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Which motorhome is the better build
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userConfused
Posted: 17 September 2015 7:08 PM
Subject: Which motorhome is the better build
 
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Location: West Midlands


Hi we really need some advice, we are looking to buy our first motorhome and due to cost we really need to get it right first time. We want a fixed bed and a separate shower. We are torn between a new bailey autograph 745 - autotrail tracker fb and a pilote p716. We would appreciate advice on which is the best one to opt for.
userpelmetman
Posted: 17 September 2015 7:55 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 


How long is a piece of string?........

Was the camper built on a Friday? .........

Was the base vehicle built on a Friday?....

Will the dealer be trustworthy?......

Will the warranty be worth the paper its printed on?.......

Do you feel lucky? ..........
userConfused
Posted: 17 September 2015 8:12 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 
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Location: West Midlands


Thanks for your reply, it's looks like it's going to be harder than we thought

Dave & Diane
userTracker
Posted: 17 September 2015 8:29 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 


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Location: Vanless in Evesham.


Buying a Motorhome is a huge lottery, it shouldn't be but it is because the apathy of some converters and dealers in general is appalling and has to be experienced to be believed.

Sure there are good ones, both converters and dealers, and it makes sense to pick a good dealer as well as a good converter especilly if you are new to the sport and more likely to need a little more sound guidance and after sales support than some of us old stagers do.

Tell us who you are thinking of buying from and no doubt someone will have a tale to tell - good rather than bad we hope.

There are good and bad reports about both Auto Trail and Bailey, but Pilote I have no experience of although the ones I have seen (NOT new!) always seem to have been well made and durable. No doubt others will be able to tell you more.

Have you considered hiring before you buy because if you find, like so many amongst us have, the layout you thought was ideal is not so ideal for you in the real world of actual use.
userBrock
Posted: 17 September 2015 8:34 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 
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Location: Wirral - 2013 Hymer BClass 504 130bhp


Dealers have a big impact on the joys of motorhoming with a new motorhome so find the good dealers first.

Pilote have a good reputation over many years, Autotrail are motorhome builders and know what they are doing but have had some build quality ups and downs. Bailey is an established caravan builder but relatively new at motorhomes.

Personally, I would put Bailey at the bottom of the list because I am prejudiced. I have grudging respect for Pilote but would opt for an Autotrail. In truth, I would not buy from any of those three because they do not make the vans I like.
userpelmetman
Posted: 17 September 2015 8:42 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 


Brock - 2015-09-17 8:34 PM

Dealers have a big impact on the joys of motorhoming with a new motorhome so find the good dealers first.

Pilote have a good reputation over many years, Autotrail are motorhome builders and know what they are doing but have had some build quality ups and downs. Bailey is an established caravan builder but relatively new at motorhomes.

Personally, I would put Bailey at the bottom of the list because I am prejudiced. I have grudging respect for Pilote but would opt for an Autotrail. In truth, I would not buy from any of those three because they do not make the vans I like.


Just for a bit of balance ..........My parents bought a new Pilote A class from Beigehills and it leaked like a sieve .............

But only when it rained ............



Edited by pelmetman 2015-09-17 8:44 PM
userBrian Kirby
Posted: 17 September 2015 8:44 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 


500050005000200020005001001001001002525
Location: East Sussex. Motorhome: Knaus Boxstar 600 Street


Confused - 2015-09-17 7:08 PM

Hi we really need some advice, we are looking to buy our first motorhome and due to cost we really need to get it right first time. We want a fixed bed and a separate shower. We are torn between a new bailey autograph 745 - autotrail tracker fb and a pilote p716. We would appreciate advice on which is the best one to opt for.

Bailey are using a new construction technique that is supposed to be a great improvement on their previous methods, but it is still relatively new and, IMO, untried in real world conditions over time. It depends how you feel about being a bit of a Guinea-pig!

