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How much does a campervan or motorhome cost?

You might think owning a campervan or motorhome would be an expensive hobby, but costs vary wildly and are based on more than just size. Here’s what you need to know...

Ford Transit Custom Nugget

For many, the allure of the open road and the freedom of a spontaneous getaway is encapsulated in the idea of owning a campervan or motorhome. With more than a third of adults saying they are more likely to holiday in the UK, the appeal of a mobile home-away-from-home has grown dramatically. But what does it truly cost to own a campervan or motorhome? 

In this article, we’ll look at the differences between campervans and motorhomes, as well as some of the factors which can influence the cost of choosing either type as your home away from home.

What is a campervan, and what is a motorhome?

Campervans on the beach

Before diving into the costs, it's essential to differentiate between a 'campervan' and a 'motorhome'. While both offer the convenience of travel and accommodation combined, they differ in size, features, and often, purpose. 

Campervans are typically smaller than motorhomes, and are often based on standard van underpinnings. Popular vans commonly used as the basis for campervans include the Fiat Ducato, Mercedes Sprinter, Renault Trafic and Volkswagen Transporter.

Many campervans are converted by specialists, although you can also choose ones sold directly from the factory. The Volkswagen California is the most well-known, but other models include the Mercedes Marco Polo and Ford Transit Custom Nugget.

Campervans like these typically offer basic sleeping and cooking facilities, while larger models may also include a dedicated bathroom. The cost of buying a new campervan conversion varies wildly depending on the model it’s based on, but generally speaking they start from around £60,000.

Coachbuilt motorhome

By contrast, motorhomes are typically larger than campervans, and are usually built on large van underpinnings, or, for the largest models, based on lorries or even buses. These vehicles can provide more extensive amenities, and often include a dedicated bathroom, underfloor storage and even a separate garage area for storing bicycles or outdoor furniture. Again, prices vary depending on what your motorhome is based on, but can cost from around £65,000.

Be wary, though, top-end motorhomes offering the most luxurious fittings – including slide-out panels which can drastically increase your available living space – can quickly skyrocket in price, with some costing upwards of £450,000.

Buying used could save you a lot of money – provided you know what to look for when looking at a second or third-hand campervan. Prices for Volkswagen California models start from around £35,000 for a camper with 80,000 miles on the clock, while early examples of the Ford Transit Custom Nugget camper start from around £50,000.

What is a Micro Motorhome or Micro Camper?

Peugeot small motorhome

Micro Motorhomes – sometimes called Micro Campers – are usually based on small vans or MPVs , and represent the most budget-friendly option in the mobile living world. These vehicles offer basic amenities such as a bed and simple cooking station, making them perfect for short weekend getaways. 

New models start at around £24,000, with conversion costs adding up to £4500 to the total bill. On the used market, a Renault Kangoo or Citroën Berlingo 15-year-old Micro Motorhome in decent condition can be found for approximately £7000.

Factors affecting the price of a new campervan or motorhome

Several factors can influence the cost of a campervan or motorhome, and are worth bearing in mind when you’re deciding what sort of vehicle is right for your needs.

 - Size and capacity: larger vehicles with more sleeping and living space will generally cost more. This includes the vehicle your campervan or motorhome is based on.
 - Features and amenities: luxury features such as high-end kitchen appliances, entertainment systems, and bathroom facilities can add to the price.
 - Brand and model: premium brands or models with a reputation for quality and reliability will typically command higher prices.
 - New vs. used: While used campervans and motorhomes can offer significant savings, they may come with wear and tear or outdated features.

Ongoing Costs of Ownership

Beyond the initial purchase price, owning a campervan or motorhome comes with ongoing expenses:
 - Insurance: roughly £400 annually for campervans valued at around £50,000.
 - Fuel: coach-built motorhomes average mid-20s mpg, leading to higher fuel costs.
 - Maintenance: regular servicing, repairs, and parts replacement.
 - Licensing: Vehicles weighing more than 3,500kg require a C1 driving licence, which comes with associated fees and training costs.

Insurance, fuel, tax and maintenance costs

Campervan with pop top roof

Once you’ve bought your campervan or motorhome, the costs continue to add up as they would with any other vehicle. Insurance is mandatory, and you should gather quotes from a number of reputable suppliers before settling on the offer which best suits how you’ll be using your campervan or motorhome.

Your insurance costs will also be influenced by where you store it. Some prefer to keep theirs on a driveway or in a garage, while others will pay to store it in a dedicated facility. To do this will cost around £400-500 a year.

How much you’ll pay in tax for your campervan or motorhome depends on how much it weighs, and how powerful it is. If your camper’s Gross Vehicle Weight is less than 3500kg, then prices start from £200 for a single 12-month payment. If your camper’s Gross Vehicle Weight is more than 3500kg, then prices start from £165 for a single 12-month payment.

Servicing and maintenance costs for your campervan or motorhome will depend on how it’s used, the condition it’s in and how old it is. However, generally speaking, an annual service for your vehicle is likely to cost up to £500.

On top of those costs, there’s also fuel to consider. Most campervans and motorhomes run on diesel, and most are capable of holding more fuel than conventional cars. However, they also burn that fuel faster because of their increased weights – it’s not uncommon to see a difference of between 10-20mpg. 

What Car? says

Despite their increasing popularity among UK buyers, campervans and motorhomes can make a wise investment, and many will hang on to their value very well – ensuring that you get a good percentage of your money back if you decide to sell them on.

Costs vary widely depending on what you want to use your vehicle for, and how large you want it to be, so it pays to do your research thoroughly before parting with any money.

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