If you thought the interior of a caravan was just a Porta Potti, some kind of primitive stove and then two facing benches you pull together to make a bed for the night, you are in for a surprise when we reveal the winner of the best caravan for innovation at the Practical Caravan Awards 2023.

Design of caravans has moved on by leaps and bounds in recent years. With the advent of things like fixed beds and Alde wet heating, they are much more homely. And they are still evolving today.

To help you pick the model for you, we have used our decades of experience within the industry to select the best caravans for innovation. Here, we reveal our winner, plus the shortlisted candidates, with models from some of the biggest brands appearing on our list, ranging from Knaus and Adria to Swift and Coachman.

You can also find out more about the different brands out there by reading our guide to the best caravan manufacturers.

We also take a look at the standout innovative caravans from recent years, with models from top manufacturers, including Adria and Xplore, making an appearance.

If you’re after more tourer inspiration, be sure to take a look at our guide to the best caravans too.

The best caravan for innovation is:

Knaus Azur 500EU

The Knaus Azur 500EU 
  • Price: £37,760
  • Berths: 4
  • MTPLM: 1800kg
  • MiRO: 1630kg
  • Payload: 170kg
  • Shipping length: 7.34m
  • Width: 2.31m

Knaus’s new luxury range, the Azur, reintroduces a brand name the German manufacturer last brought out in the 1980s.

But this new range looks forward much more than it might look back. Take its fibre frame construction, for example. The outer shell is made from 22 self-supporting parts and, according to Knaus, it will “self heal” if passing trees scratch it – as long as you leave your caravan out in the sun. More serious scratches can be removed by grinding and polishing.

The Campovolo grey side walls also have LED lighting right around them. This should really make your caravan stand out on the pitch at night, just as the 17-inch alloy wheels should make it stand out on the road.

Inside, along with ambient LED lighting running along all corners, you get a fabric covered smart wall which has integrated storage compartments and shelves. The angled clean lines of the lockers add a further futuristic ambience.

The Azur 500EU comes with plenty of storage, with kitchen drawers in particular that will take even large pots and pans.

This is certainly a caravan that’s been designed with new ideas and features that make it one of the most innovative caravans of 2023.

The best caravans for innovation – our other recommendations:

Swift Basecamp 3

The Swift Basecamp 3
  • Price: From: £25,495
  • Berths: 3
  • MiRO: 1020kg
  • Payload: TBC
  • Length: 5.59m
  • Width: 2.28m

Swift’s Basecamp range was introduced for the 2017 season with just one model; the Basecamp 2. At the time, the brand held its breath – was this too much in the conservative caravan market? It soon became apparent that the Basecamp was not only innovative, but attracted a new type of caravanner who liked the rugged appeal, and general décor.

Six years on the Basecamp continues to build on its reputation with the 2023 Basecamp 3. Although designed as a tourer for two, it also has a third bed option. The designers have thought long and hard about how the Basecamp can be moved forward to attract new owners.

The Basecamp 3 does just this, with its new front folding double bed, which can be left as a fixed bed if needed, or folded away to create extra daytime living space.

Adria Altea 622 DP Dart

The bed in the Adria Altea 622 DP Dart 
  • Price: £27,970
  • Berths: 4
  • MiRO: TBC
  • Payload: TBC
  • Shipping length: 8.26m
  • Width: 2.30m

The new-look Dart range, as exemplified in this four-berth model that was the first to come off Adria’s production line, is a good example of why Adria has a reputation for innovation.

The big changes to the caravan itself are on the outside with, for example, the new silver sides and the large central front window.

But perhaps the most interesting innovations are inside. The inside walls are made of Symalite, a material derived from recycled products. But unlike the ceiling, which has been given a polyurethane coating, the side walls have been left in a raw state, which gives a felt-like effect that is very warming. There are also movable shelves you can attach to the walls to provide storage where you need it.

The front lounge also takes on a more domestic look thanks to the settees, where the whole upholstery goes all the way down to the floor rather than stopping at the edge. (You can still make a double bed out of the slats you pull out from under the central chest. They rest on specially designed struts you can put into position on the settee’s edge.)

You might expect this in a luxury caravan, but strictly speaking the Altea is Adria’s entry level product. All very impressive.

