Choosing first motorhome

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Sadie1970, Sep 1, 2016.

  1. Sadie1970

    Sadie1970 Funster

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    We are in the final stages of choosing our first Motorhome and have narrowed it down to two, Auto-Trail 634U or 700. The 634 is just under 7m and the 700 is 7.5m.

    What do you experienced Moho-ers think the difference would be, ie are ferries more expensive for over 7m? Would there be much difference in parking ability? etc.
     
  2. donnieban

    donnieban Funster

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    Not much difference for parking, you are too long for any standard space so you will be obliged to find a space where your rear/tail can overhang a grass verge without grounding. Ferry costs for calmac western isles will be the same at either length. You will pay an additional premium, but only when the motorhome length is over 8.0m.

    Standard car parking bay spaces are 5.0m in length x 2.5m in width. Highland single track roads are usually about 2.7m - 2.8m wide. Narrow single track roads are about 2.5m - 2.6m wide. Hope that helps.

    Starting with a big van is fine if you have some past driving experience to draw from. If your nervous rent one for a weekend before you tie into a major investment.
     
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  3. Sadie1970

    Sadie1970 Funster

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    Fantastic helpful answer donnieban, thank you.

    We would love to rent one first but haven't found one to rent yet. We are going to the show in Birmingham, they advertise driving/ manoevering lessons at the show but can't be booked in advance, no idea how busy they normally would be. But you are right, somehow we need to try it first.
     
  4. StitchesnFluff

    StitchesnFluff Funster

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    Are you in a position to test drive them both?
     
  5. Sadie1970

    Sadie1970 Funster

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    What do you mean "in a position to" ? Would a dealer let you test drive without having a vehicle you are actually trying to buy? We are still at the research stage.
     
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  6. donnieban

    donnieban Funster

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    Try before you buy, always. Everyone starts as a first time buyer. :)
     
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  7. Theonlysue

    Theonlysue Funster Life Member

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    Also if you will be spending more time in the van, layout is important.
    Think of when the weather is not good and you have to stay inside.
    It won't take long to get used to driving a larger vehicle. The extra half meter makes no odds.
    If I'm looking at the right ones, test drive the 634. It looks like you won't be able to see out of the window the left because the tall unit is in the way. May cause a problem when you are driving up to junctions, esoecially if you go abroad . Nice end lounge.
    The 700 has a more corridor feel I think.
    You should a good look and test drive.
    I had a 90 minute test drive before I bought mine.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
  8. The Wino

    The Wino Funster

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    Why both autotrails? . I think best to do some extensive looking at a big show.
     
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  9. StitchesnFluff

    StitchesnFluff Funster

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    I meant 'test drive' if possible which will give you an idea of what it's like to manoeuvre such a unit. Look at several motorhomes, they differ from brand to brand.
     
  10. Keypresser

    Keypresser Funster

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    The 634 is great for space and yes there is an issue with the black spot lhs but the 700 has a different layout and this should not be a problem.
    We have a Savannah and at 7.5metres driving and view is not a problem. I love driving our mh so good luck and if you are a frequent driver it is a breeze.
    Most dealers will let you have a test drive, highly recommended.
     
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  11. Sadie1970

    Sadie1970 Funster

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    Thanks all, great answers.

    We have chosen auto trail because they have a lovely build quality when we get inside them which we haven't got from any other we have been inside.

    We have spent a lot of time researching layout and first chose 634 because of the feeling of space but haven't been inside one. Hubby (the driver) insists on plenty of room with separate shower, he loves the extra dining area of the 700. There is only two of us for first couple of years but we would love to take grandchildren with us in a couple of years, the 634 would have to be traded in as only 2 belted seats possible whereas the 700 is future proof.

    Hubby is a competent driver regularly driving a large van but nothing this big. The choice will be his at the end of the day, he will have to see how much room he really wants when he tries to drive one.
     
  12. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    Also consider whether you want to use the van in winter, particularly in cold areas. If you do, a British van may not be the best option as they tend not to be well 'winterised'. German and many French vans are much better in this respect.
     
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  13. Sadie1970

    Sadie1970 Funster

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    We will want to use it a bit in the winter, not when it is really cold though. The auto trails are said to be fully insulated, is that not good enough?
     
  14. Rob Turner

    Rob Turner Funster

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    Id be looking at continental vans too, especially if travelling abroad.
     
  15. Keypresser

    Keypresser Funster

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    New autotrails are cat3 insulated, possibly since 2015.
     
  16. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    As well as insulation, the siting of water tanks and pipe runs is critical. If they are outside, or not insulated and heated if they are, then freeing up is a possibility.
     
  17. Sadie1970

    Sadie1970 Funster

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    I believe the water tanks are between the two floors and auto trail say this is "fully insulated" whatever that means. I don't know anything about cat 3 insulation, I see I still have lots of research to do.
     
  18. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    Just had a look at the Auto-Trail website and checked the Apache 634. Is that the one you are considering? If so, I cannot find any reference to the use of an Alko rear chassis and this is what provides for a double floor in which the water tanks can be located. Basically, between the floors is a void that is normally heated by the blown air heating system and tanks plus pipe work are routed through this void. If the 634 is simply on the standard Fiat chassis I do not see how it can have a double floor. Also, the standard vehicle has a MAM of 3,500 kg giving a payload of 265 kg and that is not enough for two people to carry sufficient gear and accessories in most users experience. It can be upgraded to a MAM of 3,650 kg provided your licence allows this (C1 category). Then the payload would be 415 kg which is just about OK so long as you don't plan to put too many heavy extras on the van.
     
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  19. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    There are plenty of double floor van around on Fiat chassis, not saying that the Autotrail is though.

    EDIT there again I could be wrong, I was going to quote the Carthago compact line but the web site says it ALKO.

    OK C Tourer sport is double floor Fiat chassis.

    Martin
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
  20. Theonlysue

    Theonlysue Funster Life Member

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    Screenshot_2016-08-17-09-26-38.png Screenshot_2016-08-17-09-26-45.png
    There is a big difference between winter proof and winterised.
    Above us extract from Hymer.
    When polls have been carried out, euro vans fare better.
    It's not only in winter, but when the sun is out, the better insulated van stays cooler.
     
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