Motorhoming and more!

Packing eleven halls at the National Exhibition Centre, the¬†UK‘s biggest leisure vehicle launch show included motorhomes, campervans, touring caravans, caravan holiday homes, lodges, trailer tents – mind-boggling when you’ve never attended one before!

The leisure¬†market¬†has been a¬†buoyant¬†one, recently elevated by a recent 25%¬†threshold of tax-free pension withdrawal which, you’ve guessed it, some pensioners have chosen to spend on motorhomes. I did detect¬†a lot of¬†beige interiors matching customers’ clothing but¬†the event¬†was a hive of activity and it was interesting to see customers comparing their motorhomes to new models; ¬†it appears they have an affinity with their ‘homes’ even tweaking them to suit.

The stalwart of motorhome engines, Fiat Ducato 2.3 diesels are presently Euro 5 compliant but will accord to Euro 6 emissions standards from September 2016 whereas Volkswagen transporter conversions abide to the present European¬†threshold hence the ‘T6’ model name although this is aided by adding a dose of AdBlue to the fuel tank.

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From my observations at least, the cheapest Campervan was the previous Lunar Campercar ( for sale via Don Amott caravans) based on the Nissan NV 200 with the well-proven 1.5 dCi Renault-based diesel engine. Only 4.4 metres in length with 2.011 metres in width (with mirrors), an optional roofbed at £299 enables it to sleep an additional two people making it a four berth. Sliding doors on each side provides easy access with an ideal view.

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Built on the VW Caddy Maxi Window Van chassis is the¬†Caddy Camp Maxi by Reimo. It’s an ultra-compact camper with original VW factory seating for three rear passenger seats with three-point belts. The lounge area converts quickly and easily into either a single bed or ample size double bed and an optional elevating roof bed at ¬£595 provides an additional sleeping area suitable for one adult or two children. At ¬£32950 for the 2.0 TDI 102ps 5 speed manual, it is a quality, tasteful conversion.

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Established in 2007, Vanworx adds its own unique style and¬†attitude¬†with this featured VW T5 Campervan, fully accredited by Volkswagen. It certainly offered a refreshing change from the usual conservative beige and wood veneer contrasting with a lounge area suitable enough to host a night-long¬†poker game – with a roofbed for further respite! Prices range from ¬£32690 for a 84ps Startline ‘Chilli’ 4 berth to ¬£44480 for a 180ps twin-turbo Highline 4 berth ‘Chesil’- both featuring contrasting seat fabrics that complement work surfaces, panels and units.

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Celebrating fifty years in the business, Coach builders Adria from Slovenia, featured the Coral Plus 670SL which when compared to an older model had a new panoramic window at the front of the roof , a plug powerpoint on the ceiling but a smaller fridge. The chief designer had the concept of the Coral Plus inspired by New York loft-living.

Van 314 produced by Hymer, is only 5.45 m in length making it the “smallest and comfiest motorhome in the world.” Shorter than a long-wheelbase VW T5, it can be equipped with a bathroom, shower, bed and garage. Introduced in 2006, the 2016 model will cost ¬£47725.¬†¬†

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The newly-launched Rio 325 made by Swift is the size of a panel van, i.e 5.99m in length. It’s a two berth with a child and has an electrically retractable bed that can increase or decrease the amount of storage space in the ‘garage’ – and it has a lift-up rear tailgate.

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Mind-boggling when I¬†left as when I¬†entered because of the variety of niches within the Motorhome sector – a definite learning curve for a newbie like me. To lighten the mood, a life-size model based, wait for it, on the distinctive shape of the T@B 320 RS caravan made of more than 150,000 Lego bricks was certified the world’s largest by the official Guinness World Records adjudicator – and it even including a sink with running water!

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Words and photos are copyright of Sotiris Vassiliou

December 2015