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Off To Das Europe To Buy A Van, Possibly ?


team_kona
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Hi All,

 

Thought i would set up a topic and send on my thoughts about what my wife and me are about to do next week, This is not meant to be a endless debate about the positives and negatives of Euro vans Vs English caravans as we have read and read all of this and have come to the conclusion that to get what we want we may have to explore elsewhere, and its a bit of a break from the norm and takes in a trip to Germany (sausage, sauce and frits here we come). We welcome any advice from anyone else who may have done something similar and at the end of the day we may not go ahead and buy anything.

 

 

So, We have the Ferry booked (Stena via Harwich - Hook overnight) and we have managed to get some free tickets from a very helpful German Knaus Caravan dealer to get into the Caravan Salon Dusseldorf 2014. Why. .....

 

As a young couple with no kids, 1 dog and new to caravaning we have spent some time (while saving up a small kitty) spending many a weekend at various dealers and shows here in the UK. We have poaked and prodded all the basic/entry level Swifts (sprites), Elddis's, Adria's, Lunar (venus) and Baileys, second hand, new and nearly new and out of all of them the Adria has stood out a being bright, fresh pratical and modern, the rest to us (as 30 somethings) look a bit chinzy and yellow ( hard to explain that one but alot of caravans feel yellow !) and it apears that you are only afforded style and practical layouts if you pay a fair bit (16K +) and buy a 4x4 to tow it. Ideally i can only justify spending £8k to £13k on this new venture.

 

We want a compact fixed bed but with a lounge area to spend the day in and eat at, we dont want to have to make up beds everynight (we are on holiday !) so the fixed bed is a must but it has to be under max 1300kg to be towed by my car. I drive a Volvo V60 Rdesign D2 Auto and love this car and cant find a reason to change to get a gas guzzling Brick on wheels 4x4 (not meant to offend 4x drivers, i just like an estate sorry or hatchback) and to be around 5-6m in length max, compact and light. .. As a couple it seams a 4 berth is the way forward to achive the above but cant imagine many families buying the 4 berths we have looked at unless they have only 1 child to be honest as room would be an issue.

 

 

Our UK choices are as follows:

 

Sprite 4 - Adria 432 PX TAY - Baily Orion 440 - Venus 4??? something. .... I will post again on our thoughts of these caravans if anyone is interested.

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I think you will not find many German vans that small. However, the visit to Dusseldorf will be a treat for you, and the range of products that you will see (if you have enough time to see it all) is mid boggling! Have a good trip.

Ern

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I think as a thirty something that's far too young to be driving an estate!

Hee hee, and a volvo too but wanted one since i was young, if i had the cash and could have justified a D5 or D4 in todays environment and gas price world is would have been a XC70. .

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I think you will not find many German vans that small. However, the visit to Dusseldorf will be a treat for you, and the range of products that you will see (if you have enough time to see it all) is mid boggling! Have a good trip.

Ta, looking forward to it, I and thankfully Mrs kona and me are not fans of shopping so will hit the halls with a military plan to visit certain caravans we have already identified in one hit rather then browse, We did this at the NEC last october and it worked quite well and at least to get away from the frightful creature we have come across over the last year called the "CARAVAN SALESMAN" holding clipboards full of show specials leaflets and blackhorse finance deals.

 

As we are new to it all we probably wont be looking at endless accesories, extra sharp ceramic knives, dog beds, non stick saucepans trade shows and will avoid the motorhome sections too.

 

PS, Is it a bit of a misnomer to think all German Carvans are big ! What about the Eriba, TAB etc, yes they may be a little wider but standard caravans over there are similar sizes the English ones if you look at the layout configurations.

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I don't see to many problems for you in finding a van that is less than 1300Kg's in Germany, mine, a Knaus,weights in at max 1125kgs, and has 2 full sized single beds and a lounge area, without A frame it's only 5 metres long, there are of course smaller caravans with double bed and lounge areas which are the same weight as mine or lighter. Continental vans don't have full sized cooker Curtains, in my van anyway,are only for show and continental caravans appear to have less frills in general than most British vans have.

 

I'm feeling a bit envious of you going to the show in Germany, it's been something I've wanted to do for a long time but I seem,always to be elsewhere when it's on.

 

Good luck and enjoy yourselves in your quest

Knaus sudwind 500 TL C4 grand Picasso 2. 0 hdi 138 EGS Exclusive

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Don't forget the door is on the other side! Might be a problem when you come to sell it. ....

 

Tim

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EU caravans are lighter usually as they are not fitted with microwaves and ovens and batteries systems which are optional extras .

 

 

Dave

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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Have a great time at the Caravan Salon, we went last year and it was fab. There is so much more to see than at our caravan shows, admittedly there are no English vans but we thought the German vans were lovely. If we hadn't bought our Coachman this year we would be visiting Dusseldorf again this year.

