NEC Motorhome Show news: 10 motorhomes that you should see
If you’re going to the NEC show next week – it opens on Tuesday 14 October – or considering buying a new 2015 motorhome, then we think these 10 new models are worth a look
Swift Rio 320 & 340
This is quite possibly the most exciting motorhome ever built by the UK’s number one manufacturer.
It’s compact – barely longer than an XLWB Fiat/Peugeot van conversion and a useful shade narrower than typical coachbuilts. It’s good looking; sleek and inheriting the sharp lines of the new Ducato. It’s available as a two-berth or for four.
It starts at under £45,000. And its star feature is a big lift-up tailgate at the back – perfect letting the outdoors mix with the indoors on lazy days in summer, as well as for loading bikes or canoes on board. Even for trips to the garden centre or Ikea.
The 340 is the one that everyone is talking about as it has an electric drop-down bed over its rear lounge, but the 320 might well end up being the bigger seller, thanks to its larger lounge area and the option of twin beds. Both versions have great kitchen area with a full cooker and a microwave – rather better facilities than you’ll find in most van conversions.
For more information see a full road test of the Rio 320 in this month’s MMM. You can buy a digital copy here
Adria Twin 500 S
Right on cue in the current downsizing market, Adria will launch its smallest ever Twin van conversion this year. The Twin 500 S is one of the very few conversions based on the short-wheelbase high-roof Ducato and will come to the UK with sliding doors on both sides (as well as the rear ‘barn’ doors), adding considerable versatility to a motorhome that measures just under five metres in length.
Inside it has individual rear passenger seats with adjustable head restraints (which convert to single beds, using the cab seats), ahead of a galley (with 65-litre fridge) on the left and the Ergo bathroom (which expands across the aisle) on the right. Modern grey furniture – called Titan – completes an attractive little motorhome that’s just 126mm longer than a Ford Mondeo estate!
Adria says it already has 40 UK orders for this one-of-a-kind model and with an expected price of around £38,000 that’s no surprise to us.
Chausson 610 Flash/Welcome
If you’re heading to Brum to buy a low-profile motorhome for two (perhaps with the ability to carry four infrequently) and your priorities are a big lounge, a really super-sized washroom and garage-sized storage, all in a package that’s not too big – or too costly (from £41,390) – then this is your ’van!
The 610 takes everything that made the Flash 10 so popular (and imitated by so many rivals) and adds more choice (Ford or Fiat cab, Flash or Welcome spec) and grows by 70cm to incorporate a garage at the back. It’s still under 6.70m long and the garage is a good size, with superb access via doors on three sides.
The lounge (and the dining table) are still pretty vast and the overcab sunroof lets in plenty of light. The bed lowers from the ceiling electrically and comes right down to seat height. The washroom has a really generous separate shower and the wardrobe is one of the biggest we’ve ever seen. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
Three years after it entered the motorhome market, Bailey of Bristol will launch its second-generation Approach Autograph range at the NEC.
For the forthcoming season all Autograph models will be built on the new-look Peugeot Boxer graphite cab which features LED daytime running lights and a DAB radio with Bluetooth connectivity.
Every model is powered by a 2.2-litre Hdi 130 bhp Euro V engine complete with a 6-speed manual gearbox and also has both cab air conditioning and engine cruise control as standard.
The Peugeot cab is matched to a new ultra-low profile lightweight Al-Ko chassis which, with its lower centre of gravity, provides a more balanced weight distribution that improves road holding and braking efficiency.
The bodyshell is built using the Bailey patented Alu-Tech construction system, complete with a GRP outer skin and under floor protection.
Safety considerations are evident with key features, such as an ABS braking system, high performance Michelin tyres, twin cab airbags all standard, whilst fully approved three-point seatbelts and frames are fitted to every dedicated rear passenger seat (model specific).
The 2015 Approach Autograph range will feature four existing layouts plus two new additions: the Autograph 540 (pictured) and the Autograph 730.
