Cartwright Chronicles, Features, Spotlight

Motorhomes are no longer just white boxes

A vast motorhome with a garage for a car

Dan Cartwright has over 12 years of experience in the caravan and motorhome industry. He is a judge for a number of prestigious leisure vehicle awards and regularly heads off in his motorhome with his family. Every week, Dan shares his insights with the community. Here’s what he has to say this week.

Once again I’m privileged to have been asked to judge the Caravan and Motorhome Club Motorhome & Campervan Design Awards and Buyers Guide. While I can’t make any comment on the specific entries at this stage, I’ve been blown away by the ever-expanding choices available in the motorhome market.

These awards are the largest and most thorough within the industry, overseen by a dedicated team at the Caravan and Motorhome Club, as well as a panel of independent judges. Before we go to the February show and see the entrants in the flesh, we spend three weeks scoring them based on their handbooks and websites.

While it’s an intense period of scrutiny, it means I’ve had the opportunity to get a really great feel for the market. Going back only ten years, the choice was confined to an array of white boxes on Fiat chassis. You could have a small one, a medium one, a large one or a very large one, but with very little to differentiate the interior between brands, ranges and models. 

Now this market has exploded! It’s the fastest-growing segment in the leisure vehicle industry with the sale of coachbuilts and A-classes both increasing. Here are some of the things I’ve noticed during the digital part of the judging and through my general exposure to the motorhome industry recently.

Innovative design features

Among the innovations that demonstrate how far motorhomes have come from being a standard white box is a coachbuilt with an over-the-cab bed that inflates. That means you don’t have a big windsock while you’re driving, but there’s lots of thermally-insulated space to sleep.

There are now comfortable lounges in motorhomes and U-shaped rear-end living rooms, with drop-down beds above that offer the best of both worlds. Having a great seating area complete with a bed you can leave made up is transformative.

Motorhomes from different vehicle suppliers

There are now motorhomes from so many different suppliers, whether base vehicles or direct from the factory. We have VW, Fiat, Citroen, Ford, Peugeot and Mercedes, which means there’s much more choice and driving configurations than there’s ever been in the UK motorhome market.

Manufacturers are listening to consumers

Among the features that really work for the motorhome lifestyle are:

  • Showers that can be turned into a massive storage closet if you prefer to use on-site facilities.
  • Drying facilities in the back of motorhomes or in the garages, complete with power and lighting.
  • Motorhome storage lockers that can be detached and carried out and used as bags.
  • USB-C chargers in the habitation areas and completely wireless bluetooth entertainment systems.
  • Lights that can be moved around on sliding rails or that can be detached from one part of your motorhome and used elsewhere.

Motorhomes designed for lifestyles

Motorhomes have been developed that run inverters and huge batteries meaning you can go off grid for days on end, cook on electric hotplates and boil your kettles. This is just the beginning, as there are some vehicles that have been designed with specific lifestyle needs in mind.

These include 4x4s with jacked up suspension; small models that can carry four bikes inside the vehicle and convert the space to sleep six people; and eight-berth motorhomes for large families.

Rapidly-expanding market

From specialist vehicles to innovative design features through to even having a motorhome with a washing machine and air compressor in the garage, the market has come a long way. It’s easy to see why it’s growing so quickly and why everyone can find a motorhome that suits them. Prices range from £50,000 to £500,000 new and there’s so much choice and distinction in this rapidly-expanding market.




Photo credit: Unsplash/Alexander Schimmeck