The coachbuilt motorhome forecourt is a busy marketplace. It is one of the most competitive sectors of the leisure vehicle industry, with more choice than any other type of motorhome.
But what is a coachbuilt motorhome? The motorhome living space, usually made up of GRP plus lightweight aluminium and polyester insulated panels, is assembled and attached to a base vehicle chassis. It is one of the most versatile ways of manufacture, allowing for multiple combinations of width and length coupled with internal layout. Hence, the hundreds of models available from which to choose.
That makes our job to select only ten great coachbuilt motorhomes even harder. We can’t help but leave out some big brand names from this list – not because we want to, simply because the market is so choc-full of great vans. Purchasers have plenty of choice when buying a coachbuilt motorhome. Here’s our pick.
1 Best 2-berth coachbuilt motorhome
Auto-Sleepers Nuevo EK and Moto-Trek Xplora FDB
Price from £75,200 (Nuevo) and £60,345 (Xplora)
What did we say about it being a difficult job to choose? Here we are, in our first category, and we’ve gone for not one but two vehicles – both on a Peugeot – to showcase. One, the Auto-Sleepers Nuevo EK, is an old favourite – as popular today as it was when it was launched more than 20 years ago. While many models and layouts – even brands – come and go, the Nuevo has stood up to time, updated with new technology and manufacturing methods when available, but fundamentally still the great two-berth that it was upon launch.
It really is a lovely little van, compact to drive and park, but extremely comfortable inside. You’ll find a twin-sofa layout up front, coupled with swivelling cab chairs to make a spacious living area for two plus guests. At night, the settees with pull-out slats make a large double bed. We love the rear kitchen, and the washroom, well designed with a swingwall basin to create the shower area and maximise space in a compact van.
However, there’s a new motorhome, launched in 2022, that we’re tickled with. The Xplora FDB from Sheffield-based manufacturer Moto-Trek. The company is not so well-known as the big-brand names, but it is renowned for making fine, high-quality, vehicles – and its new motorhome, the Xplora FDB is no exception.
It’s 150mm longer than the Nuevo EK and includes a very cosy fixed transverse double bed at the rear, with a sizeable storage area beneath. The front-end living space is, thus, slightly compromised; alongside the swivelling cab chairs is one bench settee that two people could sit on, though one person would have greater comfort. But the upholstery is excellent, the cabinetry throughout is well-made and there’s excellent storage throughout. This is a very good addition to the two-berth market and, with its price tag, possibly our favourite motorhome featured here.
2 Best 4-berth coachbuilt motorhome
Coachman Travel Master 545
Price from £127,500
Of course, when selecting a motorhome based solely upon the number of berths, we must acknowledge that there’s a vast spectrum from entry-level budget to the ultra-luxurious and it’s impossible to compare like-for-like. Consequently, we’ve gone for the very best all-round – the Coachman Travel Master, which is based upon a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with a 170hp engine (9-speed automatic) and a 4500kg Al-Ko chassis (bear this weight in mind with the driving licence you have).
Coachman has decades of expertise building high-quality touring caravans, with a dedicated following. It entered the coachbuilt motorhome market in 2021, using its experience to develop the Travel Master, a truly luxurious, high-end vehicle where every material used, and manufacturing specification is of the highest quality.
Of the two models, we’ve selected the 545, which has a boudoir bedroom at the rear that includes a sumptuous ‘island’ bed. Its sister, the 565 has twin single beds at the rear, otherwise the detail further forward is the same. In both vans, there’s also an electric-operated dropdown double bed that sits above the living area. Spacious and beautifully fitted out, whether you buy this van as luxury for two with the occasional overnight visitor, or a family of four, you will not be disappointed with the level of detail.
3 Best 6-berth coachbuilt motorhome
Bürstner Lyseo Gallery TD Harmony Line T649G
Price from £98,495
Introduced to the world as a prototype in 2021, German manufacturer Bürstner has gone ahead with full-scale production of its innovative Lyseo Gallery TD Harmony Line for the 2023 season, such has been the interest in the model. And little wonder. For, if you’re travelling as a family, what child wouldn’t want to be the one sleeping in the inflatable overcab pod? The grown-ups, too! It’s fun as well as practical – maintaining aerodynamics with a lower-profile roof while driving but having the availability of an overcab sleeping area at night. Set up, it might look a little odd from the outside to those used to seeing a traditional overcab motorhome, but this is a very practical solution to an age-old problem for larger motorhomes – sleeping space over aerodynamics.
