Peter Baber
Reviews Editor

See other Blog articles filed in ‘Motorhomes’ written by Peter Baber
   
Dive into our bumper NEC show preview featuring all your favourite brands and our 2018 show stars – your essential guide to get the best from your visit!

It’s that time of the year again!

Every October, thousands of motorcaravanners travel to the NEC Birmingham for the annual Motorhome and Caravan Show, which this year runs between 17 and 22 October.

It’s an extraordinary event that showcases the very best of the industry under one (very large!) roof.

All of the biggest brands will be present, with their very latest products. It’s your chance to see all of the new motorhomes for the forthcoming season, as well as top accessories, inspiring talks and demonstrations, and much more.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of shiny new ’vans to look at, so much so that you might miss what you made the trip to Birmingham to see!

Don’t worry – we’re here to help!

We have rounded up the highlights of every major manufacturer’s stand in one easy-to-follow guide – and we tell you where you’ll find each stand.

Plus, we’ve given you details of the must-see motorhome on each display – if you’ve only time to step into one vehicle, make it this one!

So jump in to our A-Z guide to get the very best from your visit.

And make sure you are wearing comfy shows – there is loads to see!

Adria

  • Stand: 20-75/77
  • Must-see ’van: Adria Matrix 590 ST Axess
      

The most striking changes at Adria this year are in its entry-level coachbuilt Coral range.

Each model now comes with a ‘Sky Lounge’ double panoramic window, which gives you a glazed roof all the way to the central kitchen. They also now have flat floors throughout.

All Matrix models now come on a Fiat Ducato, rather than a Renault Master, although Coral and Matrix ’vans with Axess specification are based on a Citroën Jumper to keep them cheaper.

The Sonic range is now four-strong, all with Supreme specification. It includes a new fixed-bed layout in the 810 SL and a reworked washroom in the 710 SC.

Why is the Matrix 590 ST Axess our pick? End-kitchen layouts are becoming a rarity, so it is good to see that Adria has an excellent example in this ’van.

This slight reworking of the 590 SG includes a huge L-shaped kitchen with masses of storage space. There’s even an internally accessible garage behind this, where you could store a fold-up bicycle.

Auto-Sleepers

  • Stand: 6-55
  • Must-see ’van: Auto-Sleeper Corinium RB
      

After a fair few additions to the range in recent years, Auto-Sleepers enters the 2018 season with no all-new models.

But the company – which was bought by the Trigano Group this year – has spent the intervening time making changes here and there.

Exterior decals now come in teal blue, while both the Peugeot- and Mercedes-Benz-based coachbuilts get a new GRP rear panel featuring a ‘hockey stick’ panel of LED lights.

Inside, they have floral ‘Casa Mia’ upholstery as standard, and striped ‘Sagrada’ upholstery as an option – it’s the other way around in the van conversions.

On the shortlist for our Motorhome of the Year Awards, the Corinium RB, with its spacious and comfortable rear island bed, plus facing sofas up front is one not to miss – it is 2.32m wide and rides on a low-level Al-Ko chassis.

Auto-Trail

  • Stand: 7-20
  • Must-see ’van: Auto-Trail Imala 732
      

There are two new Auto-Trail coachbuilt models this year.

The Imala 732 is a 7.26m-long rear transverse-island-bed model – a layout previously only available in the more pricey Tracker range.

In the Tracker line-up itself, you will now find the 7.6m-long LB, with a rear in-line island bed – a shorter version of the Frontier Delaware floorplan.

Among the van conversions, the V-Line Sport range has been discontinued. But there’s a Sports Pack you can add to three of the four models in this year’s V-Line range which gives you, among other things, a boot at the back.

The Auto-Trail Imala 732 was the winner of our Best Family Motorhome class at our Motorhome of the Year Awards 2018, so is our must-see ’van.

Rear transverse-island beds are still relatively rare in a motorhome, so be sure to check this one out – and its large lounge, all in a 7.26m-long body.

Bailey

  • Stand: 19-29
  • Must-see ’van: Bailey Autograph 79-4
      

The Bristol manufacturer will be bringing its full range of motorhomes to the October show at the NEC Birmingham, comprising the four-model Approach Advance line-up and the flagship six-model Autograph range.

