Choosing the right motorhome is likely to involve several different angles of approach – not least your own research on the designs and layouts available, plus the advice you might get from your friendly motorhome dealer to ways of funding the purchase, including the possibility of part-exchange.

Choosing the right motorhome

In the world of motorhomes, it is often not just a case of how much space is on offer but what’s done with it that counts.

Simply changing the positioning of some of the essential elements inside the motorhome or by applying especially ingenious solutions of design, the usable area and interior appearance may be altered considerably. And that’s what makes the motorhome layout such a critical factor in choosing one make and model over another – to suit the particular needs of you and your family.

The designer’s challenge

For any motorhome designer, the challenge is fitting quite so much into the relative confines of your second home on wheels. There are the driver’s and passenger seats up front in the cockpit, of course, but behind that there need to be spaces in which to relax, to cook, take a shower, a place for the toilet, and to sleep.

Much of that layout is likely to be occupied by the beds – the most extensive single feature that needs to be fitted inside your motorhome –, and that’s where the designer’s ingenuity and imagination are most called for and reflected in the following standard configurations:

Rear lounge layout

  • this is a layout you might have noticed when following a motorhome along the motorway – a lounge area situated at the back of the vehicle, typically to make the most of the panoramic view you are likely to get from a big window at the rear;

Front lounge layout

  • but the lounge area might also be immediately behind the driver and passenger seats in the cab – and is probably nowadays the most popular layout;
  • it means that your galley or kitchen area, washroom and – in the case of larger motorhomes – the bedroom, too, are all situated towards the rear of the vehicle;

Fixed double bed

  • the bed you sleep in at home is likely to have enough space around it to climb in from either side, and this is also possible with a motorhome’s fixed double bed as an “island” with access from both side, and fixed, so you don’t need to fold it down and make it up from scratch every night;

Fixed single bed

  • on the same principle – but for those who prefer to sleep alone – fixed single beds are also available;
  • as an article in AutoTrader Motorhomes points out, a fixed bed is one which you don’t have to convert from the seating area in the lounge – for that reason, fixed beds are normally situated at the back of a motorhome, ready and waiting, already made up for when you want to turn in for the night;

French bed layout

  • the so-called French bed is a layout designed to make the most of the space in a smaller motorhome since it is usually fitted against the wall and the corners at the foot of the bed may be cut off and rounded, so it is easier to get around them;
  • for some of the arguments in favour of and against this type of arrangement, take a look at the article on the website Out and About Live;

Bunk beds

  • not so many motorhomes feature bunk beds, but they tend to be a favourite with children, so if you have a young family travelling with you on holidays, you might want to give a thought to this space-saving arrangement.

Motorhome layouts are many and varied – typically masterpieces in design and ingenuity. You can even get drop-down beds, so you can really maximise the space!

The layout that suits you is likely to be determined by your family’s own particular needs and the way you intend to use your motorhome. Whatever those needs may be, you are almost certain to find a layout that suits you.

Questions to ask your motorhome dealer

Once you’ve researched the possibilities of layout and design, it’s probably time to get down to the serious business of questioning your dealer. Top of the possible questions is likely to be the make and model of motorhome most likely to suit you

Here at Derby Motorhomes, we make no bones about it – Auto-Sleepers are challenging to beat!

We are champions and committed supporters of what we believe, without doubt, to be the leading manufacturer of first-rate motorhomes in the UK. On the strength of that endorsement, of course, we look forward to all of your questions about any aspect of the especially wide range of Auto-Sleepers – including this year’s latest models and award-winning vehicles to buy second-hand or in part-exchange.

Which is the right Auto-Sleeper for my family and me?

There are so many possible answers to this question that you might be glad of our expertise, experience, and guidance. The Auto-Sleeper for you and your family, of course, depends on the way you plan to use it, the size of motorhome you want to buy, and whether you are buying new or second hand.

Since we have such a wide range of new and pre-loved Auto-Sleepers on display, you may try out our suggestions for yourself first-hand, even taking those in which you have a particular interest for a test drive.

For innovative design, layout and spaciousness and through the use of proven chassis and powertrains, it’s no accident that Auto-Sleepers is our flagship range:

Van conversion or coachbuilt?

