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Old 08-16-2017, 03:58 AM   #1
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Default Camping World Sunlight Van One aka V1

Essentially this is an Internet review of the CAMPING WORLD Sunlight Van One. Sadly without a Sunlight V1 in reasonable distance for me to look at, the value of this thread is limited. But you may find out a few interesting things I found re this model and another one with similar features.

First you should know that my wife and I have decided to purchase a WINNEBAGO Travato 59K. Timing of when we have the funding we want to direct to this purchase is the gating factor. We are not convinced yet that we should change our choice of coach. Of course until we pull the pin and plunk down our (negotiated) money, we will still examine new models with rear wet baths come to market.
Last Sunday (13Aug17) we spotted a Class B from the highway at a dealer so we stopped to take a look. It was a CARADO Axion. This is now an active can of worms on what we have discovered which leads us to the CAMPING WORLD Sunlight Van One, or V1 for short.

First lets say that we are impressed, at a low-end point of view what we saw in the Axion. In the grand scheme of available Class B's, this was a nice albiet somewhat simplistic version of the WB Travato but unlike another thread, I would not call this a clone. There are many differences and a number of things that the Travato has which are simply are not included or even optional (that I can tell - more on that in a moment) on the Axion or Sunlight V1.

Ok so we spent some time at a dealer checking out the Axion. Except for not having a twin bed setup, it fundamentally, has the essence of a Travato. Except it is a Pro Master 1500 chassis and the coach in it's standard equipment form has lower end but not bad cabinets. Maybe marginal cabinet latches, lower cost kitchen counter top, a 120 volts ac only refrigerator (not 100% confirmed). An 11,000 BTU AC unit which runs only on 120 vac (confirmed), a sink faucet/shower head combo, no exterior service or rear LED light strips, manual awning, steel wheels, and a number of other differences. Especially the single holding tank with a macerator pump. When I found a key to open a flap door on the driver side, I discovered this van had a Thetford Sani-Con Turbo. Lots of reading commenced Sunday night to figure out all of the features, pros and cons of the Axion. Which led me to a trail to the WB Sunlight V1. Yes, I am getting there.

I discovered that the Axion and the Sunlight are not found (as others have already mentioned) under the GoHymer web site at all. Hymer has set up other branches specifically for the Axion under CARADO and the Sunlight Van One under Camping World such that your "Go to" is these companies web sites. Unfortunately the CARADO site is (sorry CARADO) virtually useless beyond a somewhat vague two page PDF brochure and likewise a slightly better but still rather vague four page PDF brochure on Camping Worlds site for their Sunlight V1.

I trudged on over the Internet thinking I would find great detail, independant commercial reviews as well as the usual consumer reviews. Nada! Ok not nada but almost nothing. There is a two part consumer review of the CW Sunlight V1 which makes this van seem to be omi-gosh terrible. He is right since he checked out a 2nd Sunlight and found some of the same problems as the 1st one he filmed. And I have been able to verify one of the issues appears in every picture I can find of the rear bathrooms forward wall. Hmmm, not a good start.

Back to the CARADO Axion for a moment; my wife and I liked what we saw mostly. We did not see any of the issues on the aforementioned You Tube video and we are pretty good at finding things. In any case the quality/fit & finish albiet with lower end products was acceptable although I would like to go back for a 2nd, unrushed (near closing time) look.

re the CW Sunlight, I imagine it is assembled in the same plant as the CARADO product since many things are totally identical. Except there are a few significant differneces; the CARADO uses an ALDE heater/hot water unit with under floor radiators versus CW uses a traditonal propane only heater with the large exterior hatch and vent. Bonus points to CARADO here I think. Both have a macerator system but the CARADO Axion is obvious and possibly more serviceable than the CW Sunlight. I don't know for sure without seeing what CW had EHGNA (Erwin Hymer Group North America) stuff into the large black pipe I see in pics of the Sunlight. Pics on the Internet show this pipe level and tucked up fairly well, unlike the two part video on you tube which shows a horribly hung ground dragger pipe. I tend to want to think that CW dealer had two prototype Sunlights because all of the problems shown just do not seem like they could be actual for sale production units. Maybe for sale one of kind pre-production units? Anyway...

Another notable difference is the CW Sunlight V1 seems to only come with a basic in dash stereo and no user controls on the steering wheel. No phone controls which means in real life, more dangerous to all of us who might be driving by one of these so equipped Sunlights. The Axion on the other hand seems to come standard with the shall we say, deluxe system with steering wheel controls, blue tooth, and a rear view camera shows on screen when the van is in Reverse. Kudos again to the Axion product for this which I think is standard. The problem is the vaque brochures and no decent Options list descriptions or pictures from CARADO, CW or yet to be posted from buyers. Someone has bought one of these things, right?

