Peter Baber
Reviews Editor

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Get stuck in to 2017 at the year's first big motorhome show! Practical Motorhome's Peter Baber shares his top picks to inspire you to take a closer look

Come to EventCity for The Caravan & Motorhome Show this weekend and you're sure to find something to interest you. There's tonnes to see, whether you are after a low-profile coachbuilt or a camper van.

Step onto the Glossop Caravans stand, for example, and you can see the Swift Escape 622 having its first outing at a UK show.

The £40,745 OTR ’van has the same rear lounge and central washroom and kitchen as the Escape 685. Only because it’s a two-berth it lacks that model’s front lounge and drop-down bed. It also comes in some 63cm shorter at 6.29m.

The designers have made use of the extra space created by not having a front lounge by doing away with the 685’s cantilevered wardrobe. Instead, you get a standard wardrobe between the lounge and washroom that is a good size, even if part of it is taken up with the gas locker.

There’s also no curved panelling beneath the overhead lockers in the kitchen, which some might find disappointing. But the worktop is still a good size, particularly with the extension flap by the door.

The fold-away table is stored in the open behind the driver’s seat. This positioning does not interfere with your ability to move the seat back if you need more legroom.

All you need to do is ask

Head to the Leisure Drive stand to see a new model that has come about directly from customer requests at last October’s NEC show.

The Trekker 7, based on a long-wheelbase VW T6, now comes in a seven-seater version, with a pair of extra removable seats added in the middle beside the offside kitchen.

Leisure Drive says the ’van is intended for those who want to use it as a day-to-day van to carry a lot of people, but also as a camper van. Or it’s for people who may use their camper van with an additional tent, where the removable pair of seats could potentially be stored on site.

The ‘van comes with a sideways-opening pop-up roof, while the kitchen includes a two-burner hob with in-line sink and a three-way Dometic fridge. It costs £41,150 OTR.

A seal of approval

The Jöbl stand next door, meanwhile, is exhibiting the 2017 version of its Kampa SE camper van. This is now fully NCC-approved.

To get such approval, the kitchen shelf, which used to run above the two-burner hob has now been shortened, although the LED strip light remains intact. Unusually for a camper van, a water heater is also included.

This ’van, based on a short-wheelbase VW T6 and powered by a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine, costs £43,970 OTR.

Jöbl, part of the same group which owns the E S Hartley dealership, has great plans for 2017. These include launching a day van later in the year, which will be aimed at people who want to buy a regular day-to-day van that they may occasionally use to go camping. The company also plans to launch a bespoke service for people looking for very individual vans.

Just for you

Another company on the move in 2017 is mobility specialist Coachbuilt GB. It is about to move from its current site in Atherstone to much bigger premises in Nuneaton.

This is due to an increased demand for the conversions it can offer customers with mobility problems. These include installing cassette lifts, six-way seats and complete wet rooms.

So there's plenty to get stuck into at this weekend's show – we've only scratched the surface. Fancy an A-class? Carthago, Bürstner and Hymer are among the big names represented on the dealer stands.

The Caravan & Motorhome Show runs until Sunday 22 January at EventCity in Manchester. Visit between 10am and 6pm on Friday 20 January, 9.30am and 6pm on Saturday 21 January, and 9.30am and 5pm on the show's final day.

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