A visit to the annual Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf is an absolute treat. Some of the big European brands have whole halls to themselves, and there are always novelties from brands and manufacturers we simply don’t see in the UK. For example, at Caravan Salon 2023, there were world debuts of popular campervans, such as the all-new Ford Nugget and the Volkswagen California Concept – you can also check out our best campervan guide to see our other top picks on the market.
Here are just a few of the highlights from Caravan Salon, which ran from 25 August-3 September 2023.
Heading to this week’s NEC Show instead? Then take a look at our guide to the Motorhome and Caravan Show to find out what you can expect to see.
The highlights of Caravan Salon 2023
The latest Ford Nugget campervan, still converted by Westfalia on the all-new Ford Tourneo Custom, made its world debut at the event. It’s an impressive offering – we shortlisted it twice at the recent Practical Motorhome Awards 2024, including for the best motorhome under 6m category.
Its exterior design is a pleasant evolution of the outgoing Transit Custom. UK models will have sliding doors on both sides. The table stores in the sliding side door and two deck chairs are stowed away in a pocket on the rear tailgate (as in the Volkswagen California).
The Nugget’s unique interior layout, with the rear kitchen behind the three-seater bench seat, continues with some further enhancements to the kitchen units, including a new drawer-style fridge.
The rear shower attachment has hot water as standard and there are blackout blinds on all rear windows. There’s also a 7-inch touchscreen control unit that you can operate via
an app on your phone, plus the option of a 350W solar panel on the roof.
The rear seat is now lighter in the small campervan, so it can be moved using only one hand, and it is also heated, which could make this very cosy when in bed mode.
It’s now easier to walk through from the cab, because there’s no longer a handbrake between the seats.
As you’d expect, the new Nugget has Ford’s latest technology for safety and connectivity, plus a large 13-inch touchscreen on the dashboard.
There will be the option of a PHEV model, using the same engine as the Kuga. An all-wheel-drive model will be introduced, and the long-wheelbase Nugget Plus will return at a later date.
The Nugget will be available to order in the UK later this year from £64,800, with first deliveries due in spring 2024.
The new Flair 880 model making its debut at the Caravan Salon is 8.87m long, with just a few changes to the interior (mainly in the kitchen) to save a few centimetres over its bigger Flair 920 (9.27m) sibling.
There’s no shortage of luxury or style in our winner of the best motorhome for full-time living at our recent Awards either, as you’d expect with a price of over €380,000 with all the extras fitted to the show model.
The interior is stunning and available with a wide choice of options for the upholstery and real-wood veneers for the furniture, plus exterior finishes in white or Eifel Grey.
There was always a crowd surrounding Hymer’s new ML-T 4×4 – based on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis – despite the prices, ranging from €158,805 for the 4100kg ML-T 850 to €169,315 for the ML-T 580, a ‘van we shortlisted for best low-profile motorhome.
The €243,035 Venture S also attracted plenty of attention – see what we made of it when we reviewed the 2023 Hymer Venture S.
For something a bit quirkier, Citroën had a distinctive-looking Type H model based on the conventional SpaceTourer conversion with a 2.0-litre engine.
It’s a modern campervan, but with retro-styled body mouldings. Curious! However, it is not a concept and will be available to buy, although there were no prices listed, nor any indication if it’s heading for the UK.
Bürstner had a new ‘urban camper’ Copa model, based on the Ford Tourneo Custom. There are two versions, the C500 (which was on display) and the longer C530 with a washroom/toilet.
The C500 has the conventional side kitchen layout with rear (two-seater) bench seat and the option to add two individual seats. The modern design of the exterior and interior was stylish, making this a highly desirable camper; hopefully it will be available in the UK.
Bürstner was also showing a Lyseo TD Lounge concept vehicle with a side ‘push out’ (in other words, a slide-out) that could provide a fairly surprising amount of extra interior space when deployed.
The slide-out’s side panels looked as though they were made from the same inflatable panel material used on the Lyseo Gallery model. The settee folds out into a double bed, with a sideboard opposite to accommodate a large motorhome TV.
Taking Bürstner’s company motto of “Travel Small, Live Large” to a new level was its Habiton micro-camper concept, which is based on a Renault Kangoo people-carrier.
This has an inflatable tent neatly integrated into its roof, with the option of a removable kitchen and an inflatable double bed for inside the vehicle, plus a rear tent for more living space.
The California Concept also made its first appearance at the Caravan Salon. It is based on the long-wheelbase Multivan (people carrier/MPV), rather than the Transporter, and for the first time will have twin sliding side doors – so no more complaints about having to get out on the ‘wrong’ side of the road for UK customers.
Volkswagen says this will create a ‘living zone’ on both sides of the vehicle, which is why it was shown with an awning on one side and a sun canopy on the other.
It is longer (5172mm) and wider (1904mm) than the current California, which creates more room inside, but it is still under 2.0m high.
Instead of a bench seat, the Concept has two individual rear seats that can be used to create a double bed.
The fridge is in the end of the kitchen unit, with a sliding door, so it can be accessed from inside or outside the vehicle (as with the Grand California).
To operate the electric roof and monitor things such as the levels of the fresh- and waste-water tanks and the infotainment system, there is a large touchscreen on the C-pillar. These functions are also controllable from a ‘Cali on Tour’ smartphone app.
There will be a PHEV model, but no details of other engines or technical information will be available until we see the production version, which should be “sometime in 2024”.
Reimo exhibited a concept of a camper conversion, also based on the Volkswagen Multivan. This had the traditional side kitchen plus sliding rear bench seat and pop-up roof.
Like the California Concept, it also has twin sliding doors, although the kitchen limits access to the vehicle from that side. Apparently, there will be variations on the furniture
to include a full-width bed and rear cupboards and wardrobes. The model at the show was fitted with a neat slide-out cooker in the tailgate.
The new Dethleffs Yoka Go motorhome has a minimalist interior style, with removable seats, and a simple kitchen with a sink and a portable induction hob and fridge. There is a rear tailgate and double entry doors for a wide entrance to load bikes, and so on, plus load rails in the floor to attach them to.
Other differences include fabric storage containers instead of lockers, and no washroom. Based on a Ford Transit, the Yoka Go T1 costs €46,999.
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