Has Autotrail lost their way? Why would we say that? Until this year, we could walk into an Autotrail and feel like we’d come home. We never actually bought one because they’re not double floored; something we need as obviously we live in our van all year round. But we always hankered after the layout, the full cooker, the kitchen as a whole and several other things.
But recently we’ve been looking at motorhomes again (no, of course we’re not going to buy another one!) at the NEC Camping and Caravan Show in February and at several Motorhome dealers (Brownhills, Lowdham, SMC) in the Nottingham area and we were, for the first time ever, disappointed in the Autotrail Motorhomes as a whole. They seem to have lost their sparkle! Nothing new or innovative, absolutely nothing that made us go ‘oh, I like that’, uninteresting unholstery; just the same old, same old.
So the question is, have we changed or have Autotrail lost their way?
We did, however, find a company that seem to have found the sparkle! Swift Motorhomes gave us a great feeling (actually the feeling we used to get with Autotrails!) when we walk in the door. Bright shiny handles, lovely new lights, great unholstery, sofa’s you sit in, not on top of. All in all, great lovely looking vans. Sadly, not overwintered as much as we would require.
We’ve also got rather too interested in a very unusual new layout in a Dethleffs Motorhome called the Alpa! Not the best looking van from the outside, but a VERY interesting layout. First of all the main bed is over the cab! Normally the bed over the cab would be difficult to get into, but in this case the wardrobe door next to the cab opens up to become nice, easy steps to get you up into bed.
The rear of the Alpa is what we call a ‘caravan back’ (could be what everyone calls it; not sure), which we have recently been considering. It has a lovely looking kitchen, though I don’t think it has an oven, quite an omission in my eyes. Nice big shower cubicle, with separate toilet with a brilliant full length mirror on the back of the door; yes we women DO need that in every van please!
One worry with the Alpa though is how dark it is inside as all the windows are at the back, plus just the kitchen window. Other than that you only have a small glimpse of the windscreen. Could have done with a window in the door to my mind, and probably another little window in the other side of the overcab bed. And maybe, if its not too much to ask, a bigger skylight too!
On the plus side, it has a big garage, double floor with storage in the floor from the kitchen, and is amazingly only 23ft 8″. Yes, feet and inches, sorry, I’m that old! Think most people will either love it or hate this Motorhome!
Anyway, the jury’s still out…….much to soon to make a decision:-)
PS: I’ve since been told that Autotrail have been taken over. Seems now all the parts are made abroad, then shipped over here and put together in this country so they can say they are ‘made in the UK’! Hmmmm, not sure that’s a great idea, and particularly since I didn’t know, yet realised Autotrails were not so good nowadays. Oh well….. onwards and upwards!