Peruse any camper forum—or Facebook group—and you’ll notice a common lament: Why does Europe get all of the innovative campers? It’s a hot topic here at Curbed, too, and we’ve even reported on some of our favorite camper vans that we’re forced to covet from across the pond. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.
Slowly, however, the United States is getting more options in the compact, amenity-packed world of Class B campers. They won’t satiate your demand for the Volkswagen California (ya know, the van that’s not available in California?), but they do show a growing market and where the industry might be headed.
Our focus today is the Carado Axion. Founded by the German Erwin-Hymer Group in 2005, Carado came to the United States in 2016 after the Erwin-Hymer Group acquired Roadtrek Motorhomes. Just recently, Thor Industries acquired the Erwin Hymer Group to become the world’s largest RV manufacturer.
The Axion is one of two North American market vans built by Carado on the Ram Promaster, and it aims to work as a fully-functioning camper for one to two people in a compact space. That’s because the Axion uses the Promaster 1500 Short Van as its base, meaning that its 17-foot 9-inch length and 136-inch wheelbase fits in a standard size parking spot.
Inside, a central living area uses a long sofa on the driver’s side that works as a couch or work space during the day. At night it transforms into either a twin bed for one person or a double bed for two.
Across from the sofa, a kitchen features an indoor-outdoor fridge, two-burner gas stove, sink, microwave, and extendable counter. A full-length wardrobe with deep drawer storage provides a place to hang clothes in the rear of the van, and plentiful upper cabinets do the same for smaller items.
A table can be mounted at the couch area or between the two front cab seats, and a pop-up computer desk attached to the kitchen block is a convenient spot to plug in. Other amenities include a roof-mounted air conditioner, a 105-Ah battery, awning, interior LED lighting, and privacy shades.
Despite the Axion’s diminutive size, it does boast the all-important bathroom—including a fold-down sink, shower head, and toilet. (Debating about whether you want a bathroom in your camper van? Read this first). But the designers saved space by foregoing hard walls for the wet bath and instead using a privacy sheet. This also means that the center aisle of the van is open to haul long items, like a stand-up-paddle board. We’ve seen this rear bathroom idea before, and it’s a clever idea.
You can see all the specs for the Axion over here, and now to the important part: The Axion costs $71,183 before upgrade options like a TV and solar panels. That’s much more affordable than some other Class Bs—the Winnebago Revel and the more luxurious Airstream Interstate Nineteen come to mind. While it won’t sleep a family, the Carado Axion could be good option for anyone looking for a fully featured van that’s compact and sleeps two.