Andy Jenkinson

See other Advice articles filed in ‘Caravans for sale – buying guides’ written by Andy Jenkinson
   
Britain’s best-selling budget range has always been popular on the used caravans for sale pages – our expert shares his top tips to help you buy the best

Couples’ tourers are plentiful on the used caravans for sale pages, but lightweight models are a little harder to find.

This is where the Sprite Alpine slots in.

It’s a name that’s well-known in caravan folklore, and has always been associated with excellent value.

The 2011 Alpine 2 was a good seller, and with large, one-piece front windows these Sprite caravans have bright, airy interiors, and feel spacious and practical, whichever model you choose.

Most buyers added the optional upgrade pack when buying new, which means a decent spec including alloys, an AKS hitch stabiliser, a radio/CD player, scatter cushions and a door flyscreen.

Model history

The Alpine has been around since 1958 in various forms.

After a period of absence from 1999, the name returned to the UK market with a vengeance in 2005 after Swift Group purchased Sprite Leisure, and the Alpine 2 landed in 2007.

If your budget is limited, these older models are worth a look, but you may have to do a bit of searching.

Whichever model you pick, be prepared to move quickly to bag a used Sprite because they tend to sell fast – especially those with family layouts.

Sprites have always been a favourite for dealer specials, too – keep an eye out for these because they offer extra kit for not a lot more cash.

The basic models are still great value, however, and over the years the Sprite has become better equipped: in 2011 the range was given various improvements including a heavy-duty floor covering.

Blown-air heating, a fridge, an oven and a manual-flush toilet were all standard-fit, too.

A traditional two-berth

The Sprite Alpine 2 follows the conventional two-berth layout of a parallel front lounge, an offside kitchen with a dresser opposite, and an end washroom.

The line-up for 2011 offered plenty of choice, including the end-kitchen, two-berth Finesse, the Musketeer TD and EB, and the family-friendly Major 6 and Quattro FB.

Another top pick is the Alpine 4, a fixed-bed four-berth with a body length of just 4.74m and weighing in at only 1000kg – it’s popular with couples and hot property for those looking at used caravans for sale.

Buyer’s checklist

  • Check back panel for damp
  • Ensure Thetford fridge is in working order
  • Check control panel isn’t faulty
  • Look out for the upholstery seams coming unstitched
  • Check the cupboard doors aren’t loose
  • Ensure that the slats for the double bed are not damaged
      

What to pay?

Entry level for the 2011 Sprite is the Finesse, starting from £8495 and rising to £8995, which is bang on the money for an Alpine 2 or 4.

Musketeers hover between £9-10k, but the top money is reserved for the Quattro FB (£11-12k) and the desirable Major 6, top examples of which can better £12,500.

Alternatives

How about a 2010 Bailey Ranger GT60 460/2? It comes with a better spec plus triple front windows, for £8995.

Or how about a 2008 Abbey Vogue 460? It is an upmarket earlier version of the Alpine, and great value at £7495.

Verdict

The 2011 Sprite range offers a great package, especially for first-time buyers.

Caravanning families are well catered for with some fine layouts, but do look for damp and any past repairs – especially around the rear of the van.

Overall build quality is good, however, and the spec is not to be sniffed at.

‘Our’ Alpine was in great nick and this model – and indeed the whole range – offers unbeatable value.

Factfile

2011 Sprite Alpine 2:

  • Price: £8999
  • Berths: 2
  • MiRO: 1000kg
  • Payload: 156kg
  • MTPLM: 1156kg
  • Internal length: 4.34m
  • Width: 2.23m
  • Seen at: Leisure Sales, Brereton Green, Sandbach, Cheshire, CW11 1SD (call 01477 535 264 or go online)
      
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