There are many excellent brands of motorhome to choose from and we’ve picked out some of the top performers from the likes of Swift, VW, Adria, Bailey, Auto Sleeper, Ford and Auto Trail. But there can be pitfalls when buying secondhand, so be sure to do your research and take as much advice as possible.
Make sure your dealer is a member of the National Caravan Council (NCC) and its Approved Dealer Scheme advises our expert Nick Harding, whose Top Ten tips for buying a used motorhome are listed below:
- Do your research
- Be honest with yourself and dealers
- Read the dealers terms and conditions
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
- Be realistic in your expectations
- Get it in writing
- Rest assured it’s a good industry
- Sit on it – give yourself time to consider the deal
- Join a club – The Caravan and Motorhome Club and The Camping and Caravanning Club.
- Get out and use your vehicle as soon as possible
Read the full article which is packed with advice on how to buy a used motorhome
Adria Twin 2007 – 2014
Our expert Gentleman Jack described the Adria Twin as a major player in this market sector ever since the high top was unveiled in 1995.
He says that early models are selling privately just shy of £23,000. Motorhome Depot’s Ipswich broker has a 74,000-miler on a 58-plate for £22,999. Clearway Motorhomes has a lower-mileage 2008 example at an asking price of £26,995.
As an alternative, Adria also built Van M on the Renault Master high-top and Maxivan on the extra-high-roof Ducato.
Read more about the Adria Twin here
Although the vehicles listed here are Volkswagen-based, they are not ‘Volkswagen campervans’; a phrase that suggests they were made by VW itself, which can cause confusion – especially among newcomers.
This is a straightforward enough process, though. The specialist campervan makers take a base vehicle, such as Volkswagen’s Transporter, and turn it into a camper. Nick picks out three options:
2014 Hillside Birchover Action
At five years old and looking for its third owner, this is a good, solid used buy from a company that’s really come to the fore of the campervan sector in the past decade. £32,995
2016 Daystar Venture
A bit of an unknown quantity to me. It comes from Daystar Campers of Matlock, Derbyshire. It looks great, for sure. Items such as the paintwork, body kit, front grille enhancements and those 20in alloy wheels are all show-stopping stuff. £33,995
2001 Auto-Sleeper Topaz
There’s a solid feel to it all, though. Just don’t expect luxuries such as cab air-con or electric windows in a VW of this age. Do expect quality – in both the base vehicle and the conversion. £21,995
Read more about Volkswagen-based campervans here
2013-18 Bailey Approach
Having released its first motorhome in 2012, today Bailey is a major player in this market. The company kicked off with a wide-bodied range of coachbuilts monikered Autograph SF, and then Approach Autograph. In 2013 it launched two compact narrow-bodied coachbuilts, the Approach Compacts. And later came the Approach Advance range comprised four ‘vans of various lengths, all on the low-line independently sprung Al-Ko chassis and all under 3500kg, so drivable on a normal car licence.
Most used models are north of £35,000. Compacts are rare and carry a price premium. Marquis is advertising a 2014 Compact 540 for £38,995. Advance are easier to find. 4Front Quality Motorhomes has a 2018 665 for £39,990. A 2017 635 at £38,995 is available from Somerset Motorhomes, and Lincoln Leisure Vehicles have a 2015 635 for £32,995.
Read more about Bailey Approach motorhomes here
2015 – present Auto Sleeper Nuevo
Nuevo was first unveiled in 2002 to fill a gap in the range, which was lacking a compact coachbuilt. This was to address the onslaught of successful shorties from Autocruise, and the growing demand among Auto-Sleepers’ loyal PVC-owning customer base for something with the same footprint as their current ‘vans, but better insulation. Nuevo hit the ground running, and hasn’t slowed since its inception. Currently the offer consists of two layouts, with three overcab styles.
If this is to be your ‘only’ vehicle, go for the ES, because of the extra travel seats and don’t buy a Nuevo without the Premium Pack: you’ll only regret it.
