Andy Jenkinson

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Glitzy and innovative, there's little else like the Knaus Eurostar 650 SE, if you've got the money to buy it and the tow car to pull it – read our review

Overview

Knaus has been around for more than 50 years, but didn’t hit the UK until the 1980s. However, over the past few years it has been working hard to establish itself and woo the British caravanner, and for 2016 it is bringing in a varied line-up of ranges and layouts. Topping that list is the Knaus Eurostar, a super-large twin-axle tourer that’s most likely to appeal to buyers looking to use it on a seasonal pitch.

The Eurostar has been heavily influenced by the Caravisio concept tourer; Knaus took the best bits and put them into the new flagship to give it a thoroughly modern look on the outside, plus contemporary interior design. The layout is a new take on the tried-and-tested double-dinette floorplan that’s been around since the mid-1960s.

Is this a caravan that you should shortlist? That depends on whether you can afford a starting price of over £36,000 (this van is £42,558 as tested), and there are limits to what you can legally tow it with on UK roads. So, is this a practical purchase? Read our Knaus Eurostar 650 ES review and find out.

Pitching and setting up

Built on an Al-Ko chassis with heavy-duty corner steadies, the twin-axle Knaus sports smart alloy wheels and an AKS hitch stabiliser, but (surprisingly) ATC is a £526 option.

There is ample room in the front gas locker for the largest bottles, along with a fixing point for a spare wheel which is also not included as part of the standard spec. The aerodynamic profile has flush-fitting Seitz windows and smooth, tough aluminium sides plus a hail-resistant GRP roof.

The Eurostar also has a rear ‘boot’ in the back panel, giving further external storage, along with an offside locker offering access to one of the front bed boxes. Large, chrome-effect grabhandles are fitted, but we doubt anyone would be strong enough to manhandle this tourer!

There is an on-board 45-litre water tank integrated into the floor, and all of the service points are fitted on the offside – as is the entrance door. There is no standard TV aerial or gas barbecue point, but a satellite dish is available as an option.

Lounge

The Eurostar has a rear lounge – with the sofas somewhere between an L and a U in shape – which takes up the whole end of the van. It comes with a stylish table featuring a large central support, giving good legroom – four will be able to sit in serious comfort.

The CD/radio player is fitted here, with speakers placed under the front overhead lockers. The lounge also comes with a small stool that offers clever storage facilities, plus a cabinet behind the seating that provides both open and closed shelving.

LED spotlights with long, adjustable arms give quality lighting as well as the ceiling units. There are mains and USB power sockets here, too – the latter is one of three in the Knaus. The lounge is comfortable and is placed opposite the side kitchen, so ideal for mealtimes. A roof vent is fitted, while a TV is mounted on the rear corner wall.

Kitchen

The Eurostar’s galley is just inside the entrance door, and has an attractive, domestic feel. A window gives daylight and ventilation, but there’s no roof vent. (Our test van had Dometic air-con fitted, a £1299 option.)

The kitchen comes with a smart Spinflo twin-burner gas hob, which also has a ceramic 230V hotplate. You won’t find an oven or grill, and even a microwave is excluded from the spec. On the plus side, there’s a tall Dometic 148-litre fridge/freezer, plus an attractive tap over a deep stainless-steel sink.

The drainer is part of the worktop, which in the classic Continental tradition isn’t much to write home about. LEDs under the lockers add good night-time illumination, and general storage is catered for by large drawers. There is a mains socket plus a splashback, and it’s well designed, but the worktop and spec could be better.

Washroom

The unusual bathroom is positioned across the centre of the Knaus Eurostar 650 ES. There’s a bench-type Thetford cassette toilet with the shower positioned overhead – which means that there isn’t a great deal of room for showering once the doors have been folded out, but for most it should be fine. The shower itself is in a moulded corner unit, with space for soaps and shampoos. The lighting is good and a Mini-Heki allows excellent ventilation, plus it lets in plenty of natural light.

And what of the handbasin? It’s to be found on the other side of the open-plan layout. It’s a rather swish design, with the shallow, square-shaped moulded basin beneath a cupboard with mirrored doors.

Beds

The Eurostar sleeps four, but would be better still as a couple’s tourer; ours had twin single beds up front, but you can have a double if you prefer. The fixed singles each measure 6ft 6 3/4in long, and are nice and wide so the user has plenty of room to sleep, but the mattresses don’t look overly thick, so may lose some support over time.

Drop the telescopic dining table and the rear lounge area can be turned into a slightly awkward triangular double bed.

Storage

There’s more storage in here than you might imagine in the Knaus Eurostar 650 ES. Large overhead lockers are fitted all round, and the kitchen has acres of space below the worktop – though capacity above is a little restricted. A decent wardrobe is placed in the centre of the van.

The basin comes with large drawers beneath and a cupboard alongside, while the bedroom has plenty of under-bed storage. Outside, the Eurostar shines with large front and rear lockers.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO2230kg
Payload270kg
MTPLM2500kg
Interior length6.6m
Shipping length9.36m
Width2.5m
Awning size1120cm

Verdict

The Knaus Eurostar 650 ES is a big tourer, and you’ll need a tow car with a gross weight of 3500kg to pull it in the UK. It will also set you back a lot of cash. However, this is a smart-looking caravan with a highly contemporary interior. The layout works well, and it’s likely to appeal to buyers looking for the very latest in tourer design.

Conclusion

Pros

  • The single beds are large
  • It has a modern and stylish interior design
  • It looks very smart
  • There's plenty of storage

Cons

  • This is a heavy caravan
  • The spec lacks Alde heating, ATC, an oven and a microwave
  • It's short of worktop space
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