Nick Harding

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Small can be mighty! Check out the hottest debuts from smaller converters at October's NEC Motorhome and Caravan Show, so you don't miss a thing

The Motorhome and Caravan Show 2016 at the NEC Birmingham from 11 to 16 October is an essential event for anyone in the market for a new motorhome.

If you're thinking of buying a new ’van at the show, with so many models to look at and compare, it pays to do a little homework before you hit the road.

So here's our guide to some of the most exciting offerings you can expect to see on some of the smaller converters' stands.

Auto Campers (hall 11, stand 110)

Innovative designs and an alternative platform perfect for the leisure industry. That’s what you get from Auto Campers, as it continues to squeeze the best out of Ford’s Transit, with a range that covers Day Van, Leisure Van and mRv, and prices starting from just £27,000.

Autohaus (hall 12, stand 86)

This Somerset-based company has specialised in VW campervan conversions since 1994, but its NEC show selection will feature some up-to-the-minute exterior finishes as well as alternative interiors.

Look out for a short-wheelbase Spartan in customised Candy Red with gunmetal grey detailing – and maybe even an Ashton with aluminium furniture.

It’s a radical new model that might just steal some VW thunder here, though – with plans for a 6m Fiat Ducato high-top model, to be called the Kingston (all Autohaus models are named after cider apples, appropriately enough). We’re just hoping it makes it in time.

CMC Reimo (hall 11, stand 145)

It should be debut time for the first UK-built Trio using the latest Renault Trafic from CMC Reimo – the UK-based company that usually specialises in Germany’s Reimo’s VW-based conversions.

Also new is the Caddy Camp Maxi, a smaller camper using Volkswagen’s Caddy IV as its base.

Plus, CMC will unveil a new wind-out awning from Thule that’s been developed to attach to VW T5s and T6s fitted with the Reimo Multi Rail.

G&P Campervan (hall 11, stand 135)

Hyka is the all-new model from G&P Campervan. It’s a Fiat Ducato van conversion in two variants, two- and four-berth, both with elevating roofs. The company is also promising a ‘budget-busting price (from £36,495) without compromising quality’.

Hillside Leisure (hall 11, stand 10)

With a slight change of personnel at the top, Hillside Leisure is moving to the next phase of its development – and that’s certainly reflected in the vehicles it’s bringing along to the NEC.

First, there are plans for at least one all-new model on Renault’s latest Trafic – which will sit alongside the three Ellastones it will be showing on the same base. Among the changes you will also see are new high-top and elevating roof versions of the VW-based Cromford.

More Volkswagen-based action comes in the form of the Birchover Action, with a three-person rear seat – you can compare and contrast with the other seven Birchovers on display – in a mix of short- and long-wheelbase, high-top and elevating roof configurations.

Hillside will also be showing two versions of its Nissan NV200-based Dalbury micro-camper, three Renault Trafic-based Ellastones, plus at least two Ford Transit-based Castletons.

Jerba (hall 11, stand 55)

It’s all about the new elevating roofs here – but watch out, also, for one all-new model from this specialist VW Transporter converter. So new it was yet to be named when we spoke to Jerba, the latest addition to the range will feature a removable kitchen pod (including fridge) that can also be used outside the ’van!

Jerba’s very own new elevating roof design will feature here, as well as on the other models it will be showing – the short-wheelbase Tiree, and the long-wheelbase Cromarty and Sanna.

Leisuredrive (hall 11, stand 120)

One of the UK’s longest-established specialist van converters, Leisuredrive is set to showcase a new long-wheelbase version of its ever-popular Vivante high-top model.

Also at the Motorhome and Caravan Show 2016 this October will be a high-specification short-wheelbase Vivante, a Crusader with a new elevating roof design and another Vivante, marketed as a complete camper but with an attractive £29,990 starting price.

Morelo (hall 9, stand 130)

Save ten thousand pounds a day and within a year you could buy, one of the new Empire range of liners from Morelo. They also start at 8.5m long and go on to 11.5m.

Shire Conversions (hall 11, stand 50)

Head to Shire's stand this October and see the new iDesign concept! Not a single vehicle, but it represents Shire’s approach to its van conversion work.

The latest model is the 6.36m long Phoenix XLR Twin, with a rear lounge offering two single beds or a double at night. It takes the Shire range up to 10 models for 2017.

Wellhouse Leisure (hall 12, stand 85)

A sneaky behind-the-scenes look for Practical Motorhome was all we needed to convince us plans are in place for a brand new Wellhouse Leisure conversion on Toyota’s Proace.

At the time of writing, it was on course to be at the NEC show this October, where it will share a debut with the latest seven-seater version of the Ford Transit-based Terrier, the SE long-wheelbase. This, like all Terriers, will get the new, Euro 6 2.0-litre engines.

WildAx (hall 11, stand 8)

The WildAx Pulsar, previously launched as an elevating roof model, is now available in high-top format. It’s based on Citroën’s shortest Relay, yet comes with full washroom facilities and offers four-berth accommodation.

Wingamm (hall 12, stand 54)

There will be four motorhomes from this innovative Italian manufacturer at the October 2016 NEC show, all highlighting its expertise in monocoque GRP coachbuilt bodywork. As well as two versions of its VW-based Micros coachbuilt – one with and one without the drop-down bed over the lounge – do go and see two new Fiat Ducato-based coachbuilts.

The Brownie is 5.8m long and will be offered in two formats. Plus, there’s the City-suite, with the slimmest of bodies.

Also watch out for...

There’s plenty more to see at the NEC Motorhome and Caravan Show 2016, including dealer-special versions of mainstream popular sellers (check out the offerings from Lowdhams, Marquis Leisure, Richard Baldwin Motorhomes and Vehicles 4 Leisure, in particular).

Want to make special adaptations to an existing motorhome? Speak to the experts at Coachbuilt GB.

For van conversions, check out the latest from the likes of Danbury (hall 12, stand 60), Devon (hall 11, stand 90), IH Motorhomes (hall 7, stand 13), RP Motorhomes (hall 7, stand 30) and Vantage (hall 11, stand 60).

If it’s VW campervans you’re after, you should also be including Bilbo’s (hall 11, stand 140), Nomad (hall 11, stand 130), Rolling Homes (hall 12, stand 82), Vanworx (hall 11, stand 160) and Volksleisure (hall 11, stand 165) on your ‘must-see’ list.

For alternative coachbuilts, don’t miss Nu Venture’s mini coachbuilts (hall 12, stand 80).

And don't forget our comprehensive 24-page guide to this October's Motorhome and Caravan Show at the NEC Birmingham in the November issue of Practical Motorhome – on sale now!

And to buy show tickets, head to the event website. Enjoy the show!

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