Full review: Adria Altea Dart

Coachman Laser Xcel 855

The Coachman Laser Xcel 855
  • Price: £47,085
  • Berths: 4
  • MTPLM: 1950kg
  • MiRO: 1790kg
  • Payload: 160kg
  • Length: 7.90m
  • Width: 2.44m

Sometimes just a relatively small change makes a big difference. Apart from a waning number of end kitchen models, caravan kitchens, at least in recent years, have tended to be on the offside. But what if the main part was on the nearside instead, by the door, just as they are in an awful lot of motorhomes?

That makes life easier for the cook, as the main waste bin in any caravan is usually in the door. It is also an easier location if you need to hand food and other items out for a table in the awning. But doesn’t such a change also make you feel that the kitchen is an important part of the caravan, not something tucked away to the side and forgotten about?

The lounge of the Coachman Laser Xcel 855

That’s certainly the impression you get when you step into Coachman’s new Laser Xcel 855. The four-burner dual fuel hob and huge sink are both on the nearside, nicely lit by a large window. And to the right of them, right by the door, is a huge workspace where you can easily prepare food for consumption either in the front lounge, with its table right next to you thanks to the L-shaped lounge, or outside. If you need to spread out more you can do that too, because workspace of a sort continues on the offside next to the two-way opening fridge. For once the cook in a caravan has pride of place.

Full review: Coachman Laser Xcel 855

Isabella floor heating panels

Isabella floor heating panels

Price: £749 (for 6sq m of flooring with heating cable and tools to install)

OK, so not a caravan, but, with the nights drawing in, is your awning beginning to be a less hospitable place to spend any time? Does it need some heat? You can add an awning heater of course, but don’t they just tend to heat just one part of the awning, perhaps a little too vigorously?

Isabella’s floor heating aims to get around that problem. It consists of a heating cable laid inside aluminium panels that you can lay out underneath an awning carpet to create wider areas of warmth. You don’t even have to cover the whole of the awning.

The caravans for innovation we shortlisted at the Practical Caravan Awards 2022:

Hobby Beachy

Hobby Beachy, best caravan for innovation

Every so often a caravan emerges onto the market that makes us say “wow” – and at the Practical Caravan Awards 2022, it was the turn of German brand Hobby to produce a new range that’s really turned our collective heads.

The Beachy has been seen by its designers as a cross between Hobby founder Harald Striewski’s first home-made caravan, and a funky campervan. Unusually, it features a door in the rear panel that leads into an accommodation area featuring beach-inspired fabric-covered baskets and linen cushions, and the backrests to the sofas double up as a mattress for the beds.

There are three models in the range, each of which has an end kitchen; there’s no washroom or heater in any of the models (which helps to keep prices down), but there is room to stow an optional Porta Potti in the walk-in wardrobe.

The whole thing is clever, innovative and attractive: a really interesting alternative to a more traditionally designed caravan. The only shame is that the range isn’t actually coming to UK shores until 2023.

Camperlands Campmaster

Camperlands Campmaster
  • Price: £8,150
  • Berths: 2
  • MTPLM: 750kg
  • MiRO: 387kg
  • Shipping length: 3.68m

Reasons to buy:

  • Easy to tow

Reasons to avoid:

  • Very small space without opting for an awning

For those who want a fast way to tour but don’t want to be towing a large caravan, the Camperlands Campmaster is the ideal choice. The caravan’s innovative design sees the side have a flap door as an entrance, while there are also several special awnings designed to make this caravan even more appealing.

There are three different spec levels available. The LC3, which is the highest level, provides mains electrics and 12V, USB sockets, a kitchen unit in the rear compartment and more. Read our review of the Camperlands Campmaster for a full breakdown of what is included in each spec.

The caravan is also easy to tow – even opting for the LC3 only gives an unladen weight of 424kg.

