Over the past few years, the option of using your motorhome as your permanent home has become a reality for more and more people. But how do you go about choosing the best motorhome for full-time living?

Well, the Practical Motorhome Awards 2022 are here to help. We reveal our winner of the best motorhome for full-time living, as well as the other models that made our shortlist and some of the standout models from recent years…

The winner of the best motorhome for full-time living is…

Dethleffs Globetrotter XLi-7850-2 DBM

Dethleffs Globetrotter XLi-7850-2 DBM, best motorhome for full-time living
  • Price: from £119,990
  • MTPLM: 5000kg

Dethleffs’ A-class Globetrotter range has always been something of a statement van – an ultimate luxury you could always head of into the sunset with on your long-term trip of a lifetime.

This season the whole range has been given a makeover that on the outside brings it more into line with the rest of Dethleffs’ motorhomes, with a recognisable red curve decal.

But what’s really interesting is what’s happened inside to make it a real home from home. Where there used to be a settee to the right of the habitation door there is now a sideboard unit under a space that is designed to fit a 32-inch TV.

But that’s not the only thing this new unit does. Pull out the bottom “drawer” and you will find a padded area that can double up as seating if you have extra guests for dinner. Or it can serve as a footrest when you are reading in the cab seats. Or it can be a useful step up to the overcab bed.

It’s just the kind of flexibility you need for full-time living.  

The other motorhomes that made our shortlist for full-time living are…

Frankia I8400 Plus Platin

Frankia I8400 Plus Platin

Frankia spearheaded designs for full-time living with its Plus layouts that feature drop-down beds at the front that more or less replace the cab on site and huge central washrooms. The I8400 is the latest iteration of this, complete with a wealth of living off grid options.

Price: from £160,200

Bürstner Elegance 910G

Bürstner Elegance 910G, best motorhomes for full-time living

Quite apart from its luxury and comfort, this fixed single beds model is part of a range that is the first in Europe to figure Thetford’s new INDUS grey waste and toilet system – a huge advance on the standard chemical toilet that will encourage you to stay in the motorhome longer.

Review: Bürstner Elegance 910 G

Price: from £118,995

Carthago chic c-line I 4.9 LE/L superior

Carthago chic c-line I 4.9 LE/L superior

Newly upgraded for 2022 the nigh-on 20-year-old chic c-line range comes in a choice of four different interior styles and you even have the option of a slide-out TV cabinet in the at the end of the single beds in this bedroom.

Price: from £104,580

Swift Kon-tiki 784

Swift Kon-tiki 784

Newly revamped for 2022, this fixed single beds model has a front lounge that is inspired by business jets, and a huge garage. There are foldaway Aguti travel seats too if you pick up extra passengers.

Price: £79,995

Laika Kreos L5009

Laika Kreos L5009

The low-profile Kreos range has a new look for 2022. You get more insulation, including a 25cm double floor that holds a 210-litre water tank. The garage under the single beds here also has a payload of 250kg – enough for a motorbike.

Price: TBC

The best of the rest – we also recommend the following motorhomes for full-time living…

Carthago Liner-for-two I 53

Cathargo Liner-for-two
  • Price £122,250
  • Berths 2
  • Belts 2
  • MTPLM 4800kg
  • Base vehicle Fiat Ducato
  • Length 7.83m

Could there be a better name for a motorhome designed for full-time living? You have two comfy beds that drop down over the cab. With these in the down position the cab is completely obscured so you could almost forget you are in a movable vehicle.

Moving back from here, there is a washroom spread across the centre of the ‘van that could well be larger and more sophisticated than whatever you have at home, complete with two different kinds of showers and (as an optional extra), a SOG unit on the loo to keep smells away.

Then, beyond a well-equipped kitchen comes this motorhome’s real pièce de resistance: a C-shaped lounge that’s large enough for a party of eight or more if you want, but also adaptable enough to act as somewhere the two of you can lie back and watch the TV, which slides out from behind a cupboard. There’s even a reclining seat specifically for this purpose.

Alongside plenty of useful storage inside, the Liner-for-two comes with a huge garage at the rear.

Yes, it’s a lot of money. But it’s possibly cheaper than that villa you were thinking of buying on the Côte d’Azur. And you can take it with you.

BUY IF… You have all the money in the world

PROS: Super washroom; ultra-snazzy lounge

CONS: The price!

Read our 2019 Carthago Liner-for-two review.

Pilote 696D Essentiel

Pilote Pacific 696D Essentiel
  • Price £56,075
  • Berths 2
  • Belts 4
  • MTPLM 3500kg
  • Base vehicle Fiat Ducato
  • Length 6.99m

If you are going to be in the motorhome for a while, you probably want a decent-sized washroom.The 696D, a new model for 2020 from Pilote, certainly has that. It’s positioned at the rear of the vehicle, has enough space for you to wash and dress in, and comes with a huge amount of clothes storage space that sits over an equally capacious garage.

