Gentleman Jack

See other Advice articles filed in ‘Used motorhome buying guides’ written by Gentleman Jack
   
Want a compact, high-quality ’van? Be sure to check out the Murvi Mallard when looking at used motorhomes for sale – and read our expert's top buying tips

Last year the Murvi Mallard celebrated its 21st birthday. Quite an achievement, especially given that the basic concept and internal layout has remained unchanged throughout.

It would be disingenuous not to point out that the Mallard has been refreshed with different fabrics, furnishings and kit, but nothing radical enough to ruffle its feathers.

One of the main reasons for the Mallard’s appeal is that it takes the standard camper layout and improves on it.

The rear rock’n’roll double seat/bed with an offside run of cabinetwork was originally developed to make optimum use of the floor space on VW’s (then) rear-engined Transporter. The layout has remained popular on short-wheelbase front-engined Transporters, because it offers an unrivalled amount of floor room.

The Mallard is on the long-wheelbase Transporter, so has even more room. It’s also available on the Fiat Ducato: the medium-wheelbase chassis on the X44 (1995-2005) and X250 (1996-2015), or short and medium wheelbases on the latest X290.

VW-based models have a longitudinal double-bed floorplan. The extra width of the Ducato allows either a longitudinal or transverse double bed.

Buyers could opt for any of the base vehicle options including engine size, type of gearbox, colour, trim level and more.

As a result, potential purchasers of pre-owned Murvis often find them specced to a higher level than their mass-produced rivals.

That unrivalled amount of level floor space is the principal reason why the Mallard is a popular choice among wheelchair users. An additional (but easily removable) crash-tested double rear travel seat can also be fitted.

It is also worth noting that gasless Mallards are available. They use a twin-burner diesel-fired ceramic hob, diesel-fired/230V water and space heating plus a 12V/230V compressor fridge.

Not only does the Mallard offer great flexibility as an ‘only’ vehicle, it also comes with Murvi’s provenance.

As serial Gold winners in the Practical Motorhome Owner Satisfaction Awards for both new and pre-owned motorhomes, Murvi’s products are a safe bet for reliable and comfy motorcaravanning.

Murvi itself does not stock used vehicles as a dealer might, but occasionally has pre-owned examples traded in. It also runs a register of owners who wish to sell, so if these used motorhomes appeal, you should contact the company first.

The essentials

  • Murvi Mallard, on various VW and Fiat Ducato panel vans
  • Built in Ivybridge, UK, from 1995-present
  • High-top five-door panel van conversion
  • Overall length: VW T6 is 5.29m (17’4”); Fiat Ducato X290 SWB is 4.96m (16’4”), the MWB is 5.41m (17’9”).
      

What to look for

Fancy one of these ’vans, built since 1995? Here's what to look for when browsing the used motorhomes for sale pages.

Base vehicle

Always look for a full service history and undertake an HPI check to verify the title.

Some early Fiat X250 2.2/2.3-litre six-speeders had a tendency to judder when reversing up steep hills. They were subject to a recall, so check that this has been carried out. Otherwise, both the VW and the Fiat have proved to be pretty good long-term, although early VW Transporters (T4) can suffer from advanced rust on the lower body and floor pan.

Conversion

They are solid, hard-wearing and practical. If a prospective purchase looks uncared-for, walk away.

You should also ask for a full habitation service before delivery.

Likes

  • There's so much uncluttered floor space
  • You can enjoy a wider-than-usual VW bed
  • You get legendary Murvi quality
  • It is compact and suitable for use as a daily driver, too
      

Dislikes

  • Strong residuals means you’ll have to save hard in order to purchase one
  • Tracking one down can be difficult (owners tend to hang on to them)!
      

What to pay

Examples are very occasionally available from £12,000. At the time of writing, Wellsbridge had a 1999 Fiat 2.0 petrol Mallard with just 60,000 miles covered for £12,995.

We also spotted a 2009 VW model available from Murvi itself for £27,950.

Our pick would be a VW-based example for a magic carpet ride, or a Fiat if you value its wider salon.

A folding upper double bed can usually be retro-fitted to either, if a four-berth is desired.

Other similar options? Well, if you like the layout but need a less lofty ’van (to fit under a car port, say) an elevating-roof or tin-top version is available under the Murvi Meteor moniker. Fancy a Ford-based Murvi? Look for a Pimento.

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