Types of motorhomes
Motorhomes - also sometimes called motorcaravans - come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some of the many different types you can choose from.
These tiny motorhomes are often based on small van versions of popular cars or even small people carriers. Most offer sleeping for two but many, like the Romahome R10 Solo pictured here, have just a single berth.
You will also usually find simple cooking facilities and a cupboard to store the smallest portable toilet.
Most have a lifting roof of some sort but some have a high-top - making them less multi-storey car-park friendly.
Small motorhome manufacturers include:
Bongo from Japan
These small van conversions arrive second hand from Japan where tax advantages are given if you sell your van for export after just three years.
Based on the Mazda Bongo (or similar vans) and right hand drive, they can offer excellent value for money. Some have four wheel drive and clever touches like electrically-powered lifting roofs.
Volkswagen campers have been popular for more than half a century. There are thousands on the road and they are still being built today by Volkswagen and a handful of specialist converters.
They offer comfortable accommodation for two or more in a vehicle small enough to be used as the only family car. High top and raising roofs are both available and other basic vans, especially Toyota, are also used for these kind of campervan conversions.
Many of these campers have devoted followings with fan clubs, festivals and magazines dedicated to them.
Low profile coachbuilt motorhomes
These use a cab and chassis from a major van manufacturer and then a motorhome body is built on to complete the vehicle.
Inside they can sleep two or more and generally have a washroom with shower and cassette toilet. Some will have a fixed double bed. Sometimes that bed is mounted transversely high across the back of the motorhome and the large locker underneath it will be called, rather optimistically, the 'garage'.
The conventional coachbuilt motorhome with an over-cab bed
Everything we have said about the low-profile coachbuilt motorhome applies to its slightly bigger brother – the low-profile coachbuilt motorhome with over-cab storage.
Traditionally known as a “Luton” – after the town in which the Bedford commercial vehicle plant built vans with this type of over-cab storage – motorhomes often use the extra space for an over-cab bed. Others simply have a large storage area here.
Medium to large motorhome manufacturers include:
The Swift Group
‘A’ class motorhomes
These large motorhomes can be recognised by having no separate cab. The body, including the driving compartment, is entirely coachbuilt by the motorhome company using a bare chassis unit from one of the large commercial vehicle manufacturers. Inside there is room for all the luxuries of home.
Most ‘A’ class motorhomes are imported from Europe or further afield.
Tag axle motorhome
When coachbuilt or ‘A’ class motorhomes get very large and long they can be fitted with a third wheel on each side. This is known as a tag axle.
The larger size this allows means that inside fitting can be even more generous.
The American Recreation Vehicle RV
A number of American RVs are imported to Britain and these can range from vehicles not much bigger that a typical British coachbuilt to giant vehicles worthy of a Country and Western superstar.
All offer lots of room and luxury, although some people might find American interiors a trifle brash. More important many are petrol fuelled and in bigger sizes these can offer miles per gallon figures in single figures.
Very large motorhome manufacturers include:
Home built motorhomes
Some real enthusiasts decide to fit out their own motorhome. They can range from simple camper vans to re-fitting an old double-decker bus to tour the world.
The classic do-it-yourself motoring publishing house Hayes provide a manual on creating your own motorhome and if you search online you’ll find a host of keen amateurs and professionals who are ready and willing to give you a hand.
Driving a motorhome? Check your licence first
When you get to vehicles of this size – and even some significantly smaller motorhomes – you need to check your driving licence before even taking a test drive.
We'll talk about this more in the motorhomes and the law section of these pages.
Club Care Insurance
Club Care motorhome insurance policies have really been designed with members in mind and offer first class cover.