All are based on Peugeot Boxer Euro 6 base vehicles, and have been put together using the Alu-Tech system that Bailey also uses on its caravans, where the whole body – not just the floor and chassis – contribute towards the vehicle’s strength.

The main difference between the two ranges is that Autograph comes with Alde heating, while Approach Advance settles for blown-air heating from Whale.

And our must-see ’van? It is the winner of our Best Coachbuilt Motorhome prize at our Motorhome of the Year Awards 2018, the Bailey Autograph 79-4.

It is a stunning, island-bed model that really makes the most of the model’s 2.49m width and is beautifully fitted out inside, giving it a very classy feel.

Benimar

  • Stand: 6-49
  • Must-see ’van: Benimar Tessoro 483
      

Marquis Leisure, the 12-strong network that is Benimar’s sole dealership in the UK, reintroduced the Spanish brand after a gap of years with its Fiat-based Mileo range two years ago.

It’s a sign of how successful this has been that the emphasis this year is already on its second range, the Ford-based Tessoro.

For 2018 these all come with habitation doors on the UK nearside, plus a microwave and extractor fan in the kitchen, speakers in the lounge, and external barbecue and shower points.

The Mileos have a new rear spoiler and entrance light, and some get speakers, too.

Our pick? It’s the Tessoro 483, the new baby in the range.

This is a 5.83m-long four-berth with a drop-down bed over the front dinette and a three-door garage that can swallow a bike.

Bürstner

  • Stand: 8-40
  • Must-see ’van: Bürstner Ixeo I 744
      

There’s been some change at the German manufacturer for 2018, with the Brevio, Nexxo and Aviano line-ups disappearing.

Bürstner’s new Ixeo I range, represented by six models at the show, is an A-class version of its upmarket range.

The only low-profiles you’ll see from the more mid-market Lyseo range are the seven new Lyseo TD Harmony Lines, with a double floor and extra spec above that you’d see on the Continent.

The A-class Elegance range continues with three models – two at the NEC – along with the one remaining overcab Argos model, the A 747-2.

If you’re after a van conversion, there are also two City Cars on the stand.

Practical Motorhome’s must-see model is the Ixeo I 744. We loved the Lyseo T 744 with its L-shaped rear lounge when it came out last year – and now it is available as an A-class!

Carthago

  • Stand: 9-05
  • Must-see ’van: Carthago Compactline I 144 QB
      

This German luxury manufacturer will have 13 ’vans from its main low-profile and A-class brand at the NEC Motorhome and Caravan Show, as well as five from its more budget-priced Malibu range.

This year, the latter will all remain van conversions – Malibu low-profiles and A-classes are still only sold in Carthago’s home country.

Pride of place among those ’vans in Birmingham will be the Compactline I 144 QB, a 6.99m island-bed A-class that is being made available this year in the narrower, 2.12m-wide Compactline format, having been very popular as a more conventional C-Tourer 144 QB – and it is our must-see ’van!

Chausson

  • Stand: 8-30
  • Must-see ’van: Chausson 711
      

Over the past few years, this French manufacturer – part of the mighty Trigano Group – has become known for offering innovative motorhomes at very reasonable prices. This year is no exception.

There are only three new models from Chausson – the family-oriented 716, which includes a children’s dinette at the back, the 711 with a rear lounge, and the 640, an existing layout that now comes with a double drop-down bed.

But Chausson has also adapted the front-lounge layout in a range of its ’vans to include a Smart Lounge – parallel facing settees that convert into travel seats.

We think you won’t want to miss the Chausson 711, an extension of the 2017-season 611, which had swivelling automotive-style seats in the rear and habitation doors on both sides – now with a rear U-shaped lounge.

Dethleffs

  • Stand: 9-65
  • Must-see ’van: Dethleffs Trend A 7877-2
      

Two huge overcabs make up the new models for Dethleffs in 2018.

Both the Trend A 7877-2 and the Globetrotter XXL A 9050-2 are designed for large families, and include a suitably spacious front lounge with a side settee that can be set up to connect into a U-shape, cutting off the cab.