Autotrail have a good reputation with many, but some seem to have had problems with aspects of their vans that appear to relate to design flaws, and don't seem to have been entirely satisfied with AT's responses. However, there are a lot of ATs around, and the great majority seem quite happy. Be aware that AT don't build light so, although solid, getting an adequate payload out of a 3.5 tonne MAM van can be difficult.

Pilote have used the same construction technique for years and it seems to have stood the test of time with few problems arising. Generally, they are a good quality van and a fair price for what you get. AFAIK, most Pilote owners are satisfied with their vans. Pilote's construction technique is fairly lightweight while being suitably rigid and the bodies seem to age well. So, on the same chassis as an AT, with a similar layout, you should see a greater payload.

The main problem is that we all have differing definitions of what amounts to better quality, so getting to a clear, level, playing field is very difficult. Few of us use more than one van of the same generation at a time, so such judgements are inevitably highly subjective, and prone to being coloured by experiences gained a decade or more ago, when vans were surprisingly different to today's offerings.

As almost everything apart from the bodywork and furniture comes from the same pool of suppliers (for toilets, windows, heaters, fridges, electrical systems, cookers etc), I'd say concentrate on two things. First, are there known problems with water ingress? Second, when you look at the quality of the internal and external installations and finishes, do they look well executed?

If you find few owners reporting leaks, that is a fair indication that the bodywork is well designed and constructed.

If your observations of the way in which the water, electrical, and gas installations are executed (especially where they won't usually be seen!), convinces you that these are well planned and executed, using good materials, then it should give confidence that the same care has been taken with the bits you are intended to see!
userConfused
Posted: 17 September 2015 8:47 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 
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Location: West Midlands


Thanks for your advice, we've used the inlaws a couple of times, had to make up bed each night and not keen on the wet room, hence the desire for French bed and separate shower. We are considering bying from lowdhams or don amotts.

Dave & Diane
userConfused
Posted: 17 September 2015 8:59 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 
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Location: West Midlands


Thanks Brian we will take your comments on board, we're going to the nec October and hopefully we will make a decision. It's just a lot of money so we hope to make the right choice.

Dave & Diane
userTracker
Posted: 17 September 2015 9:10 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 


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Location: Vanless in Evesham.


I never buy a new van so I don't know for sure, but my understanding of the NEC shows, or at least the way it may have been is that you buy from the converters stand, ie Autotrial, Bailey, Autosleeper etc etc which is staffed by sales people drawn from various dealers around the UK rather than from a specific dealer.

No doubt I will be corrected if I am wrong but if your sales oerson is from, say a Scottsh dealer and you live in Cornwall the resultant drive to collect and any subsequant return visits for fault rectification can bring with it a lot of unwanted mileage on your new toy and a lot of inconvenience and stress - even if the dealer co-operates.

It really does pay to buy as local as you can for an easier life as it would take a braver man than anyone on here who would guarantee a fault free warranty period.

If only Toyota made Motorhomes!
userRandonneur
Posted: 17 September 2015 9:32 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 


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You will find that most motorhomers say that their present van is the best one. Most motorhomers don't get it right first time. All our vans have been secondhand as if you buy new as soon as you take it out of the showroom the 20% VAT is lost. Our first van was a Rapido, excellent van very well made, we had this for 2 years and found the fixed bed wasn't wide enough. Second van was a Laika, again excellent and well made but not as good as the Rapido, again we had this for 2 years. In 2011 we had been looking for a van with fixed single beds but they were few and far between at the price we wanted to pay and we came across a 2007 Pilote Explorateur with this layout and we had seen this at the Motorhome Show when it was introduced but it was way out of our price range. We bought this van in March 2011 and it has been the best one yet, it has everything we need including double floor, good insulation and excellent build quality, it will be hard to better this one. Most Hymer owners will steer people in their direction and I believe they have stood the test of time as there are a lot of older Hymers out there.

