Nick HardingSee other Advice articles filed in ‘Used motorhome buying guides’ written by Nick Harding
For many, a full-width, end washroom is essential. For others, it’s just a glorified storage room with a toilet. Some accept showers with curtains, others detest their clingy, dirt-attracting nature, insisting instead that there be a proper, preferably separate cubicle.
There’s no doubting that fully equipped washrooms add to the self-sufficiency that a motorhome offers.
As with any motorhome interior, there will always be compromises. So a large washroom can often mean compromises elsewhere.
The three vehicles we’ve boarded this month all offer bigger washrooms than most, but they all offer variations on the way they arrange their plumbed-in toilet, shower and basin.
Related aspects you’ll want to consider are the capacities of the fresh- and waste-water tanks, the type of pipework, winterisation, what a washroom can offer in terms of heating and – more importantly – ventilation. Then there are factors such as wall linings, storage options from lockers and shelves all the way to hooks and rails. Finally, we consider the usable floor space they provide.
As far as washrooms in pre-owned motorhomes are concerned, your best bet is to seek out those showing minimal signs of use (there are plenty out there) or those that have been very well maintained. Items such as shower curtains can easily be replaced, but cracks in shower trays and basins, for example, are best left to be sorted out by whoever’s doing the selling.
Let's start browsing for end-washroom motorhomes from £30,000 to £48,000.
Marquis Leisure – a Northampton Billing
We visited Marquis Leisure in Great Billing, Northampton, for this used 'van challenge. Marquis Leisure barely needs an introduction these days as the UK’s largest multi-branch motorhome dealer. Founded around 40 years ago, today it has 11 sites, all in England, and is part of the Auto-Sleeper Group, which also includes the Auto-Sleeper manufacturing side. It added another string to its bow two years ago when it became the exclusive UK agent for Spanish brand Benimar.
Marquis is also a market leader in dealer-special motorhomes, offering two ranges – the Marquis Majestic (via Elddis) and the Swift Lifestyle range, as well as holding franchises for new ’vans from many of the UK’s major manufacturers.
This year sees some major upgrades to the Marquis Northants premises adjacent to Billing Aquadrome. The showroom is being extended, while the outdoor display area will also be reconfigured.
General manager Paul White has been here for nearly 10 years. He explains: “Our aim will be minimal disruption for customers. The result will be worth the wait.”
We visited during a new year sale, with two of the three pre-owned vehicles here benefiting from significant price reductions.
Marquis also promises that any of its pre-owned stock (which runs into hundreds of motorhomes) can be brought to your nearest branch for viewing. They’re all backed by the Marquis AutoMarq warranty, which provides national cover for three years for both the base vehicle and the habitation side.
Marquis has added some new franchises in 2016: Autocruise, Auto-Sleepers, Benimar, Bessacarr, Elddis and Swift. When you visit you'll find customer seating area with hot drinks, a workshop, habitation servicing and accessories fitting, and customer parking.
As good as new option: 2012 (12) Auto-Sleeper Worcester
On the forecourt we found a good-as-new 2012 Auto-Sleeper Worcester for sale at £47,995. This is a terrific saving on the £64,995 that it cost when new. Based on a Mercedes Sprinter with a 2.2-litre 163 bhp engine, the Worcester was first registered in June 2012 and since then it has clocked up 10,659 miles.
The Worcester is a two-berth with two belted travel seats. It's 7.29m long, 2.35m wide (excluding mirrors) and 2.88m high. It comes with a bike rack, which would not have been in the standard spec. The 'van has an MTPLM of 3880kg and payload of 654kg.
A whopping £4000 off the original asking price is an instant eye-catcher, in this near-perfect Auto-Sleeper Worcester that’s actually had two owners from new.
The Mercedes Sprinter base is an attraction, although the ride is compliant. It’s sumptuously equipped, though. The bike rack is the only addition to the high standard specification. The alloy wheels, and a super-smooth seven-speed auto ’box, were included.
The cab is superbly appointed; Auto-Sleepers only needed to add a rear-view monitoring system.
It’s a two-berth through and through, with its extensive settees, overhead lockers, superior kitchen, full-width end washroom and all the home-from-home comforts you’d expect.
One thing in short supply is washroom floor space. Beyond its angled wall are a decent-sized shower cubicle and a bench toilet and ‘salad bowl’ basin, plus a wardrobe and drawers.
