Cotswold-based Auto-Sleepers are our oldest volume motorhome builders, and have established an enviable reputation among their many loyal purchasers.
But when their GRP monocoque coachbuilts became too expensive to produce and changes to driving licence entitlements meant that folk wanted more payload on motorhomes on a 3500kg chassis, they had a problem.
Their solution was to launch the Peugeot Boxer/Ford Transit-based Styrofoam coachbuilts Ravenna, Pollensa and Pescara.
Then the 2004 season saw the Inca launched as their Boxer-based replacement. The Inca is a shade longer and slightly wider, but still highly manoeuvrable.
The most popular motorhome layouts were retained. EL – as the initials suggest – is an end-lounge model featuring a forward habitation entrance door with nearside kitchen and forward offside washroom ahead of the wardrobe. The lounge converts to a transverse double bed and there are two travel seats.
The EK’s habitation door is towards the rear, just ahead of the kitchen and offside corner washroom. The forward lounge consists of a nearside double Pullman dinette, opposite a long inward-facing settee. The EK has four travel seats and the lounge can be converted into two easy-access singles or a large all-over double.
Both EL and EK could be specified with additional lockers or an extra transverse double in the overcab.
Italian-style furniture gave the Inca interior a more contemporary vibe than previous Auto-Sleeper models, but still managed to retain the more traditional segment of their customer base… a neat trick!
Later models had a wind-out awning as standard. This wasn’t just plonked on the side, but fitted flush with the higher side upstands. This achieved the appearance of being recessed, without reducing nearside upper locker storage space. A downside was a loftier look. In fact, the overall height was only marginally increased over that of earlier models, on which rooflights were higher than the side walls.
Although controversial at launch, familiarity (and a tape measure) soon quelled any criticism by detractors.
The standard specification included the rather pedestrian 2.2-litre HDI turbodiesel at 85bhp, but I’ve never seen one so equipped. Most had the more spirited 100bhp version and the well-trousered had the option of the torquey 2.8-litre 127bhp engine.
In 2007, production transferred to the ground-breaking ‘all-new’ Boxer, the X/250, and Inca became Sigma. Standard engine was the 2.2-litre 100bhp HDI with a 120bhp alternative of the same capacity. Range-topper was the Iveco-derived 3.0-litre TD 160bhp autobahn-storming motor – in the author’s opinion, one of the best engines ever to power a motorhome.
Both of the layouts continued and (crucially) the U-shaped lounge in the EL was extended to allow the option of sleeping longitudinally in a double bed or – more noteworthy– in two easy-access singles.
The Inca also has a very practical teleporter-style shower. A swing-wall arrangement provides Sigma’s shower with extra elbow room.
Auto-Sleepers saw the launch of the new Boxer base vehicle as an opportunity to further refine and update the offering.
The body gained broader, coloured side skirts to include the wheel-arch moulding, and exterior-access lockers. The front below the Lion badge was coloured to match the skirts, and a new glazed Seitz door with multipoint remote-control locking was added.
Internally, Sigma now benefited from Belgian ‘designer’ soft furnishing fabrics and a lighter hue to the newly improved cabinetwork.
Sizewise, they really are the perfect compromise: short enough to use as a car on occasions, but long enough for comfortable extended trips.
What to look out for with the Auto-Sleeper Inca & Sigma
Insist on a long-dated MoT certificate. A full service history gives peace of mind. Engine drive belts must be replaced at the correct time interval, regardless of mileage. If this is in doubt, bargain hard and arrange for it to be completed asap.
Stand away from the vehicle and avoid any with a ‘tail-down’ attitude.
On pre-2006 examples, reverse gear can be a bit percussive, but it’s usually nothing to worry about. Check the tyres, likely to be past their safe-use date, rather than worn.
As with any coachbuilt motorhome, check the body integrity by insisting on evidence of a recent damp check, or carry out your own motorhome damp check using a meter with a percentage read-out, rather than an audible warning.
Budget for replacing the gas regulator and tubing, and update the smoke alarm. Evidence of a recent habitation service is indicative of a responsible owner. Check the operation of blinds/flyscreens and seat-to-bed conversions.
Inca/Sigma EK (four travel seats and four sleeping berths) 120bhp.
What to pay for a Auto-Sleeper Inca & Sigma
Prices remain buoyant in this market sector. Early Incas for sale privately are available from £23,000 and at dealers from £25,000. Low-mileage examples fetch around £2000 more. Sigmas are occasionally available from £34,000, with most approaching £38,000.
The Motorhome Company, in Perthshire, has a 2009 Sigma EK at an asking price of £36,995. Note that this example has the optional twin-settee lounge. Cracking VFM is provided by a 2005 Inca EL at the Motorhome Depot, Hereford. Priced at £24,995, it has very low mileage indeed – just under 19,000 miles in 17 years!
Alternatively, take a look at our guide to the best used motorhomes for more pre-owned motor caravan ideas and inspiration.
- Auto-Sleeper Inca and Sigma on Peugeot Boxer chassis-cab
- Built: 2004-2009 in Broadway, Worcestershire
- Overcab coachbuilt
- Overall length: 6.28m/20’ 1” (2007 Sigma)
What we like:
- Practical layouts
- Strong residuals
- Auto-Sleepers’ excellent direct-to-customer spares service
What we dislike:
- No automatic gearbox option
Or you could try…
All Auto-Sleepers: Ford Transit Ascot/Windsor/Wilton. Those on a tighter budget could look at late 1990s/early 2000s Ravenna/Pollensa/Pescara on both Peugeot Boxer and Ford Transit.
Alternatively, why not take a look at our review of the Auto-Sleepers Air, a 2022 ‘van that we were very impressed by when we looked at it.
- See what we made of the Bailey Autograph (2015-present) in used ‘van buyer
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