So you’re looking to explore the roads less travelled, with a trusty travelling home that enables your creature comforts to go with you no matter your journey.
But if you’re currently in the research phase of buying a motorhome or campervan it can be confusing to pick apart the differences, and if there even are any?
Is there actually a difference between motorhomes & campervans?
In a nutshell, yes there is. Once you understand the overarching differences between motorhomes and campervans it becomes much easier to narrow your options, and your whole buying process becomes a lot easier. Through this guide we’ll clearly define the differences and each of the differences below will help you carve out the choice that’s ultimately right for you from:
- How they’re manufactured
- The living areas
- The toilet situation
- Driving experience
- Price differences
Even though there’s a difference between motorhomes and campervans, one isn’t better than the other. Each style has a nuanced purpose that aligns better with some people than others, it depends on what style of traveller you are and your personal / family preferences.
How motorhomes & campervans are manufactured differently
Let’s start with motorhomes, they’re specifically purpose-built for travelling in comfort, as a result they’re typically larger and have a longer wheelbase than campervans. Motorhomes use a base chassis with the living area then built onto the back of this, at Swift, this means we have the flexibility to tailor our motorhomes using all our experience.
A campervan is quite literally a van that has been converted into a camper, as opposed to a motorhome that’s sole purpose is to be a motorhome, the vans have been designed for general purpose. This typically makes campervans smaller and more compact than motorhomes, thoughtful interior design really helps maximise the space within them but you will generally have less space than a motorhome.
As an example, here you can see the Swift Voyager Motorhome below (2023 model shown):
Compare this to our Swift Carrera Campervan below (2023 model shown):
The differences in size and space are really clear between the two models and this is the clearest way to differentiate between motorhomes and campervans, this influences a lot of other elements and creates more differences between the two choices, so let’s explore these in more detail.
The living area
The living areas for motorhomes are naturally larger and have more space than campervans, making them perfect for families. Campervans use their space really effectively though which gives them ample space for couples to travel in.
For example, campervans usually have front seats that swivel around to bring them into part of the living space when you’re not driving, a lot of motorhomes now also use this feature to expand the already generous living space.
Motorhomes have the space to accommodate a larger cooking area, storage, bigger seating and beds which all lean into making it easier to cater for more people, campervans have all this to offer but again in a more compact fashion.
Here you can see the interior for our award-winning Swift Voyager Motorhome (2023 interior):
Next to this is the everyday Swift Carrera Campervan (2023 interior):
The motorhome is clearly wider and has a separate bedroom but we can see the campervan really uses its space effectively with a comfortable and spacious living area.
Again, just because motorhomes are larger than campervans doesn’t make them superior, for some, motorhomes will have too much space that wouldn’t be utilised so the campervan makes better sense, it’s purely preference.
The toilet situation
It used to be that motorhomes would always have a toilet and campervans would not, but at Swift, we’ve worked hard to innovate space utilisation and many of our campervans now also have toilets and bathrooms in them.
This used to be a way to differentiate between the campervans and motorhomes but the playing field has equalised here, meaning wherever you go, you don’t have to worry about sourcing a nearby toilet!
"Deciding between a campervan and a motorhome depends on your individual needs, preferences, and lifestyle. Consider how you plan to use the vehicle, the number of people traveling with you, the budget you have in mind, and your preferred level of comfort."
Jo Mitchell, Head of Marketing at Swift
How the driving experience is different
This can play a really big factor in your purchasing decision, a test drive to get a feel for the driving experience is highly recommended. Wherever you are in the UK we have a huge network of motorhome and campervan dealers, you can find your nearest Swift dealer here.
With motorhomes being bigger than campervans it makes a very different driving experience, this can come down to how confident you and all the drivers feel with a much larger vehicle like a motorhome. It’s worth considering how you’d feel not just driving on the motorway but also in tighter areas and especially with parking. If two or more of you plan to share the driving, make sure you all feel comfortable and confident driving a motorhome.
The benefits of campervans really shine here, the more compact nature of them makes them a more ‘everyday’ vehicle (like the Monza illustrated below) and if you don’t feel confident driving a motorhome then this can be a huge appeal of campervans.
All campervans can also be driven on a standard category B driving license, most motorhomes also can be driven on this license but it’s worth checking the vehicle weight and the allowable weight on your license to make sure you’re covered.
Is there a price difference between motorhomes and campervans?
There’s a lot of price overlap between motorhomes and campervans, one isn’t necessarily cheaper than the other. Motorhomes can arguably reach a higher maximum price, our flagship Kon-Tiki Motorhome is the largest, most luxurious top-specification model in our range.
The price won’t be the defining factor in choosing between a motorhome and campervan, it would come down to the other elements we’ve covered in this guide, you can then explore price ranges within either motorhomes or campervans which are very broad in each area to cater for everybody.
There are some clearly defined ways that motorhomes and campervans are different, hopefully, you now have clarity on how these styles differ and have an idea of which route feels right for you. You can explore the full range of Swift Motorhomes & Campervans here, or if you’d like some more advice you can get in touch with us.