Nick News, Spotlight

Nick’s News – The Erwin Hymer Centre, the problem with names and the Buccaneer Commodore

The Buccaneer Commodore

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

That’s me back home now from my Grand Tour of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, so it’s time to catch up on the inevitable backlog of jobs that build up when you’re away for over three weeks.

Luckily, an incredibly slow puncture on my van was fixed whilst we were away. Thanks to the guys at CTS Tyres near Newtownards – not only did they repair it on the spot, the bill of £15 was so much lower than expected.

A cracked windscreen was a different matter and we nursed it back home. But again, lucky me as my insurance with Shield includes windscreen replacement cover.

Less a £125 excess, but do check yours. I have to say making the initial appointment with Auto Windscreens couldn’t have been easier. Now, I just have an out-of-control garden to tackle…

In the news

Erwin Hymer Centre – take a luxury break?

Fancy a bit of the motorhome high life? You might want to visit the Erwin Hymer Centre on the outskirts of Stafford, just off junction 14 of the M6 motorway, any time between October 2nd and 17th.

It’s a real state-of-the-art set-up here but, as well as the impressive premises, it’s a first opportunity to view new models from the Erwin Hymer Group marques that this retailer represents – from Niesmann + Bischoff to Dethleffs and Carado, not forgetting Hymer itself.

Potential visitors are being asked to pre-register via in the shows section. Events like this are, in my opinion, the best way to go and see the very latest from any brands you wish to explore further.

Also, you benefit not just from the expertise of those involved with selling and servicing the products, but it’s also a great chance to go and view the company you might be buying from.

Refreshingly honest – Auto-Sleeper Group

I rather like the approach that’s being taken to 2022 by the Auto-Sleeper Group. It’s the organisation that comprises not just Auto-Sleepers, but also the McLouis, Benimar and Mobilvetta brands, as well as the Marquis Leisure network of 13 sales outlets.

Emma Franklin, company spokeswoman, told me: “Putting it simply, there are no major changes on the habitation that we can sing and dance about for 2022 for Auto-Sleeper or McLouis.”

She also added that we should not expect any big things to come from McLouis or Mobilvetta either. But there are quite a few tweaks, like an uprated cab for any Auto-Sleeper based on a Peugeot Boxer, a couple of new upholstery choices and new “infotainment” system for McLouis.

So, is no news good news? Yes, if you’re happy with the adages don’t make changes for change’s sake and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. An early exclusive for you too, because I can confirm all research and design efforts are going towards the 2023 season product.

What’s in a name? Time for a class act?

Sometimes, the motorhome market does itself no favours. The inability to define certain vehicle types is a particular bugbear with me. Can you believe there are no official definitions for the likes of campervans, van conversions, coachbuilts and A-classes?!

It’s a problem that goes right to the top, with even the DVLA having problems. It still prefers to stick with the catch-all term ‘motor caravan’, spelled with two words. It does however add: “also known as camper vans, motor homes, recreational vehicles”. There’s more here.

Over in America, they’re much clearer, keeping it to three class designations – A for the big stuff, B for more typical coachbuilts, C for van conversions and campers.

Does it matter? Well, there are implications for general parking, including covenants for outside homes; servicing; access to low-emissions zones; insurance; breakdown recovery; and plenty more. Anyway, over to you. What do you say?

Caravan crushThe Buccaneer Commodore

Buccaneer Commodore – a real swashbuckler

Perhaps every caravan review should start with a verdict on the comfort and support of the seating? It’s an instant indicator of what you’re going to get elsewhere and let’s face it, most of us spend proportionately more time sitting in our vans than doing anything else.

That puts the twin axle Buccaneer Commodore in a very good starting position, with its deep-set cushioning and curved backrests Indeed, even before you settle down onto those incredible settees, you’ll have probably picked up the distinctive smell of leather upholstery.

There’s also new bodywork for the 2022 season Buccaneers, with a more pronounced curve to the front end, improved front locker access and extra-wide skylight. Some further equipment upgrades for 2022 include options that extend to onboard Wi-Fi and a rack capable of taking e-bikes.
Transverse island double bed and en suite facilities, a separate toilet and shower rooms, forward of this, the floorplan ensures the best privacy from the other occupants for a four berth.

Three good: Sky-high extravagance, spacious interior and general 2022 upgrades
Two bad: The usual – heavy and pricey
Perfect for… Living the luxury life
Also consider: Coachman Laser Xcel 850 and Swift Elegance 580