Nick’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.
Porous alloys – that was the response I got when I posted a story to you last week wondering why my campervan seemed to have a slow puncture. My local specialist fitters could find no sign of anything untoward in the tyre, but sure enough, have a look online and you can immediately find out more about the problem of alloy wheels and slow releases of air from tyres.
It can be anything from some dirt in the beading – sufficient to ensure there’s not a good seal between tyre and wheel – or something else to do with the wheel. Luckily, there’s also lots of information on possible cures. Right, I’m off to do some more investigating…
In the news
Safety first – on all fronts
It looks like the UK’s best towcars are also among the safest vehicles on the road. The safest cars to drive, according to independent assessment body Euro NCAP, include Nissan’s Qashqai, the all-electric Mercedes-EQ EQS, Genesis G80, Skoda Enyaq iV, Subaru Outback and Volkswagen ID.4.
They all scored particularly highly in NCAP’s various adult, child and safety assist categories. Be wary and do check out official towing limits, however, especially with electric models. Skoda’s Enyaq iV, for example, can be as little as 1,000kg, depending on the model. Ditto for the ID.4 and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Cotswolds – going for the dogs?
There’s probably no need for me to tell you about the many attractions of the Cotswolds as a place to visit with your leisure vehicle. An added bonus is likely to be a new initiative to be unveiled this spring.
It’s too early to say much, but there’s a Dog Friendly Cotswolds campaign in the offing. It will start with a new section at the www.cotswolds.com website, so do keep your eyes peeled if you like to take your pooch on holiday with you.
Swift Sprite Super Quattro FB – Six-ing things up
The name’s a bit of a mouthful, but Sprites are built by Swift these days. The Super bit tells you it’s an extra wide (2.46m) body, Quattro signifies a twin axle and FB stands for French bed.
Got that? Being a Sprite means it’s also highly competitively priced. And that also partly explains what is a relatively low maximum weight – at 1,704kg – for what is potentially a pretty wieldy 8m long van.
It’s a very family-friendly floorplan, with its permanent French double bed at the back alongside a relatively roomy washroom (again, that extra width helps), plus the ability to cope with up to four more by adapting the front settees (two single beds or a double) and turning the U-shaped central seating into a double. So, lots of berths, lots of seats, lots of appeal.
Three good: A lot of tourer for your money, twin axle on-road stability and that Sprite value-for-money name
Two bad: Still needs a hefty towcar and ATC is only an option
Perfect for… Families who want space
Also consider: Bailey Pegasus Grande SE Palermo
Got a van? Get an awning
A drive-away awning is a perfect complement to a campervan, vastly increasing your living space, storage and sleeping options when on site. It’s even an ideal way of reserving your pitch when you’re out for the day. Hardly a new name – it produced its first tents over a 100 years ago – but it’s interesting to see Coleman making an entrance into the campervan awnings sector.
It’s announced three models under the Journeymaster brand, with prices starting at just under a grand, including pre-attached bedrooms complete with Coleman’s proven Blackout technology at the windows.
Coming at this end of the market from a somewhat different angle is top-dollar caravan awning maker, Isabella. Look out for the X-Tension, again designed specifically for campervans. It’s a premium product that comes with a premium price, so expect to pay around £1,350.
The newest addition to the Vango line-up is the Cove II Air Low. At around £570, it still packs in a full range of features, from a sewn-in groundsheet that keeps the bugs out to lantern hanging points.
By the way, all the above use inflatable technology, so they’re easy to put up and there’s no messing about with unwieldy poles, even if the awnings themselves can be a bit bulky when packed down. Key features to look out for, especially with inflatable awnings, include ventilation, how it attaches to the vehicle, windows and curtains, and number and type of doorways.