If these are too big for you (and bear in mind the A 9050-2 has an MTPLM of 6700kg), you can still check out the design package on all Trend models.

This gives you a choice of upholstery finishes and a range of furniture upgrades, including upholstered fabric panels on the wardrobe and chrome towel hooks.

The aforementioned Dethleffs Trend A 7877-2 is our must-see model. Coming in at £69,990 OTR, it is more expensive than the other Trend ’vans, but we think it is a cracking piece of kit.

It is 8.61m long and has a rear island bed over a large garage.

Elddis

  • Stand: 20-39
  • Must-see ’van: Elddis Accordo 105
      

Elddis is now part of the Erwin Hymer Group, although all decisions for the 2018 season had been made before the sale went through in February this year.

However, Elddis hasn’t launched any completely new models for the 2018 season.

You will, however, find smart new exterior graphics on the outside of the popular Encore and Autoquest ranges, and revamped bathroom door handles on most models that have opening, rather than sliding, doors.

Prices have been kept keen for the new season, too, with the top-notch Encore range only just over the £50,000 mark.

We’ve chosen the Elddis Accordo 105 as our top pick, because it has been substantially revised for 2018.

As well as its new, blue sides, this end-washroom two-berth offers a lot in its compact, 5.99m-long body – so take a look!

Frankia

  • Stand: 9-50
  • Must-see ’van: Frankia 790 Plus
      

This season, the upmarket German manufacturer lives up to its reputation for bringing out UK-friendly rear-lounge models, as new versions of its popular I 740 Plus layout appear – one of the shortest yet, in the shape of the I 680 Plus, and one longer version, the 8m-long I 790 Plus.

All three of these A-class motorhomes will be on Frankia’s stand this year, along with seven other models.

Those of you who like the sound of the Platin, designed for off-grid living, will no doubt be eager to know that there will be two different versions of this ’van on display: the I 8400 GD and I 8400 QD.

Our pick is the Frankia 790 Plus, worth a look not just because of its oh-so-homely layout, but it also has a 2m-long, drop-down longitudinal bed that you’ll barely notice when it is in the ‘up’ position.

Globecar

  • Stand: 12-90
  • Must-see ’van: Globecar Campscout Revolution
      

Globecar is a German manufacturer that only offers van conversions, but manages to produce a fair few of them – some 10,200, for example, are due to be made for the 2018 season.

The company has already invested heavily in building a new factory. This will come online early next year, ready to accommodate its H line of motorhomes, which are compact models built just for two.

Most can be retrofitted with ovens, which should be popular with UK buyers, and for 2018 you can opt for a discounted Freedom Pack that gets you an awning, an 80W solar panel and a DAB radio.

And be sure to check out the Campscout Revolution, a very flexible model that includes a drop-down longitudinal double bed as standard.

Although if you want you can also opt for a bed made on top of the rear storage area, or even a children’s bed made up from the dinette.

Hillside Leisure

  • Stand: 11-10
  • Must-see ’van: Hillside Harrington
      

This Derby-based van converter has made a name for itself with the models it has based on VW Transporter base vehicles over the years.

So it’s hardly surprising that it jumped at the chance to have a go with the new Volkswagen Crafter.

Its latest model is due to be launched at the NEC Motorhome and Caravan Show, and is a conversion of the 5.98m medium-wheelbase version of the Crafter, so it is possibly still just short enough to fit into a conventional parking space – all other information was being kept strictly under wraps at the time of writing!

But if the VW Crafter isn’t for you, make sure you have a look at the Hillside Harrington, which scooped a prize at our Motorhome of the Year Awards 2018.

This long-wheelbase Renault Trafic conversion includes a spacious L-shaped kitchen at the rear.

Hobby

  • Stand: 9-30
  • Must-see ’van: Hobby Optima T 65 GE
      

Hobby will have nine models on display at the NEC, including its new overcab Siesta A 60 GF.

This is a shortened, nearer-to-6m version of its 70 GM model, with the same layout, including a rear double bed.

On the stand you can also expect to find three Vantana van conversions, some of which have innovative locker fridges, along with five low-profile Optima models.

This season, the latter come with a choice of three cab colours, concealed LED lighting in the kitchen, and gas struts on the slats under single beds.

