Saturday, September 30, 2023


RV Preview: Knaus Tourer CUV van

Today’s RV review is a preproduction model that you can’t have, unless you live in countries served by Knaus, the German RV manufacturer. Specifically, it’s the Knaus Tourer CUV. 

The Knaus Tourer CUV (Caravanning Utility Vehicle) is built on a Volkswagen cutaway chassis. The RV that most resembles this in the U.S. is the Winnebago EKKO. In fact, the EKKO is really very European in its execution. Essentially the Tourer CUV is sort of a two-thirds scale EKKO with a Volkswagen chassis. How’s that? 

The idea behind this vehicle is to create a relatively small RV that drives much more like a car, albeit one much larger than many Europeans drive. It keeps a low profile by having a pop-top instead of having a standing-height cabin all the time. 

While you may not have heard of a Volkswagen cutaway chassis, that just makes you American. VW is still a large commercial vehicle manufacturer in much of the rest of the world—including cutaway chassis and even largish trucks. In this case you may even recognize the chassis as looking like the last VW vans that sold in the U.S. 

Out back, Knaus builds a very square box—typical of any RV. 

Inside there’s a second row of seating for two, and then a small kitchen. Ahead of the second row is a table with a folding extension. The front cockpit seats swivel around so you get four-place seating at the table. 

Interesting bathroom in the Knaus Tourer CUV

The bathroom appears to be pretty interesting. There’s a cartridge toilet that seems to always be in place. But then there’s a shower can be had by folding some sections of the rear loft bed and opening up the space. 

This is speculation, as this rig shares lot of the floor plan with the Knaus Van TI Plus 650MEG—which is the floor plan I’ve included with this. There’s a sliding sink which sits over the toilet and then slides into the shower depending on use case. Kind of a neat idea. 

In addition to the additional headroom the pop-top provides, it also provides the availability of additional sleeping space. You can order this with a bed that covers the dining area, essentially. Neat. 

I’m obsessed with this in the Knaus Tourer CUV

One of the things that I’m surmising based on pictures is something that’s going to drive my poor wife nuts for some time to come. It’s nothing that’s really the fault of Knaus. It’s more how I get stupidly obsessed with things. That thing is a movable overhead cabinet that has a fabric cover on it. 

Rather than the usual hard-front cabinet, there appears to be a fabric cover over the cabinets above the sink and the rear bed that you just lift up to reveal whatever’s in them. This makes so much sense to me. 

The reason you all should pity my wife on this is that when I see innovative stuff like this, as mentioned, I obsess over it. 

When I learned that RKS Off Road used gray water to flush the toilet in their RKS Purpose more than a year ago, I wouldn’t let that idea go. It was one of the keystone components of my custom trailer build idea. One of the challenges of the custom trailer was covering the cabinets because I wanted to use no wood in the build. 

This would totally do that. And look cool to my eyes. 

The garage in the back is common in Germany

The last thing about this that I really like is the garage in the back. While the Winnebago EKKO really put this idea in the minds of some RV shoppers here in the U.S., it’s a really common idea in Germany.

So while a lot of this RV might seem quite different to what we’re used to seeing here, it’s not tremendously so there. 

But it will be officially released at Caravan Salon in Germany to be held September 23-25 in Dusseldorf. I seriously, seriously need to get over there one year. Maybe 2023. 

Aber, erst, muß ich mein Deutsch üben!*

One of the interesting things in researching this, I watched a few things about other products from Knaus. While there are certainly differences between what their international customers get and what we see from our own American companies, you also see a lot of the same parts, suppliers and practices. 

But a rig like this would make sense, except in the U.S. we just call it the Winnebago Solis Pocket. 

[*But, first, I have to practice my German!]


More from Tony

I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.

If you’re RV shopping here are some tips on RV shopping from a former RV salesperson—me!

Tony comes to having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get an inside look at how things are done and is a brand ambassador for Rockwood Mini Lite with his wife, Peggy.

You can also check out his RV podcast with his wife, Peggy. 

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!


Tony Barthel has been a life-long RV enthusiast and travels part-time with his wife where they also produce a podcast, write about RVs and love the RV lifestyle.


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1 year ago

Knaus Tourer CUV…….Thanks for sharing, I love seeing what others are doing. Such imagination of the engineering firms and listening to what people want. Great job Tony!

Last edited 1 year ago by david
Warren G
1 year ago

Thanks for the great review and sharing your perspective. We were recently in northern Italy and saw a surprisingly number (to me, anyway) of smaller single axle trailers and small motor homes. Knaus was one of the more common names we saw. I can see something like this taking off with younger people here, based on the number of smaller vans modified for camping I see in state parks and national and state forests.

Bob p
1 year ago

Tony you must be hard up to write about something we’ll never see unless we leave our beautiful country and venture across the big pond. Please forgive the sarcasms, but unless the younger generations want something to protest their parents I can’t see something like this ever taking root in America. All you have to do is look at class B’s to see what Americans want in a small RV. Europeans have a totally different mindset than Americans do. As a senior I see noting appealing in this design, and as an experienced retired mechanic I know this will be an expensive German over engineered pos that will cost a fortune to own and maintain.

Al Kemp
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob p

If you are retired you remember the 60’s when domestic car manufacturers ruled the car market. That changed in the 70’s when the oil embargo struck. Today most people own a car who’s heritage is foreign. Today’s Y2K generation are focused on an up to date smart phone rather than a car. So embrace change and my advise to you is open your eyes there is a world out there that doesn’t stop at the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean.

Steve H
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob p

The Winnebago Ekko that Tony mentioned is built on a n American-built Ford Transit platform with an Ecoboost twin-turbo V-6. But it still costs $165,000 for a relatively small Class B+/C van-based RV. And it will take a lot of relatively expensive maintenance if it is used as an off-highway adventure RV by the generation that it is designed to appeal to. So, how is that different than the Knaus?

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