The Starclass 565 lives up to its name in being well made and comfortable. With an awning heater, it should be a good bet for a seasonal pitch. And with the packs, it should definitely be in the running against UK-based brands. However, the packs bring it up to a hefty price, where we might have expected to see a bigger fridge, or underseat lockers more easily accessible from inside.
Excellent washroom, supportive settees, awning heater
Fridge is a bit small, narrow second bed with Convenience Pack
THE STARCLASS IS perhaps Knaus’s most UK-friendly range – lighter and with layouts more closely resembling British-made vans than some of the German firm’s designs.
Until recently, there was one thing these solidly built tourers missed – Alde heating. Now it is part of the £2450 Platinum Pack.
We visited MG Caravans in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, to check out one model, the Starclass 565, to see how it performs.
Black front windows and a grey-blue stripe down the side give the Starclass a somewhat retro look. But along with Alde heating, the Platinum Pack also provides you with ATC trailer control and an Al-Ko wheel lock.
Our test model had the £447 Convenience Pack, which you can only have in conjunction with the Platinum Pack, and with that, you get an exterior mains socket and barbecue point, and heavy-duty corner steadies.
Just beyond the door on the nearside, you will also find an awning heater. This is an occasional addition to caravans heated with the Truma blown-air system, because the heater in effect uses the same technology.
But combined with the wet heating of the Alde system, it is unheard of, and is surely a sign that more thought has gone into how an option pack might fit into a caravan than is often the case. Knaus says it might soon roll this out to other Alde-heated models.
A sunroof and a large rooflight allow in plenty of daylight, while along with ambient lighting, there are four spotlights.
You can tell this isn’t a conventional British van as soon as you step inside, thanks to the chunky black surfaces on the worktop in the kitchen, the foldaway table and the central chest (part of the Convenience Pack).
For the shelf extension on this chest, Knaus has come up with a different design solution from British firms: instead of an extension that pulls out, leaving an uneven surface, or levels out with a jolt, this folds out from the back to create a large, level surface (but it does move around a bit).
The upholstery comes in a choice of Truffle fabric or Pearl leather-effect. The branded scatter cushions are firm and supportive, and you also get bolsters.
A sunroof and a large rooflight allow in plenty of daylight, while along with ambient lighting, there are four spotlights. There’s a TV bracket above the cupboard by the door, and a mains socket and USB port on the side of the nearside settee. A radio is included as part of the Platinum Pack.
The black worktop dominates, and more so at night – it is very shiny and Knaus has decked out this area with three LEDs.
The fridge is only half-height, which seems meagre for a four-berth at this price. But unusually for a Continental model, you do get a separate oven and grill, with a four-burner dual-fuel hob on top and a pan locker below. Between the fridge and the oven, a deep cutlery drawer sits above an equally deep cupboard with a shelf. Even with the large rectangular sink, there is plenty of worktop, and two mains sockets handily nearby.
The offside toilet sits in front of an opaque window which, along with a small rooflight, ensures this end washroom is never gloomy. A chunky ladder radiator on the other side should keep all of your towels dry.
The central basin looks stylish, thanks to its waterfall tap and candle-style lamps either side of the mirrored cupboard above.
The shower tray is only average size and has one plughole. You don’t get a riser or a rack for soap, but there is a rail that pulls down for hanging wet clothes. A roof vent might have been useful here.
The two fixed beds in the rear are solid and wide. Both come with spotlights and a useful high shelf.
The front settees are only 1.44m long, so would probably only work as singles for smaller children. The double is easy to make with slats, and you only need to take down one backrest because an infill cushion makes up the difference. But with the chest from the Convenience Pack included, the bed is only 0.9m wide at its narrowest point.
Knaus doesn’t do internal access flaps. Areas under the beds and settees are almost clear, but you have to lift the slats to reach them. There is internal access to a small locker under the front chest. You are also generously equipped with overhead lockers – two in the lounge and eight in the back. The only wardrobe is the wrong side of the concertina partition; if you had guests, you would have to slide this back to access it from the fixed beds. But it is large.
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|Interior Length||5.70 m|
|Shipping Length||7.48 m|
|Status TV aerial||Yes|
|Separate oven and grill||Yes|
|Four-burner dual-fuel hob||Yes|
|Radio/CD player and speakers||Yes|