Planning a staycation or the ultimate road trip? Fed up of relying on leaky tents or expensive hotels? A campervan could be the answer. We've compiled a list of the best new and used campervans available to buy in the UK in 2023.
From trendy Volkswagen campervans to upmarket offerings from Mercedes and even a versatile camper based on the popular Ford Transit Custom, there's a campervan to suit every buyer. High demand means you might struggle to find a cheap campervan but their popularity means, if you buy carefully, you should get a substantial chunk of your money back in a few years' time. Alternatively, if you're on a budget, why not consider converting a van into a camper?
Campervans are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes, too, from the compact Volkswagen Caddy California to the huge motorhome-rivalling Volkswagen Grand California. Check out our list of the best campervans on sale today. And if you're ready to buy, we've got over 2,000 Used Vans for Sale, including an wide range of used campervans for sale.
Best campervans 2023
Year launched: 2020
If you're looking to buy a new or used campervan, you could do a lot worse than simply heading to your nearest Volkswagen dealer (or shopping on heycar) and handing over a wad of cash for a Volkswagen California. VW has been synonymous with campervans for decades and for good reason - not only are they fashionable, they're also well-built and cleverly thought out.
The Volkswagen California is actually the mid-size campervan in the brand's line-up (bigger than the Caddy California; smaller than the Grand California). It's probably our pick of the range... sure, you don't get on-board toilet and washing facilities, but it strikes a good balance between comfort and everyday useability.
One of the few campervans on sale built in-house by the manufacturer (rather than converted by an aftermarket specialist), the Volkswagen California is sold exclusively with diesel power and is available with two- or four-wheel drive. It's worth looking for a 4x4 model if you're planning to venture onto muddy campsites or festival fields.
So what's the catch? That'll be the price. A brand new Volkswagen California starts from around £60,000 and soon starts to increase when you're tempted by desirable optional extras or special edition models. The California holds its value incredibly well so you're unlikely to get a used bargain, either, but at least you know you'll be able to get most of your money back if you decide camping isn't for you.
Ford Transit Custom Nugget
Year launched: 2020
Unsurprisingly, Ford wants in on the campervan action. That's why it launched the new Ford Transit Nugget in 2019. Based on the Ford Transit Custom van, the Nugget is actually converted by campervan specialists Westfalia but sold through Ford dealers with a manufacturer-backed warranty.
Aimed at 'digital nomads', the Ford Transit Nugget comes with on-board WiFi accessible by up to 10 devices. That's ideal for a new generation of work-from-homers, says Ford, allowing you to work (properly) remotely while the kids catch up on their Tiktoks.
Ford's managed to squeeze a three-room layout into the Nugget, including a kitchen area separated from the rear seating, which combined with the rear-tilting roof creates a wider space with more headroom. Dual side-opening doors and the ability to walk-through from front to back contribute to easy access around the airy cabin, which sleeps up to four people.
Powered by Ford's 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engine with a choice of manual and automatic gearboxes, the Transit Nugget is priced from around £75,000 when new. If you need more space, there's also a long-wheelbase model now on sale, priced from an eye-watering £80,000. That's a lot of Airbnbs but, much like the Volkswagen California, at least you can expect to get most of your investment back when it comes to resale time.
Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo
Year launched: 2017
Based on the Mercedes V-Class people carrier, the Mercedes Marco Polo is yet another competitor to the Volkswagen California and Ford Transit Nugget. Just like the Transit, it's converted by Westfalia and sold through dealers as a factory-approved conversion.
Marketed as a 'feel-good camper', the Mercedes Marco Polo is perhaps the poshest mid-size campervan you can buy. It feels just like a Mercedes car to drive, helped by the MBUX infotainment system, a leather steering wheel and the usual extensive list of driver-assistance tech. No one will complain about having to drive a Mercedes Marco Polo every day, unless perhaps you worry about being mistaken for a posh Uber driver.
It's pretty pleasant in the back, too. Yacht-style wooden flooring is both classy and easy to keep clean, while the kitchen is cleverly designed to incorporate a twin gas hob, sink and a fridge. When it's time to sleep, the rear bench electrically converts into a comfortable double bed, while the roof can be raised to provide accommodation for another two people.
Prices for a new Mercedes Marco Polo start from around £70,000 but, as it's been on sale for a few years now, you can save cash by looking for a used example. A budget of £50,000 will get you a second-hand Marco Polo.
Volkswagen Grand California
Year launched: 2019
The Grand California is a relatively recent addition to the Volkswagen campervan range. Based on the large Volkswagen Crafter van, the Grand Cali caters for buyers who want a bit more space in their campervan. You also get an in-built washroom, too, saving those middle-of-the-night traipses across the campsite when nature calls.
