With the trend for glamping in full swing right now, motorhomes are rising in popularity once again. But if you're thinking motorhomes are cramped, slow and old-fashioned, think again - modern motorhomes, such as those offered by Peugeot, offer real luxury, with a stylish design, spacious interior, ergonomic driving position, a choice of efficient engines, top levels of comfort throughout and the latest technology.
To put our motorhomes to the test we let the Bisp family - mum Jodie, dad Simon, and their daughters Phoebe, 8 and Elsie, 5 - from Bedworth, Warwickshire, borrow one of our best-selling models for a week at the end of 2017, the Peugeot Autograph 75-4. With the October half-term approaching they made plans to meet up with friends who were also travelling in a motorhome and ended up on a fabulous European tour visiting France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Northern Italy!
On their return, mum Jodie told us how they got on and whether she'd been converted to holidays in a motorhome...
So, thinking back to the start of your holiday, how easy was it to take along everything you needed?
"So easy! We're not a family who ever pack light and having two fashion-conscious girls who want to change their outfits, we had a lot to take with us, but thankfully the Autograph has loads of storage space, so we didn't have to compromise on anything. The main bedroom has a wardrobe and overhead storage which kept everything neatly tucked away.
Although we ate out quite a bit throughout our trip, we did take some food to cook as well as snacks and drinks, which was fine as the motorhome has a decent kitchen space with lots of cupboards and has a full-sized fridge, which also came in very handy!
We also took activities to keep the girls amused while we were travelling - things like colouring books, felt pens, sticker books, games etc, and there was plenty of storage space above the seats to tidy these away after the girls had finished with them."
The Peugeot Autograph 75-4 is a 4 berth motorhome - how did the beds work and were they comfy?!
"Simon and I slept in the fixed double bed at the back of the motorhome which had a partition door for privacy. It was really well designed with storage space for our clothes and bit and pieces, bedside shelves, lighting etc. It even had charging ports so we could keep our phones handy and charge them up overnight.
The girls slept on the second double bed that converted from a table and seating area during the day to a bed at night - it was really easy to set up this bed, there were slide out drawers that easily popped up, and the sofa cushions became the mattress.
The girls loved it - they had great fun helping to set up their bed each night and it really was an efficient use of the space we had, with additional space underneath to store all the bedding."
Who did the driving and how easy was driving such a long distance and to park and manouvere?
"Simon did the majority of the driving, but because the driver cabin was so well equipped he said it was really just like driving a very big Peugeot car!
The front seats were really comfortable and when not being driven, could be swivelled round to face the girls sitting at the table and sofa area. We also had a sunroof which filled the motorhome with lots of natural sunlight and kept it well ventilated when the air con got too cold!
We had everything you'd expect to find in a normal car - air conditioning, which was great at helping us to cool down at the end of each day, a sat nav, which definitely kept us on the right track, a reversing camera, which was essential for helping us park such a large vehicle, and even had things like DAB and a USB port so we could all enjoy our favourtie music while we travelled.
Simon enjoyed the space and comfort of the seats and the windscreen allowed us to enjoy fantastic panoramic views of everywhere we went and was great for visibility day and night. The large wing-mirrors were also much-needed when dealing with some of the mad European drivers out there!"
Tell us about the living space? Was it really a home from home?
"To be honest I was a bit worried before the trip that we'd all go a bit crazy living in a confined space for a whole week - we've only once used a motorhome before but that was just for a couple of days so was worried a whole week could mean constant arguments and fall-outs!
But actually I was pleasantly surprised at all the space we had. The swivelling front seats meant we could all eat or play games together and the girls loved sitting at a table - a bit like sitting on a train - which meant they could draw and play games to relieve any boredom. There were lots of sockets for charging our tablets and phones too.
The side windows gave them a great view of all the different countries we visited and that was something I loved too - you don't get to see the views when you travel by plane, and it was fantastic to see places like the Swiss alps and the beautiful Italian Lakes. Being in a motorhome also meant that if we passed something interesting we could make a pit-stop and take a closer look.
I personally thought the kitchen was great. As well as the full-size fridge with freezer compartment we had an oven and electric hob, sink and draining board, chopping board and even a microwave - we really did have every thing we needed and it was spacious without being too compact.
We honestly didn't feel cramped or uncomfortable and there was only the odd minor tiff - which wasn't anything to do with the motorhome!"
What made you pick Europe and what was the best place you visited?
