Convertible semi-integrated: Knaus-Tabbert's Bulli motorhome fireworks

Three new camper vans based on the VW T6.

Convertible semi-integrated: Knaus-Tabbert's Bulli motorhome fireworks

Three new camper vans based on the VW T6.1 and a Crafter body: For the 2023 model year, the Knaus-Tabbert Group is primarily relying on the still fresh cooperation with the commercial vehicle division of Volkswagen - and impresses with flexible solutions.

The current supply bottlenecks and inflation are taking their toll on the caravanning industry. Delivery periods are extended by months and the vehicles are becoming more and more expensive. In order to be able to continue the growth course that has been going on for years in these times, the Knaus-Tabbert Group will ignite a firework of new products for the 2023 vintage at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon at the end of August, which is remarkable for two reasons.

Firstly, because nobody tries as consistently to compensate for the dramatic delivery problems with the Fiat Ducato chassis as the Bavarians. Numerous competitors have also switched to the Transit as an alternative for the vehicle base. In addition to the still diverse Ducato models, the still rarely used MAN TGE and the Ford transporter, Knaus-Tabbert has already expanded the range at the beginning of the year with the Mercedes Sprinter as the basis for the Weinsberg Cara Compact Pepper. And with the recently announced, close cooperation with Volkswagen, the Jandelsbrunn-based company is adding two more basic vehicles to its motorhome portfolio. While the Crafter isn't being sent into the race with a Knaus body for the first time, the T6.1 is a real newcomer to the model range and is competing under both a Knaus and a Weinsberg label.

And that's feature number two. The traditional manufacturer does not use the popular VW transporter for the umpteenth infusion of a California-style camper van, with perhaps a few different decors or other gimmicks. As a Knaus Tourer Van and Weinsberg X-Cursion, the T6.1 is being built into a real semi-integrated vehicle that serves the fastest booming segment of compact motorhomes. And as a Knaus Tourer CUV (Caravanning Utility Vehicle), which is supposed to combine the best of two worlds (panel van and semi-integrated), it even establishes a new vehicle category with a pop-up roof that can be raised almost over the entire length - at least that's how the inventors see it.

But first things first. The Tourer Van and its Weinsberg counterpart are each available in two layouts, the 500 MQ and 500 LT. Both layouts have a kitchen block with a 90-liter compressor refrigerator, sink and two-burner stove, as well as diesel heating and boiler. A five-kilo gas bottle offers sufficient reserves for cooking. In order to enjoy optimal living comfort over a length of just 5.88 meters, the interior architects have come up with a smart world first for the 500 MQ: a flexible shower cubicle.

The bathroom with toilet, washbasin and shower is on the driver's side between the front seating area and the rear transversely installed double bed. If the shower is used with full standing height of 1.90 meters, the partition to the bed protrudes a good distance into the berth. If the full width of the bed is required in sleep mode, the height-adjustable shower simply has to be pushed down and a mechanism with a gas spring and belt strap folds the partition together and brings everything to the level of the rear bed. The matching mattress part is placed on top of the folded shower. The double bed is ready.

On request, another double bed can be ordered, which is also a special feature. Not a fold-down bed, but a sliding bed, as Knaus calls it. It hangs above the driver's cab and, if necessary, is pulled out in a slight arc over the entire front seating group together with the slatted frame. A fully-fledged rear garage for bicycles is also on board.

The 500 LT version of the Bulli motorhome with the entrance door at the rear does not have the flexible shower, but is also versatile in the bathroom with a swivel washbasin and impresses most with its face-to-face seating group. Four people can be comfortably seated on the two benches arranged lengthways. If the driver's seats are also turned towards the living area, a total of six people can sit at the table.

The price range for the T6.1 semi-integrated tourer van with the 110 hp, 2.0-liter diesel starts at around 66,000 euros. The Vansation special model available from the outset (at Weinsberg this corresponds to the X-Cursion Van Pepper) is considerably more expensive at 79,500 euros, but the customer still saves a lot of money, as it is already fully equipped with the more powerful 150 hp engine, 7- Gear DSG and alloy wheels, navigation system and assistance systems, awning and smart TV, everything is already on board. The corresponding Weinsberg models are likely to be offered around 1500 euros cheaper - with a different decor, white outfit and slightly slimmed down.

The third motorhome novelty based on the T6.1 attracts attention simply because of its unusual appearance with the "Elvis quiff" above the driver's cab. Flexibility is also the trump card for the Knaus Tourer CUV, which will not be ready until the caravan showroom. The highlight here is the self-developed lifting roof, which is raised almost over the entire length of the vehicle and thus enables a continuous headroom of two meters.

When driving with the roof folded in, the vehicle should be as handy as a panel van or even like a camper van, but with a shower option, fixed bathroom including toilet, kitchen block, refrigerator and diesel heating and boiler, it should offer the camping comfort of a semi-integrated vehicle. All of this over a length of 5.88 meters and, as with the van models, within the 3.5 tonne class, i.e. ideally suited for category B driving license holders. The layout with a seating area in the front, bathroom and kitchen in the middle and across -Double bed in the back will otherwise be rather classic. Prices probably from around 80,000 euros.

In addition, the cooperation with VW is being further intensified, with the semi-integrated Van TI Plus and the associated special model Platinum Selection now being based on the Crafter (from around 74,000 euros). And since the Knaussche word construction CUV has to be used for the very special tourer variant in the future, the Weinsberg models Cara-Bus and Cara-Tour are nominally camper vans again and switch to the Ford camp with the base vehicle.

The Transit is equipped in the 3.5-ton basic version with a 130-hp diesel and manual six-speed gearbox. 155 hp or even 170 hp are optionally available in conjunction with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The high-roof variant with a vehicle height of 2.80 meters guarantees a headroom of 2.05 meters in the interior. Prices start at around 50,000 euros.

With the new basic vehicles, Knaus-Tabbert not only wants to ensure a spectacular appearance at the Caravan Salon, but also promises the first deliveries of the T6.1 Tourer Van model as early as October of this year. And that's already a word given the usual delivery times of more than a year.

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