Peter BaberSee other caravan reviews written by Peter Baber
It is snazzy, well-specced and super-luxurious, but if you have a tow car big enough, does the UK-focused, twin-axle Knaus StarClass 690 add up? Read on!
For example, the biggest van in the range, the StarClass 690, can be specially adapted for those who want to use it for seasonal touring only.
The process involves fitting it with a slightly longer front panel to take its overall length just over seven metres, so VAT on it can be reduced from 20% to somewhere between 5% and 7.5%. To qualify fully, the dealer also needs to supply the caravan to the customer’s seasonal pitch with spare wheel, IDC, stabiliser and road lights removed.
Our test model was more conventional, we hasten to add, but how does the Knaus StarClass 690 stack up as a tourer? Let’s find out!
Pitching and setting up
You do get a stable door, which is something you don’t always see in British caravans these days, and the windows fit unusually snugly into their housings, with no protruding plastic; wind resistance shouldn’t be a problem on this caravan.
However finding a suitable tow car could be an issue. With a BPW chassis, this van has an MTPLM of 2000kg.
Because it’s partly aimed at seasonal tourers, it’s unusually wide, too, at 2.50m, so you’ll need to tow with care.
The U-shaped front lounge isn’t dark and dingy, though. It is, for one thing, very well lit, with three LED lights in the ceiling, a spotlight in each corner and ambient lighting.
The settees, complete with springs, are very comfy and you get proper curtains, even if they are a bit skimpy.
The table, stored in its own slot under one of the settees, is quite hard to get to – partly because it is heavy – but at least from this position it can also be slid out through the external locker door if you need to use it outside.
All of that space in the lounge area should be enough for a party of six or more. And the TV bracket, right by the door above a small cupboard and shelves, is perfectly positioned for all – once you have removed the coats from the hooks above it.
Both this and the dual-fuel hob next to it are well lit, with two mains sockets nearby. There is only one drawer, immediately beneath, but it is large enough for most pots.
Failing that, the two cupboards beneath it are not too taken up by the wheelarch. You also get a Thetford oven and grill: this really is a UK-friendly van.
Above are a microwave and two overhead lockers, with a small shelf for spices beneath. Across the aisle, behind the TV, is a 190-litre AES fridge, positioned midway up, with a pan drawer below it and another locker within reach above it.
Two elegant candle-type lights illuminate the mirror behind it, and there’s ample storage in the cupboard behind this and a second cupboard under the basin.
There’s generous space in the middle of this room and around the offside loo, while you also get a second narrow wardrobe next to the shower cubicle.
The curtain flows all the way to the floor, giving the impression that there’s a plate glass window behind it, rather than just a fairly average caravan window. The ambient lighting only adds to this impression.
That said, the curtain is not particularly generous widthways, and because the bed doesn’t roll back (as beds in this position in UK vans usually do), space here is at a premium.
You do, however, get a large mirror with a dressing table and socket. There is a hanging wardrobe on one side of the bed, and shelves on the other.
Two spotlights illuminate the bed-head area, which is just about roomy enough to sit up in. And that rear island bed measures 2.02m x 1.38m.
Making up the 1.98m x 1.45m front double bed is a simple matter of pulling out the regularly spaced slats and pushing in one long infill cushion.
The four spotlights in the lounge area make night-time reading easy, while the springs in the settees also make for a very comfortable mattress.
Each side of the island bed lifts up individually, so you don’t have to disrupt everyone. Access space on the rear side is a bit limited, however.
You have external access to this and to the under-seat areas at the front, too, although both of these are partly taken up by services.
But you won’t want for wardrobe or dressing-table space in this caravan, and there are two overhead lockers in each bedroom area.
The Knaus StarClass 690 is well-built, very stylish and comfortable, if you can get over having so much black on the inside.
You’d certainly be happy spending many weeks in it, making full use of its luxury items and maybe even hosting the odd party when your neighbours get a whiff of the comfort on offer.
But at this price it is let down by not having Alde central heating as standard, and the storage options could be better in one or two areas.
- The sofas and beds are very comfortable
- It's well lit
- It has a high-spec kitchen, for a Continental van
- External locker access is good
- The lounge table is heavy and awkwardly stowed
- Alde heating is not standard
- You'll need a very large tow car