It’s always satisfying when our own beliefs and judgments are vindicated by others.

For that reason, here at Derby Motorhomes, we were delighted to see Auto-Sleepers motorhomes yet again picking a prestigious award at a major show.

The event

The results of the 23rd Caravan and Motorhome Club Motorhome and Campervan Design Awards 2022 were published on the 23rd of February.

Judges assembled for their final decisions on the design awards during the Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), near Birmingham, in February. The design awards are one of the major industry-supported events of the year.

Where past awards have gone to Auto-Sleepers’ coach-built Broadway EB and Fairford van conversion, this year’s winning prize went to the entirely new Ford Air Camper. It walked away with the top prize for the best campervan under 5 metres in length.

Auto-Sleepers’ Ford Air Camper

As a custom conversion campervan, the Ford Air Camper is compact, easy to park, and will navigate narrow city streets or winding country lanes with equal ease and agility. It’s powered by Ford’s well-proven 170PS engine.

Its compact size, though, makes it no less a well-equipped and comfortable motorhome – one that gives you the freedom of the road yet might still offer all the possibilities and flexibility of working from home.

Custom-built by Auto-Sleepers on the timeless Ford Transit chassis, this campervan has such generous interior dimensions that it will sleep four in comfort and provide travel in style for up to five passengers.

Switching between daytime and night-time layouts is simple, quick, and straightforward.

Design Awards judging

The judges at this year’s awards had the challenging task of evaluating no fewer than 72 different vehicles – on which they were required to give their views on a vast range of features, including:

  • the safety of electrical systems;
  • ventilation systems;
  • the ergonomics of the driving cab and driving positions;
  • all-round visibility and safety;
  • driver and passenger comfort;
  • kitchen and washroom equipment and functionality;
  • air conditioning;
  • heating;
  • and a full range of other factors too – our representative list is by no means exhaustive.

Although the judges did not have to test drive every vehicle, they still got up and close and personal with their inspections at the NEC and also spent thousands of hours sifting through hard copies of manuals and online content.

The Director General of the Caravan and Motorhome Club thanked the judges and congratulated all the award winners, commenting how the event helped to make available to the buying public as much useful information as possible in a completely impartial manner – so assisting any decision for the purchase of your next motorhome or campervan.

Why awards are important

Of course, as one of the country’s leading dealers of Auto-Sleepers, Deby Motorhome is always over the moon when one of these models wins a prestigious award. But our satisfaction by no means tells the whole story.

Most important of all is the way in which results such as these exist to help consumers to decide which vehicles are likely to be the most suitable for them and to reduce their risks of getting things wrong – thanks to the fact that a panel of experts has given a very close examination and subsequent thumbs-up to these motorhomes and campervans.

That’s why we are pleased to publicise these successes and to encourage you to check out the vehicles concerned and others from the same stables. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

If you are looking to buy a motorhome, you might well be overwhelmed by the sheer choice of makes and models.

But there is one manufacturer you certainly don’t want to pass by – and that is the renowned Auto-Sleepers brand. Some of the following frequently asked questions might help to explain why.

Why buy an Auto-Sleepers motorhome?

The British manufacturer has established an enviable reputation as one of the finest builders of van conversion and coachbuilt motorhomes.

That reputation is not without good cause since it has been confirmed by motorhome owners themselves. In the Owner Satisfaction Awards granted by readers of Practical Motorhome – and announced on the 21st of January 2022 – Auto-Sleepers stole the gold medal for Best Motorhome Manufacturer.

Co-organisers of the 2022 awards, the Camping and Caravanning Club, confirmed that coachbuilt motorhomes – on which Auto-Sleepers have consistently built their reputation – remain the most popular kind of vehicle, accounting for 55.7% of all new motorhomes purchased.

New for 2022 was Auto-Sleepers Ford Air Camper – which immediately walked away with the year’s Motorhome & Campervan Design Award from the Caravan and Motorhome Club for campervans under 5m in length.

The company has over 60 years’ experience not only in the manufacture of coachbuilt motorhomes but also van conversions and campervans. Whatever style you choose, you can be assured of an innovative and imaginative focus on every aspect of their design and interiors that take full advantage of every inch of space.

What powers an Auto-Sleeper?

Auto-Sleepers typically come with a choice of powertrains:


  • fitted to both its van conversions and coachbuilt models, many Auto-Sleepers are powered by Peugeot’s proven 160bhp turbodiesel Euro 6 engine; or
  • if you prefer the option of an automatic transmission, you have the choice of the 130bhp/150bhp Fiat Ducato Comfort-Matic engine;


  • Mercedes coachbuilt models are fitted with the German brand’s 163bhp Next Generation Euro 6.2 turbodiesel 163bhp engine; and
  • with the option of that powertrain’s 7-speed fully automatic gearbox; and

Ford Air Camper

  • 0-litre Ford EcoBlue (170 PS) engine;
  • 6-speed manual gearbox – or optional automatic transmission.

