15/10/2018
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Top 7 motorhome and campervans at 2018 NEC show

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If you've been to the NEC's Motorhome and Caravan Show before, you'll be familiar with the somewhat overwhelming array of motorhomes and campervans on display — and for potential buyers, particularly those new to the hobby, it can be impossible to know where to start.

Here, we've picked out our top seven (we just couldn't stop at a top five!) motorhomes and campervans on display at the Motorhome and Caravan Show this week — with something to suit every need, taste and budget. 

Campster

Great for everyday driving: Campster campervan

Price from: £40,995
Base vehicle: Citroën SpaceTourer
Berths: 4
Travel seats: 5-7
Gross weight: 2,690kg-3,100kg
Payload: 465kg-810kg

Based on the people-carrier version of the latest Citroën/Peugeot/Toyota compact van, the Campster is under 5m in length and less than 2m high. Roof down, with 17in alloy wheels and a choice of eight exterior colours, it looks like an MPV. With engines ranging from 102 to 177PS (and an optional eight-speed automatic gearbox) it goes like a car, too.

Of course, in camper mode, the interior looks much like many other campervans of this type, with a side galley and a two-person rear bench (which makes into a 2.12m by 1.12m bed). In the Campster, though, you can remove the kitchen unit (complete with two-burner hob, sink, 5-litre water carriers and gas locker). As well as allowing cooking al fresco, and entry to the vehicle from either side, that also enables the installation of a centre row of three seats – making this a seven-person vehicle.

Of course, both front seats swivel and the elevating roof includes a second double bed, measuring 1.90m by 1.10m, while the roof fabric can be opened up at the front for a panoramic effect. There’s a small compressor fridge in the fixed section of kitchen and another small cooler can slot between the front seats. This is one clever little campervan.

Great for luxurious living: Carthago Liner-for-two 53 motorhome

Price from: £117,420
Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Heavy Al-Ko
Berths: 2
Travel seats: 2
Gross weight: 4,500kg
Payload: TBC

Carado, Hymer’s entry-level marque and sister to Sunlight (from Dethleffs), entered the A-class market a year ago with a simple range of two seven-and-a-half-metre models – one with an island bed, the other, predictably enough, with twin singles. Now, the company has added a third model to its ‘integrated’ motorhome portfolio, catering for those seeking something just a bit more manoeuvrable.

Up front, there’s a half-dinette lounge with a small side seat for one next to the habitation door. Of course, with a full-width cab and huge windscreen it all feels more spacious than in a low-profile. And, because this is an A-class, the drop-down bed (2.00m by 1.50m) comes down without robbing you of all your lounge space. There’s the usual L-shaped kitchen with tall fridge (up to 167 litres) opposite, while the bedroom’s en suite still boasts completely separate toilet and shower areas, as well as a toilet room door that swings around to close off the whole of the rear of the vehicle.

Carados destined for Blighty come with a higher spec than German market models but it’s likely that UK dealers will raise the game further with the Chassis Comfort Package (alloy wheels, leather steering wheel) and Emotion Package (Champagne-coloured sides). 

Dreamer D55+

Great for innovation and design: Dreamer D55+ Select campervan

Price from: £46,500
Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato
Berths: 2
Travel seats: 4
Gross weight: 3,500kg
Payload: 425kg

It’s staggering how much difference the new Panoramic Skyview roof makes to the interior of this van conversion. Much of the rest of the recipe is familiar – six-metre Fiat Ducato panel van, fixed double bed at the rear, half-dinette up front – but here it all feels so much lighter and more spacious. 

A more important advantage over rival fixed bed van conversions, though, is carried over from Dreamer’s parent company (Rapido) and its V55 camper – here the washroom expands across the whole width of the vehicle to include a separate shower cubicle. It’s all made possible by a clever rotating wardrobe but there doesn’t seem to be any downside.

The rear bed still maintains a useable size of 1.94m by 1.28m, or it can be folded away to create a large garage with practical chequerplate floor. With a 134-litre fridge being another fitting that you wouldn’t expect in a ’van of this size, the D55+ is full of surprises!

Great for value: Elddis Autoquest CV40 campervan

Price from: £38,377
Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato
Berths: 3
Travel seats: 4
Gross weight: 3,500kg
Payload: 665kg

This is a thoroughly competitive – if hardly groundbreaking – design at a price that makes you wonder what the catch is. There isn’t one, though you will have to find another £1,218 for the Lux Pack (cab air-con, cruise control, passenger airbag). But that still keeps the total below £40k – which is the cost of a five-year-old example of certain rivals.

The layout is the most popular of all van conversion floorplans in the UK – with a half-dinette up front, a rear lounge and a bathroom and kitchen sandwiched in between. And the spec isn’t of the back-to-basics variety – you get a 25-litre underslung gas tank, an electric step, a DAB radio with steering wheel controls, mains/gas 4kW heating, Grade III insulation, an oven/grill, a 90-litre fridge and LED lighting. Yes, all that for under £40k.