Yes we should visit dealers to see in real life but I am not sure I want to drive roughly 5 hrs to see the nearest CW Sunlight V1 based on what I see so far on You Tube. Again I hope that what was put on video was unfortunately a couple of pre production units but then it would seem like the CW guys would have made a point of that and they did not.

There you go. Perhaps a few things I discovered that will help you re the CW Sunlight Van One or the Axion by CARADO. We really need these companies to provide more information and some additional review blogs and/or videos guys!

Gene
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Old 08-16-2017, 01:59 PM   #2
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Thanks for the thoughtful review!

We did most of our research on the internet, as well. There was a Roadtrek/WGO seller about 2 hours away and we went there twice, which gave us the option of driving the three different available chassis and determine which floorplan would work best. We also went to a used dealer, which let us look at PleasureWay, Chinook, etc.

We decided the chassis was the most important part of the equation and we were clear we didn't want the stripped-down version because it's a lot easier to modify the house than the chassis.

Our research also allowed us to form an opinion regarding the build quality vs price from different manufacturers. Most use the same components. For example, there are only a couple of major manufacturers of vent fans, a couple for refrigerators, A/C units, etc. So we were able to decide whether we thought one sub-component was significantly better than another and, while we had some preferences, none were deal-breakers. We did eliminate the really high-end and low-end products, based on our projected usage and budget.

I should also note that we decided we did not care one way or the other about the electrical setup. If you are hard-over on all-electric AND want to boondock, your options will be reduced right away. DH (AKA the Cook), likes propane and outdoor grills, so we decided we didn't need lithium.

So, after the chassis, the second most important characteristic was the floorplan. This narrowed our choices considerably.

So...we wanted a Transit chassis and a twin bed configuration with the bathroom on the driver's side or in the back. In order of quality, we liked PleasureWay, Coachmen, RoadTrek and WGO. The combination of chassis and floorplan we wanted were only available from Coachmen.

Although we had seen the Coachmen Galleria, we did not actually see the Crossfit in person until we arrived at the dealership in another state. I had already put a down payment to hold it, but we were prepared to walk away if it wasn't what we thought it would be or if there were quality issues. Fortunately, all those months of research paid off and it was pretty much exactly what we wanted - and everything worked.

So long story short, I think it is possible to figure out what you like (before you make a 5-hour drive) by looking at other units and performing diligent research. Good luck with your search!
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Old 08-16-2017, 03:53 PM   #3
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Default MERCEDES, FORD and FIAT/RAM platforms

The Class B market has exploded with a nice variety of solutions in the coach area. I totally agree with you re the chassis platform is a very important part of the final decision. Besides the standard van chassis, we have three excellent platforms from MERCEDES, FORD and FIAT/RAM to chose from.

My wife and I are tall, especially myself which I can self describe as lanky. Unfortunately Big feet and tall are just plain awkward when entering and exiting the Transit cab into the coach. We give the Transit high marks in every other area but ultimately took it off our list because of this one, and only thing. Bummer really. The front wheel drive RAM Promaster which is really a FIAT Ducato chassis with a RAM engine & trans is outstanding in this path. It isn't quite as refined as the Transit in dash materials (not bad!), instrumentation clarity (again not bad!) radio/phone/camera (ok) etc. I have to say the driveability, braking, steering are better on the Pro Master but I think I am splitting hairs here. If the floor and seat bases were like the PM in the Transit, then the Transit would be a hands down winner for me.

So the combination of the PM chassis and the Travato rear bath which has the best room for tall folks and the overall good quality of the Travato fixtures and layout is our choice. Only the heady price versus currently available funds keep us from driving off with one today. The funding gap is closing with what we will pay for one.

As for the coach, check my next thread re the stinky stuff, gas and electrical utilities. That thread will include information I think very useful to those of us looking at the the Axion and Sunshine V1 configurations.
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Old 08-16-2017, 03:59 PM   #4
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Good review of both the Axion and the Sunlight, Mr Storys... (you should add the Axion name to your title for those who might be interested in both). In Canada, the Sunlight is sold as the Carado Banff.

I completely agree with your analysis of these two. (except I do think the Sunlight is a Travato clone... except that the Travato is probably a clone of a European Hymer unit. Chicken and Egg... LOL) The Sunlight seems to have been just tossed out into the market as an experiment. Built in the new factory by new crews on the cheap. (per Jim Hammill... labor is like 45 minutes... and it surely shows...) I'm sure that our criticisms of build quality on various websites helped to get the obvious upgrades in quality one sees fixed on the Axion. The galley on the Axion is practical and acceptable... while the Sunlight is IMHO awful and unusable in "real life."

