart, Germany, looking at many of Europe's latest, most up-to-date camper vans, trailers and large motorhomes. While the show wasn't quite Abenteuer & Allrad in terms of 4x4 adventure vehicles, it had its share of impressive all-terrain campers, including a few giant off-grid expedition machines. If your sense of travel and adventure find you daydreaming about exploring remote corners of the globe, these vehicles are for you.
Bimobil EX 432
What better place to start than with a big, snarling Mercedes-Benz Unimog? That's the EX 432, and it's one of the latest all-road expedition vehicles from Germany's Bimobil, an outfit that also offers the EX 435 Unimog motorhome. Like the 435, the EX 432 is based on a 228-hp diesel-engined Unimog U 4023 4x4 lifted up on portal axles and measuring 23 feet (7 m) in overall length. The newer 432 features a completely refreshed floor plan, however, with a fixed rear bed, front dining area next to a breezy picture window, and central bathroom with retractable toilet. Onboard equipment includes a Truma Combi heater/hot water boiler, 110-L compressor fridge, 300-L fresh water tank, 210-Ah gel battery and 4,200-W generator. The EX 432 seats two for the ride but that can be expanded up to five.
We didn't catch the EX 432's price at the show, but to give you an idea of the ballpark it's playing in, the EX 435 started at €279,590 (approx. US$318,750, converted today) when it debuted in 2017.
Way down the sizing chart from the EX 432, but still a big, bold vehicle in its own right, the Multicamper Adventure was one of the standout all-terrain camper vans of the show, featuring a ruggedized exterior and stylized interior. Based on a 148-hp all-wheel-drive Volkswagen Transporter, the Adventure van includes a locking rear differential, 18-in all-terrain tires and a pop-up roof. Its interior is equally impressive, the light bamboo flooring providing some appealing contrast with the dark cabinetry. A slightly different look from the average VW camper van kitchen area, the Adventure's includes a portable dual-burner stove below a hinged countertop and a faucet emerging from the rear cabinet unit.
All in all, the Multicamper Adventure is a convincing package inside and out, and we guess it needs to be to justify the €93,990 ($107,150) price tag it wore at the show. But Multicamper does offer a full lineup of sporty VW camper vans, right down to the "LowBudget" model you can learn more about in the gallery.
Robeta Helios 4x4
Given that we were in Germany, we were expecting the majority of 4x4 camper vans to be of the Volkswagen and Mercedes varieties, but another van that jumped out quite was the Citroën Jumper with Dangel four-wheel drive conversion. The Helios from Slovenia's Robeta was our favorite of the bunch, sliding a stylish interior inside the doorway of the capable base van. The 236-in (599-cm) Helios is the mid-size model in the Robeta lineup, sleeping up to four people on the foldaway rear bed and convertible dinette. What caught our eye was the rich look of the furniture, the contrasting earth tones, the artificial leather upholstery, and small touches like the spice vials hanging from the kitchen wall.
We don't have a price sheet for the show model itself, but the Jumper-based Helios starts between €46,890 and 48,189 ($53,450 and 54,950), depending upon engine, and the Dangel 4x4 is available to add on for €14,400 ($16,425).
That's really just the tip of the iceberg, and you can see the rest of the 4x4 camper vans and expedition motorhomes by jumping to the photo gallery.