Things had changed a lot since 2002 when we brought our 6 berth 1995 Mitsubishi Canter. The number of motorhomes on the road these days has multiplied beyond belief, there are to date now more than 75000 members of the NZMCA compared to our number 18180 and of course the number of people selling motorhomes both new and used has exploded.
When we first brought our campervan, the boys used to call it “Sparky”. From a children’s TV show about a train pulling a heavy load and it was always “help me Sparky, help me Sparky”. When we were going up a large hill as the Canter with 67KW of unbridled horsepower struggled up the Brenderwyns (Whangarei) or the Helena Bay hill at 30 to 50km per hour. And while I always did my best to pull over and let others pass, it was, to say the least, embarrassing to be the one holding up traffic. With this in mind with retirement, Sarah and I decided to update the van.
So after some weighty research on Trade Me and no fixed budget in mind, we started looking in late August and visited various places in Auckland including Acacia Motorhomes in East Tamaki where we first saw the Dethleffs range. Sarah, however, was not as keen as me and wanted to visit the motorhome show at Mystery Creek to see what was on offer there.
The choices were incredible, and I was really taken with the Jayco Optima. Despite being a large van with tons of storage, all of the storage was too small for us to store the Zodiac anywhere except inside the van. That would defeat one of the main reasons for updating. Also, the Jayco only had one Queen sized bed, and we realised that for future resale value, a minimum of 4 berths was a must. One of the other choices was a Pilote and Garry from Deluxe Group in Blenheim almost had us, but we wandered away to think about it, and someone else brought it!
By the Sunday morning, we realised that not only did it need to be a 4 berth but it also required to have a practical second bed that did not need to be made up from seats and cushions inside the van and one that dropped down from the roof would be ideal. One of the problems with a lot of the C Class motorhomes with this type of set up is that when the bed drops down, it does so over the living area and in a lot of cases partially or entirely blocks the exit door. Whereas in the A-Class motorhomes the 2nd bed drops down over the 2 front seats making for a much more usable setup. So back to the show for day 3 of looking at vans.
Now that we had made up our minds on an A-Class the choice became what make and which one of these has the set up that ticks most of the boxes, as none of them appear to have everything we wanted. First, stop back to Jonas and the team at Acacia Motorhomes to review the 2 models they had there. The Magic and the Esprit and despite there only being 30cm difference in length between the two, the Magic was just too small, especially in the kitchen area an essential thing for Sarah. But the Esprit gets a tick, but we are not going to make a decision that quick.
A quick wander around the show again stopping at RnRV for another chat with Natalie about the Carthago. While these are fantastic vans at $314000 for the top of the range, it was way out of our price range. Also, we felt that the layout in the Dethleffs vans suited us better, so back to Jonas and the team to make an appointment at the East Tamaki yard and make a decision.
We went out to East Tamaki as agreed and had a closer look at the Esprit and also the Globetrotter. While the Esprit would fit our needs, the feeling of spaciousness in the Globetrotter together with all the added features, including a larger kitchen and heaps of storage saw us leaning towards the Globetrotter. We just had 2 issues to get over firstly the stove was in the wrong position and to small for Sarah, and secondly, we had to negotiate the price. Jonas managed to convince Sarah that getting a Weber BBQ would take care of most of the functions of the stove and I managed to convince him that the price was a little high and so a deal was done.
Next post will be once we have taken delivery 04/10/2017
If you would like to see all the places we have visited click here
If you would like to see the ratings of the places we have stayed click here