The fridge in both units is the same one that Hymer/Roadtrek are using in most of their smaller units these days. I have it in my 170. My only complaint is that at 3.1 cf, it is small. BUT, I specifically special ordered it to have a compressor 12v fridge that doesn't need to be leveled. I have disconnected the 110 option as per the advice of one of the best techs at RT. I love it. Some are bothered by the hum it makes when cycling, but I don't mind it.

I have test driven both sizes (having narrowed my choices for my next rig) to the two shortest Promasters. I drove both the Axion and the Activ at my local dealer... on the same route. I love the drive and find it comfortable as a short female (tall men tend to not like the Promaster seat position). The Axion is seriously fun to drive - closer to an SUV than an RV, but I had no complaints about the Activ drive.

I also noted the Sanicon system in the Carado, but it is a macerator toilet. Both the Sunlight and Axion have the combo black/gray tank... probably the same size... 22 gallons.

BTW... where did you find a Carado (Axion) website? All that comes up for me on The Google is the European website... or dealers who have them on the lot. There is a limited Facebook page.
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Old 08-16-2017, 05:06 PM   #5
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Here is the link to the North American Carado

http://caradorv.com/models/axion/
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Old 08-16-2017, 05:11 PM   #6
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Thanks... I tried various googles... Carado... Carado US... Carado Axion... sheesh. What can we do when The Google fails us. Next thing people will tell me that Wikipedia isn't always 100% accurate.
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Old 08-16-2017, 05:31 PM   #7
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Thank you for the comments. I think generating some of this input and feedback will help all of us. Re where is the CARADO web site, another forum member already answered. I will say that I stumbled a bit trying to find it, doing the usual things like searching for HYMER Axion and then trying carado.com which didn't work. Finally stringing together caradorv.com worked and that is when I put together that CARADO and CW are purposely not directly under HYMER (gohymer.com). Smart marketing thinking really. Hopefully they can grow all three web sites to include something akin to what WINNEBAGO refers to as their Resources web page. I realize WB has years of well documented information they graciously post online, just like JOHN DEERE. Doing that and keeping it up to date comes at great cost. But the Erwin Hymer Group of North America (EHGNA) hopefully will begin to build a Resources page or pages. Cost/Benefit ratio is always king. A lot of money being spent to get things rolling so we cannot realistically pick on EHGNA now. Re product QC; I am confident this will improve. As for the CW S V1, I am also confident that product and marketing will improve. And that is why I am still considering driving 400 miles to actually see one (maybe purchase on the spot) an S V1 even if it has some flaws.

Gene
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Old 08-17-2017, 10:34 PM   #8
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Default Hello, anyone home at CW or GoHymer re Sunlight V1

17aug2017 -
The saga continues re trying to get some additional information about the Sunlight Van One (S V1) beyond the limited content brochure. No V1's around here to look at. I did see an Axion but there are differences, including V1 has a Twin Bed setup something like a WB Travato 59K but not a clone of that bed.

Stay tuned for what happens to my request to get a PDF copy of the Owners Manual for the HYMER/CAMPING WORLD Sunlight Van One. A string of telephone calls, Chat session and two e-mails has yielded zero response so far. Except for the very nice young lady on the CW Chat session who did indeed put in effort to help with this. Ultimately she had to give in and directed me to call 1-877-GOHYMER. Which I did. 11 minutes on hold and then click, dial tone. Emailed but no automatic response never mind no response back from an actual person. But that was only about an hour ago so tick tock we will see where that goes. No response from an e-mail I sent to a rep at CAMPING WORLD last night either. This is not a service down issue so there is no issue yet but I did have visions of this being an easy, quick request & result. Like I said above, Stay Tuned.

Potentially disturbing to hear the CARADO Axion and/or the CW Sunshine V1 may possibly be marketing experiments that might not last. That does not exactly make me want to go out and buy, let alone finance a flash in the pan. The very idea makes me want to stick to the original plan to get a different Class B that has a great track record and likely the manufacturer will be in business with their models for the foreseeable future. Ditto the above "Stay Tuned".

Gene
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Old 08-18-2017, 02:25 AM   #9
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Hymer is certainly not going out of business and the two year warranty will be honored, but both of these units are testing the market to see... if there is a market. You can't expect them to keep producing something that doesn't sell. Their Activ is selling quite well.

Camping World is most people's least favorite RV dealer... and you are quickly learning why. When I went to the one in Mesa to see the Sunlight last spring, they knew nothing about it. It had arrived a few days earlier and they had no paperwork. I couldn't find out basic information like... what kind of battery (it was Ecotrek I guessed from the panel) or the tank sizes... or anything. I very much dislike dealing with a place that wants all of your contact information before they will even show you the rig that you can see outside the window... a rig about which they know damn near nothing.

I think that after the first of the year Hymer will have decided how they plan to proceed.
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Old 08-18-2017, 10:24 PM   #10
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Here's a review I found on youtube. He uses a little bit of crude humor to describe some of the coach.



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