Andy Jenkinson

See other caravan reviews written by Andy Jenkinson

Enjoy high build quality in this UK-focused end-washroom two-berth, but does the Knaus StarClass 480 do enough to justify its weight and price? Read on!

Overview

The big news from Knaus for the 2018 touring season is that all its StarClass models have NCC approval, meaning greater peace of mind for buyers.

Coupled with the famously robust German build quality, and a 10-year body integrity warranty (factory-backed and not an insurance policy) for all Knaus Tabbert 2018 models, this will be another strong selling point in the UK for Knaus caravans.

But is all this enough to win over British buyers – and do the latest StarClass models stack up?

With stiff opposition in the two-berth market, we check out the 480, aimed at couples who want a solid two-berth end-washroom tourer.

Pitching and setting up

Until 2017, the StarClass came on a BPW chassis, but for 2018, the Al-Ko chassis is now employed, complete with alloys and heavy-duty corner steadies, ATC and an AKS hitch stabiliser.

There is a large front gas-bottle locker within the moulded ABS lower panel, while the front panel has triple windows, plus a fairly large sunroof just above.

The rear of the Knaus has a lower moulded panel only, no full-height mould as we might expect on a caravan in this price range.

The entrance door has a glazed top half with an LED awning light above, plus there are barbecue and exterior mains socket points on the nearside.

Knaus has fitted an awning warmer, which is close to the entrance door, and there's also a nearside locker with exterior access, ideal for shoes and so on.

The GRP roof is hailstone-proof and a spare wheel comes as standard, too.

The aluminium sides are well finished and the graphics lend this caravan an upmarket look.

Lounge

As standard, you get a U-shaped front lounge with wraparound seating in the Knaus StarClass 480, but on this example the optional central chest of drawers has been fitted, a £349 extra.

There is, of course, the sunroof but, before you ask, it doesn’t open. However, along with the large Heki roof vent, it lets plenty of natural light into the lounge.

It is a little disappointing that the sunroof lacks detailing. There is no smart moulding surround and the fixing brackets look unfinished, not what you’d expect on a caravan that’s nearly £27,000.

There are only four roof lockers in the lounge and we think the designers could have made more of a shelf below the sunroof – there’s also wasted space in the front corners.

The lounge feels spacious and has twin blown-air outlets in the seat bases, but the bases have no access flaps for bedding, so you have to lift up the whole bench seat.

The seating is firm, but on a chilly afternoon, the fabrics did feel a bit cold to the touch. There are several choices of upholstery, though, and all are stain resistant.

Two bolsters and some scatter cushions add to the comfort here, and there is a freestanding table for meal times.

After dark, illumination is good, with over-locker lighting and three LED lights directly over the lounge, plus four LED corner spotlights, which are easy to adjust.

In addition, there is a CD/radio player fitted here.

Kitchen

The side kitchen in this Knaus caravan offers excellent cupboard storage, with a mega-sized cutlery drawer.

There is a Thetford oven with separate grill, as well as a dual-fuel hob, and the sink is finished in black enamel, complete with drainer.

Glass tops cover the units when not in use, but the highly polished granite worktops looked as though they could get badly scratched over time.

A microwave is fitted above the hob, while a Dometic fridge/freezer is placed opposite in the large side dresser.

Worktop space is a bit limited, although the small extension flap helps and you do have that side dresser, where a mains socket and TV aerial connection are also fitted.

The kitchen is well lit by four LED downlighters and, overall, is a practical space.

Washroom

End washrooms are still a massive pull in this sector, so does the Knaus StarClass 480 live up to expectations?

Tucked in on the left is the shower cubicle, although some might find it a tad small. It is lined, though, and the washroom floor area is pretty generous.

A Dometic toilet is fitted below the side window. The handbasin is a very good size, both in depth and length.

Below is storage in the form of a large cupboard, while above, a mirrored vanity unit also provides storage.

Lighting is by two fixed lamps, one either side of the mirror. This looks a little dated and we think LED lighting would be better.

A roof vent is fitted and, with the opening window, the washroom has plenty of ventilation. There is no roof vent in the shower itself, though.

In the washroom you will also find a large wardrobe with shelves, a section for hanging clothes and a useful LED light.

This is a practical washroom, but the design and finish don’t feel as luxurious as you might find in some of its competitors.

Beds

The settees in the front lounge can be used as single beds, each measuring 1.92m x 0.72m.

Alternatively, there is the 1.98m x 1.87m make-up double, formed by sliding out the slats to fill the gap.

We were pleased to see that the slats are extremely strong and easy to pull out, and did not come off their rails as sometimes happens with this system – they fit well, and feel supportive and stable.

Storage

For two, storage in the 2018 Knaus StarClass 480 won’t disappoint, with deep overhead lockers although, as mentioned before, no corner storage.

The optional chest of drawers helps in this regard and there is some storage beneath the lounge seats.

But it’s the kitchen that excels here, with super cupboard storage, plus two overhead lockers with a shelf below.

Opposite, although the fridge is fitted here, the side dresser provides a large cupboard, two overhead lockers and a shelf.

The end washroom of this Knaus caravan has good storage beneath the handbasin and in the vanity unit, and of course there's the wardrobe which has plenty of shelves.

Technical specs

Berth2
MiRO1275kg
Payload225kg
MTPLM1500kg
Interior length4.92m
Shipping length9.2m
Width2.32m
Awning size920cm

Verdict

So, does the 2018 Knaus StarClass 480 cut it?

It’s built like a battleship, but there is no getting away from its 1500kg MTPLM.

The exterior of this caravan isn’t overly exciting, but it is well finished, despite lacking a full-height rear moulded panel.

Heavy-duty steadies and ATC as well as barbecue, mains and TV points are all pluses, but again, no more than normal on a caravan of this price.

The interior is solid, but lacks finish, such as the sunroof with no trim and bare brackets.

We would also expect the seat bases to have access flaps and the kitchen could do with a larger worktop extension.

The interior space is excellent and the side dresser offers some good storage, while the washroom is again quite spacious and practical.

For those who value high build quality and who want something different, the Knaus StarClass 480 is one to shortlist.

But spec it up and it does look expensive compared with the competition.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Night-time illumination is excellent
  • Build quality is high and it has a good payload
  • The slats for the bed are strong
  • Kitchen storage and wardrobe space are impressive

Cons

  • Alde heating is not fitted as standard
  • It lacks a little finish in some areas
  • The black worktops look a bit dated now
  • The underseat storage doesn't have access flaps
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