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  Owner Review - Knaus Sun Liner 658

 
 

LHD Fiat Ducato 2.8 JTD Maxi chassis

Having researched motorhomes for approximately 2 yrs and having decided that the nearest layout to our ideal would be a Hymer 694 Bar Version although it was bigger than we really wanted, MMM printed an article entitled “Knights at the round table”, in the May 2001 edition. We read this article with wide eyes, it described our ideal layout to a “tee”.

The Knaus Sunliner 658 is a LHD Fiat Ducato 2.8 JTD Maxi chassis based A-class with a fixed rear bed, bathroom alongside, centre kitchen with wardrobe opposite. An “L” shaped settee with circular swivelling table and two swivel cab seats with pull down cab bed, complete the layout. The kitchen consists of a fairly long unit holding a 3 burner hob (not electric ignition) a deep sink with single mixer tap a fair amount of work space which can be increased by lowering the sink cover. A good size cutlery drawer sits next to the 110lt fridge (with full width freezer) which is under the hob. Under the drawer is a large cupboard with a slide out wire rack for tins etc. Next to it is another large cupboard with shelf (non adjustable) above is another storage drawer. Above the unit are high level lockers, with a hob light and extractor fan underneath, 230v and 12v sockets with cover flaps.

The large wardrobe has been modified and a Smev oven/grill with rotisserie has been fitted about 2ft off the floor above an existing small locker with plastic tray (for wet shoes) also containing the ELCB and mains control switch fuses. The wardrobe is still large enough to hold a dress of standard length. High level lockers, some shelved some not, line the walls in the lounge and bedroom. Plenty of storage for clothes etc. Over the foot of the bed is a large TV cupboard with sliding doors fitted both towards the lounge and towards the rear bed. Under the fixed rear bed is a large storage area accessible from both inside and outside the motorhome this is heated & lighted and at one end contains the 140lt fresh water tank together with water pump, reasonably accessible for filter cleaning and other servicing.

The heating fitted is the Alde hot water system with radiators all round the ‘van this works from Mains electricity selectable 1Kw, 2Kw or 3Kw or gas with 3 selectable settings of - Hot water only, Hot water & heating or Heating only. This system is very effective and even on the coldest nights provides sauna like conditions on 2kw. The heating also runs under the bed warming the storage space and the bed. The unit is fitted under the “L” settee behind a low level drawer, access is limited for servicing but it can be done (without the need to be a deformed midget).

Being German construction the caravan door is on the offside, no problem really as the drivers mirror is huge and electrically operated so if the driver just angles it a bit you can see if it is clear to step out in safety, the Thetford cassette door is also on the offside at the rear. The rear end has a fixed fitted ladder to the roof (rubberised walkway fitted) with central high level brake light below Reversing Camera. Rear Bedroom window sits below but a good height above ground. Moving to the nearside at rear is the generously sized outside access to under-bed storage the mains connector is forward of this together with fresh water inlet. The gas locker is next to the Cab Drivers door, the gas locker holds two 13Kg Propane bottles (yes I said 2 13Kg Bottles) fitted with Truma automatic change – over together with regulator heating element for below freezing conditions. Fuel filler is has a lockable cap under a large flap cover no locking device (I fitted simple locking rod operated from inside motorhome.) The front of the vehicle is dominated by the huge windscreen a nice smiley face looks at you from the grey front trim formed by the shape of the headlights and air intakes. It really gives Katy a friendly appearance. (Hopefully we are too.)

Lighting is really splendid, plenty of halogen fully adjustable down-lighters / reading lights over couch and rear bed. A circular fluorescent in the lounge provides plenty of general lighting which can be supplemented by recessed fluorescents over the high level lockers also in rear bedroom lockers (these can be used alone to provide other mood lighting. The pull down cab double bed drops to approx 41” from floor level giving plenty of headroom, to ease your way to bed there is a pull out step behind the passenger seat. (Cab seat backs must be lowered first) The cab bed is lit by a 12” double tube fluorescent at the head end plenty of light but can be a bit bright if one person doesn’t want to read. The steps leading out of the caravan door are illuminated these switch on together with an awning light at high level over the door outside plenty of light for the large fitted awning. A light is also fitted in the storage area under the bed this is bright and illuminates the area very well.

Seating and beds are really comfortable especially the cab bed which has a thick mattress over slats, I prefer this bed to sleep in as the mattress is firmer and gives a better sleeping support. The rear bed is very comfortable but is not as firm I just sleep better in the cab bed.

Driving Katy is a pleasure, the huge windscreen gives an uninterrupted view forwards The wipers do exactly what they should together with washers fitted to the arms they are not a compromise, the large heated electrically adjustable mirrors give a clear view rearwards with ability to adjust to see at acute angle junctions. The four fitted three point belts with head restraints give security to driver and passengers. The five speed box together with cruise control contribute to give up to 32MPG this we achieved on our trip to France Sept/Oct 2002 and our trip to the NEC 15th Feb 2003 this year. Power assisted steering and brakes with ABS make steering and stopping a problem free task whilst the air suspension reduces body roll on cornering and improves road holding.  Cab heating and ventilation is excellent both while driving and on heating on site. Spare wheel is very accessible at rear.

Extras fitted include Oyster 85cm fully automatic digital satellite system, 90 watt Solar panels, Air-conditioning to caravan (mains) (includes 800 watt heater element). Radio CD player with cab and lounge speakers. Euro track covers extra security. A Thatcham cat 1alarm is fitted with bonnet and door switches together with ultrasonic sensors. Reversing Camera and monitor. SOG to Thetford cassette toilet, this works really well no need for special paper or chemicals (very green). Rear steadies are fitted, quick release and easy adjust. I have front steadies but not fitted them don't think we need them.

Overall length 6.40mt (21ft) Width 2.30mt (7ft 6.5in) Height 3.00mt (9ft 10in)

Internal height 2.07mt (6ft 9.5in) 

Rita & Mick Price                 


The Reviews

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Terminology

A-Class; a fully integrated body built on a commercial chassis or 'cowl cab chassis'. Often has a drop down double bed in the cab roof.

Maxi Chassis; also designated '18' this chassis has extra carrying capacity often having a n MPLM of 3.85t. This means you can carry more but is technically a heavy goods vehicle (now from 3.5t upwards) and carries both license restrictions and some extra costs.

13Kg gas bottles; a standard size for Propane here in the UK but large by continental standards where 11Kg is the norm. As a result many gas cupboards are a bit small and then we have trouble carrying enough gas.

Oven as an extra; few continental motorhomes come with ovens and grills as standard.

3-way fridge; one that works on 230v 'mains' when 'hooked up', on lpg gas when no mains is available and on 12v from the 'van while travelling.

MPG; it comes as a shock to new owners to discover that 20-30 mpg is normal for these vehicles. It isn't quite as bad as it seems because ,any motorcaravanners tend to undertake circular tours rather than stay in one place going out and back each day. As a result fewer miles are travelled on similar holidays. The type of vehicle body has a great effect on mpg, so motorhomes with overcab 'lutons' are the least economical, especially at speed, while the smoother low profiles and a-class bodies have a fair chance of returning more than 30 mpg.


To access the Knaus website click here.

 

 


 
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