Nick News, Spotlight

Nick’s News – GB becomes UK, new tow rules delayed and the Auto-Sleeper Air

An Auto-Sleeper Air parked up by the sea

Nick HardingNick’s News – Nick Harding is an expert in all things motorhomes, caravans and camping. Each week, Nick explores products, locations, holiday ideas and essential community information on our behalf – It’s a Hard-ing Life for Nick, but here is what he found this week.

My week

For some reason, I’ve been getting a bit of attention recently. It’s not me personally and, to be honest, I also know the reason. It’s the UK sticker on the back of my campervan. Questions range from “Why have you got a sticker that says UK?” to “Oh, have you been abroad?”

Well, yes, UK is the new GB when it comes to what you put on the back of your vehicle before you take it abroad. It’s also worth noting the EU decal that’s been integrated into number plates is now obsolete, of course. As of September 28th, it’s a legal requirement, unless your number plate already has an integrated union flag.

In the news

Tow hold – don’t save the date

OK, so it’s now a question of don’t save the date after I said November 15th was going to mark the day when the regulations regarding towing limits were set to change. But the latest news is it will still take place albeit in the autumn and “subject to Parliamentary approvals”.

That mid-November date was set to be the time when anyone with a full driving licence could tow a trailer up to 3,500kg with no further questions asked. Such a proposal was causing consternation, to say the least.

Instead, it seems there are plans to set up some kind of accreditation scheme, offering voluntary training for those wanting to tow with trailers – caravans, in our case – up to that seriously heavy weight.

If you think it all sounds a bit vague, I think it’s fair to say that’s because it is. Do sign up for updates here.

Every one a winner – Coachman’s double satisfaction

Congratulations to Adria and Coachman. They were the top two companies in the latest Owner Satisfaction Awards, as voted for by the readers of the magazine Practical Caravan, and members of the Camping and Caravanning Club.

Scoring 89.5 per cent and 87.9 per cent respectively, they were the only two manufacturers to achieve gold marks for their new caravans. Coachman also scored highly in the pre-owned category, topping that sector with a 93 per cent overall score. Swift was second here, with 90.1 per cent.

It’s easy to be a bit cynical about awards, but I’d offer the reminder that these are the only ones in the UK where the results are determined by you, the buying public.

Motorhome for me?

Auto-Sleeper Air – take my breath away?

It was a brave move for Auto-Sleeper to pitch into the already heavily over-subscribed campervan sector with an all-new model and opting for Ford’s Transit Custom as the base vehicle, but they seem to have pulled it off.

That means almost everyday driveability, although it won’t get under the 2m car park barriers. The SCA elevating roof and Reimo Variotech rear seat/bed on rails (and now with Isofix) are pointers that the Air is pitched to the premium end of the camper market.

The £59,995 starting price looks a tad hefty, but the Auto-Sleeper name might just carry the day here.

Three good: Five-seater, 2m long main bed and it’s an Auto-Sleeper
Two bad: There’s a price premium and aspects of storage could be improved
Perfect for… Those who don’t fancy a VW
Also consider: Autohaus GT Spartan, Ford Nugget or Wellhouse Misano

Christmas come early, 2021. Part two…

It’s a real mixed bag of Christmas gift ideas this week, but all aimed at leisure vehicle users, of course. I’ll kick off with the Hapro Atlas Premium Xfold II – a new, towball mounting bike carrier from Rameder. It’s less bulky than its name and its nifty design includes wheels – so it’s easy to handle when it’s taken off the vehicle – and yet it can carry two bikes or e-bikes weighing anything up to 60kg in total. Expect to pay around £380 online.

Next up is a not-so-chatty tracker. Yes, that’s the Inovia. Its Smart Alert mode will not only notify your if your vehicle is on the move without your knowledge, but intuitively cut the alerts when it knows you’re in charge of your vehicle (ie driving or indeed within 10m of it). It means you don’t get unnecessary alerts. Its €99 price includes a three-year subscription.

Still short of ideas? You can always resort to a voucher. A One4all gift card is redeemable at up to 55,000 big name retail outlets across the UK – and can be purchased for anything between £10 and £120. It’s also available digitally.