Really the point of this post is don't discount anything, just make sure you get the right layout for you and your family, although you may change your mind after using it for a while but don't despair. Good luck, we have all been in the position you are in at the moment and it is a daunting prospect.
userConfused
Posted: 17 September 2015 10:03 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 
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Location: West Midlands


How do you find the door being on the opposite side to uk builds? And the small oven/grill.
userKeithl
Posted: 17 September 2015 10:10 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 


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Tracker - 2015-09-17 9:10 PM

I never buy a new van so I don't know for sure, but my understanding of the NEC shows, or at least the way it may have been is that you buy from the converters stand, ie Autotrial, Bailey, Autosleeper etc etc which is staffed by sales people drawn from various dealers around the UK rather than from a specific dealer.

No doubt I will be corrected if I am wrong but if your sales oerson is from, say a Scottsh dealer and you live in Cornwall the resultant drive to collect and any subsequant return visits for fault rectification can bring with it a lot of unwanted mileage on your new toy and a lot of inconvenience and stress - even if the dealer co-operates.

It really does pay to buy as local as you can for an easier life as it would take a braver man than anyone on here who would guarantee a fault free warranty period.

If only Toyota made Motorhomes!


You are correct that many dealers man the manufacturers stand but what you have to do is ask for a salesperson from your dealer of choice and not necessarily the next one who approaches you.

Be firm and make sure you only sign a deal if you are 100% happy.

Keith.
userBrian Kirby
Posted: 17 September 2015 10:14 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 


500050005000200020005001001001001002525
Location: East Sussex. Motorhome: Knaus Boxstar 600 Street


I think the almost standard advice regarding the shows is allocate two days, go, look, and get all the catalogues you can carry (including the technical supplements where they tell you about weights, options (and how much they weigh and cost!)) of anything that appeals, and then retire with swimming heads to take stock. Second day, with your shortlist in hand, go back specifically to look again at those you think you prefer, and give them a thorough going over. Don't be afraid to lie on the beds, and look at the finish under the vans - you may get odd looks, but it will be your money you are spending. Then leave - and don't place any orders no matter how good the offer seems!

Your experience of borrowing has had one valuable outcome. You now know what you don't like! I'd follow that by hiring what you think you would like, to see if it still feels right when used in anger. Hiring isn't cheap, but it is an awful lot cheaper than changing a van you thought perfect before you used it a few times! So, based on what you find out at the show, look for something similar to hire and take it away for a week of touring around. Don't just remain static, because half the experience of using a van is driving it and, if you don't like some aspect of the way it drives you'll begin to wish you hadn't bought it, and will begin fretting before you go away in it.

Even consider buying a used van to cushion the initial cost if you find arriving at a final choice really difficult. Even though it will cost you money to change, it will be less, as has been pointed out above, than changing a new van that doesn't work for you.

There is no such thing as the perfect van, they all involve making compromises that you can live with. That is why choosing one is so infernally difficult! You have only your instincts and imagination to guide you - until you find out what those compromises actually are, and they are only revealed by using the van. Catch 23?!! Just take your time and don't rush, or allow anyone else to rush you. You'll get there.
userflicka
Posted: 17 September 2015 10:17 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 


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Confused - 2015-09-17 10:03 PM

How do you find the door being on the opposite side to uk builds? And the small oven/grill.


Our Adria has offside habitation door but everyone exits via the cab if on the road. So no problem.(for us).
Regarding the small oven / grill we have neither only a hob & microwave', supplimented by a Cadac-BBQ
I don't do full cooked dinners on holidays. BBQ or cold plates for summer or eating-out.

Microwave is suitable if we want something hot quickly or bacon for breakfast.

userBrian Kirby
Posted: 17 September 2015 10:29 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 


500050005000200020005001001001001002525
Location: East Sussex. Motorhome: Knaus Boxstar 600 Street


Confused - 2015-09-17 10:03 PM

How do you find the door being on the opposite side to uk builds? And the small oven/grill.