The kitchen appears to be a higher priority; it is roomy and helped by a slide-out worktop extension.
Despite its as-new condition and popular couples’ layout, the price was reduced, perhaps because the Worcester is no longer in the Auto-Sleepers line-up.
So, to sum up, what do we like and dislike about the 2012 Auto-Sleeper Worcester?
- Likes: it's an upmarket 'van with Mercedes appeal, it has a roomy lounge, there's a sky-high spec.
- Dislikes: Check your driving licence.
Value-for-money option: 2010 (10) Swift Bolero 630 EW
Our bargain-hunting paid off when we spotted the 2010 Swift Bolero 630 EW, at £35,995. When it was new this 'van would have cost £44,456. It's built on a 2.3-litre, 130bhp Fiat Ducato, first registered in July 2010.
The 'van's current mileage is just 9071. It's a two-berth, with two travel seats, and it measures7.04m long, 2.35m wide and 2.77m high. It was originally sold with the desirable Vogue Pack of extras, which includes a bike rack as well as, clock, barometer and thermometer. The MTPLM is 3500kg and the 'van has a payload of 370kg.
This is the older, less pricey of two Swift Bolero 630EWs in stock (the network has six pre-owned Boleros). It’s also had an extra-wide habitation door fitted professionally. The skirting has been strengthened and a step was added, although the door no longer has a window.
Inside, it’s all original. The air conditioning, cruise control and rear-view monitor are from the £975 Vogue Pack; the microwave oven cost a further £112.
A fixed sunroof over the cab allows plenty of daylight into the lounge, where there are two bench seats of different lengths that can be used as single beds or a transverse double. In the daytime, you have swivel cab seats and a freestanding table, which has dedicated storage next to the fridge.
There’s a step down from the lounge to the well-equipped kitchen. The main L-shaped unit has a dual-fuel hob, a separate oven and grill, the microwave, a fridge/freezer, ample storage and a sufficient worktop.
The spacious washroom boasts a larger-than-average shower cubicle, a swivel-bowl toilet, basin on the back wall and a wardrobe in the offside corner.
The second of the ’van’s two owners part-exchanged it for a new Bessacarr 442.
So, to sum up, what do we like and dislike about the 2010 Swift Bolero 630 EWR?
- Likes: generous washroom and kitchen.
- Dislikes: windowless retrofitted habitation door.
Super saver option: 2008 (08) Pilote Cityvan CV60
Last but not least, we spotted an excellent super-saver, the 2008 Pilote Cityvan CV60, at £29,995. When it was new, this 'van would have cost around £41,000. It's based on a 2.3-litre turbodiesel, 130bhp Fiat Ducato that was first registered in May 2008. Since then it's clocked up 26,706 miles. It's a four-berth with four travel seats and is 5.94m long, 2.10m wide and 2.75m high.
This motorhome was originally sold with a few extras, such as the awning, a bike rack, a TV bracket, water purification system, 'Winter Pack' and 'Comfort Pack'.
It has an MTPLM of 3500kg and a payload of 605kg.
Technically, this is an A-class, although Pilote cleverly took the front of a Fiat Ducato chassis-cab and melded it to a coachbuilt body. Its looks – at best controversial – sealed its fate. Other factors didn’t help, such as thick front pillars and the lack of airbags.
Despite the narrow body, there is an astounding amount of living space. It’s well under 6m long, which widens its current appeal.
The spacious lounge gets a boost when you swivel the cab’s captain-style seats. The twin sofas must be adapted to use the forward-facing passenger seats. The kitchen is reasonable while the washroom is generous, though it’s not full-width, due to the wardrobe. A step-in shower, swivel-bowl toilet, fixed basin and good storage are included.
The A-class-style drop-down bed extends so you sleep longitudinally. Also, some of the lighting has been switched to LEDs.
When new, it cost around £37,000, before the optional 130bhp engine, 'Winter Pack' (extra insulation, cab blinds) and 'Comfort Pack' (cab air conditioning, sunroof, electric step) were added.
Some examples rattle, so get an early test drive. This had one owner, who part-exchanged for a Marquis Majestic 105.
So, to sum up, what do we like and dislike about the 2008 Pilote Cityvan CV60?
- Likes: Large lounge, great use of space, overall specification.
- Dislikes: Some flimsy aspects of the build.
We hope you enjoy shopping around for your end-washroom motorhome.