Indeed, it is one of these that is our must-see Hobby motorhome, the Optima T 65 GE.

Hobby celebrated its 50th birthday earlier this year, so be sure to check out the company’s specially commissioned Anniversary editions, the Optima T 65 GE and Optima T 70 F. They come with a host of extras, including special decals on the outside.

Hymer and Carado

  • Hall: 10
  • Must-see ’van: Hymer BSL 704
      

The NEC will be the first showing in Britain for Hymer’s new B-Class Supreme Line (BSL) range, launched at the Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf this year.

You can also see the new-look Exsis T and Exsis I models launched in May – mid-market, low-weight low-profiles and A-classes last upgraded six years ago.

These ’vans include garages capable of carrying 450kg, LED lighting throughout and separate heating zones.

Budget brand Carado has six ’vans on show, including the Vlow 640, part of a new four-model van conversion range, and the I447, one of two 7.43m A-classes launched this year.

The Hymer BSL 704 is our must-see model, one of two models in the Hymer B-Class Supreme Line line-up.

The range comes with a unique new chassis design and independent wheel suspension, while the design ethos has been all about lighter weight and greater payload.

Knaus

  • Stand: 8-16
  • Must-see ’van: Knaus L!VE Ti 700 MEG
      

Precise details of which motorhomes Knaus will have on its stand were still being confirmed at the time of writing.

The only thing we can say is that the new Boxdrive 680 ME model, based on the latest VW Crafter and launched at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, will definitely not be there.

But you should be able to look around models from the new entry-level L!VE range Knaus launched this year.

This is split into three sections: L!VE Ti and L!VE Wave coachbuilts (the latter coming in higher to accommodate drop-down beds), and L!VE Traveller overcabs.

From this range is the L!VE Ti 700 MEG, our top pick. Take a look and we think you’ll definitely agree that, as far as Knaus is concerned, budget certainly does not mean boring.

With dark-wood tones and bold colours, this fixed-single-beds model certainly looks modern.

Laika

  • Stand: 10-45
  • Must-see ’van: Laika Kreos 7009
      

This Italian manufacturer – another Erwin Hymer Group offshoot – is coming to the NEC with nine models, although not, sadly, the 8.29m-long Kreos 8009 with self-levelling suspension that it launched this year.

You can content yourself with the new-look A-class Kreos 7009, a 7.96m-long fixed-single-beds model, our must-see ’van.

There are four more Kreos models from the shorter 4000 and 5000 ranges, plus four from the sportier Ecovip range, which has had a complete redesign for its 25th anniversary.

You’ll notice the improved ambient lighting and more geometric shape to the cab on low-profiles, which now have a sunroof.

La Strada

  • Stand: 9-85
  • Must-see ’van: La Strada Avanti H
      

La Strada will be making a welcome return to the October NEC show this autumn, after an absence of several years.

The company’s range will be on display at the Webbs Motorhomes stand, after the dealer agreed to distribute the German manufacturer’s products late last year.

It specialises in top-quality van conversions on Fiat and Mercedes base vehicles. When La Strada was last here, the UK proved to be a particularly keen market for it, accounting for around one-fifth of the 350-plus motorhomes it was then producing per year.

New model the Avanti H will be taking pride of place – and it is our must-see ’van.

The Fiat Ducato-based end-washroom motorhome has a drop-down bed over the front dinette – the first time that La Strada has included such a feature for many years – and a series of clever lockers in the floor.

Lunar

  • Stand: 10-21
  • Must-see ’van: Lunar Cassini EL
      

Just two years after introducing its new Roadstar coachbuilts, Preston-based Lunar is bringing out the Cassini, a three-model range based on a 2.3-litre 130PS Renault Master.

Layouts for the models in this new range include the EL, an end-lounge two-berth, the EB, a four-berth with fixed single beds, and the TI, a four-berth that, unusually, also includes a transverse island bed in the rear.

In fact, the Cassini EL is the ’van we are most excited to see. It is a two-berth with a rear lounge that converts into a large double. In other words, the same layout as the Roadstar EL that has already really impressed us.