We don't find the door a problem, but we mainly use the van across the ditch. We seldom stop in streets to get out of the van, and car parks etc generally present no greater problem for getting in/out whatever side the door.

We have no oven, and haven't had one in any of the vans we have owned over the past 10 years. We find we can eat perfectly well for trips of up to 10/12 weeks at a time, with no more than a three burner hob to cook hot food. No grill, no microwave, no pressure cooker, no barbecue, either. We do eat out, but only when we want something special, so it isn't that we don't cook/eat in the van. It is one of the compromises, but one we find easy to live with. It just requires a bit of ingenuity at times, both in choosing the ingredients, and in deciding how to cook them! It is amazing what can be done with a non-stick skillet, for example.
userConfused
Posted: 17 September 2015 10:32 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 
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Good points there's always alternatives. We'd actually forgotten the bbq.
userConfused
Posted: 17 September 2015 10:39 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 
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Location: West Midlands


Thankyou everyone for all the helpful advice, we've taken a lot of it on board and hopefully we will make the right choice. We will keep you posted.

Dave & Diane
userGeeco
Posted: 19 September 2015 9:23 AM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 


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Our approach to selecting an MH was to firstly identify what style of bed layout we preferred. Next was the cooking area & then the lounge area. It seems you have a preference for an FB style so you can progress to the other areas. You have a short list of 3 brands as we did comparing AT with two other local coachbuilt brands. I dislike the smell of cooking meat in the kitchen and use a BBQ at home for that purpose, thus a BBQ point outside was essential. The co-driver is an excellent cook so her needs were a full stove. A big frig/freezer was also essential. Once we had narrowed down to three brand options that offered thoseĀ "essentials" it then came down to fit, finish, style, closeness of the supplying dealer and reputation of the brand. As ATĀ had only serviced this market for a couple of years I went searching for good feedback from the UK. That is how I found this absolute treasure trove of experience and advice. I then compared that against the two local contenders. The rental MH's in this country are built Spartan & tough so are not always a good indicator of the style you prefer. Not sure if you can hire an exact copy of your short list. If you can I agree you should hire first. FB style beds are not overly long so if you are tall renting would identify if the bed size suits eg. I then spread sheeted the features of all three to see which one offered the best compromise. End result was in this instance the "poms" won. The AT has suited us perfectly. It is interesting that the first MH we looked at turned out to be the one we finally chose after reviewing a large number of models. Good luck with your final choice, I did find the selection process stimulating hopefully it will have the same affect on you.

Cheers Gary.

userfrenchman
Posted: 19 September 2015 12:33 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 


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Hello confused.
We're on our fourth motorhome in five years! People say it takes three to get it right! We're fulltiming now in Spain, and just last week I spoke to two owners of baileys who both had same issues with them, electrical,sink etc. We started with Elldis 115 then a 155. Ok but, built to a price. Then we had a autotrail 632 which was great, but had to climb over each other to get out of bed, not a bad thing if your that way inclined! Now we have an autotrail Delaware , bed is an island so we can both get to loo without having to climb over each other! Drives really well, getting just about 27 mpg which isn't bad for 3.5tons.
Only bit of advice is if you're going to come down to Spain get the biggest sattelite dish you can get,otherwise can't get TV . We have a road pro, and can just get heart radio and sky news, but it may not be important to you. I think bed is very important to get right. And wife loves the van, which can only be a good thing!
userConfused
Posted: 26 September 2015 8:12 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 
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Hi to all who gave advice.

Just to give you a update, we've taken the plunge we haven't waited for the nec and we've ended up ordering a different one to our first choices. We've gone for a swift bessacarr 494 with the island bed. The only thing is from the dealer we've used, we won't get it until September next year so it will be a 64 plate. Fingers crossed we made the right choice in the end. Thanks again for all the advice we received

Dave & Diane
userpelmetman
Posted: 26 September 2015 8:18 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 


Confused - 2015-09-26 8:12 PM

Hi to all who gave advice.