It's available in two different sizes: the Volkswagen Grand California 600 (which measures six metres in length) and the Grand California 680 (which measures - you guessed it - 6.8 metres). The smaller version has a higher roof and the option of an extra bed over the cab, meaning it's available as a four-berth campervan. The longer version has a lower roof and is strictly a two-berth camper.
All Volkswagen Grand Californias are powered by a grunty 177PS 2.0-litre diesel engine paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It's quite a relaxed motorway cruiser - so ideal for those jaunts across Europe - although you will notice its size when negotiating city centres. Fortunately visibility is pretty good while there are sensors on hand to prevent you getting too close to obstacles.
Volkswagen Grand California prices start from around £80,000. They're few and far between on the used market, with prices starting from around £70,000 and allowing you to skip the waiting list for a new model.
Toyota Proace Matino
Year launched: 2020
Just like many of the other campervans featured here, the Toyota Proace Matino is actually an aftermarket conversion rather than a factory-built camper. That shouldn't put you off, though, as the conversion is carried out by campervan experts Wellhouse Leisure, while you can buy it (with a warranty) directly from selected Toyota dealers.
Based on the Toyota Proace Verso MPV, the Matino is priced from £54,000 - making it one of the more affordable campervans to feature in our list of the best campervans. That entry-level price tag gets you a Proace Matino with the 120PS diesel engine and six-speed manual gearbox; we'd recommend forking out the extra £2000 for 180PS and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Standard specification on the Toyota Proace Matino includes a Webasto heater (that can be controlled via an app on your mobile phone), front seats that swivel around, a two-burner hob and sink, a 25-litre fridge and a solar panel for power.
If you need more space, the Matino is available with a pop-up roof featuring an optional upper bed and mattress. Four adults in the Matino might be a little cosy, but kids will love sleeping in the roof.
Volkswagen Caddy California
Year launched: 2021
Not only has the Volkswagen campervan range expanded into bigger models like the Grand California, you can now buy a smaller version too. Based on the compact Volkswagen Caddy, the Volkswagen Caddy California is ideal for solo adventurers or couples wanting an affordable micro camper that won't cost much more than a car to own and run.
It's quite clever how Volkswagen has utilised space in the Caddy California. You get a fold-out double bed and a single-burner stove that pulls out of the back as standard, while it's easy to go to town on the options list. We like the optional panoramic sunroof (it's great for watching the stars as you drift off to sleep), while an attachable awning provides some extra protection from the weather.
As the Volkswagen Caddy is based on the same platform as numerous VW Group passenger cars (the Volkswagen Golf, for example), it feels just like a car to drive. You can get the Caddy California with a variety of petrol or diesel engines, and a choice of a manual or DSG automatic gearbox. You can also decide how long you'd like your Caddy - it's available in short or long wheelbase forms, the latter badged the Caddy California Maxi.
Prices for the Volkswagen Caddy California start from around £30,000, which makes it sound like a rare bargain on the new campervan market. That'll soon start to creep up when you play on Volkswagen's online configurator, but you can always save cash by buying a used Volkswagen Caddy California.
A campervan is quite an expensive purchase and, if you're comparing the cost to a few nights in a BnB, it doesn't make a great deal of financial sense. But you're paying for the freedom – the ability to jump in the van and hit the road whenever you like. Besides, high demand means the resale price of secondhand campervans is surprisingly high. That means you can make a summer of memories and recoup a substantial amount of your investment once the fun's over.
The main difference between a campervan and a motorhome is the size. Campervans tend to be smaller, about the size of a typical Transit van. The benefit of this is they'll usually fit into car parks and could even be used as your everyday car if necessary. A motorhome is usually bigger, closer to a caravan in terms of internal dimensions. They often have a custom-made body built onto a van or truck chassis. They're usually more expensive than campervans but offer a bit more luxury, including fixed beds and bathroom facilities.
If you've passed your driving test since 1 January 1997, you'll be able to drive a vehicle weighing up to 3500kg. Most campervans have a Maximum Allowable Mass (MAM) of 3500kg of less, meaning you can drive them on a normal car driving licence. If you wish to drive a larger campervan (such as a long-wheelbase Volkswagen Grand California 680), you'll need to take a test to add the C1 category to your licence.
If you passed your driving test before 1 January 1997, you'll automatically have C1 entitlement on your licence. That means you'll be able to drive vehicles weighing up to 7500kg, covering most large campervans and motorhomes.
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