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Congratulations to Bentley Motorhomes – the firm has been up-and-running less than a year, but it’s managed to scoop the prestigious Caravan Club Design and Drive competition’s overall winner award for 2011.
The Bentley Artisan Indigo is a great little low-profile. I road tested it last year, shortly after its launch at the October NEC show. It’s a narrow-bodied van, based on the Renault Trafic, and I was hugely impressed with the design and quality of the conversion, right down to its clever, fold-flat, freestanding table. See my full review of it here.
It’s interesting to see that different Award schemes pick different winners. The main reason for this is the criteria they set.
The Club’s Design and Drive competition selects a number of industry journalists (including our Nick Harding and Gentleman Jack Bancroft) for its panel of testers, and invites manufacturers (and dealers who represent imported brands) to submit motorhomes for testing. It then assesses the ‘vans in terms of technical aspects (eg, gas systems and plumbing) and in terms of driving experience (with all vehicles suitably ballasted).
However, because it’s not restricted to new-season models, it enables motorhomes such as the Murvi Morello and Elddis Autoquest to win gongs year after year. Also, British-built motorhomes tend to sweep the board. This year, they won five of the six categories, and only lost out in the A-class category (in which Brit manufacturers didn’t take part).
Germany’s leading motorhome magazine Promobil does its awards very differently: it invites its readers to vote for their favourite motorhome.
Promobil recently published its 25th Motorhome of the Year awards, and 20,000 readers cast their vote. I’ve listed the results here, and they make for interesting reading. It seems they’re partisan too – all category winners were German-built, and the only imported motorhome to make the ‘top three’ in any category was the Adria Twin.
Van conversions under €40,000
- Winner: Possl D-Line
- Runners-up: Hymer Car and Adria Twin
- Top import: Adria Twin.
Van conversions over €40,000
- Winner: Concorde Compact
- Runner up: Westfalia James Cook.
- Top import: Rapido claimed the favourite import conversion crown.
Overcab coachbuilts under €50,000
- Winner: Dethleffs Advantage A
- Runners-up: Eura Mobil Terrestra A, and Hobby Siesta T AK.
- Top import: Adria Sport A, with Chausson Flash in third
Overcab coachbuilts over €50,000
- Winner: Hymer Camp
- Runners up: Dethleffs Globetrotter, and Karmann Colorado
- Top import: Laika Kreos
Top low-profile under €50,000
- Winner: Dethleffs Advantage T
- Runners-up: Hymer Van and Burstner Ixeo
- Top import: Laika X-series
Top low-profile over €50,000
- Winner: Carthago Chic C-Line /T/T-Plus
- Runners-up: Hymer Tramp SL and Eura Mobil Contura
- Leading import: Adria Polaris, with the Rapido 70+ coming third
A-classes under €70,000
- Winner: Hymer B-Class
- Runners-up: Hymer Exsis –I and Dethleffs Globebus I
- Leading import: Rapido Serie 9, with Adria Sonic second.
A-class over €70,000
- Winner: Hymer B-Class SL
- Runners-up: Carthago Chic C-Line I, Concorde Carver/Charisma
- Leading import: Esterel Exclusive
And we at Practical Motorhome do it differently again. We’ve just drawn up the shortlist for our Motorhome of the Year Awards 2011. Here’s how we do it:
- All new or substantially revised motorhomes for the 2011 season are eligible to be included.
- Our journalists assessed all new motorhomes at their press previews last summer.
- Our 20-strong reader team judged start-of-the-season launches at the October NEC show, and mid-season launches at the February NEC show.
- Now we’ve drawn up our shortlist in each category, based on the testers’ scores, and we’re busy testing and reporting on each shortlisted motorhome.
We’ll announce the winners in our Awards issue of the magazine (on sale in September). In the meantime, why not let me know what you think is the best motorhome of the year? Email me at [email protected]
Rob Ganley, Editor