The market for Class B camper vans is booming across Europe and it’s rapidly spreading to the U.S.; people want a camper that’s big enough to live in, filled with all the mod cons, but can still be driven comfortably around a city, and Airstream are listening to them. A world away from their shiny, retro, riveted caravans, with the Interstate Nineteen they’ve set out to create a luxury high-end motorhome for the well-to-do, within the footprint of a van small enough to fit in a standard parking space.
Not all vans are created equal, and this is evident in both the base van and the interior design and features added in by Airstream to their newest creation. In fact, according to Airstream, this isn’t a van at all, but rather a deluxe “touring coach” despite it being just 19ft long, and sleeping two while seating four.
What choice for a luxury base van could there be other than the Mercedes Sprinter 2500? With its 3.0L V6 turbo diesel engine and 5 speed Automatic transmission delivering 188bhp, it’s certainly not lacking in power, and with a whole range of high-tech safety features, heated leather seats and optional four wheel drive, it positively screams class.
It’s got air ride suspension, to compensate for bumps, changes in elevation and wind direction, and rear and side view monitoring. It comes with lane keeping assist, collision prevention assist, lane guidance, a heated windshield, and even headlamp cleaning systems. Amongst a swathe of leather and polished wood you’ll find an 8” FUSION infotainment system with Garmin Satnav embedded in the dashboard, and the seats, which match the rear sofas, come in a choice of either Oyster, Moon or black Ultraleather.
Moving into the van’s living space you’re immediately met with a striking sleek dark wood facade, marine-style synthetic wooden flooring, plush Magic Suede wall and window coverings and premium Italian cabinetry. This is customisable, of course, in a choice of either Columbian Walnut, Light Camel or Beach wood, all of which complement the various shades of leather available.
The entire rear of the van is occupied by a large U-shaped seating area, of which the two side seats are hinged and the large sofa is electrically-powered to lie flat, creating what Airstream claims is the largest bed in any Class B camper van. A Dupont Corian adjustable swivel table serves as an eating and recreational
The small kitchen, running along the passenger side of the van, is also furnished with Corian countertops and a matching slide-out shelf for added prep space. Despite its size it contains a microwave, a 90L 12V fridge, a two burner cooktop and a sink with tap, both with integrated covers.
Opposite the kitchen you’ll find the Interstate Nineteen’s rather classy yet compact wet room, a design style borrowed from the European market. Aside from the usual toilet, shower and sink with its tap doubling as a shower head, Airstream have added in a sprinkling of extra luxury and practicality.
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In terms of plumbing, the Interstate Nineteen is fed by a 20 gallon fresh water tank, which collects in a 15 gallon grey water tank, and there’s also a 10 gallon black water tank too, all of which are heated via 12V. The fresh water is heated by a Truma Combi Eco Plus, which also provides heating, fed from a 9.34 gallon LPG tank.
The Interstate Nineteen is filled with clever tech, putting it way ahead of most class B camper vans. It has two 12V deep
To top it all off, on the van’s exterior you’ll find the aforementioned power awning, as well as outdoor lighting, a power entry step, an external hot and cold shower, a 110V outlet and an external LP grill hook up, so whatever the time of day you can barbecue, bathe or just crank up the tunes.
With the Class B camper market booming, Americans are fast catching up with the Europeans in terms of small, minimal vans, and the features that have now become standard in the Europe market are getting a fresh and exciting new take in the U.S.. The only downside to this is that prices for small, European-style vans have yet to come down, and while the Airstream Interstate Nineteen offers a higher level of luxury and class, that carries a premium price tag with it to the tune of $149,240 (starting price).
This is sure to appeal more to retirees and those pulling in six figure salaries looking for a comfortable, easy way to travel, and for die-hard Airstream-lovers it’s a large and lavish step into the 21st century.
Source and image credits: Airstream