The popularity of motorhomes has been steadily increasing over the years, with a strong camping and outdoor culture here in the UK and a growing interest in staycations.
The market for motorhomes and campervans has vastly expanded, with a wide range of options available to suit different needs and budgets, so finding the right motorhome for you will require a little research.
Through this guide, we’ll help you choose a motorhome that aligns with your individual needs, preferences, and lifestyle.
- Types of motorhome
- Set your budget
- New features for 2023
- Other things to consider
Types of motorhome
With such a variety of motorhomes on the market, varying in shape, size and specification, it can be quite overwhelming to know which motorhome is right for you. So let’s start by first understanding the different types of vehicle available.
Starting at the smaller end, campervans and panel vans best suit those who want maximum versatility with an interior design that maximises space. At Swift, we have the award-winning Monza campervan (interior pictured below) and the Carrera and Select panel vans. As well as trips away, they’re also great for everyday use such as commuting, school running and shopping.
Coachbuilt motorhomes use a cab and chassis from a major van manufacturer, and a motorhome body is then built onto the chassis to complete the vehicle. They tend to be more spacious and offer washrooms or toilets, a kitchen area and dedicated sleeping spaces. The Swift Edge and Escape motorhomes (pictured below) both sleep 2 - 6 people and are very popular with families.
Narrow coachbuilt motorhomes are slightly slimmer in width when compared to a standard motorhome, offering extra versatility and confidence on smaller roads. The Swift Select Compact (its kitchen space pictured below) and Ascari are neatly packaged vehicles with a width of just 2.26m.
At the top end are the larger and more indulgent motorhomes on the market. These offer interior luxury and style, flexible living with more sleeping options, extra storage space and much more. The Swift Voyager and Kon-Tiki motorhomes are packed with innovative features, ensuring a home-from-home experience.
The size of your new motorhome is an important consideration. Do you intend to use it for an annual holiday? Is it for regular trips away? Are you a solo traveller, a family or couple?
"Attending a motorhome show can be a fantastic experience, providing you with the opportunity to explore a wide range of motorhomes and campervans, accessories, and related services all in one place. Take the opportunity to talk to the representatives and ask questions about the motorhomes, features, warranties, and any promotions or show specials."
Jo Mitchell, Marketing Director at Swift
If you plan to holiday away regularly with family or friends then you might want to consider something a little more spacious, whereas if you’re a solo adventurer, something a little more compact might suit you better.
A bigger motorhome is not necessarily better, it’s all down to your requirements. You may not need on board shower facilities if you plan to use campsite facilities. Larger dining spaces might not be important if you prefer to eat out whilst away.
You must also consider your driving confidence and license limitations. The Swift Kon-Tiki is almost 9m in length and weighs 5000kg. Manoeuvring and parking large vehicles like these can be difficult for a not-so-confident driver. What’s more, this size vehicle cannot be driven on a standard driving licence (with the exception of those who passed their driving test before 1st January 1997. If your license predates this, then you automatically have C1 category on your licence, which allows you to drive vehicles up to 7,500kg*).
*There are some exceptions and restrictions to the automatic C1 category license, so it is essential you fully understand your license allowance before making any purchasing decisions.
A layout is the way in which the sections of a motorhome are arranged or laid out. It’s the same as when buying a house; how much space do you need in each area?
A typical motorhome layout comprises of driving seats, sleeping area(s), a space for dining, a bathroom and a kitchen. There are however, lots of variations such as flexible sleeping options and removable tables and seats.
Two key factors to consider are the number of people travelling with you and the amenities you value most.
Motorhomes offer a range of facilities designed to provide comfort, convenience, and self-sufficiency while travelling.
Most have a kitchen equipped with appliances for cooking including a hob, oven, microwave and fridge. Check out the compact food preparation space in the Monza below.
They also usually have a private bathroom that includes a toilet and a shower, whilst some smaller campervans have compact washrooms. Most motorhomes have a designated dining space with seating and a table.
Motorhomes also have an electric system that include batteries for powering lights and appliances. In addition, some may have heating systems and air conditioning units to give comfort in colder and warmer months respectively.
Modern models can come equipped with entertainment systems such as TVs, DVD players and sound systems. As motorhomes are designed to be self-contained some provide power hook-up access to electricity for extended stays.
Some vehicles also have retractable awnings that provide shade and shelter for outdoor activities.
Berths (number of beds) is a defining factor when choosing a motorhome. How many people will travel and sleep in your vehicle - are you a solo traveller, a family or a couple?
Motorhomes typically come with one or more sleeping areas. They may be fixed, fold-out, or a convertible bed. Some smaller motorhome layouts mean you need to make your bed each night because they don’t have a fixed sleeping area; this is something to take into account.
Our range of Swift motorhomes can sleep 1 to 6 people, so you’ll need to consider your travel group's size and needs, as well as your preferences for comfort and space while on the road.
"If possible, take the motorhome for a test drive. Get a feel for how it handles on the road and if you're comfortable driving it. Plan a test drive route that allows you to experience different driving conditions, such as city streets, highways, and turns. Ensure you have enough space to test the motorhome's maneuverability and handling."
Chris Walker, Marketing Manager at Swift
Set your budget
Planning your budget is one of the very first steps to buying a motorhome. Identify what you can afford and your very maximum price. The Swift 2024 motorhome range starts from £63,190 and goes up to £115,495 with configurable extras.
In addition to the initial purchase cost, consider ongoing expenses such as insurance, maintenance, fuel, campsite fees, and potential storage costs if you don't have a suitable place to park the motorhome when not in use.
New features for 2024
The Swift Kon-Tiki (pictured below) has seen a number of exciting new features added for this season, including rear reversing sensors paired with twin reversing cameras to make parking easier than ever. It also has a new waste water tank with level sensor and a heated windscreen to make those colder mornings easier.
The Swift Ascari, Escape and Voyager motorhomes now feature some really useful mains, water and BBQ external points.
Other things to consider
When choosing a new motorhome please ensure you hold the correct driving licence to drive it out on the road. Most motorhomes can be driven with a Car (category B) licence but some larger models may require a Category C1.
If you plan to store your motorhome at home, during your test drive, see if you can practice parking on your own driveway. It’s really worth checking to see how easily you can park it and even if it’s possible to fit it on.
Do you plan to have your motorhome in storage over the winter months? If so, you will need to factor this into your annual costs. Choosing the right storage facility will depend on your requirements such as:
- Indoor or outdoor storage
- Size of your motorhome
As like any other motor vehicle, there is a legal requirement to insure your motorhome or campervan. It will also require a specialist motorhome insurance policy as you use them differently than you do a car for example. Swift can offer bespoke insurance cover to help protect your investment.
It’s recommended that you service your motorhome regularly to ensure its safety, longevity, and optimal performance. Regular servicing helps identify and address any potential issues or wear and tear before they escalate into major problems. You can find your nearest Swift service centre by entering your location or postcode.
Protecting your vehicle from theft or damage
Motorhomes are a significant financial investment, so protecting it from theft and damage provides peace of mind. A combination of preventive measures and security precautions will help safeguard your investment.
Before you invest in a new motorhome, it’s a good idea to rent potential options first, or a vehicle that’s of similar size. This gives you hands-on experience to see if motorhoming is for you. Swift Go offers motorhome and campervan hire with a great range of Swift vehicles. And if you choose to purchase a Swift motorhome, we give you your hire money back!^
^Terms and conditions apply
Choosing your first motorhome is an exciting but important decision. It’s a significant investment, take your time to research, ask questions, and if possible, attend a motorhome show to get a hands-on experience with different models. If you’d like some advice from one of our experts, get in touch with us today.