The main living area includes a large lounge with settees that face each other and are long enough to extend beyond the table if you need to stretch your legs. In any case, the table also folds down to create more room.

The kitchen between these two areas is plenty big enough to keep you sane, too.

If you are wondering about the bed: no, you don’t have to make it by bringing the settees together – although this arrangement is available as an optional extra. The standard bed, however, drops down from the ceiling, and is huge. All you need to do at the end of the day is flick the switch.

BUY IF… It really is just going to be the two of you in here, seeking ultimate comfort

PROS: Huge washroom; space-saving bed

CONS: Even the UK edition does not include a microwave in the kitchen

Read our 2020 Pilote P696D Essentiel review.

Bürstner Lyseo TD 744 Harmony Line

Bürstner Lyseo TD 744 Harmony Line
  • Price £68,995
  • Berths 2
  • Belts 4
  • MTPLM 4250kg
  • Base vehicle Fiat Ducato
  • Length 7.49m

Bürstner designed the 744 layout, now available in the double-floor TD range with the Harmony Line upgraded spec, specifically to make you feel as if you are in a three-room apartment. And it kind of works. There is a conventional front dinette, behind which sits a perfectly adequate kitchen and washroom. But then, behind that is something really unusual: a comfy rear lounge complete with L-shaped seating, a large window to look out of, a pull-out coffee table and a wall that is just crying out for a television. At night you simply drop the roof of this lounge area down to reveal a huge double bed.

There is also lots of storage in here – not just a large wardrobe but more overhead lockers, underseat storage areas and special cabinets than you would probably know what to do with.

BUY IF… You really like the feeling of moving from one room to another.

PROS: Really roomy rear lounge

CONS: Washroom is a bit compromised

Read our 2017 Bürstner Lyseo TD 744 review.

Adria Matrix 520 ST Axess

Adria Matrix 520 ST Axess
  • Price £56,885
  • Berths 4
  • Belts 4
  • MTPLM 3500kg
  • Base vehicle Fiat Ducato
  • Length 5.96m

If you are going to be using your motorhome full-time, eventually you are going to want a fairly decent kitchen, with plenty of storage and workspace. Fortunately the 520 ST has that in droves in the large L-shaped kitchen that takes up the rear offside corner of the motorhome. Rather handily, this has direct access via a hatch to the garage behind, so you can haul in your bulky provisions and kitchen appliances that you might not need all the time without having to go outside or even having to disrupt everyone else in the motorhome.

A drop-down bed comes down over the front dinette so, if it is the two of you, going to bed is just a question of getting up from the sofa, twisting the key and letting the electric motor do the rest.

In all this, there is even space for a fairly large loo on the rear nearside, away from the door, and any awning you might want to put up.

BUY IF… You can’t imagine going away without a fully functioning kitchen

PROS: Huge bed and kitchen

CONS: Garage is not the largest in this selection and you only get a fold-down washbasin

Read our 2020 Adria Matrix 520 ST Axess review

Swift Edge 494

Swift Edge 494
  • Price £49,805
  • Berths 4
  • Belts 4
  • MTPLM 3500kg
  • Base vehicle Fiat Ducato
  • Length 7.32m

The Edge range is new for 2020 and is aimed very much at the budget-end of the market. Even so, we think it has everything you should need for full-time living.

Unusually for a motorhome, it has a transverse bed at the rear, with plenty of space to move around in and create a little den of your own.

There’s plenty of space in the front lounge, too, and we think even if there is just the two of you, you could still make use of the overcab bed as an extra storage space – or as a place to have guests to stay where they wouldn’t take up any of your own living space.

The central kitchen and washroom are all you could need for a long stay, too.

All this for less than £50,000.

BUY IF…. You are budget-conscious and want to invite people to stay

PROS: Wonderful end bedroom

CONS: Overcabs are not the most economical on the road

Read our 2020 Swift Edge 494 review.

Chausson 520

Chausson 520
  • Price £49,910
  • Berths 4
  • Belts 4
  • MTPLM 3500kg
  • Base vehicle Fiat Ducato
  • Length 5.99m

French brand Chausson led the way in designing motorhomes with luxurious end washrooms that make ideal full-time ‘vans as a result.

This year, while other manufacturers have caught up, Chausson has gone one extra in offering this layout in a model that is less than 6m long – and so should be much easier for taking on ferries or fitting into a parking space. Nor does the 520 necessarily compromise on much. You still get a rear storage area of sorts – admittedly not a full garage like other Chausson motorhomes that share this layout, but still a compartment accessible from the rear panel that has enough room for you to store your important, but not always used, household items.