Moto-Trek

  • Stand: 9-60
  • Must-see ’van: Moto-Trek X-Cite EB
      

Moto-Trek offers a range of smart motorhomes, many of which have American RV-style slide-outs, so they feature a large amount of living space.

The company will be showing three models on its stand this year: the X-Cite EB, a two- to three-berth coachbuilt with an end washroom and slide-out sofa; the Leisure-Treka EB, a two-berth van conversion; and the Euro-Treka IB, a two- to four-berth with an island bed and a slide-out kitchen.

Although the models are not new for this year, they will be available in fresh colour schemes.

Be sure to take a look around the X-Cite EB, which is much more like a conventional motorhome than many of the vehicles Moto-Trek produces.

Arrive on site, slide out that sofa and you could find that you have as much living room as you get at home.

Murvi

  • Stand: 10-20
  • Must-see ’van: Murvi Morocco
      

There are no brand-new models on show this year from the upmarket Devon-based van converter.

Murvi is limbering up to produce a conversion of the new six-speed automatic Ford Transit, but that now looks more likely to be unveiled at next February’s show instead.

In the meantime, however, you can be impressed by two end-kitchen Fiat models, the Morello and the Morocco XL, and two models based on a Ford – the Piccolo and the Pimento.

As usual, you can also expect to find attention to detail and a very superior build quality that more than justifies the price tag.

Our must-see ’van is Murvi’s Morocco van conversion, which has the same layout as the Morello, but benefits from a slightly larger lounge.

Any compromise in the kitchen is partly compensated for by there being a large kitchen-worktop extension flap.

Niesmann+Bischoff

  • Stand: 10-71
  • Must-see ’van: Niesmann+Bischoff Arto 77 E
      

Über-luxury Erwin Hymer Group brand Niesmann+Bischoff will have five of its A-classes on show at the NEC.

This will include three from its Fiat-Ducato based Arto range – the 77 E, the 78 F and the 88 EK – and two from its Iveco Daily-based Flair range – the 830 LE and the 920 LE.

This year, the entire Flair line-up has been subjected to a series of safety tests that were run exclusively in conjunction with Iveco.

The results of these have led to so many changes that rehomologation was required for every Flair model.

Be sure to step inside the Arto 77 E, which was one of our Motorhome of the Year Awards winners.

The Arto 76 E has been a best-seller in recent years and if you have over £90,000 to spend, its 77 E replacement is worth looking at, with the same layout but 10cm-longer beds.

Pilote

  • Stand: 9-10
  • Must-see ’van: Pilote Le Voyageur Signature
      

Van conversions and top-of-the-range Le Voyageur A-classes will be a particular focus on the French manufacturer’s stand this year.

There will be three LV ’vans and one example from the Signature line-up that Pilote is basing this year on an Iveco Daily.

There will also be two van conversions: a V600G with a sporty Premium interior, and the V630J with slide-away loo in the washroom, although neither will feature the pop-up roof that Pilote is including as an option on most of its van conversions this year.

You can also take a look around 10 other Pilote low-profiles and A-classes.

If the NEC show is your chance to dream, then dream away in a Le Voyageur Signature, our must-see Pilote.

Marvel at the high-class decals on the outside, the domestic-style solid partition door in the washroom, and the clever bed headboard lighting. Then wish that you had the money to buy it!

Rapido

  • Stand: 7-40
  • Must-see ’van: Rapido 8094dF
      

Popular French manufacturer Rapido is planning to show a grand total of 29 models at this year’s show, covering both its flagship brand, and Itineo and Dreamer sub-brands.

Highlights include a large number of the 15 new models for the 2018 season, across both low-profile and A-class body shapes.

You’ll also be able to take a look inside the brilliantly priced Itineo models, including the family-friendly SLB 700, which featured on our recent Motorhome of the Year Awards shortlist.

Be sure to step inside the compact and practical Dreamer ’vans, which will also be making an appearance on the Rapido stand.

We think you should make time to see the 8094dF, too, an impressive new A-class that should really appeal: it features a pair of lounges, one at the front and one at the rear.

You can even specify a home cinema pack that turns the back lounge into a film-lover’s dream.

The quality of the fixtures and fittings is as high as you’d expect from Rapido.