There’s more to the Gallery addition of Bürstner’s Lyseo than fun innovation. At the rear is a very comfortable lounge with dining table that converts to a double bed, plus the option of a drop-down double bed above that. There’s also a second dining area at the front of the vehicle, a stylish (and usable!) kitchen and plenty of storage. Plus, thanks to the insulated double-floor, the van will keep toasty in some pretty harsh winter weather. Bear in mind, though, there are only four belted travelling seats if you’re making use of all six sleeping berths.
4 Best entry-level coachbuilt motorhome
Etrusco V 6.6 SF
Budget-priced new motorhomes are in very short supply. A motorhome for £50k hardly describes ‘budget’ but, the truth is, you will not find a brand-new motorhome for much less than this figure (and, if you do see one on Ebay or Autotrader or elsewhere, consider it will almost certainly be a ruse to relieve you of your hard-earned and doesn’t actually exist). But, as seen in our Top 10 Best Motorhomes Available Now, there are one or two genuine ‘under £50k’ buys, and that includes the V 6.6 SF, launched this season by Etrusco, an Italian entry-level brand that’s part of the Erwin Hymer Group.
The model is based upon a Ford Transit and includes the option of having two twin single beds at the rear of the vehicle, or a whopping-sized transverse double bed; there’s also the option of a third bed made up from the living area. There are four belted travelling seats.
There’s a small galley kitchen (hob and fridge, no oven) and a good-sized washroom plus plenty of storage space in the garage beneath the beds. Internal styling is basic but functional but you’re still getting a very good van for your money that’s practical and versatile.
If you don’t need the third berth, opt for the V5.9 DF that has a transverse double bed, is almost a metre shorter (easier to park) and is £1500 cheaper. At £46,700, this is undoubtedly the cheapest new coachbuilt motorhome available right now.
5 Best luxury coachbuilt motorhome
Auto-Trail Tracker RB
At under £80k, it could be argued that this is entry-level luxury. We’ll just stick with luxury – for its price-tag, Auto-Trail’s Tracker RB is a fabulous van that offers plenty of comfort, an elegant vehicle to look at and the practicalities required when on the road.
It’s on a Fiat chassis – keeping costs down by comparison to coachbuilts based upon Mercedes-Benz. At under 7.5 metres long, the low-profile van is not so long as to be cumbersome to park but provides more than ample space inside for two to wallow. And it remains in the 3500kg MTPLM category for anyone to drive.
At the rear is a separate bedroom, which, owing to the transverse island double bed layout, allows the motorhome to remain shorter than longitudinal layouts without compromising on space elsewhere. Hence, there’s a lovely L-shaped kitchen and a washroom that’s separate from the shower.
But, you should compare with the Malibu T430 LE that we recommend in our Top 10 Best Motorhomes Available Now, which offers a completely different layout (twin single beds) with a slightly cheaper price-tag.
6 Best family coachbuilt motorhome
Rimor Kilig 50
In our Top 10 Best Motorhomes Available Now, it’s Rimor’s Kilig 9 that we nominate as the Best Family Motorhome to buy right now. A smidge under 7 metres, the Kilig 9 provides a fabulous practical layout for families, with twin bunks at the rear, an overcab double plus two dinettes side by side that can create an additional double bed.
But, for the sake of offering an alternative family layout, you should also look at the Kilig 50 from the masters of family coachbuilt motorhomes. It, too, is a 6-berth with 6 travel seats.
There’s a wraparound lounge at the front with a huge, extending dining table. At night, in addition to the overcab double, at the rear are four longitudinal single bunks. What a den! There is plenty of room for high jinks, allowing parents to sleep tight or stay up while the kids have a great space of their own.
It comes in at 7.28 metres long on a Ford Transit chassis with plenty of gadgetry in the cab like cruise control and cab air-con as standard. In the living area, families will enjoy the modern, dynamic two-tone look with neutral browns and vibrant turquoise patterns on the upholstery.
