10/08/2017
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Auto-Sleepers motorhome Buying Guide

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Auto-Sleepers has been building motorhomes in the picturesque Cotswolds for 54 years. It built its reputation on van conversions (from the Commer in the 60s and 70s, through Talbots in the 80s), so it’s no surprise to find that the company has recently regained its position as Britain’s top-selling motorhome brand in the van sector. And that’s without an entry in the smaller, pop-top roof market, an omission that it will soon be addressing with an exciting addition to its line-up.

At the opposite end of the range, Auto-Sleepers is one of the very few manufacturers to build in volume on the Mercedes Sprinter base. With the prestigious three-pointed star, a powerful range of Euro VI engines and a super-smooth seven-speed automatic gearbox, the appeal of the rear-wheel drive Sprinter has not been lost on Auto-Sleepers’ customers.

Every layout offered on the Mercedes is also available on the lower-priced Peugeot Boxer cab (albeit with different model names). This even now includes the largest models, as Auto-Sleepers has started to offer these using the combination of Peugeot cab and an Al-Ko chassis extension. And the lack of a Peugeot automatic is addressed by the option of a Fiat cab with Comfort-Matic gearbox (on van conversions as well as coachbuilts).

No Auto-Sleeper is complete without the addition of a Premium Pack – so budget at least £2,500 for goodies such as alloy wheels, awnings, sat-nav and much more.

At the start of the year it was also confirmed that Trigano Group had bought a controlling stake in the British manufacturer (as well as its sister company, dealer group, Marquis Leisure).

 

Peugeot van conversions

All Auto-Sleepers’ van conversions are currently based on the Peugeot Boxer, in medium-wheelbase (5.41m), long (5.99m) or extra-long (6.36m) forms. Unusually, they are also based on window vans with factory-fitted, tinted athermic glass along the full length of each side, from the cab back. This gives a smart, automotive look but opening sections are quite limited.

Starting the range is the classic, medium-wheelbase Symbol, a stalwart of the range since the Nineties. Up front, it has a side settee and single rear travel seat, while aft are (on opposing sides of the centre corridor) the kitchen and shower/toilet.

Next up are the two six-metre models – the rear lounge Warwick Duo and the much less conventional Stanway, with its front pullman dinette and quite expansive rear L-shaped kitchen.

The largest, 6.36m, versions have become the most popular of late, though, with the rear lounge Warwick XL (which benefits from a separate shower) and French bed Kingham leading the charge. The end washroom Kemerton XL completes the line-up.

2017 Auto-Sleeper Warwick XL exterior 2017 Auto-Sleeper Warwick XL 2017 Auto-Sleeper Kingham

 

Peugeot coachbuilts

As with the vans, the coachbuilt range benefits from Peugeot’s 160bhp motor as standard and there are six interior fabrics to choose from. Now, though, there’s even more choice as most models come with either a low-profile body or an overcab bed, while lounges can (on most models) be had with classic side settees or a half-dinette with seatbelts.

The line-up here kicks off with a classic – the Nuevo has been a top-seller since the early 2000s. At just 5.71m long, it is shorter and more manoeuvrable than many a van conversion but it still comes fully appointed for two. There’s even a four-berth version, the Nuevo ES, with half-dinette and an overcab bed.

Fancy a bit more space? Then the Broadway EK (with pullman dinette or side settees in the EK TB LP) takes the rear kitchen format of the Nuevo up a notch or two, to 6.28m.

That same overall length can also accommodate a more palatial end washroom in the Broadway EB, while the Broadway FB is the 7.16m French bed derivative.

2017 Auto-Sleeper Broadway EK 2017 Auto-Sleeper Broadway EK interior 2017 Auto-Sleeper Nuevo ES

Peugeot Al-Ko

Previously, Auto-Sleepers’ coachbuilts made a big step up (in price, but also size) from the Broadways to the Mercedes-based Burfords. Now, the Corinium models take the Burford floorplans onto a Peugeot Al-Ko chassis, with body length reduced only a smidgeon to 7.71m.

Better still, as well as the two end washroom models (FB with French bed, Duo with single beds), there’s Auto-Sleepers’ first ever island bed model. As yet, there’s no equivalent of the latest Corinium RB on Mercedes.

Unusually for vehicles of this size (and exalted specification), all three Coriniums can be ordered in 3.5-tonne form to suit any driver, while those with the appropriate licence can upgrade to 4-tonne versions.

Auto-Sleeper Corinium RB on Al-Ko Auto-Sleeper Corinium RB Auto-Sleeper Corinium Duo

Mercedes coachbuilts

Think Mercedes and you’ll probably expect motorhomes with big bodies – and equally large price tags. That’s not necessarily the case here, though, as the Stanton is just 5.94m long and it starts at just over £60k. It’s the Merc equivalent of the Peugeot-based Nuevo, but it’s worth noting that the Premium Pack here (at £4,000) adds not just all the usual spec but also the highly desirable automatic gearbox. Rare indeed is a manual Mercedes Auto-Sleeper…

The Bourton (like the Broadway EK TB LP) is effectively a stretched Stanton/Nuevo with a rear kitchen and corner swing-wall shower/toilet room, but a much larger lounge (and simpler single bed set-up at night).