Roller Team

  • Stand: 7-30
  • Must-see ’van: Roller Team Pegaso 740
      

The Italian Roller Team brand is distributed in the UK by Auto-Trail, which is why you’ll find it alongside the latter’s stand at the NEC show this year – although it does have a separate dealer network.

Roller Team specialises in providing keenly priced low-profiles, overcabs and A-classes for families: its Zefiro, Auto Roller and T-Line ranges all start from four-berths upwards.

During the summer we were particularly impressed by the new-look Pegaso 740 and it is our must-see model.

It was first released in mid-2017 as an A-class at a bargain price.

It now has a more modern look inside that includes a choice of either mostly white or mostly brown upholstery.

What should really appeal to British buyers is the cab door now being on the correct UK side for the driver.

RS Motorhomes

  • Stand: 9-83
  • Must-see ’van: RS Evolution
      

Doncaster-based RS is in the middle of updating its mid-market Elysian range, but at the time of writing, the company wasn’t sure whether it would be ready in time for the NEC show.

The range offers a variety of island-bed, French-bed and fixed-single-bed models, some including slide-outs.

You can also expect to see an example of its 9.1m Endeavour model, complete with sizeable overcab.

There should be a Mercedes Atego-based Evolution, too; although with its chassis weighing at least 7.5 tonnes, you’ll need to have the correct driving licence if you’re tempted! But tempting it is, hence it is our must-see ’van.

Sunlight

  • Stand: 9-70 (Cliff 8-20)
  • Must-see ’van: Sunlight I 68
      

This German manufacturer began life as Dethleffs’ budget brand, but has since grown apart to the point where it has a separate head office.

Having initially confined itself to low-profiles and overcabs, this season it felt confident enough to move into A-classes and van conversions, too.

You can see three low-profiles, one overcab and the all-new I 68 A-class (our must-see ’van) on Sunlight’s stand.

Two van conversions, which are based on (fellow Erwin Hymer Group brand) Bürstner’s City Cars and given the endearingly English-sounding name of Cliff, will be on display on the Lowdhams stand (stand 8-20).

The 7.43m-long fixed single beds I 68 is one of two A-classes that Sunlight has launched this year.

With an OTR price of just £59,750, it’s well worth a good look.

Sun Living

  • Stand: 20-75/77
  • Must-see ’van: Sun Living S70 SP
      

Sun Living is Adria’s budget brand, although – unlike other mainstream manufacturers’ budget spin-offs – it goes down the same assembly line as Adrias.

A radical overhaul has seen grey and yellow decals replaced with blue, plus new interiors that include coachbuilts with washroom tambour doors that slide away when the room is not in use, to create more space. That’s something usually only seen on van conversions.

Locker doors on the 10-model range (two van conversions, six low-profiles, two overcabs) have also been replaced with grab holes, rather than handles. In addition, all prices are south of £50,000.

Our pick is the Sun Living S70 SP. The best way to appreciate just what a feeling of spaciousness that slide-away door gives you is to step into something like this ’van, the winner of our Best Innovation prize at our Motorhome of the Year Awards 2018. You won’t believe how much room there is inside!

Swift

  • Stand: 6-39
  • Must-see ’van: Swift Escape 604
      

Swift has consolidated its motorhome and caravan ranges for 2018 to bring them more under a single Swift brand.

This means the Autocruise name is gone: for 2018, Swift’s van conversion range is known as Swift Select. Having been stripped down to basics last year, some extra comforts (such as a waste-water tank) have been added back in, while the range of options has been made more simple.

Bessacarr has been revamped as the Swift Bessacarr 500 series, with new decals and furnishings, and four new four-berth layouts.

Swift Escape, meanwhile, gets one new layout – and it is the 604, our must-see model.

The Swift Escape 604 is also our Motorhome of the Year 2018! It is the all-new baby of the mid-market range.

With a rear washroom, drop-down double bed and well-appointed kitchen, this is one star ’van.

Tribute

  • Stand: 7-20
  • Must-see ’van: Tribute T-726
      

There are no new models in the 10-strong line-up of van conversions and low-profiles for 2018, but – among the seven low-profiles at least – there could be impressively low price tags.