Review: Camperlands Campmaster

Go-Pod Platinum

Go-Pod Platinum
  • Price: £14,795
  • Berths: 2
  • MTPLM: 750kg
  • MIRO: 490kg
  • Shipping length: 4.20 m

Reasons to buy:

  • Lightweight
  • Excellent spec
  • Decent storage

Reasons to avoid:

  • No rear grab handles

Boasting a V-shaped profile, the lightweight Go-Pod is easy to tow. A pop-top roof that is simple to operate has been fitted for when you want to stand up in the kitchen, while the small lounge – which is highly comfortable – offers room to relax and watch TV.

The Go-Pod has an aerodynamic profile, with steel wheels and two grab handles located at the front of the van. We would have liked to see two additional ones at the rear though.

You will find plenty of features in the kitchen too, ranging from a combined stainless-steel sink and two-burner hob to a microwave and small Dometic 12V fridge.

While there isn’t a washroom, you may be surprised by just how much storage you can find in this innovative micro too. The front base is ideal for storing bedding, while the kitchen offers cupboard storage and shelving too. A wardrobe provides further space.

Review: Go-Pod Platinum

Mink Sports Camper

Minks Sports Camper
  • Price: £15,295
  • Berth: 2/3
  • MTPLM: 750kg
  • MiRO: 490kg
  • Shipping length: 4.12m

Reasons to buy:

  • Excellent panoramic windows

Reasons to avoid:

  • No sink
  • No washroom or toilet

This teardrop caravan is incredibly light and aerodynamic.  LED lighting and a Bose sound system are further useful features.

The monocoque shell is solidly built, while we love the attention to detail that is obvious throughout. For instance, the wheel arches have mouldings imprinted on them for two coffee cups, taking into account the fact you are likely to be eating outdoors, and giving you a useful spot for placing a drink.

The vents found to the right of the large windows are another clever touch – these draw air inside, as well as expelling it.

The kitchen is found outside in the ‘boot’ of the caravan. There is a lot of workspace, while an icebox can be accessed by lifting a trapdoor on the left. There is also a single-burner gas hob.

It is worth noting that there is no sink or water system to be found in this mini-caravan, as well as no washroom or toilet.

Something we really love in the van is the panoramic window which offers a beautiful setting for stargazing at night as you rest in the comfortable double bed.

Review: Mink 2.0 Sports Camper

Swift Basecamp 6

Swift Base Camp 6
  • Price: £24,995
  • Berths: 6
  • MTPLM: 1331kg
  • MiRO: 1165kg
  • Shipping length: 6.57m

Reasons to buy:

  • Rear door for easily unloading bikes

Reasons to avoid:

  • Narrow lounge

The Basecamp 6 follows on from the successful Basecamp. We really like how the model that won the best 6 berth caravan is geared for outdoor enthusiasts. The presence of a door at the rear helps you to make the most of this, as it provides room for easily loading and unloading the bikes you take on tour with you.

Something else we think is really impressive with this six berth is that it has an unladen weight of 1165kg, making it a relatively lightweight option.

Inside, the lounge is perhaps erring on the narrow side but it’s still nicely lit and the central window can be opened wide. The two rear dinettes are both comfortable, and we thought the fact that there’s a pair of USBs beneath each rear seat is a great touch, ensuring everyone has a charging point.

Something we should highlight in the kitchen is it only has an 83-litre fridge – this is a Dometic Series 10 two-way opening AES model. However, you do get two mains sockets in here, as well as a Thetford Duplex combined oven and grill.

Cyclists will love the fact that you can fold down all the seats to create room for up to eight bike holds in the front lounge, along with another four in the rear too.

This UK built tourer adds more choice for those who do not want a conventional looking tourer and we think opening this up to larger families by offering 6-berths is a brilliant idea.

Full review: Swift Basecamp 6

Knaus Sport 500UF e-power

  • Price: £24,730
  • Berths: 4
  • MTPLM: 1500kg
  • MiRO: 1287kg
  • Shipping length: 7.31m

The new and innovative Sport 500UF can be all-electric thanks to the use of inverters and the choice of battery. The latest in LED lighting leads the way. The concept is this is the caravan of the future.

Weinsberg Caracito 390QD

  • Price: £13,710
  • Berths: 4
  • MTPLM: 1100kg
  • MiRO: 810kg
  • Shipping length: 5.93m

Innovative in design and weight plus cost, Weinsberg has proved a family tourer can be produced for an affordable price. The model that won the best caravan under £15,000 category certainly doesn’t lack spec either. This potentially all-electric tourer gives superb value and yet remains a quality unit.