At 7.29m, the Winchcombe, however, is much bigger than its nearest equivalent on Peugeot (the Broadway EB). Its long settees are big enough to act as near-instant single beds, while the rear kitchen and across-the-back bathroom are as big as they come.

Burford and Burford Duo are two more end bathroom models (each 7.88m overall) with the added bonus of fixed beds – French double style in the Burford, twin singles in the Duo. And, as with the near-identical Corinium layouts, the bedrooms are closed off from the living area with a full wall and domestic-style door!

The Mercedes range is completed with the 7.29m Malvern, which has a classic front lounge and rear French bed with washroom alongside (rather than beyond, as in the longer Burford).

Auto-Sleeper Malvern Mercedes coachbuilt Auto-Sleeper Malvern Mercedes coachbuilt interior Auto-Sleeper Winchcombe on Mercedes

Auto-Sleepers for 2018

We're awaiting information on the changes for this British manufacturer's chnages for 2018 but can confirm that we expect to see a campervan based on the Peugeot Traveller in Spring 2018.


 

Used Auto-Sleepers Top Picks

Auto-Sleeper Clubman

FROM £10,000    

BASE VEHICLE Volkswagen Transporter T4/T5

ENGINES 2-litre and 2.5-litre petrol, 2.4-litre diesel, 2.5-litre turbo-diesel

LENGTH 5.32m, later 5.52m GROSS WEIGHT 3,300kg

PRICE WHEN NEW £33,029 (1998), £35,930 (2003)

Few dealers’ forecourts would be complete without at least one Auto-Sleeper model, although for buyers the question is which one to choose?

We’ve gone for three, kicking off with the much-missed Clubman, a little motorhome with a monocoque coachbuilt body but which, because of that, came at a price. With roots going all the way back to similar coachbuilts on the Bedford CF, when it was also called Clubman, the Volkswagen Transporter T4-based version was unveiled in 1993, continuing pretty much unchanged until the T5 base came along in 2003. Early examples sometimes had petrol engines, although the pick of them all was the 102bhp 2.5-litre turbo-diesel.

The Clubman was only ever a two-berth as far as travel was concerned (the similar Gatcombe offered an extra belted rear seat), although Auto-Sleepers did offer the option of boards to make a double bed in the overcab section (in lieu of lockers). In all probability, whichever option was selected, it was with storage uppermost in mind – as a bed, it made for a huge cavern area for stowing larger (but light) items!

The sheer drivability of the T5 was a key attribute, allied to that last-a-lifetime coachbuilt body. But it was its high price that did for the Clubman more than anything else, although that – in turn – is what helps make it such a sought after secondhand buy.

 

Auto-Sleeper Warwick

FROM £29,995

BASE VEHICLE Peugeot Boxer

ENGINES 2.2-litre 120bhp, 130bhp or 150bhp LENGTH 5.99m (Duo), 6.36m (XL)

GROSS WEIGHT 3,500kg

PRICE WHEN NEW £38,750 (2008), £47,025 (2013)

Introduced back in 2007 when a rear lounge van conversion was seen as something of a gamble, it was the first Auto-Sleeper van conversion with a rear two-settee lounge. 

It was based on the Peugeot Boxer van with athermic glass windows (as opposed to the double-glazed acrylic units favoured by other converters) and was, of course, up to the usual Auto-Sleeper standards in terms of build and specification. That even included an ironing board on the original design!

Things kicked off when the 5.99m-long Warwick Duo emerged in 2008. This has been up at the top of the Auto-Sleeper van conversions sales table ever since – where its nearest rival is the Warwick XL, using the extra-long (6.36m) Boxer van. Crucially, there’s a key difference between the Duo and the XL mid-‘van, with the kitchen and washroom switching sides – the latter in the XL having space for a separate shower cubicle.

 

Auto-Sleeper Nuevo

FROM £18,000    

BASE VEHICLE Peugeot Boxer

ENGINES 1.9-litre 84bhp, 2.2-litre 130bhp and 150bhp

LENGTH 5.71m

GROSS WEIGHT 3,300kg

PRICE WHEN NEW £28,065 (2001), £32,782 (2007)

Auto-Sleepers was well ahead of the downsizing curve when it introduced the Nuevo in 2001. Although it’s stayed true to its compact coachbuilt roots, there have been a few significant bodywork changes over some very successful years for a vehicle that’s still a key part of the Auto-Sleeper portfolio today. Indeed, it’s one of a small band of models that successfully made the jump from the previous Peugeot Boxer chassis (shown above) to the current version.

Always Peugeot Boxer-based, early models came with the 1.9-litre turbo-diesel engine but, from 2002, the 2.2HDi unit was the norm. From last November, though, 150bhp has been the standard fitment, with Auto-Sleepers now also offering the option of a switch to a Fiat base so that Comfort-Matic auto transmission can be supplied.

A taller body was introduced, circa 2010, where a flush-fitting awning was incorporated. Also around 2010, Auto-Sleepers announced the slightly larger Nuevo II, badging the smaller model Classic. Today, the ES model is a four-berth overcab design, while the EK stays truer to its original roots as a two-berth low-profile.

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