Interest in campervans surges as lockdown eases

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A day in the sun: Manufacturers say they are getting calls from both stir-crazy couples and families wanting to explore the country safely


As Prime Minister Boris Johnson urges Britons to enjoy a ‘staycation’, interest in campervans surges, says RAY MASSEY

Boris Johnson this week urged the nation to enjoy a ‘staycation’ in Britain, as part of the Government’s plans to ease the lockdown in England from next weekend. 

With campsites and hotels able to reopen from July 4, there has already been a surge in interest in campervans that provide flexible, mobile and self-contained accommodation. 

Manufacturers say they are getting calls from both stir-crazy couples and families wanting to explore the country safely and avoid the hassle of travelling overseas and quarantine on return. 

A day in the sun: Manufacturers say they are getting calls from both stir-crazy couples and families wanting to explore the country safely

Campervans are ideal for creating self-contained hotels-on-wheels — ‘bubbles’ with beds, fridges, cookers, kitchen and often a shower on board. 

And there’s a good choice on the market to buy or rent. 

Volkswagen is a leading player with its recently launched, and refreshed, California 6.1. It costs from £55,339 in Coast trim, up to £69,889 for Ocean. Based on the Transporter van, the 2.5-ton 2m-tall model sleeps four and has a raised roof. It comes with a table, cupboards, double gas hob, kitchen sink, a side awning and a sleeping space. 

Powered by a 2-litre 148 hp diesel, with seven- speed automatic gearbox, it averages 33.6 mpg with CO2 emissions of 221g/km. 

The larger Grand California, from £72,745 to £82,258, based on the Crafter van, sleeps two or four, and has a wet room with a toilet and shower. 

In March and April, online requests for quotes went up 250 per cent for the California. Nearly 1,500 were sold in Britain last year. They are factory built — not conversions — and can be serviced at VW’s 97 UK van centres and authorised repairers. 

To be truly authentic, a secondhand hippy-trail VW ‘bus’ will cost from around £10,000 to £40,000. 

Other new options include: the Mercedes-Benz V Class Marco Polo, from £37,980 to £69,800 and the oddly-named Ford Transit Custom Nugget, from £59,608 to £63,334. 

Horsham-based converter Sussex Campervans turns a Renault Trafic or Nissan NV300 into its Manhattan and Paradise ranges, from £41,995 to £51,995. 

If ‘glamping’ is more your style, then bespoke luxury motor home firm GlamperRV.co.uk offers an office-hotel on wheels, from £75,000 plus VAT.

DACIA FIRST CAR FIRM TO OFFER ‘BI-FUEL’ MODELS AS CHEAPER ALTERNATIVE TO DIESEL 

I’ve just been driving a new dual-fuel Duster from budget-priced Dacia. 

The no-frills sibling of Renault is the first car firm to offer ‘bi-fuel’ Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) and petrol versions of its cars as cleaner, cheaper alternatives to diesel. 

What a gas!: Our man Ray has been driving a new dual-fuel Duster from budget-priced Dacia

What a gas!: Our man Ray has been driving a new dual-fuel Duster from budget-priced Dacia

They give owners a claimed average saving of £594 on annual fuel bills, or nearly £2,400 over a four-year life of a personal contract purchase, depending on model. They also provide a minimum combined range of more than 620 miles, of which 240 miles is down to the LPG. 

The new Romanian-built Duster, Sandero and Logan variants use a new 1-litre turbo-charged dual-fuel powertrain combining petrol and LPG capabilities and are badged TCe 100 Bi-Fuel. 

The five-speed manual in Comfort trim I tested costs £14,695, though the entry level Essential version starts at £13,195.

JAGUAR RE-ENERGISES SPORTY ALL-ELECTRIC I-PACE SUV 

Jaguar has re-energised its sporty all-electric I-Pace SUV (above) by boosting recharging speed and itsinfotainment system. 

The upgraded zero-emissions electric ‘cat’, with new 11kW domestic wall-box and onboard charger set-up, will provide up to 33 miles of range per hour (up from 22 miles) to customers who have three-phase supplies. 

Innovation: The new infotainment system is said to be 'as intuitive as a smartphone'

Innovation: The new infotainment system is said to be ‘as intuitive as a smartphone’

Full charge takes 8.6 hours, compared to 12.75 previously. The maximum range of up to 292 miles remains the same. The new infotainment system is said to be ‘as intuitive as a smartphone’. 

At £65,195 it’s about £700 more, but WhatCar? reckons potential buyers could knock that down by £3,300. 

  • A 186mph superbike with a £100,000 price tag has hit the race track in France for key dynamic testing trials. Only 100 new AMB 001 models, by Aston Martin and Brough Superior, will be made. 

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