PREPARE TO GET COZY

Who Needs a Travel Trailer When You Can Buy This Cheap, Tiny Camper Van?


October 15, 2019 Cars By

Camping trailers may be all the rage among many people these days, but they’re hardly the only option for folks looking to live a mobile life. Take, for example, The Bela Trendy,  which debuted at the 2019 Dusseldorf Caravan Salon. The 1S version is a complete motorhome — albeit one with a tiny car-like footprint that’s smaller than a traditional camper van.

The Trendy uses a Fiat Doblo van chassis with a 103 horsepower 1.6-liter diesel engine as a foundation. Storing a double bed in the alcove above the cab opens up the floor space: there’s a full kitchen with a sink/stove combo and a 2.8-cubic-foot refrigerator. Opposite the kitchen is a three-seat dinette that can fold into an additional single bed.

The vehicle’s rear, however, is where it really stands out from other small camper vans. Back there lies is a full-width dry bathroom with a separate toilet and shower. (Most small sleepers force owners to live with a wet bathroom.) Buyers can add a storage compartment to the Trendy 1G (at the expense of some bathroom space) for an additional $1,100. That’s full motorhome functionality, all in a maneuverable vehicle shorter than a Ford F-150.

There are some drawbacks, of course. The Bela’s confines would be cozy, even for a couple with minimal personal space requirements. The storage situation would not be ideal. And real-life functionality would necessitate using the alcove bed as storage during the day.

The affordable price tag, however, may be worth the inconvenience. According to New Atlas, the Trendy 1S starts at the equivalent of $44,146. Well-appointed camping trailers and camper vans can cost significantly more.

Sadly, odds are good you won’t be able to drive it from sea to shining sea anytime soon. An American version of the Bela Trendy 1S could be technically feasible — Ram sells a modified, more powerful Doblo in the U.S. as the ProMasterCity — but this mini motorhome is likely to only be sold in Europe.

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