Parent company Auto-Trail now offers each coachbuilt model in a de-specced version without the Driver’s Pack and the Lux Pack, and with a plain white cab (a metallic-grey cab is a cost option).

Although such a move is partly aimed at the rental market, it does mean the range has an OTR starting price of just £42,050, making the ’vans a great buy for anyone wanting a well-priced coachbuilt.

Our must-see motorhome is the Tribute T-726, and take a look at this four- to six-berth and you’ll see that it’s not just the price (£45,248) that makes it an attractive option. For this, you get a ’van that has five travel seats and still comes in with an MTPLM of just 3500kg.

Wellhouse (Lunar)

  • Stand: 12-85
  • Must-see ’van: SsangYong Turismo Tourist
      

The company known as Wellhouse Leisure was bought this summer by Lunar, but for this show at least, the two companies have separate stands.

Formerly Huddersfield-based, Wellhouse has enjoyed great success in recent years with its Terrier range of Ford Transit conversions. In fact, it was in part the need to increase production of these that led it to seek out a buyer with larger premises.

You’ll see three Terriers on the stand – the Supersport, Lux XL and Le-Tour. But it is also known for trying its hand at converting other base vehicles, and you can see five of these on display here.

If you are looking for a compact vehicle that drives more like a car and only needs to accommodate two of you for the occasional night, check out the SsangYong Turismo Tourist, Wellhouse’s first tie-up with the South Korean brand, and our must-see model.

Westfalia

  • Stand: 12-150
  • Must-see ’van: Sven Hedin
      

Westfalia has carved a niche for providing top-quality van conversions, and you can see eight of them on its stand at the NEC, including three new models.

There’s a Kepler 6 to add to the VW-based range, this time on a long-wheelbase version. The Fiat Ducato-based Columbus range gets a shorter member of the family with the Columbus 540 D.

But perhaps of most interest is the all-new Sven Hedin, a transverse-rear-bed model based on the almost-as-new Volkswagen Crafter.

In fact, this is our must-see motorhome, and it’s not just the VW base vehicle that makes the Sven Hedin special – that transverse bed includes an innovative pop-out side section.

It will make the bed longer when you need it to be, but can also be retracted when you are driving.

At the same time, you can see other established models, such as the Club Joker.

Van converters

With two takeovers in the recent past – first Wellhouse becoming part of Lunar and, more recently, WildAx being bought by the Rapido Group – there is sure to be a fair amount of lively discussion and gossip in the van conversion section of the show – although all of the companies involved in these deals insist that it will be business as usual, certainly for many months to come.

WildAx itself will have no new models at this year’s show, although it will be presenting the full range on its stand (11-80).

So you’ll be able to see the Pulsar, Constellation, Aurora, Aurora XL, Solaris and Solaris XL.

Rolling Homes, however, is launching two models at the show (stand 12-82). The first is a new version of its VW Transporter-based Livingstone model, but with a fixed rear loo.

The Shrewsbury company is also launching a new ’van on the LWB Mercedes Vito with an OTR starting price of £45,000.

The 5.1m-long ’van, which was yet to get a name at the time of writing, will have a layout similar to Rolling Homes’ current Columbus model – in other words, a standard VW-type format with a seat across the back and all of the furniture on the offside. The four-berth ’van will also include an SCA front-elevating pop-up roof and a RIB bed.

Auto Campers has a bigger stand this year (stand 11-110) and will be displaying four Ford Transit-based models.

These are a Lo-Line Day Van with Ford’s new automatic gearbox, a Hi-Line classic Day Van, a Leisure Van with a green interior and a pop-up roof, and an MRV (winner of our Best Rising-Roof Camper award) with an orange interior and pop-up roof.

Three of these models will have doors on either side – something of an Auto Campers trademark.

CMC Reimo will have six models on its stand (11-145), although again, none is strictly new.

Four are based on the VW T6, including the Trio High Style, Multi-Style, Escape and City Van.

For something a little different, have a look at the Trio Style based on a Renault Trafic, and the Caddy Camp Maxi, based on the Transporter’s diminutive cousin.

Finally, following the revamp of the Citroën Dispatch base vehicle on which its models sit, Nu Venture (stand 12-80) will launch a new version of its Rio coachbuilt ’van.

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