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For many years, the Ford Transit was seen as crude compared with the other base vehicles, because of the floor mounted gear change and very rough ride. That changed when Ford introduced their latest Ford Transit in 2006. The new shape Ford Transit now has a slick dash mounted gear change and a huge range of engines. There are front and rear wheel drive versions. The latest, wider rear track chassis for campervans, have been adopted by the Trigano Group’s Tribute coachbuilts and the Chausson Welcomes, for example. The Ford Transit is fast, economical to drive.
CI Motorhomes, Westfalia, Rimor Autocaravans
Transit 2.4 Litre TDCi
The most common motorhome hire base vehicle, the Fiat Ducato offers good engines and versatility. In campervan form it is wide enough for a large transverse bed. For coach built motorhomes, there’s a special chassis with a wider track and lower ground clearance. Some manufactures fit an Al-KO chassis with a tag axle. Diesels range from a 2.2 litre 100bhp, to a 160bhp 3.0 litre unit. All are front wheel drive, with five or six manual gears. The 3.0-litre offers auto transmission. Gross vehicle weights are 3.0, 3.3 and 3.5tonne chassis. The Fiat Ducato is a reliable base vehicle. Some hirers reported a judder when reversing.
2.2 litre 100 multijet
2.3 litre 130 multijet
3.0 litre 160 multijet
Swift, Autotrail to name a few.
The Fiat Ducato 2.2 litre 100 multijet
The Renault Master has never been a popular base vehicle in the UK. Devon conversions and Timberland have built some spacious motorhomes on the Renault Master chassis. A new version of the Renault Master is now available and Bentley motorhomes use this as their base vehicle. The Renault Master promises luxury driving, adjustable seats and steering wheel and both front and rear wheel drive versions. A joint project is also badged as a Vauxhall Movano.
Devon conversions, WildAx, Bentley
Renault Master 2.3litre CI 100
2.3-Litre dCi 100
2.3-litre dCi 125
2.3-litre dCi 150
Structurally, the Peugeot Boxer is practically identical to the Fiat Ducato; both are built in the same jointly owned factory. The cab interior is identical apart from the badges, and there are similar chassis options. The only real difference is when it comes to the engines. The Peugeot Boxer isn't offered with Fiat’s 2.3litre Multijet diesel engine, instead relying on the upgraded 2.2-litre unit. So the engine line up consists of a 2.2litre HDi with 100bhp and another 2.2 litre HDi producing 120bhp. The 157bhp 3.0 litre unit is the same as the Fiat Ducato version.
Autocruise, Auto Sleepers and Elddis
Peugeot Boxer 2.2 Litre HDI 120
The Mercedes badge carries a huge amount of clout and many hirers see this as a prestige vehicle to hire. The Sprinter is only available with rear wheel drive, which makes it much harder for motorhome hire manufacturers to vary the lengths. The smaller turbo diesel engine comes in three power levels, with six-speed gears or an automatic version.
Marquis motorhomes, La Strada, Concorde
Mercedes Sprinter 2.1 Litre 209CDi
2.1-Litre Turbo Diesel
3.0-litre Turbo Diesel
The smallest of all base vehicles, the VW Transporter has cut a real niche for itself with campervan conversion companies. Just say ‘VW Camper” and it instantly evokes the image of 1960s hippy wagons, or surfers in 1970 campervans for hire. The VW Transporter has now evolved into a modern front wheel drive campervan, more like a large MPV to drive than a campervan.
Danbury, Murvi, Reimo and Bilbo’s to name but a few
VW Transporter 2.0 Litre TDI 82bhp