We also recommend the following innovative caravans…

Coachman Acadia 860

  • Price: £27,360
  • Berths: 5
  • Shipping length: 7.90m
  • Internal length: 6.27m
  • MTPLM: 1870kg

The Acadia range, introduced this season, is Coachman’s amalgamation of its entry level Vision and mid-price Pastiche ranges to create one range which comes with Alde heating as standard – making Coachman the first UK manufacturer to build all its caravans with the Swedish wet heating system.

The 860 followed on a little after the rest, because it was the first in the range to be 8 feet wide. It is also graced with an L-shaped front lounge. This makes the front section of of the caravan look much more like a lounge you might be used to at home – one where you can really kick back and spread out – especially as you still have a large dinette by the kitchen to make an eating area and a corner bed and corner washroom at the back.

The jump up to Alde heating means the van isn’t exactly cheap for what is now Coachman’s most keenly priced range. But the space inside here should really tempt you.

Overall Coachman caravans have a slightly slightly sleeker external profile than some of the competition. We have also always liked the way the company makes overhead locker doors. They are weighted and cranked just enough to make sure they stay down without the need for any catch you have to struggle with.

Buy if… You like defined space, but also an area to spread out in.

Spacious lounge, surprisingly spacious washroom.

A little pricey perhaps.

Review: Coachman Acadia 860

Coachman Acadia 470

  • Price: £22,340 (for 2020 Coachman Acadia 470)
  • Berths: 2
  • Shipping Length: 6.33m
  • Internal length: 4.70m
  • MTPLM: 1343kg

This clever three-berth layout was reintroduced into the Pastiche range only for the 2019 season. That was the last season where the Pastiche was a separate range from the Vision range, before the two were merged to form the Alde-heated Acadia range in 2020. But unlike some of the other Pastiche layouts, the 470 has made it into the Acadia range largely unchanged.

It’s a clever layout because it’s so flexible. It has a front lounge with an L-shaped settee for extra sprawling room and which makes into a nice double, plus a side dinette conveniently located next to the kitchen. There’s also a very roomy rear washroom.

That means that, if it’s just the two of you, on a mizzly day you can kick back and relax in the lounge. But if you are going to be spending most of the day outside, you can probably leave the bed in position and just use the side dinette as an eating area. Whatever you choose to do, you still have easy access to a great washroom.

If you have an unexpected guest or small fellow traveller, there is nothing to stop you lowering the table in the side dinette to make a single bed, but there is no privacy curtain available if you do, and there is no possibility of having a bunk here – it’s not even available and an optional extra.

Buy if… You like to have space, but also like to be flexible in your daily arrangements.

Great flexible living space.

It’s really only a two-berth for the long-term.

Review: Coachman Acadia 470

Bailey Discovery D4-2

  • Price: £16,199
  • Berths: 2
  • Shipping length: 5.62m
  • Internal length: 3.86m
  • MTPLM: 995kg

The Discovery range is included here just as much for the awning that comes with it, as for the caravan, possibly more so.

The D4-2 is a perfectly adequate end washroom two-berth. In fact the interior, with its charcoal grey upholstery offset with funky yellow piping, and its huge front window, is probably a notch above what you would expect to find in other manufacturers’ entry level ranges.

But what really sets it out is the awning that has been designed to go with it that comes as an optional extra, currently costing £1,199. It’s L-shaped, going around the front and the rear of the caravan – Bailey’s accessories division Prima claims it is the first inflatable awning in the world to be this shape.

That means that, provided you have enough space on your pitch, you can turn this relatively small caravan into a huge living space, and yet deflate it all back to a reasonable towing size afterwards. Altogether this outfit really can be slim and supple on the road, yet large and spacious when you need it to be.

It’s possibly also worth knowing that this awning is the same price whatever Discovery model you choose. So if, having viewed the D4-2, you really think you still need something bigger, as long as you stay within Bailey’s Discovery range the awning will stay the same price (and so will in fact be proportionally cheaper).

Buy if… You like to tow small, but stretch out on site.

Huge space, funky interior.