Just to give you a update, we've taken the plunge we haven't waited for the nec and we've ended up ordering a different one to our first choices. We've gone for a swift bessacarr 494 with the island bed. The only thing is from the dealer we've used, we won't get it until September next year so it will be a 64 plate. Fingers crossed we made the right choice in the end. Thanks again for all the advice we received

Dave & Diane


12 months of finger crossing .............

userConfused
Posted: 26 September 2015 9:08 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 
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Hi just to correct my stupidity, l said it will be a 64 plate, it's actually a 66 plate,

Dave & Diane
userConfused
Posted: 26 September 2015 9:14 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 
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I know it's a long time to change our mind, too late now

Dave & Diane
userflicka
Posted: 26 September 2015 11:00 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 


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Location: NE Lincolnshire - M/H - 2012 Adria Sport S572SL


That delivery of September 2016 sounds excessive IMO.
Swifts will have already started building 2017 models by then ready for the shows & launch dates.
I would ask dealer if stated date is correct.
userConfused
Posted: 26 September 2015 11:33 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 
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I know the delay is excessive, he did show us the computer screen and that model for them has sold out until July /August so we thought might as well go for September and have the 66 plate. That thought did cross my mind but they might go up in price come next October's nec show and at least l will pay this year's price, just not looking forward to the long wait.

Dave & Diane
userGeeco
Posted: 27 September 2015 10:35 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 


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We waited 10 months for our MH due to AT having only two production runs per year of Australian spec vehicles combined with a dealer that some how ordered the wrong spec thus putting us into the first run for the following year model. When we were advised of the ordering error we did have the option to cancel, I was very tempted buy having made the selection I felt a change would be regretted later. For me the decision was the correct one as we are both happy with the MH we purchased. as it turned out we preferred the decor on the 2015 model over the 2014 version. Based on my experience wait and keep reading this forum to keep your excitement level up. You read about Ducato gurus jumping out of planes, Jims adventures in Italy with awesome images, wise comments by Rich, Brian, Derek and many others. You will find one season will pass into another and before you know it the dealer will be calling to arrange final payment. By then all the new model faults & fixes will be identified and you will have a smooth ride for the life of the vehicle. Cheers Gary

Edited by Geeco 2015-09-27 10:37 PM
userConfused
Posted: 27 September 2015 11:03 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 
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Thanks Gary, we feel confident we've made the right choice. We're thinking it can't be a bad motor if they've sold so many already and we can't get a 15 plate till September, surely it can only be a good sign!

Dave & Diane
userRayjsj
Posted: 1 October 2015 3:32 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 


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You are VERY patient people, a years wait is a very long time, and a lot can happen in a year.
All of the vans we have purchased have been, see it, crawl all over it, make a list of likes/dislikes, go away and think for a day or two, go back and haggle the price, if all the previous is positive........Buy it and drive away in it. And that includes our latest 'Bought New' Autotrail, which was sitting on the dealers forecourt with many extra's, new but unsold.
I would find it impossible to pay out a lot of money,and then wait a year, for an 'unknown' item,
(known on paper, but not 'in the flesh') But thats probably just 'old suspicious me'. Ray
userConfused
Posted: 1 October 2015 5:22 PM
Subject: RE: Which motorhome is the better build
 
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Hi Ray, we have actually seen it and been in it on the dealer's forecourtl last weekend it's there ready for this weekend's show. We definitely would not have ordered without first going in it to make sure it met our needs. We've checked out a lot of different mh's and knew what we wanted, we just weren't sure which was the better make to go for. Hopefully we have made a choice, we agree a year is a long time to wait we're not too pleased about it, that's the earliest we can get it as the first batch is already sold out at the dealer's we have chose to buy from. The way we see it is it gives us another year to save towards it.

Dave & Diane
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