Rob GanleySee other News articles filed in ‘Shows and events’ written by Rob Ganley
The halls of the NEC in Birmingham will host the largest single collection of caravans anywhere in Britain. This year’s show will occupy 11 halls and feature over 400 UK and Continental brands, from huge mainstream manufacturers to small-volume, boutique outfits.
Besides the ranks of shiny new caravans on display, there’ll also be the usual mix of accessories, demonstrations and activities, including towing tuition run by the Camping and Caravanning Club.
Be sure to drop in at our stand (Hall 18), meet the editorial team and say hello!
The volume manufacturers
Adria (Stand 20-77)
The new Adora (pictured) is the jewel in the Slovenian manufacturer’s crown for 2014. With a new-look bodyshell, each of its five layouts now offer a large, opening sunroof. The Astella Glam Edition is an eye-catching seasonal tourer, too, while the Altea range remains great value.
Bailey (Stand 19-29)
The big news from Bailey is the launch of the Pursuit, a new low-cost lightweight entry-level range that replaces both the Orion and Olympus. The six-model line-up will feature all the most popular layouts. Silver GRP sidewalls will help distinguish it from other manufacturers’ entry-level offerings. For many, it’s also the first chance to see the two new additions to the Unicorn line-up, the Vigo and Cordoba (below).
Coachman (Stand 19-39)
The all-new Vision (below) replaces the entry-level Amara range, with reduced weights and prices for the eight-model line-up being the big story here. Pastiche, VIP and Laser have also undergone cosmetic tweaks.
Compass & Elddis (Stand 20-19/39/43)
With a 54-van line-up, there’s lots to see here. Elddis has relaunched the Compass brand, with the Corona, Omega and Rallye (pictured below) ranges featuring four floorplans each. They’re based on best-selling layouts from equivalent Elddis ranges (that is, Avanté, Affinity and Crusader), and are built on AL-Ko instead of BPW chassis. Also, the Xplore has been overhauled and relaunched as a stand-alone entry-level range, and Elddis Crusader now has stylish new sunroofs.
Lunar (Stand 17-39 & 18-13)
Lunar has introduced new lightweight, plastic-lined interior wallboards to its range, reducing weights by as much as 55kg. Otherwise, the biggest news here is the overhaul of the mid-priced Quasar range, which sees the addition of a new four-berth layout (Quasar 564), featuring two dinettes and a rear washroom. The Lexon 470 (pictured) is also a new layout, with a large rear washroom.
Swift Group (Stand 6-39/41/33/31)
The show-stopper here is the styling applied to the Sterling Eccles Sport (pictured) and SE ranges. Based on public feedback on a concept caravan unveiled at the February NEC show, make sure not to miss it! The Sprite range sees the addition of a new layout, Challenger Sport and SE get cosmetic tweaks, as do Swift Conqueror and Sterling Elite.
The niche brands
Airstream and T@B (Stand 11-80)
The new Airstream International 604 will be on display. It’s a twin-axle that has been made more compact to better fit European roads. Although the lower maximum technically permissible laden mass (MTPLM) is now 2000kg, you’ll still need a Discovery-sized tow car. The 604 has a front-bed layout, with a rear L-shaped lounge and a rear entrance door that opens into the lounge. The L-shaped seating unit converts into a dinette for two. The front-bed, mid-washroom layout creates an ‘en-suite’ bedroom area by opening the bathroom door and swinging it 90 degrees to partition off the bed from the rest of the living area. The 604 also features signature Airstream flourishes, such as Corian worktops. T@B’s teardrop-caravans will also be on display at the show.
Calder Leisure (Stand 17-85)
Edinburgh-based Calder Leisure sells massive, well-equipped fifth-wheel trailers, and will have its new KountryLite Quad Slide on display; it’s 27ft long and has two sets of twin slide-out sections that extend the living area and bedroom. The company claims that it’s a world first – the only compact, narrow-bodied fifth-wheel with four slide-outs. These sections create a huge living area in the rear, with a sofa and a dinette, which abuts the large kitchen. The rear bed area features a seven-foot-wide wardrobe, which should be ample for a couple’s clothes on tour.
Dub Box (Stand 18-24)
These whimsical little VW-camper-inspired caravans will be at the shwo once again. Dub Boxes are all about customisation – there are many layout options to choose from, so you can come up with a bespoke design that suits your needs.
Eterniti (Stand 9-25)
Eterniti will be adding new models to its line-up of distinctive caravans. The company made a splash last year with its Genesis and Chronicle ranges, which between them feature six high-end, luxury caravans with slide-out sections. The firm is now planning to debut five all-new models at the show, also with electric slide-outs, the most spacious of which adds 5sq m to the caravan’s interior space. The layouts have been designed from the ground up to make full use of the slide-outs, and there are layouts for couples and families.
Fifth Wheel (Stand 9-90)
North Wales-based Fifth Wheel is famous for its huge fifth-wheelers with slide-out sections which will be at the show. But it also builds a range of caravans with slide-outs, called INOS. The twin-axle INOS caravan is already on the market, and the show will see the debut of the single-axle INOS (pictured), with a fixed double bed in the rear. The slide-out is located in the lounge, and extends to create a spacious L-shaped seating group. The lounge also converts into two single beds, and the kitchen is located amidships, with a huge fridge-freezer. Fifth Wheel’s high-spec construction utilises GRP throughout and Styrofoam insulation, with wood-free sidewalls ensuring high levels of damp resistance. Equipment levels are high, as you’d expect, with Alde heating and alloy wheels provided as standard.
Knaus (Stand 17-41)
Sole UK distributor Automotive Leisure will have five caravans on display at the show, all of which are new to the UK market. These are all from Knaus’ distinctive square-edged Deseo range, which seeks to provide high levels of practicality at a decent price. Highlights include a family model, with space for bicycles, and the Transport, which can accommodate two motorbikes.
Teardrop Trailers (Stand 19-15)
Teardrop’s products are similar to T@B’s, offering aerodynamic little caravans that accommodate up to four people. Teardrop will have two new models at the show. The Snugg Bug has a white gloss finish, while the Retro Bug comes in a brushed-aluminium finish. Both are heavily customisable and have MTPLMs of just 500kg, making them towable even with smaller cars.