How extensive is the Auto-Sleeper range?

Not only is there an extensive range of Auto-Sleepers from which to choose but new models and updated versions of current favourites are launched each year.

Presently, for example, there are eight different Peugeot campervans, seven Peugeot coachbuilts, two Peugeot AL-KO coachbuilts, five coachbuilt, Mercedes-powered motorhomes, and the newly launched Ford Air Camper.

Which Auto-Sleeper is for me?

Your choice of motorhome, of course, is a highly personal one and depends on how you intend to use it, the number of passengers you may need to accommodate (and the number of berths for them to sleep in), and the interior space and layout you are likely to need.

You might want a motorhome that you – and a partner perhaps – are likely to use mainly for touring and for exploring the highways and byways of new and unfamiliar places. In the way of many adventures, these may lead you along narrow, winding lanes one minute and through the congestion of busy city streets the next. That is when you are likely to want a smaller, more manoeuvrable motorhome.

If you want a luxurious second home on wheels that you are likely to use as your more permanent base on holidays and short breaks, then a larger motorhome might be the order of the day.

Where can I buy an Auto-Sleeper?

There are main dealers who specialise in this make of motorhome and have the experience and expertise to guide you through the decision-making process – and may also offer the competitively-priced finance packages you may need.

Choose one of these leading dealers with extensive showrooms and exhibition halls to allow you to get up close and personal with the models that suit your tastes and preferences.

The term “auto-sleeper” (or auto sleeper) is sometimes used to mean motorhomes in general or at times, specifically campervans. They are also, however, a renowned English manufacturer of campervan motorhomes that we at Derby Motorhomes are proud to sell.

Here, we’ll interpret auto-sleeper as a generic term referring to any kind of motorhome or campervan and offer some thoughts and suggestions about buying one.

Our approach is along the line of “top motorhome buying tips” – and we’ll take the liberty of assuming that you are completely new to all questions related to motorhomes or auto-sleepers.

Some first principles

Here are the basics, as we see them:

The most suitable auto-sleeper for you and your travels

  • think carefully about what you expect to get out of the experience when using your vehicle on holiday;
  • so, ease and convenience plus low running costs might immediately spring to mind and that might steer you towards a smaller and more compact campervan;
  • but then ask yourself what happens if your grandchildren want to come with you one long weekend – all of a sudden that campervan might seem to be the small side of “compact”;
  • from most angles, we’ll remain pretty much in the dark on this score since the answers to the questions are about your dreams, ambitions and how they will affect the choice of the most suitable vehicle for you;

Review your finances – carefully

  • no list of tips and suggestions about buying a motorhome would be complete, of course, without a word on the hot topic of money;
  • after your house, your motorhome is likely to be the single biggest expenditure you’ll undertake in your lifetime;
  • once again, there’s little specific we can say here other than for you to be certain you’re taking into consideration the running and maintenance costs of your auto-sleeper, as well as its purchase price;
  • incidentally, don’t assume that paying cash is necessarily the most suitable option either – at Derby Motorhomes, we can introduce you to a range of finance companies that offer all the options you might want to consider, from loans, to hire purchase, and even personal contract purchase (PCP);
  • you can find out more on our blog: Motorhome financing options;

Consider your own driving experience and comfort zone

  • almost anyone can learn to drive even the largest motorhomes safely and your standard driving licence – the one you use to drive your car – is typically sufficient;
  • for chapter and verse on your eligibility for driving any particular motorhome, though, you might want to consult the advice on the relevant government website;
  • that’s not to say that everyone wants to drive the biggest possible auto-sleeper – instead, be sure that you select a size of vehicle that you and if relevant, your partner, would both be happy driving;

Think about your expeditions

  • choosing a small campervan might be ideal for a couple or people with a young child or two, irrespective of the journey distance;
  • as we grow older, though, many of us prefer a little more space and comfort – one or two nights in a restricted space might be fine but not if we’re going to be living there for perhaps two weeks at a time;
  • so, if you have lots of long-distance explorations planned around Europe and the UK, you might want to incline towards vehicles that are slightly larger, better equipped, and more comfortable;

Take advice on new versus used

  • you may be surprised to discover that, unlike most cars, motorhomes tend to hold their value very well – so, don’t expect vast reductions on say a two-year-old model against a new one – but we’ll be happy to help you think through any issues about that;
  • of course, if you’re buying second-hand from a private individual, do please make sure that you’re qualified to assess the vehicle and adopt all good security practices to protect your financial interests.

When all’s said and done, you’ll discover that there are some really beautiful motorhomes and campervans out there. Given the amount you’re likely to be spending, it only makes sense to spend time researching the main makes and models – their upsides and any downsides – before you set your heart on any particular one.

Once again, of course, we’d be only too happy to offer some general awareness-raising advice in that area if you wish. Why not contact us to find out more?