Having recently established a network of dealers, is Knaus about to fulfil its potential in the UK? If this model - which boasts a striking bedroom and hints of luxury throughout - is anything to go by, it stands a good chance.
Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Al-Ko Price from: £103,220 Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Length: 7.44m Width: 2.34m Height: 2.94m Gross weight: 4,000kg (4,400kg option) Payload: 570kg
That rear styling, with hints of luxury coach, was first seen on the tag-axle 900 models in Knaus’ top-of-the-tree Sun I range. Now it also features on the three 700 versions – LEG with single beds, LG with transverse double and LX with island bed.
These 7.44m models (rather than 8.82m) are based on a Fiat Ducato with Al-Ko chassis and 4,000kg gross weight – there’s no attempt to limbo under the 3.5-tonne barrier here. And that’s a good thing, because the Sun I doesn’t stint on equipment and still has 570kg of payload.
Base vehicle spec also includes ESP, as well as the Sun I Package (air-con, cruise control, passenger airbag, etc) and the Media Package (DAB radio, sat-nav, reversing camera), which are extra cost options on the Continent. You’ll want to upgrade from the 130bhp engine to something more gutsy, though.
Externally, the big Knaus has 17in alloy wheels, cornering lights, garage doors with one-handed operation and optional central locking, the Knaus Exklusiv habitation door (70cm wide), double-glazed cab side windows and a hail-resistant GRP roof mated to aluminium sides. There’s a 30cm double floor, ‘service box’ for convenient access to fresh and waste water functions, awning light with movement sensor, while the TV Package (standard on UK models) adds an Oyster 60 Twin satellite system.
Inside, the rising backrest of the L-settee wraps around into the travel seat, behind which a 32in TV electrically lowers into a void between seats and galley. A choice of leather trim is available in combination with high-gloss, scratch-resistant upper locker doors and a new slate-look table. The cab’s Grammer Luxury captain’s chairs (with active ventilation, so you don’t perspire as you drive) complete the lounge.
The kitchen includes soft-closing top cupboards, while British spec includes an oven/grill below the counter, in addition to the usual three-burners-in-line hob. Opposite is a tall/slim 145-litre fridge/freezer.
The bedroom is, perhaps, the most striking element of the 700 LEG with its deeply curved cut-away at the foot of the conjoined single beds. That is mirrored by an arc of ambient lighting in the ceiling, while the five-zone EvoPore mattresses are optionally available with WaterGel overlays. Claimed bed dimensions are 2.03m and 1.97m long by 0.80m wide, while guests can be accommodated in the drop-down cab bed (2.00m by 1.50m) which comes down low enough to negate the need for a ladder.
The toilet area has an extendible wall for greater room when used in isolation, or it can close off the back of the vehicle to create a spacious en suite. Heating is via the Alde ‘wet’ radiator system.
For newly appointed Knaus dealers, Premium Motorhomes, the Knaus range fills a gap in its portfolio between Weinsberg and Carthago. Now, with its expanded network, perhaps Knaus will soon begin to fulfil its potential here (in Germany it sits behind Erwin Hymer and Trigano as the third largest group for sales).
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