"This trip confirmed the coach built motor home (above) was the right choice"
Following a couple of nights stay at a local campsite that does a beer festival with music (as well as a music festival with beer during the spring) I can now confirm that a van conversion is not suitable for me, and that the Accordo 120 (i.e. a coach built motor home) was the best decision for the wife and I.
My wife wasn’t too keen on me taking the motor home to a beer festival – she was concerned that it may get damaged, not by me but from other beer festival goers. I tried to convince her that it wasn’t a mini Glastonbury or mini V Festival but a beer festival comprising Camera members and beer connoisseurs (whom are mature, sensible and there to drink and not be hooligans) but she was having none of it. Since I was banned from taking the motor home I was all set to borrow my nephews little pop up tent (I hate “real camping” and sleeping on a roll mat but there are times when you have to put up and shut up and roll with the punches) when a buddy of mine offered the use of his VW T5 camper van.
When my wife and I were first interested in a motor home we did have a look at a few panel van conversions (including a VW and a Bongo) but decided they weren’t really what we were looking for. Long story short, we ended up choosing a coach built motor home over a panel van conversion for a number of reasons. Even though we chose the coach built Accordo 120 I have always had that niggling “I wonder what it would be like to stay in a panel van conversion for a few days?” in the back of my mind. As you can imagine, I jumped at the chance and took him up on his offer – after all, it would have been rude not to.
I am ashamed to say that I spent a lot of the beer festival not savoring the smell and taste of the wonderful beers on offer but comparing the camper van to my motor home. How bad is that? Loads of awesome real ales available to slobber over, and I am there mentally comparing a VW T5 camper van to a coach built motor home. Hmmmmmm……………. Somethings not quite right there.
Anyway further to my experience (which was very good) my thoughts on the VW camper van are:-
It is small and feels cramped. Even though the VW van had a pop up roof so I could stand up it still felt very tight, enclosed and claustrophobic. At 5 feet 8 inches I am only short and I didn’t like the space available. I always wanted to be taller (not to mention ‘a baller) for you kids of the eighties) however on this occasion I was grateful for my short and stumpy legs. The inside of the VW T5 is smaller than the interior of the motor home, fact. The thing is the inside of the VW T5 camper van feels disproportionately smaller.
It is dark inside. I guess this is to be expected but it only added to the feeling of being cramped. By comparison the motor home has a window on both sides, at the back, two sky lights and also the front screen so it is flooded with natural light, making it feel much bigger than it really is. I can honestly say that over the beer festival weekend I missed the natural daylight when I was spending time in the VW van.
It is very basic inside and the fittings appear, dare I say, “cheap and nasty”. The motor home is WAY more luxurious and comfortable. Over the beer festival it rained, which meant I had to spend time inside the camper van, which in all honesty is not a great place to be. The motor home has a large rear lounge with comfortable seats I can sprawl out on, chill out and enjoy listening to the rain falling on the roof. I could not do this in the camper van, and “lounging” was totally out of the question. I have to say I missed the creature comforts and luxury of the motor home, especially the toilet (essential after a few beers), and the VW T5 simply didn’t cut it for me in this respect.
When you consider the cost of a converted VW T5 is actually more than our brand new motor home I would say the motor home wins hands down on value for money, and there is no contest in this respect. Okay, the VW van has excellent build quality and a bomb proof engine (Hat’s off to German engineering) and my motor home is based on a Peugeot vehicle, but interior in the VW camper van is way below par.
I have to say that I did enjoy my stay in the VW T5 camper van, and I am very grateful to my buddy for letting me experience it, and it did mean I didn’t have to endure a few nights on a roll mat in a pop up tent. My experience in the VW T5 campervan confirmed that my wife and I definitely did the right thing choosing the coach built motor home (and saving a few quid in the process) and not buying a campervan. For once we made the right decision first time.
About the author
A total motor home newbie with a six year camping background in a folding camper. A keen blogger sharing my experience of researching, choosing, buying and owning a motor home. and every thing that goes with it.
The Motor home