Nick News, Spotlight

Nick’s News – Motorhome prices, the Coachman Laser 620 Xtra and a gift guide

The Coachman Laser 620 Xtra parked up

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

Did I have a night to remember? Not really, because I mainly slept through it, but that was the plan, sort of. A recent assignment saw me reviewing the latest Auto-Sleeper Warwick XL and staying overnight in it, to try out the Whale heating and hot water systems it’s fitted with.

It’s a job that’s been put off for the best part of a year, simply because the weather hasn’t been cold enough. Suffice to say despite an official overnight temperature of two degrees C – enough to warrant running the heating through the night – the Warwick interior stayed lovely and snug. And I slept pretty soundly.

In the news

Motorhome price rises – phew!

Motorhome prices are on the up and I’m not sure when they’re going to start levelling out. Our manufacturers are already having the toughest of times with supply issues for nearly all of the many – let’s say 3,000-plus – individual components that go into the making of a typical motorhome.

But Fiat, which is the supplier of the majority of base vehicles for motorhome conversions (and by a considerable margin) has been announcing hikes in the costs of its Ducato models.

The Auto-Sleeper Warwick XL that I was reviewing at the start of the week went from £66,495 to £71,495, and that was just while I was sitting in it!

The previous month, I was reporting on a £55,395 Swift Select 122 that, by the time the article was about to go to print, had gone up to £58,390.
Those are just two examples, but the increases are across the board and by and large unavoidable. The only good news I can see is residual values are holding up.

Caravan crushThe interior of the Coachman Laser 620 Xtra

Coachman Laser 620 Xtra – the space creator

How does a 7.90m long, 2.44m wide family van have so much daytime space? OK, those aren’t the most compact dimensions for this fully-fledged twin axle. But, look again and one feature will strike you – there are no permanent beds in the Laser 620 Xtra, a new model from Coachman for the season ahead.

In fact, you’ll recognise the floorplan as a big favourite of yesteryear, just made bigger. There’s a twin-settee front lounge, plus side dinette and particularly generous full-width rear washroom, as well as a larger-than-most kitchen.

So, there’s plenty to love here and when it comes to night time, those beds – short singles or a generous 2.20m x 1.72m transverse double at the front, wider than average single from the dinette – are simple enough to make up.
Three good: So much seating space, massive kitchen and a huge washroom
Two bad: Nightly bedmaking and you’ll pay extra for a solar panel and a tracker
Perfect for… Optimising your daytime living
Also consider: Bailey Unicorn Madrid (standard body width)

Christmas come early, 2021. Part three…

Christmas beanie, anyone? Tilley, best known for its hats, has some woolly hats to tempt you this winter. The Trail Beanie is £24 and is made from a 50/50 merino/acrylic blend with a microfleece headband. The Hiking Beanie uses the same blend, is £20 and has a rib knit design. The £30 Warmth Beanie is an 80/20 blend, also with a full microfleece lining, and designed for the worst of any winter weather.

A more sensible choice, but it could be very worthwhile for the driver in your life is my next suggestion. The AlcoSense Lite 2 is a personal breathalyser you can use any time before your get behind the wheel. Well, it’s always worth checking you haven’t crept over the limit, or are safe to drive the morning after – and any time around Christmas can often be a tricky one. It only costs £44.99.

Meanwhile, if you’re going to take the plunge and go for an electric bike, now could be the ideal time (stock allowing). There’s a special offer of savings up to £135 off any bike (including non-electrics and children’s models) from Raleigh… and it’s exclusive to Caravan and Motorhome Club members.