The price new including Premium Pack is £58,000 (manual transmission), so Chelston’s 2017 EK with all the goodies and just 13,800 miles offers a useful saving at an asking price of £49,995. Post-2015 models are rarely available under £44,000. If this is unaffordable, why not consider a previous generation? Cleveland Motorhomes has a 2005 EK for £18,995; just 54,000 miles covered.
Read more about the Auto Sleeper Nuevo here
2010- 2016 Tribute on a Ford Transit
There were two series of Transit-based Tribute coachbuilts, the 600 and 700. The range kicked off with the 620 and 625 on the medium-wheelbase chassis. The 620 has a forward double Pullman dinette with a long, inward-facing settee opposite, while the 625 provides the Brit favourite of a rear U-shaped lounge.
The long-wheelbase 700 series offered the 720 with a forward half-dinette and short inward-facing sofa, midships washroom and kitchen, plus a rear lounge consisting of an additional two inward-facing settees. In total the 720 offered six sleeping berths. The 725G was similar, but with a permanent, high-level transverse double bed above a garage replacing the rear lounge.
Then 2012 brought a major facelift. Externally there were new graphics and a colour-coded grille, while internal changes included a new wood finish to the (previously) gloss-white locker doors, and a number of spec upgrades.
All the layouts are practical and easy to live in. Note that several have a mismatch between the number of sleeping berths and travel seats, so make sure the seating suits you. Our pick for solo/couples is the T-615. For up to four people, it’s the T-715. Private sales start from around £27,000. Currently there is a 2012 T-625 (four berths, two travel seats) for sale in Yorkshire for £28,500. Vehicles4Leisure has a low-mileage 2012 T-620 (five berths, four travel seats) with an asking price of £29,995.
Read more about the Tribute on a Ford Transit here
2013-18 Auto Trail V line Custom High-Top
The V-Line range kicked off in late 2013 with two models: the 600, which had a forward lounge, and the 610, with the lounge in the rear. The 610 had the larger lounge; the 600 boasted more kitchen worktop and a slightly larger washroom. In both, the lounge converted to two longitudinal single beds or an overall double. The following year, the 620 appeared, Auto-Trail’s first high-top with a fixed transverse rear double bed.
Both 610 and 620 make best use of the space, although the 600 has the superior washroom and the option of added travel seats. 130bhp motor is good, 180bhp is a pocket rocket, but 150bhp is our favourite, striking the perfect balance of power and economy. Custom high-top V-Lines were built to a high standard not to a price, so they are a highly desirable pre-owned purchase – and the dealers know this. Negotiate hard but be aware you’re unlikely to get a huge discount. Both these low-mileage examples have the rear moulded panel and boot access. Simpsons has a 2014 600 for £36,995, while Chelston is offering a 2015 model for £39,995. Both have option packs included and an upgrade to the 130bhp engine.
Read more about the Auto Trail V line here
2014-2018 Swift Rio
Launched in get summer of 2014, the Rio was Swift Group’s all-new compact motorhome range built on a special low-line chassis from Fiat, with their new Ducato cab. Rio was a genuinely new type of coachbuilt, principally because of that huge opening rear tailgate, which enabled the lounge occupants to feel ‘at one’ with the great outdoors. In 2016, the 310 and the 325 joined the line-up, and the drop-down bed was an option on the 320. Rio ceased production in 2018.
Most are between £40,000 and £45,000, although Wellsbridge has a 2016 Rio 310 for a dagger-sharp price of £38,995. Tailgate models (both 340): John Charles Caravans has a 2016 (65 reg) for £42,995, while BnB Motorhomes has an ex-hire 2016 (66 reg) model for £44,750. All have very low mileages recorded. A contributor to the Rio’s demise was the upgrade of Swift’s low-profile Escape/Escape Compact ranges, so these are worth considering, but none has the tailgate.
Read more about the Swift Rio here
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Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be realistic in your expectations