Along with the huge washroom, once you raise the drop-down bed in the morning, there is a very comfortable front lounge with parallel settees either side of a fold-down table.

BUY IF… You are worried about driving anything too big

PROS: Large washing and dressing room; still some ‘garage’ space

CONS: Probably not a vehicle to go for as a full-time ‘van if you have never used a motorhome before

Read our 2020 Chausson 520 review

Dethleffs Pulse 7051 DBM

Dethleffs Pulse 7051 DBM
  • Price £60,990
  • Berths 4
  • Belts 4
  • MTPLM 3500kg
  • Base vehicle Fiat Ducato
  • Length 7.41m

The Pulse range was introduced in 2019 as a companion to Dethleffs’ best-selling Trend range, but perhaps appealing to a slightly younger, more modern audience. Which, of course, is you.

Erwin Hymer Group subsidiary Dethleffs has invested some resources, including a sophisticated lighting system that makes the interior feel that much more homely.

This model includes a large and comfy rear island bed that you can lower or raise to make extra room in the garage beneath. You have to do this manually but that is possibly no bad thing if you are planning to visit remote places, as it is one less electric thing to go wrong.

The comfy front lounge includes a few nifty storage solutions, too, and the kitchen has a high spec for a continental ‘van.

BUY IF… You appreciate really modern German engineering

PROS: Flexible and comfortable bed

CONS: Shower tray is compromised by the wheel arch

Read our 2019 Dethleffs Pulse 7051 DBM GT review.

Elddis Autoquest CV60

  • Price £42,099
  • Berths 2
  • Belts 2
  • MTPLM 3500kg
  • Base vehicle Peugeot Boxer
  • Length 5.99m

A full-time ‘van that’s a van conversion? Well, why not, when the ‘van in question is as cleverly designed as this, which is also available as a Compass Avantgarde CV60 (effectively the same ‘van, with a different upholstery finish)? No wonder it was our Motorhome of the Year 2020.

The French bed that’s in the offside rear corner can be pushed back to become a comfy daybed, which also provides a perfect spot for watching television or the world go by. And yet you still effectively get a second lounge because there is a table up front beside the swivelled cab seats that is handily close to the kitchen and has its own storage areas and lighting. Okay, there’s no garage, but the area under that bed is easily large enough to hold, for example, a driveaway awning.

BUY IF... You fancy lazy days of lounging, but still want a relatively nimble mover

PROS: Clever bed that also becomes a daybed

CONS: No garage space

Read our 2020 Elddis Autoquest CV60 review.

WildAx Elara

WildAx Elara
  • Price £69,675
  • Berths 2
  • Belts 2
  • MTPLM 3500kg
  • Base vehicle Mercedes Sprinter
  • Length 5.93m

Here’s another van conversion that is worth a look at as a full-time ‘van – and not just because it is based on the Mercedes Sprinter, which regularly tops van reliability polls.

Unusually for a van conversion, the Elara includes an island bed in the rear. It’s a huge one too – bigger than you would find in most A-classes – and very comfy, with a decent amount of storage around it. The space underneath, easily accessible from the doors at the back, is probably as large as the garages you get in some coachbuilt ‘vans. You can also go for an alternative option with two single beds that are just as long.

There is a comfy L-shaped sofa up front, too, and a pedestal table that is perfectly sited for swivelled cab seats. You probably couldn’t entertain in here, but that might not be what you want to do anyway.

BUY IF… You want the luxury of a huge bed – and the three-pointed star

PROS: Huge comfy bed and comfy lounge (for a van conversion)

CONS: Not much room for anyone else

Read our 2019 WildAx Elara review.

Volkswagen Grand California 680

  • Price £71,295
  • Berths 2
  • Belts 4
  • MTPLM 3880kg
  • Base vehicle VW Crafter
  • Length 6.84m

Unless you are a Buddhist monk, the Transport-based California range would probably never work as a full-time ‘van. It is just too basic. But the Grand California 680, the larger of the two Californias, based instead on a Crafter, might just do.

It comes with two very large single beds at the rear, a decent washroom and extensive kitchen in the middle, with a peninsula fridge, and a comfy front dinette.

There is plenty of storage space under the beds in the rear. But the overhead lockers might prove more controversial: you will either love the engineering or think it takes up too much space.

Californias have been known to hold their value very well, so if you plan to sell your ‘van in the end, this is definitely one to consider.

BUY IF… You have half an eye on resale values when your stint at full-time ‘van living is over

PROS: Well-known brand with good resale values

CONS: Pricey for what it is

Read our 2020 Volkswagen Grand California 680 review.

You can find more motorhome reviews in our Motorhome Buying Guides – check out Best A-class motorhomes and Best motorhomes for families

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