  • just ask us about some of the differences between van conversions and coachbuilt motorhomes;
  • as the terms suggest, a van conversion takes a standard chassis type and powertrain – in the case of Auto-Sleepers, a Peugeot or Fiat Ducato engine and transmission – with the superstructure skilfully converted to create a spacious and well-appointed interior;
  • a coachbuilt motorhome is specially crafted, lovingly built from the chassis up and, in the case of an Auto-Sleeper, powered by a 160bhp Peugeot engine or a 163bhp Mercedes;
  • as you might imagine, therefore, coachbuilt motorhomes tend to be in a luxury class of their own – and come with a price ticket to match;

What after-sales service and warranties are offered?

  • if you have to wait at all for delivery of your Auto-Sleeper from Derby Motorhomes, that’s because we put every aspect of the vehicle through rigorous and stringent pre-delivery tests, before giving your model a finishing valet service;
  • on the rare occasion that anything should go wrong after that, of course, you expect the reassurance that it will be put right;
  • that’s where our long history in dealing with Auto-Sleepers, and our fully-trained and experienced team of technicians who are familiar with every model in the range, comes into its own – we have the expertise and well-stocked parts stores to ensure any replacements are fitted speedily and professionally;

Can you arrange finance?

  • buying an Auto-Sleeper is likely to represent a significant investment and one for which you may need finance;
  • we are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to offer three principal motorhome finance options – personal loans, hire purchase and even Personal Contract Purchase – giving you the widest choice of finance options (depending on your credit history, of course).

Part-exchange with Derby Motorhomes

Once bitten by the motorhome bug, the majority of owners progress from one vehicle to another, replacing an old favourite with a new model, based on their changing needs and preferences.

And that means that Derby Motorhomes can offer what we consider is a roaring trade in part-exchange motorhomes.

Here we’d like to run through how we operate our part-exchange system and some of the basic principles behind it.

The basic approach

To give you an initial part-exchange estimate, we will need to have certain key information relating to the vehicle you are considering putting forward. Those details typically include:

  • a precise description of what it is, including things such as its make, model, and year;
  • an accurate indication of its current mileage;
  • how many previous owners it has had;
  • a fairly objective review of its condition – any major problems or damage should be highlighted at this stage to avoid wasting time later on;
  • a statement of any enhancements you might have made to it, such as anything that might affect its registration details and insurance; and
  • a statement relating to whether or not there is any outstanding finance on it.

Once we have those details, we will contact our trusted associates in whatever the vehicle field concerned is, to seek the best possible trade-in price we can on your behalf.

Assuming the figure we indicate is acceptable, we will then proceed with you to the next stage.

Confirmation and engagement

Almost inevitably, the amount you are offered in part-exchange will require the person offering the figure (or their intermediaries) being able to see the vehicle in person before agreeing a definitive and final sum.

There is absolutely no suggestion here that the part-exchange specialist believes you might have misrepresented the vehicle. It is simply a question of them trying to make sure that there is nothing associated with it that you might have failed to spot.

Sometimes those things can be very technical and not immediately apparent to anyone other than a skilled mechanic and one who is an expert in the type of vehicle concerned.

However, in many cases, this is simply routine, and the final figures are confirmed. In some cases, it may be necessary for you to take steps to settle any outstanding finance on the vehicle before offering it as part of the deal or it can be settled as part of the overall transaction.

Do please keep in mind that if you are purchasing a vehicle under hire purchase terms, it is an offence to offer it for sale or part-exchange unless your HP funds provider has agreed to it in advance, with any outstanding sums being settled as part of the final transaction.

As we have said on our website, part-exchange  may typically be an excellent way to offset some of the costs associated with purchasing a new motorhome (depending on your own, unique, financial circumstances).

Our partners and we can be extremely helpful in finding ways to make your part-exchange happen and in a cost-effective way for you. This can all be explained in much more detail and far more quickly if you contact us for an initial discussion. That will be entirely non-committal on your part, but it will give you an excellent idea of how the process works and some of the financial advantages that it might offer you.


If you are thinking of buying a motorhome – or better yet, have already decided to by one from the Auto-Sleepers range – you’ll not only want your own private viewing and maybe a test drive, but also have lots of questions to ask your dealer.

You might even have a vehicle you intend to offer in part-exchange.

Here at Derby Motorhomes, we’re delighted if you ask away – and our dedicated team of salespeople will do their absolute best to provide the answers.