Whether you are a newcomer to the market for buying a motorhome or a seasoned old hand, one of the exciting parts of choosing your next make and model is the research you can put into browsing the many and varied types of vehicle that are available – both new and second hand.
Through that research, you may build up a clear picture of what is available but also what types of motorhome, what makes and models, what sizes and layouts and what prices might begin to meet your particular, individual needs and requirements.
We take pride in our experience and expertise in practically every aspect of motorhome ownership, yet still we could not hope to address every question or query in a brief article such as this. Your tastes, preferences, and choices are entirely personal, so you’ll be guided by those requirements and circumstances that are unique to you.
But where do you start? What goes into researching the possibilities and choosing your next motorhome – and why does that choice so often point in the direction of a motorhome made by Auto-Sleepers?
Researching motorhomes is by no means difficult. Literally thousands of websites are ready to visit at the click of a mouse or the touch of your tablet.
Make a start now and you are soon likely to drill down to your shortlist of motorhomes to buy, others to keep an eye on for the future, and all manner of tips and suggestions on owning your own vehicle.
While the internet may be immediately and easily accessible – just search for “UK motorhomes” – it’s likely to produce a scattergun result of more than half a million links for you to follow.
Fortunately, therefore, there are other rich sources you might like to tap:
- a visit to your motorhome dealer is the ideal way to focus your research and to make it altogether more meaningful;
- start by identifying those motorhome dealers, franchises, retailers, and manufacturers within more or less easy reach of your home;
- although the amount and quality of information are likely to vary quite widely from one dealer – and their website – to another, any reputable supplier probably posts well-illustrated content, which gives you the chance not only to read the descriptions (in varying degrees of detail) but also to see makes and models which might pique your interest;
- some dealers may also let you download or order catalogues of this year’s latest models;
- there are also online magazines which publish reviews of motorhomes – with Practical Motorhome, as just one example, offering at least one major, detailed review each week;
- webpages and hard copy may give you many leads, but probably leave you itching to see the real thing for yourself;
- for the chance to get up close and personal with your favourite models, check out the dates and places of some of the many motorhome and caravan shows that take place all around the country each year;
- remember, too, that more permanent exhibition spaces are maintained by leading dealers – such as ourselves here at Derby Motorhomes, where our extensive indoor showrooms give you a hands-on experience of a huge range of models, all under one roof where you can stay out of the wind and the rain for viewings on wintry days;
- in fact, we are especially conscious of the need to provide our customers with a seamless experience between online research and browsing and the chance to see and sit in a selection of motorhomes for themselves – so, our website, the descriptions, illustrations, and downloadable catalogues, together with the extensive facilities here at our site in Derby, are all designed to offer just that experience;
- as you continue your research into motorhomes, you might want to mark some of the websites you visit as favourites to visit more regularly;
- the Caravan and Motorhome Club, which was founded more than 100 years ago, maintains regularly updated sections of its website dedicated not only to subjects such as choosing and buying a motorhome but also listings of some of the campsites you might visit;
- the Camping and Caravanning Club devotes perhaps even more space and consideration to motorhomes – including an especially detailed menu of articles on everything from choosing your motorhome, buying guides, driving tips, and care for your motorhome.
Your type of motorhome
For all investigations and studies, it helps, of course, if you have at least a rough idea of the type of motorhome you are after and just how you – and your family – may be planning to use it.
When you’re thinking about the likely use that you and your family might make of a motorhome, it can be helpful to consider the broad categories into which these specialist vehicles are typically sub-divided:
- these are typically relatively small vehicles with basic sleeping facilities and possibly some additional catering and hygiene facilities too;
- if you are unfamiliar with them, you may be able to picture one by thinking of those now-legendary VW camper vans of the late 1960s, which were immortalised by the Hippy Movement;
- today’s campervans, though, are entirely different and almost sophisticated by comparison – yet they remain small vehicles and are likely to be best suited to couples who may not plan on taking children or others with them on their trips;
- in the great majority of cases, these are larger and much more luxuriously equipped than campervans;
- they’re typically based around the idea of a smaller standard commercial van which has been extensively customised internally to provide sleeping and other accommodation-related facilities;
- they are extremely popular and for many, are regarded as a sort of “entry-level motorhome”;
- selected manufacturers turn out luxury, coach-built motorhomes in the UK;
- typically, these are vehicles that contain an engine, chassis and perhaps some other fundamental structural components, so that onto the chassis a coachbuilder will then design and build the required luxury accommodation;
- these are superb vehicles and offer high-quality accommodation such as multiple berths, fully fitted kitchens, and luxury shower and WC facilities;
- by definition, these tend to be larger than van conversions and offer extremely viable holiday accommodation;
Recreational Vehicles (RVs)
- the terminology is sometimes confusing;
- in North America, “motorhomes” are commonly called “RVs” and in the UK, that term is starting to be used to describe motorhomes, too – though an added complication is that the term can also be exclusively applied to some of those exceptionally large motorhome vehicles that you may see on the roads with the size and appearance almost akin to a semi-articulated commercial vehicle;
- when the vehicle described as an RV is an exceptionally large rig, it may well have been imported from the United States;
- it is imperative, if you are considering purchasing such a motorhome, to be sure that it is fully road legal in the UK and European Union – you might also need a special licence to drive one;
Trailer tents and “collapsibles”
- we include these here only for completeness and orientation because few would consider them to qualify as a motorhome;
- these vehicles are usually something along the lines of a small van or perhaps a trailer with collapsible or flexible walls packed away inside, which can be pulled out and opened up to construct what is essentially a tent.