"When we knew we could borrow the Peugeot motorhome we had a long think about where to go. Simon is fairly used to driving abroad because of his job so he was keen to go abroad rather than stay in the UK and when we got in touch with our friends who are spending three years travelling round Europe in their motorhome, it sounded like they were having so much fun that we decided to try it for ourselves and meet up with them along the way!
We did pack in way more than I ever thought possible, and although some of the places we went we didn't spend long in as we were just travelling through them, but was great to experience so many different wonderful cities and countries in one trip. While we could have flown to France and then hired a car, the motorhome was a much better way of travelling and allowed us to be much more flexible and relax more.
The whole holiday was fantastic but our absolutely favourite place was Italy - we visited Milan, Venice, Verona, Lake Garda and Lake Como and all were just stunning. I loved the shops in Milan and we did a family gondola ride in Venice, which was fab - although I couldn't find a Cornetto! Verona was beautiful, though was disappointed to find Romeo & Juliet's balcony (one of the main attractions) was being restored so was covered in scaffolding - which ruined the romance of it all somewhat!
Simon was also happy in Lake Garda when we travelled through the tunnels that appear in the opening sequence of the film Quantum of Solace - I think it inspired his inner James Bond!"
What were the bathroom facilities like in the motorhome? Was it more civilised than normal camping?
"Having a bathroom in the motorhome was fantastic - although we made regular stops to give Simon a break from the driving and to explore and stretch our legs, it meant that we didn't have to make additional stops if anyone needed the toilet and it was great to be able to have a quick wash or make-up check to freshen up when arriving in new places.
Although the toilet was flushable, we obviously had to empty the toilet cassette from time to time which isn't the nicest of jobs, but even if you're not a seasoned camper it's quick and easy and it's alot more convenient than traditional camping toilet facilities!
The bathroom even had other features I wasn't expecting like hanging rails and a retractable clothes line which definitely came in handy.
We had a shower which was much better than I expected, and it meant that when we did stop overnight in the various motorhome parks - called Aires des Service in Europe - that more than one of us could shower at the same time - one in the motorhome and one in the on-site shower blocks at the parking areas."
Where did you stop to recharge and sleep along the way?
"There are a number of motorhome sites across all of Europe known as Aires de Service that we stopped at a few times.
Sometimes Simon preferred to drive at night when the roads were quieter, but on the nights we needed to sleep we would find the nearest Aires de Service, park up and settle down for the evening. Some were very basic but others had shower and toilet facilities and you could pay for an electric hook-up if you wanted - which we usually did so we could cook or allow the girls to watch TV.
The Aires de Service were great facilities and even better they were free (apart from the electric hook-up) and you didn't need to book in advance, which meant we could travel a bit further on some days when we weren't needing a break as early as usual."
So are you a fan of motorhome holidays now and would you do it again in the future?
"Most definitely! I loved the convenience of having everything we needed to hand and most especially seeing all the sights we wouldn't normally have got to see. Simon loved the driving, though was obviously tiring at times, but it was lovely to have so much quality time together as a family, talking about everything we saw along the way.
We obviously wouldn't do every holiday in a motorhome because as a family we like doing different things, but we would definitely do it again - it was fun and we got to see so much. We obviously can't compare with other motorhomes, but we would definitely recommend Peugeot motorhomes - they do a big range of styles and sizes and they're just really well designed and well-spec'd - we had so much space and were comfortable throughout our holiday.
I also felt really secure in the motorhome - it was a sturdy ride and as well as the usual safety features like seatbelts throughout, we had a tyre repair kit for emergencies and even smoke and carbon dioxide alarms, which felt really reassuring. I also like the window blinds which were not only good for security but also for privacy as I hated the thought of other drivers staring in at us when we were parked up!
Our friends who we met up with couldn't believe how luxurious our motorhome was in comparison with theirs and it really made me aware of the difference between brands - I had thought motorhomes were much of a muchness but the Peugeot one definitely did us proud. I'm now hoping I can convince Simon to drive us along Route 66 for our next motorhome adventure!"
Find out more about the Peugeot Autograph 75-4 berth motorhome that the Bisps used for their holiday:
Cab: Glacier white Peugeot cab
Chassis: AL-KO AMC
Overall length: 7.508m/24' 7"
Overall width: 2.489m/8' 2"
MTPLM: 3500kg/69.9cwtAutograph 75-4
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