The Autograph 540 is a sub-six-metre long and 2.35-metre wide vehicle that shares many of the practical advantages of a panel van conversion, such as ease of use and lower running costs, but with the design flexibility and extra interior space found in a coachbuilt motorhome.
Inside this three-berth model features a full width end washroom, a central kitchen and a convertible front lounge with a drop down double bed located above.
In contrast the new Autograph 730 is a full-size 7.6m long, four-berth coachbuilt vehicle designed specifically for long-distance touring. Built on a 3,500kg Al-Ko chassis this layout features a transverse double island bed at the rear, a large central washroom, a fully-equipped kitchen and a parallel seat front lounge that can be converted to provide a second double bed if required.
On the outside the new DuoMobil looks like the member of Hymer’s B-SL range that it is. Upmarket? Prestigious? Luxurious? Affirmative to all three. But unremarkable? Well, yes.
Step inside, though, and you’ll quickly understand why, at Düsseldorf, the queues to see inside were so long that Hymer had to start offering timed appointments to view! With the front of the vehicle in night-time mode you’ll barely even recognise that you’re in a motorhome.
Look left as you enter this vehicle and you’ll see a generous rear lounge, complete with headrests that can be positioned exactly where you want them and a large shelf under which is a laptop locker with 12V, 230V and USB sockets. Corner drinks cabinets complete a luxurious area for simply lazing around.
Turn right as you come in, however, and you may find a door closed to shut off the en suite bedroom from the rest of the vehicle. The large separate shower and well-appointed toilet room opposite are just as you’d anticipate in a German A-class costing over £100k, but the way the drop-down A-class bed turns into longitudinal single beds complete with slide-out steps for access (and hence hiding the cab completely) is unlike anything else on the market.
And there’s plenty more to like here, from the underfloor laundry basket to the optional induction hob, from the generous garage with 450kg weight limit to the 70cm wide habitation door.
All in all it would be hard to imagine a more comfortable way for a couple to go long-term touring, and that is the whole point of the DuoMobil.
British motorhome manufacturer, Lunar, has expanded its award-winning Landstar campervan range offering a greater choice in layouts and also level of luxury specification.
The Landstar is based on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter CDi. The award-winning RL (rear lounge) layout was launched in February this year and is now joined by the Landstar EW (end washroom), featuring an open plan interior with spacious end–washroom with large domestic styled shower.
Also new for 2015 is the Landstar S (special edition) which offers a choice of end washroom or rear lounge layouts plus an enhanced specification. The ‘S’ editions have a more powerful 316 CDI diesel engine as standard, and a host of extra features including:
- an electric side access sliding door
- driver's pack
- special ‘s’ upholstery
- roll-out 4m Thule canopy awning
- 17” alloy wheels
- front and rear parking sensors
- electrically heated and adjustable driving mirrors
Every Landstar has European Whole Vehicle Type Approval and comes with a three-year unlimited mileage warranty and three years’ roadside assistance.
Key 'on the road' features across the range include:
- cruise control and speed limiter setting
- a multi-functional steering wheel
- daytime running lights
- crosswind assist
- an adaptive ESP safety handling system
- ABS and traction control
- alloy wheels
- an immobiliser
- bluetooth telephone and MP3 connectivity
- a microwave
- combi oven with grill by Dometic
- a three-burner hob
- 95-litre Dometic fridge
- textured, slate effect high impact work surfaces and gloss cream locker doors.
The Landstar range starts at £49,995.
Look at the outside of this motorhome and you can see that it’s not very long. Still inside and you’ll be reaching for your tape measure to double check that van-conversion-matching 5.99m overall length. This is a veritable TARDIS of a vehicle.
Built by Rapido you’ll find it on the stand of its French parent company, but this A-class-only brand offers a more entry-level product with keen pricing.