Because this is the more manoeuvrable six-metre panel van, the rear lounge isn’t the biggest – settees are 1.30m (offside) and 1.35m (nearside) but that’s still plenty of room for a couple to relax. And slatted seat bases pull together to make a transverse double bed that’s 1.84m long. Pleated blinds are another pleasant surprise, come night-time. Even the washroom looks like it belongs in a more upmarket model, thanks to a plinth-mounted corner basin. Only the single drain hole and shared tap/showerhead are downsides.

Hymer B-MC

Great for Mercedes fans: Hymer B-Class ModernComfort I 580

Price from: £77,070
Base vehicle: Mercedes Sprinter
Berths: 4
Travel seats: 4
Gross weight: 3,500kg
Payload: 510kg

Here is the first – and, so far, only – motorhome based on the new front-wheel drive Sprinter. The latest B-Class Hymer wears the ModernComfort moniker and comes in both low-profile and A-class forms. Hymer says the B-MC (for short) range sets new industry standards and is the culmination of over two years of development in association with Mercedes-Benz Vans.

As standard, these new Sprinter chassis get a 143bhp engine and six-speed manual gearbox but a 177bhp power unit and Merc’s new nine-speed automatic gearbox are optional. A whole raft of base vehicle safety features is available, too.

Interiors have been completely redesigned but follow conventional concepts. As well as this single bed layout, there is a similar-length B-MC with transverse rear double (550) and two longer, 7.39m motorhomes, the single bed 680 and island bed 690. In the 580 there’s a 142-litre fridge/freezer alongside the galley. There is also a flip-up worktop extension and three very large soft-close drawers. Opposite the galley is Hymer’s new ‘comfort’ washroom with a large shower featuring 1.94m headroom.

Itineo

Great for space in only 6.5m: Itineo FC650

Price from: £55,800
Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato
Berths: 4
Travel seats: 4
Gross weight: 3,500kg
Payload: 426kg

This is one of our favourite new ’vans of 2019. If you’re thinking about buying a new A-class this season, then take a good look at this one first.

For a start, it’s not uncomfortably large to drive – at just six-and-a-half metres long – and, secondly, it doesn’t have a frightening price tag. In fact, at £55k it undercuts many a low-profile. It’s a distinctive looker – as ever with Itineo – and it comes with a whole host of changes that affect the entire range from this Rapido Group brand this year. That’s everything from a reinforced driver’s door to bigger garage hatches, from a new backlit mirror by the entrance to a new shower column with added storage. 

But it’s the use of space that will win you over. This motorhome feels like a real TARDIS. At the back there’s a full-sized garage with three loading doors and a 150kg limit. It’s got headroom of 1.20m, too. At the opposite end of the FC650, the drop-down A-class bed measures 1.86m by 1.41m and is easy to deploy, so couples can forget about bed-making.

Even with the bed down, this ’van feels so spacious, but in the daytime it really impresses with the side settees, captain’s chairs and fold-in-half table making a great lounge. One that can convert into a pair of travel seats, too. The kitchen is striking in design, has plenty of worktop, good storage in large drawers complete with central locking, and features a vast 149-litre fridge/freezer with automatic energy selection. And, if all that isn’t enough, the rear bathroom-cum-changing-room is quite superb!

Great combination of retro and modern: Westfalia Kepler Sixty

Price from: £54,500
Base vehicle: VW Transporter
Berths: 4
Travel seats: 4
Gross weight: 2,800kg
Payload: 415kg

The Sixty comes in a distinctive duo-tone Cherry Red and Candy White colour scheme, matched to a rear-hinged pop-top roof with red canvas. Other exterior touches include a widespread use of chrome (handles, indicator surrounds, etc) and special one-off retro graphics that hark back to the rear engine vents of the old air-cooled models. Completing the look are optional 18in alloy wheels with white centres and extensive use of chrome.

Inside, the layout is standard ‘side kitchen campervan’ but with the extra interior space afforded by the long-wheelbase Transporter. The cabinets are finished in red and white, and so is the seating in faux leather with embroidered Westfalia logos. Here, the Sixty differs from the previous model, Six, in having a two-person rear bench seat – fixed to rails on which it slides – rather than the individual rear seats. The settee converts into a 2.00m by 1.22m double bed, while a roof bed (measuring 1.90m by 1.20m) is also standard equipment.

The Kepler Sixty also comes with thoroughly 21st century spec such as diesel-fired Webasto heating and a 148bhp TDI engine. Automatic transmission, four-wheel drive and petrol engines are all possible from the options list.

Looking for more information on brand-new motorhomes and campervans for the 2019 season? 'The Essential Guide to 2019 Motorhomes and Campervans' is available to buy now for just £5.99 — download the guide ahead of the show.

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