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So, We have the Ferry booked (Stena via Harwich - Hook overnight) and we have managed to get some free tickets from a very helpful German Knaus Caravan dealer to get into the Caravan Salon Dusseldorf 2014. Why. .....

 

 

 

I will be there again for sixth year running on Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

You will really enjoy the show but be prepared for the size of it,,, comfortable shoes and light clothing.

 

Join the Caravan Salon (free) at the show and use the members lounge for coffee and rest . ..you'll need it as there are 15 halls this year. The beer and sausage bars are in the open area between the halls.

 

You haven't said where you are staying but your entry ticket includes free transport to and from the show on all transport in the region, trains, trams and buses.

 

PM me if you want any more information and I will try to help.

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Don't forget the door is on the other side! Might be a problem when you come to sell it. ....

 

Tim

Hi Tim

 

thats correct but from looking at all the nice motor homes now being sold in the the UK a fair chunk of them have the door on the wrong sized, Dealer we have spoken to and got the tickets from just suggested you do a private sale or trade it back in in europe, there are pleanty of dealers willing to buy in caravans over there.

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EU caravans are lighter usually as they are not fitted with microwaves and ovens and batteries systems which are optional extras .

 

 

Dave

Hi Dave

 

Yes this is correct, we have compared pricelists in German and English on the websites and have highlighted what would be an essential item to have and what a UK spec van has as standard and the extras list is sitting around 800 euros, still bringing the caravan in quite well priced.

 

We have come to the conslusion that a microwave is of no interest, dont use one at home so why we should start using one in a caravan i dont know ! Cookers, Well most cooker in caravans seam to be on par with cookers you find at home, 3 rings of gas is pleanty enough to create a decent meal or two, we wont be cooking sunday lunch everyday ! Towing your home around should be fun im guessing ? why over crowd a caravan with stuff you have at home when you could just stay at home or hire two or three holiday homes a year for cheaper than it costs to buy a caravan.

 

maybe im being naive as a newbie, please let me know ?

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PART 2-----------

 

SO, after looking around for 12 months Our UK choices were are as follows (we are worried we will like visiting caravans more than actually using them)

 

Sprite 4 (insert name of Dealer special own name with fancy curtains and a microwave)

Adria 432 PX TAY

Baily Orion 440

Venus 4??? something. .

 

The Sprite 4 has the fixed bed, toilet and seperate wash area and seating area we liked, Its quite light too and from the looks of the second hand market holds its price quite well. It looks to have been produced for a few years as we saw examples dating back to 2008 up forsale for £7000 and new (dealer specials, renamed) for £14800. The dealer specials looked ok and had some nice furnishing colours but from what we noticed on older models it looked very tatty very quickly. it looked to have been fitted with cheap parts that had failed and things like the bed was a bit wonky and could break, The mattress was in one piece and the room divider is a fabric curtain, we would like to try and keep the dog out and seperate so a more solid curtain is required. The toilet doent have a window and the shower area doesnt look very well sealed, if you use the loo and need fresh air this could be stinky ! overall with thought it was overpriced for what you get, as the ford of the caravan market it just felt dull, cleaned up with some nice cushions ! As Swift group make so many caravans we should be filled with faith but my parents challenger (2011) was nice but was not easy to use and felt a bit wonky in its build so im kinda put off them.

 

Adria TAY (432 PX)

 

We were really impressed with the Adria, We even made an offer on a 2011 one and only missed out as we couldnt quite get the money together at the time. Its a bright modern interior and a really comfy fixed bed and wash area with consertina solid divider, We liked that this all happened at the frontend and quite liked that there was no window at the front (new models do). It is let down by a cramped living and seating area and very little food prep surface, more so on the newer Tay models as they moved the wardrobe after 2011 next to the door, it was quite cramped and after realising that pre 2012 models didnt have this configuration and where the wardrobe is now you found a shelf ideal for TV or food prep we started to look at this age. Prices dont hold as well mainly i bet because of peoples fears of Euro makes but the door is on the right side and we found some excellent 2011/12 models for £7000. . We did put on an offer on a Caravan at Venture a couple of months ago in daventry but was told that there was nothing in it for them at £7k ( a fair price we thought) and i had 3 days to accept their slightly lower price or thats it ! so that was it, I purchased the ferry tickets ! i had reservations about the seating area and reasoning why all the panels on this particular vans (still sitting in their compound) outside seamed to be faded and was a strange colour compared to the Door and fenders, Venture had not even bothered to cleanit before putting out on show which is always alarming.