7 Best end lounge coachbuilt motorhome
Pilote Pacific P696U or Bailey Autograph 81-6
Price from £73,500 (Pilote) & £88,999 (Bailey)
The 22-strong Pacific range from French manufacturer Pilote are all aerodynamic low-profile models designed for all-year-round use and all customisable according to your requirements. We love the Fiat-based P696U with its beautifully crafted interior that offers a massive U-shaped rear lounge with pedestal dining table that will comfortably seat seven if you’re inviting guests for drinks. Otherwise, there’s belted seats and berths for four – the lounge makes up into a double bed and there’s a large drop-down double bed, too.
But we’re not done yet. Because we love end-lounge motorhomes so much, we’re offering you an alternative. The Autograph range from Bailey of Bristol is now on Series III. It remains a popular choice and the 81-6 – the only six-berth in the range – has a fabulous layout of end lounge plus front dinette with four belted travelling seats plus large washroom with shower and kitchen with oven. It’s attractively sleek and stylish on the outside, seamlessly melding with the Peugeot Boxer cab.
8 Best low-profile coachbuilt motorhome
Laika Kreos L5009
There’s a wine-box in the rear garage – with a dedicated light so you can see in to select your bottle. Is that a good enough reason alone to buy the new Kreos L5009? If it’s not, acquaint yourself with the beautiful Italian design of the interior – think sumptuous yacht on wheels. This is class – they’re built in Florence – need we say more?
The L5009 offers two berths – twin singles at the rear, with the option to add a drop-down double bed. At 7.89m long, there’s plenty of space for moving around. At the front, the L-shaped lounge and sideseat in cream leather (other choices available) with circular pedestal table and walnut wood furniture gives the sophisticated look you’ll be after when selecting your bottle of Chianti from that wine cellar.
The Kreos is Laika’s flagship model. Therefore, you can expect a high-spec for everything, from the quality of the mattress to the overhead rain shower.
9 Best slim-profile coachbuilt motorhome
Price from £51,990
As the clichéd sayings go, having your cake and eat it, or the best of both worlds. That’s what’s happening with coachbuilt motorhomes, with a trend towards vehicles that have a body-width in line with the cab rather than the traditional-width (2.3m) coachbuilt. Just as the low-profile set a trend when it first launched, we’re seeing more manufacturers offer greater choice of coachbuilts with a narrower width.
Always keen to innovate, Chausson led the way and its S514, launched in 2021, remains one of the best. On a Ford chassis, the S514 has the compactness of a van conversion with the space of a coachbuilt. There are four travelling seats, but two berths – a transverse double bed at the rear, with the possibility to convert the front dining area into a single bed, too.
There’s plenty of storage beneath the rear bed, if you wish to carry a bike or outdoor kit. Opt for the First Line model for basics (truly, it’s not that basic), with a 2.0L 130hp engine, or the Sport Line version (£5k more) for 170hp engine with automatic gearbox and a host of extras, like alloy wheels.
10 Best coachbuilt motorhome under 6 metres
Knaus Tourer Van 500 MQ
There are plenty of coachbuilt motorhomes less than 6 metres long to choose from. But when you’re looking to purchase this length of motorhome, you will, mostly still be looking at a Fiat, Peugeot, or Ford chassis as standard. Until now. Launching for the 2023 season, German manufacturer Knaus has made compact even more compact, with the introduction of its Tourer Van that’s based upon a VW T6.1 – traditional campervan meets coachbuilt. And it’s a beauty.
The vehicle comes in at 5.89m long, with a 2.1m width – that’s narrower than a standard coachbuilt motorhome (we could have added the new Tourer Van to the category above). But its coachbuilt height avoids the need for a pop-up roof as your standard VW campervan has; more secure, more convenient.
Inside, there are four belted seats and four berths, with a transverse double bed at the rear (below which is a garage large enough for bikes) and an extendable double bed at the front. Plus, a cleverly designed Xpand washroom with shower, sink and cassette toilet. That’s more than you get in most VW campervans. We love the ingenious design. If you’re looking for something with a similar size to a campervan, but with the extra space and facilities that a coachbuilt allows, you really should give this new motorhome consideration.