That’s not to say you miss out on comfort, though. The FB600 has a huge front lounge with new removable backrest pads on the settees for added comfort. The corner kitchen has a reasonable section of worktop and, opposite, the fridge boasts a 149-litre capacity. You even get central locking of the kitchen drawers, while a pull-out wine bottle rack seems typically French.
The rear washroom has a separate shower, upmarket Dometic ceramic loo and clever concealed wardrobe (behind sliding doors).
As a little-known brand on our shores it would be easy to overlook the Itineo. Our advice is don’t!
Niesmann + Bischoff Flair
The new Arto was one of the shining stars of last season, so unsurprisingly Niesmann + Bischoff has given the same external look to Arto’s big brother for 2015. Now the Iveco-based Flair is as striking as the smaller Arto and already the German master of the A-class art is talking about June delivery for Flair orders. At least that means you’ll be able to opt for Iveco’s superb new eight-speed automatic gearbox, which goes on sale at the end of the year. Ordering the Hi-Matic transmission is a no brainer.Choosing the rest of your Flair’s specification might take considerably longer. Sole importer, Travelworld, will unveil the 880 LE (8.84m, rear fixed singles) and the 920 LF (9.27m, island bed) at the NEC, but these are just two of the eight layouts on offer – we like the bar versions. Then there are seven options packs and no less than 117 individual optional features, including four seat cushion colours and 12 contrasting backrests. Your perfect motorhome is sure to be possible…
We exclusively revealed last month that Rapido is about to launch a rear lounge model developed especially for the UK market. At the NEC you’ll be able to see it for the first time.
The new 9094dF is a 7.39m A-class on a Fiat Al-Ko chassis, available in 3,500, 3,700 or 4,400kg weights. It has all the features you’d expect of a Rapido A-class – from the drop-down bed in the cab to the split washroom with separate shower on one side, toilet room on t’other. The difference with the 9094dF, though, is in the stern where a luxurious L-shaped sofa faces a low coffee table and a picture window. A pull-down projector screen will be an option for those who want to turn the lounge into a mini-cinema!
Hillside Leisure electric campervan
OK, so an all-electric, zero emission campervan might not be top of your shopping list, but this new world-first from Hillside Leisure is certainly worth a look!
The new campervan is based on the all-electric Nissan e-NV200 and features an elevating roof and cargo area transformed into a living space.
The electric campervan features:
• Award winning zero-emission technology
• 40% lower servicing costs (no engine oil, belts, gearbox or clutch)
• Up to four times cheaper to fuel than diesel vehicles
• Vibration-free, emission-free, noise-free drivetrain
• 106 mile range, 76mph maximum speed
• Multi-function display gives an economy read-out along with battery state of charge
• Pre-heating control which can be remotely operated via a smartphone
• Electric air conditioning system
• Battery charge app for smartphones
• 2-ring hob, 39-litre fridge, on board water tank and low voltage LED lighting
• Swivel passenger front seat
• Rear seat that converts from seat to bed in just a few seconds
• One to four berths
Mark Cross, Director of Derby-based Hillside Leisure said: “We believe this conversion will be a first in the industry, indeed in the world, and the start of the electric revolution in our market. We went to great lengths to ensure delivery of the brand new Nissan e-NV200 electric van, which is the first one in the country, and we’ve used our in-house team of highly skilled craftsmen to create our unique campervan conversion. We can’t wait to unveil it at the show, in Hall 11, and look forward to putting it into full production in 2015.
“You’re probably thinking about the practicalities of having an electric vehicle as a campervan and will be curious about charging points. If you haven’t experienced an electric car then you’ll be pleased to hear that there is a fast growing network of charge points and technology already exists to help drivers find their next charging point.”
A dedicated quick charger can recharge the campervan's battery to 80% capacity in as little as 30 minutes. More than 1,100 quick chargers are already available to the public and have been installed across Europe, with 220 of those in the UK.
The Motorhome and Caravan Show opens at the NEC in Birmingham on Tuesday 14 October and closes on Sunday 19 Dec