Peter BaberSee other News articles filed in ‘Shows and events’ written by Peter Baber
This week sees the return of one of our industry's largest events, the Motorhome & Caravan Show, in Birmingham NEC. We've been hitting the halls to find out what you can expect to see.
To start, there's a huge range of new camper vans, and - at the other end of the scale - the newest addition to Swift’s luxury Kon-tiki range. These are just some of the attractions you can expect to see if you visit the Motorhome & Caravan Show at the NEC later this week.
The Swift Kon-tiki 649, which wasn’t completed in time for the Swift launch this summer, includes a large U-shaped lounge sitting under the distinctive wraparound rear window.
The vehicle’s huge length - it’s a twin-axle measuring 8.19 metres - means you also have a large central kitchen, a large central washroom with a separate shower cubicle, and the same large front lounge as in the other Kon-tikis. See them all in Hall 6.
Adria on stand 20.75 was due to be displaying the new Twin 640 SGX Supreme with a drop-down bed in the rear, but this has still not been finished. You can, however, find a wide range of coachbuilt and A-class models with the new open salon parallel settee front lounge layout.
On the Marquis Leisure stand (6.49) you can see the new five-strong Fusion range of low profiles, and overcabs from McLouis that the dealership has started importing, as well as the new budget-level from Benimar known as Primero, and Benimar’s Benivan van conversion range.
There is also the Randger brand of camper vans; the end washroom model in that range, the 535, won the Rising-Roof Camper award in our Motorhome of the Year awards this year. And end washroom camper vans seem to be a key trend this year. Along with the Randger 535 there is the new Devon Arizona on stand 11.90, while Vantage Motorhomes on stand 11.60 has rearranged the layout of its GEM Model to give it an end washroom and and a larger front lounge with a side-facing settee and a single seat that together make up a double bed.
Then WildAx motorhomes (stand 11.80) has also brought out an end-washroom model, the Triton - its first ever model based on a Ford Transit Custom. In a bold move, the end washroom does not have a washbasin, just a toilet you can sit on to use the shower which comes complete with a weighted shower curtain.
WildAx director Duncan Wildman says the company had wanted to offer full facilities including a full shower tray for people who just want a quick shower and are happy using the nearby kitchen sink as a washbasin.
The Triton also includes a side-facing settee in the lounge which can be made into a lower bed in addition to the bed in the raising roof. But if you are using it just as a two-berth it can removed to allow you to make full use of the second opening door as well as the extra space.
Shrewsbury-based Rolling Homes has also brought out its first model on a Ford Transit Custom. The Kingsley on stand 12.82 features a standard side kitchen layout but includes the usual high-quality Rolling Homes furniture.
IH has chosen to base its new model, the IH600CRD, on the new Volkswagen Crafter. It comes with a U-shaped rear lounge, and director Ian Hartley says they have built into the sides of the vehicle so that this lounge converts into a bed that is 6ft 2in long.
Auto Campers has also brought out an existing van on a new base vehicle. The Day Van is available for the first time on a 150PS Volkswagen T6 petrol model with a two-tone exterior, and you can see it on stand 11.110. But if you want one you’ll need to act quickly, because Volkswagen is discontinuing all its T6 petrol models from the end of October.
CMC Reimo, meanwhile, has gone for a daring new design in its first model to come out under its new Hembil brand. The Drift on stand 11.14 features a side kitchen that can turn outwards by 90 degrees through the second opening door to allow for outdoor cooking. The kitchen unit, designed in-house, is a little high for some when it is outside and only stays in place thanks to one large bolt, but swinging it out certainly opens out the interior. Gas bottles for the hob are stored within the unit that swings out, but the water tank remains in the main body of the van and is connected by piping.
In contrast, Globecar's new Campster model, on display on stand 12.90, has a side kitchen unit that can be completely removed if you want. It’s on a Citroen base and comes with a large rear boot.
RP Motorhomes, meanwhile, is showing a new Mercedes Sprinter-based front-wheel-drive Rebel model that features a rear lounge with U-shaped seating that you can partially remove to create an exit at the back. See this on stand 12.94
Don’t miss too the new Summit range of campervans produced by Wellhouse Leisure for Lowdhams on stand 8.20. Based on the Ford Transit Custom, Summit vans include a third travel seat, a 42-litre compressor fridge, Eberspacher blown air heating, a solar panel, fresh and waste water tanks, and mains, 12V and USB sockets.
Finally, on the Danbury stand (12.60), you can see the new Fiat-based Avenir models. These are really what were Premium Vans from Danbury’s owner Pilote, but rebadged as Danbury on the outside with Danbury soft furnishings.
The show runs until this Sunday, 21 October, at the NEC in Birmingham. For more information visit the show website.