The awning only fits a Bailey Discovery caravan.

Review: Bailey Discovery D4-2

Adria Adora Sava

  • Price: £25,495
  • Berths: 5
  • Shipping length: 8.29m
  • Internal length: 6.19m
  • MTPLM: 1900kg

Adria is already known for its very modern interiors – think pared down furnishings with minimalist handles (if there are any handles at all).

The Sava brings this kind of trendy design into the world of mid-market family caravans. It also includes a twin axle, so you get a decent payload of 185kg that can be extended to 285kg – easily enough to account for most things a family needs. You shouldn’t have to worry about overloading the caravan here, although you will need a larger than average towcar.

The Sava has a family friendly layout with a large front lounge that makes into a double, and bunk beds towards the rear with a side dinette for the kids during the day that can be made into a fifth bed. The end washroom is close at hand too for those night-time visits to the loo – but then out of the way during the day.

Buy if: You need a family van with lots of space – but still want style.

Pros: Huge payload, twin axle, roomy interior.

Cons: ATC not fitted as standard.

Review: 2019 Adria Adora 623DT Sava

Wheelhome Dashaway

  • Price: £23,865
  • Berths: 2
  • Shipping length: 4.0m
  • Internal length: 2.64m
  • MTPLM: 1000kg

A caravan that you don’t need towing mirrors for, and which is light enough to be towed by a Ford Fiesta? Yes indeed, the Dashaway is just that.

Until this was launched last year, Essex-based Wheelhome had carved a niche for itself in building one-berth campervan conversions. But keenly aware of increasing government legislation on emissions, it has now started doing roughly the same thing with a caravan that can be towed by a more fuel-efficient car.

Once on site, you raise the Dashaway’s roof and roll out an extendable section known as a Podrant (a term designer Stephen Wheeler has patented) to make more space.

There is a little kitchen of sorts, and there is a Porta Potti, but there is no heating, and only limited options for night-time lighting.

Buy if… You are eco-conscious, and can travel light.

No need for towing mirrors or a heavy towcar, expands well on site.

No heating.

Review: 2019 Wheelhome Dashaway 

Xplore 304

Xplore 304
  • Price: £14,763
  • Berths: 4
  • Shipping length: 5.54m
  • MTPLM: 1043kg

Like the Coachman Acadia 470, the Xplore 304 packs a lot into small space – although its actually marginally shorter than that vehicle and considerably cheaper (although you don’t get Alde heating, there’s only a runner carpet and the kitchen isn’t as sophisticated).

It has an L-shaped front lounge, this time facing towards the offside away from the kitchen, which turns into a double bed. In recent seasons this lounge has been considerably brightened up by a very modern and optical curtain and cushion pattern. Then beyond the wardrobe a single dinette is tucked into the rear corner that converts into a double bunk. There’s also an end washroom.

So if there are just two of you, you can use the side dinette as a dining area, or for daytime sitting if you prefer to keep the bed up. But there is always room for little ones to come away with you if they want!

Buy if … You tend to tow as a twosome, and one of you likes to get up early in the morning.

Space for extra travellers to come along if they want, even in a van this size.

Dinette window is a bit small.

Review: 2019 Xplore 304 SE

[email protected]

[email protected]
  • Price: £19,780
  • Berths: 3
  • Shipping length: 5.96m
  • Internal length: 4.21m
  • MTPLM: 1200kg

This teardrop caravan isn’t quite as niche as some you see on the market, as it comes with a little dinette in the rear that makes up into a small third bed. Just the thing for very young families.

Nor is it the work of some tiny fly-by-night outfit operating away in a shed: [email protected] is actually a subsidiary of the mighty Knaus Tabbert Group, one of the largest manufacturers of caravans and motorhomes in the world. So it’s all the more credit to it that it includes within its stable this immediately distinctive caravan that comes, as a cost option, in a range of seriously zany exteriors.

The fun continues inside too, with curved seats and slanting away tables that are a world away from the uniformity you see in so many mainstream caravans today.

Buy if… You really want to stand out on site.