Why you might choose Auto-Sleepers
So, you’ve done your research and you’ve homed in on the type of motorhome most likely to meet you and your family’s needs. What is it about the Auto-Sleepers marque that is likely to make it a favourite choice?
The magazine Manufacturing Today describes Auto-Sleepers as “one of the best known and loved brands in the UK”. Indeed, there is no shortage of reasons for choosing to buy an Auto-Sleepers model.
It’s no accident – but a testament to the build quality and design of their motorhomes – that Auto-Sleepers consistently walk away with some of the major prizes in the annual Owner Satisfaction Awards organised jointly by the Camping and Caravanning Club and Practical Caravan magazine.
So, let’s take a closer look at just why Auto-Sleepers make such a good buy:
- one of the priorities for this manufacturer is the maintenance of the highest safety standards;
- it achieves those standards through compliance with the European Whole Vehicle Type Approval ratings, together with other European standards, such as those regarding seat belt anchorage points;
- every model built by Auto-Sleepers conforms to European and British safety standards and compliance is independently verified by the UK’s Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) and the National Caravan Council (NCC);
- it is the quality of the craftsmanship that goes into every handcrafted model from Auto-Sleepers that probably draws most buyers – and wins the envious glances of other motorhome owners;
- from their factory at Willersey, in the Cotswolds, the company has spent the past 60 years or so perfecting the art of producing custom-made motorhomes, to designs which have time and again proven to be ahead of their times – and always in a class of their own;
- talk about the design and craftsmanship of Auto-Sleepers might come easily, but you don’t have to take our word for it – get up close and personal with the full range of models and see for yourself at our extensive showrooms and exhibition centre here at Derby Motorhomes in Derby;
- as winter approaches and the wet and windy weather sets in, you can experience first-hand encounters with as many motorhomes as you like, all in the dry and heated comfort of our indoor space – and contentedly dream of those sunny summer days touring in the luxury of your own motorhome;
- browse the Auto-Sleeper listings for 2023 and you will get your first glimpse of the extremely wide range of new models available – including awarding-winning panel van conversions, coach-built versions using the popular Peugeot chassis, your own bespoke form of luxury built on chassis from Mercedes, or launched in 2022 the new Ford Air Camper;
- the possibilities do not stop there – your choice of additional features and accessories combine to offer endless variations for personalising your Auto-Sleepers to your precise specifications;
- a customised choice of fabrics for the furniture and furnishings, for example, or the addition of accessories such as bicycle carriers, in-vehicle entertainment systems and solar panels;
- here at Derby Motorhomes, we are especially keen to keep things perfectly clear and straightforward when it comes to perhaps your biggest concern – pricing
- to that end, we identify every component of the total price you are likely to pay – the basic price, plus VAT, the ex-works price, the cost of delivery (if necessary), the cost of any additional features or accessories you have chosen, and the final, effective price on the road of your Auto-Sleepers.
Just as Auto-Sleepers has gained its status as the mainstay of motorhome manufacturing in the UK, so Derby Motorhomes strives to keep its place as one of the country’s leading dealerships.
We recognise that choosing a new motorhome is not something to be rushed.
Even with entry-level purchases, choosing a new motorhome is going to involve spending a significant amount of money and it’s important that you get it right – and match your purchase to your precise requirements and circumstances.
Our primary objective is to ensure you get a vehicle that you are happy with rather than simply selling you a motorhome. We’d welcome the opportunity to prove that by discussing this entire subject with you further – just visit our showrooms in Derby or give us a call on 01332 360222.