Detailed ReviewIF there’s one thing that made – and still makes – the Sun TI stand out from the crowd, it’s the model’s stylish looks.
And it’s a theme that is continued with the new Sport TI.
Admittedly, the body construction is not as sophisticated and, in particular, the join of the side and roof panels is a bit boxy, but the blue and silver colour scheme of the optional Silver Line version is certainly eye-catching.
You have to make do with shiny chrome-effect wheeltrims instead of alloy wheels, but at under £40,000 who’s complaining?
It’s not just a pretty face, either. The leisure battery is nicely accessible in its skirt locker on the offside and the main external hatches come with high-quality catches.
The caravan door’s single-point locking and lack of a window is slightly disappointing, but you do get easy access via a low floor and a single internal step, and a very neat concertina-type flyscreen which pulls across the door is a bonus, too.
The door is also well-trimmed on the inside with a useful storage pocket, and on the outside there’s an awning light. A grab handle, tall and thin mirror, coat hooks and light switches are all conveniently located adjacent to the doorway.
One of the key differences, though, between this and a Sun TI is the garage. Two of the three Sport TI layouts have a rear garage and, despite the 600MG being the baby of the range, it has the biggest garage storage capacity – and the best payload.
The 600MG’s layout is so typically European that it’s set to divide opinion. If you like your motorhomes as traditionally British as a Cornish pasty then you’ll probably hate it, but if you’re more of a foie gras type then you might just love it.
You can, of course, forget all notions of a sumptuous rear lounge. At the back instead you get a high-level fixed bed, mounted over that garage. And there’s not an ounce of chintz in the Sport TI.
It’s modern, practical and absolutely superbly built. In fact, where the exterior is perhaps a decaffeinated version of the Sun TI, the interior retains the full strength espresso flavour of its big brother.
Although the 600MG is a pure two-berth, there are travel seats for four and the half-dinette would be hard to beat for carrying a couple of friends on a day out, or perhaps grandchildren who’ll sleep in a tent outside.
For meals, the substantial free-standing table is typically Teutonic – heavy and over-engineered but totally wobble-free.
If you aim to replicate the best of the celebrity chefs’ cooking, the 600MG’s compact culinary quarters will probably fall short of your expectations, but don’t judge the Knaus too harshly, or too quickly. A small oven, no grill, a hob without ignition and a mains socket sited directly above the sink are all demerits.
However on the positive side you get a big fridge, a good-sized cutlery drawer, a sink with a small (but useful) drainer section and a little bit of worktop shaped like a cleavage between the cooker and sink. Better still, that sturdy table is close by for extra preparation space.
Storage is a mixed bag, too, with that large garage accounting for a majority share in your carrying capacity. The wardrobe is a decent size as well – especially for a two-berth ’van – but the fitment of a front-to-rear hanging rail seems a strange decision.
If the kitchen is bijou then the bathroom makes up for it. Like the rest of the Sport TI it also looks thoroughly up-to-the-minute in its design.
You’ll be surprised, therefore, to find no separate shower here, nor any clever swing-out wall or partition to create a shower cubicle.
Showering relies on an old-fashioned curtain instead.
Halogen lights throughout the Sport TI do a comprehensive job of illuminating the interior and no area has been left in the dark – even the oft-forgotten cab has swivel reading lights on either side. Blinds cover the cab windows, though the living area windows get simpler pull-down blinds rather than matching concertina-type fittings.
And the evening chill is effortlessly banished by Truma’s excellent top-of-the-range gas/mains Combi 6000 EH boiler.
But when you’re feeling sleepy the best news is that bed is just a couple of steps away – quite literally!
Big plump cushions are provided so you can sit up in bed and there are no awkwardly placed cupboards to bang your head on, though you’ll worry about scrunching up the blind on the window when you position your pillows to await breakfast in bed.
We have always been big fans of the Knaus Sun TI and our six-month long-term test of a 600LF in 2005 only served to reinforce our admiration for the brand. Now the Sport TI seems to offer most of what made the Sun TI so appealing, but with a more affordable price tag, new layouts and garage derivatives.
The 600MG may be the baby of the new range but it’s a great ’van for a couple that want garage space in a compact package. It looks good, it’s exceptionally well-built and it seems very well-priced. The small kitchen might not suit everyone but we’re really excited at the prospect of spending the next six months with this little Knaus
Knaus Sport TI 600MG
Renault Master dCi 120 platform-cab
4, including driver
Maximum gross vehicle weight:
105 litres (inboard, under
68 litres (underfloor, heated)
2 x 6kg
6.44m (21ft 1.5in)
2.30m (7ft 6.5in)
2.65m (8ft 8in) excluding optional TV aerial
1.96m (6ft 5in)
Over-garage rear bed 1.99m x 1.44m (6ft 6.5in x 4ft 8.5in)
Stylish good looks, large garage, good ride and effortless driving of Renault cab, automatic option, very comfortable over-garage bedroom, stylish and spacious washroom, surprisingly comfortable lounge area, neat drop-down TV, overcab sunroof, big fridge, gas/mains boiler and heating, decent payload, excellent build-quality, competitive price
No grill, small oven, no ignition on hob, limited kitchen storage space, table cannot be secured when carpet is fitted, no separate shower
• A full version of this review appeared in the April 2007 issue of Which Motorcaravan. To order a road test reprint contact Tina Beaumont on 01778 391187.
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