Eyecatching design, funky interior

It’s surprisingly heavy

Review: 2018 [email protected] TD

Buccaneer Barracuda

  • Price: £34,699
  • Berths: 4
  • Shipping length: 8.16m
  • Internal length: 6.39m
  • MTPLM: 1990kg

This model from Erwin Hymer UK’s most upmarket brand caused quite a stir when it came out a couple of seasons ago, as it includes an L-shaped lounge up front complete with a huge space for a huge TV. The rest of the caravan is nicely sectioned off too, with an L-shaped kitchen, a large washroom spread across the centre of the caravan, and a spacious rear bedroom complete with an in-line island bed. Although it is a four-berth, such an arrangement would make a perfect home from home for a couple, particularly if you are looking for a seasonal pitch.

This season the Barracuda has had a few minor tweaks. In particular, the coat hanging area that was next to the door for the first season has been dispensed with, to give the kitchen a more open aspect.

But you still get the added benefits of the 8ft-wide Buccaneer range. These include a self-levelling system fitted as standard.

Buy if… You really want a home from home (and have the money).

High spec level, levelling system included, spacious lounge.

Interior can feel a bit dark for some.

Review: 2018 Buccaneer Barracuda

Swift Basecamp

Swift Basecamp
  • Price: £17,525
  • Berths: 2
  • Shipping length: 5.10m
  • Internal length: 3.42m
  • MTPLM: 1013kg

The Basecamp, first launched in 2016, is so innovative that Swift prefers not to call it a caravan, but rather a caravan crossover vehicle (CCV).

Designed very much for those who like outdoor sports, it includes a metal floor with special holds in the aisle you can strap a bicycle to. As the access door is on the rear panel, getting them on board is really easy. The whole interior is very utilitarian, with a sleek kitchen worktop and an ergonomic washroom. And of course there are loads of USB points where you can recharge your Garmin.

The front window opens out fully, and, as a cost option, you can get a specially designed awning from Vango that fits over the rear.

There are innovative minor details too, such as the overhead locker baskets you can take down to fill up.

More recently a Basecamp SE has been launched, with, among other things, a window in the door. Then this season has seen the launch of the first four-berth Basecamp, with a pair of small bunks in the rear nearside corner.

Buy if: You like to at least look as if the active outdoors is for you.

Pros: Sleek design, handy extras, great awning.

Cons It’s a touch more pricey than you might expect.

Review 2017 Swift Basecamp Plus

Knaus Sport & Fun

Knaus Sport and Fun
  • Price: £20,930
  • Berths: 4
  • Shipping length: 6.25m
  • Internal length: 4.80m
  • MTPLM: 1300kg

This is a caravan that certainly lives up to its name. The exterior graphics are unlike anything you might see elsewhere.

The “fun” continues inside. The front section, for example, isn’t a lounge, it’s a fixed transverse double bed, set above a large garage (big enough for bikes and kayaks) which you access from the side.

The only seating area is further back, directly opposite the kitchen, and converts into a second double bed which stretches slightly diagonally across the caravan.

All this leaves space for a straight aisle towards the door at the back of the caravan, where you can easily store another bike.

It’s certainly designed for active individuals. The downside is that the washroom is a little small – in standard fitting it doesn’t even include a shower – and the kitchen only seems to have a lot of storage space because there isn’t an oven fitted as standard.

It probably isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but we liked it. And although it still seems highly innovative, the Sport & Fun has actually been around in some shape and form for at least 20 years.

Buy if… You like quirky, sporty design

Loads of storage

No shower as standard

Review: 2016 Sport & Fun

If none of these models sound like the caravan you’re looking for, check the rest of our caravan reviews to see if there might be a model more suited to you – we’re uploading more all the time!

You can also take a look at some of our other buying guides where we round up the best caravans on the market, ranging from the best caravan for couples to the best 6 berth caravan.

After a tow car instead? We have that covered, with our guide to the best used caravan tow cars and the best caravan tow cars offering some of the top models on the market.

If you’re looking for the ideal place to head to on your next tour instead, we also have the perfect inspiration! Our guide to the best caravan parks and best caravan sites gives you all the information you could need to know.

Or what about a motorhome? Check out some of these options Best 2 berth motorhomesBest 4 berth motorhomesBest 6 berth motorhomes , Best A-class motorhomes and more