 

Bailey Orion/Pursuit 440

 

Well its Orange as an Orion version or Grey as a Purisuit, thats the wood and covers ! Bed was bouncy and cheap/uncomfortable feeling. The Bathroom is larger and at the rear but this makes it feel like a much longer caravan and think results in less sleeping and living area, the uncomforable bed seamed cramped and quality seamed terrible to get in and out of. We didnt visit one newone in a dealer or at the NEC that didnt have shavings and mess left over from construction in the cupboards and something that wasnt broken. The Gas locker is to the side and looked awkward and even 2 year old second hand models felt 10 years old. not for us. but lightweight.

 

Lunar/Venus somthing ! 480 ??? i have forgotten

 

It was hard tracking one of these down to have a look, we did in a innercity dealership in Birmingham and visited while passing one day, well i wont say anymore, it was awful, felt like it might fall apart after one use, like a Kia or Hyundai from 10 years ago. nope. ...

 

The Adria tickeled our fancy so i explored their main website more and looked into the company, The factory looks very modern, the workers all looked smart and well dressed (after seeing a Bailey and Swift factory visit video on youtube it put us off even more about UK vans, Sports brand tracksuits and caps turned backwards in a sloppy manner). The Website allows you to look at other counties sites and i soon dicovered that Adria offers a much different product in Europe ! and much better layouts. My question was intially to Adria UK was why dont we get these, in particular the 462PU ? (lets call it the WYE). Well this has opened a can of worms ! I didnt get a responce from Adria UK, in fact i nevr have to any of there questions ! especially on Warranty

 

This led me to to a series of German Vans !

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Isn't it wonderful how we, caravaners, can all have different ideas on how things should be. When we started caravaning we also thought all toilets should have a window, but this latest van doesn't have a window. What we do have are more usable cupboards in the bathroom because we have more wall space to fit the cupboards on to.

 

The rooflight has always been enough ventilation, but should we need more there's always the option of an electric extractor in the rooflight.

 

I think your going about it correctly and not rushing into a caravan that after a few outing might prove to be a lemon.

Knaus sudwind 500 TL C4 grand Picasso 2. 0 hdi 138 EGS Exclusive

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We have had a German van for 5 years now and have never regretted it. Obviously the decision is yours, but having the door "on the wrong side" is not a problem, ovens can be added, plugs can be changed from 2 to 3 pin and most now do have batteries.

 

I will be very interested in how you get on for selfish reasons. We have a Burstner, which are no longer imported into the UK. When the time comes to change I think we will go for another Burstner, which means we will have to purchase abroad.

 

Incidentally, if you want a fixed bed but not too heavy or big have a look at the Burstner Averso Plus or Premio Plus. They have a fixed double bed which stores at roof level when not in use. http://www. buerstner. com/de/caravans/premio_plus. html


Hyundai Santa Fe CRD auto + Burstner Belcanto 525 TL

 

http://www. oldagetraveller. net/

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We have a little Eriba Familia 320 (900kgs), no problems with the door on the wrong side, just a few CC caravan sites that insist all the doors face the same way. We don't have a microwave or an oven but we have managed ok with a double skillet on top of the gas rings. The German build quality is also very good. ..... :-)

Edited by Eriba320

When I go on holiday I like to pop my top!

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I noticed our closest dealer is now stocking some Hymer Vans. Very nice, but expensive at £27k for a medium size one (not sure of the model number).

 

Also, the next closest dealer had just sold a Hobby last week(looked about a year old) when I had a nosey around so there is a market for them around here.

Edited by ian16527
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I'm off to the Dusseldorf show next week, it's a fantastic show, with everything you could ever want for vanning and motorhomes, but beware, buying a European van, it isn't always greener, you may find euro vans designed for European markets will lack so many things you may want on a van here.

Land Rover Discovery and Conquerer 630

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We have had a German van for 5 years now and have never regretted it. Obviously the decision is yours, but having the door "on the wrong side" is not a problem, ovens can be added, plugs can be changed from 2 to 3 pin and most now do have batteries.

 

I will be very interested in how you get on for selfish reasons. We have a Burstner, which are no longer imported into the UK. When the time comes to change I think we will go for another Burstner, which means we will have to purchase abroad.

 

Incidentally, if you want a fixed bed but not too heavy or big have a look at the Burstner Averso Plus or Premio Plus. They have a fixed double bed which stores at roof level when not in use. http://www. buerstner. com/de/caravans/premio_plus. html

Love that Burstner what a great idea

Unless you've tried it, you simply won't understand. .....

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Personally, we couldn't do without the oven: it gets used every trip.

 

For sure you should never buy anything built by people wearing shell suits or backwards baseball caps; that's a really important consideration.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Hymer Eriba dealer in Pool stocks Knaus and Dethleffs

Funny you should mention this dealer AL in Dorset, I did message them asking for a quote as they advertised on eBay saying they import Knaus. I got a message from the sales manager saying he will ask for a price from knaus. I also received a message that I know was not meant for me and was aimed at the salesman that just said " no thanks" I replied to it at it turned out to be the owner. ...not very professional.

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