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V220 v V250

GeorgeG

Active Member
We use our MP in exactly the way you suggest!
It’s main function was to give us self contained travel between home and our apartment in Spain, once restrictions are lifted.
It also doubles as a tow car for our caravan. We got to use it for the first time having spent all week in the Lake District.
I can report that it is an excellent tow car. In 30 years of towing its the most stable vehicle I’ve had.
I was a bit concerned that the 220 might be underpowered but it’s not. It romped up Shap on the M6 with 1400 kg of caravan in tow and didn’t drop below 55 mph. Most of the journey I had the cruise set at 63 mph and it was flawless.
Once on site I think we have the perfect combination. The MP and all the facilities for days out has been great.
Then the comfort of the caravan with its fixed bed, bathroom with separate shower and proper cooking facilities.
All in all we are very pleased.
Blackrat,

That’s just the sort of feedback I wanted and great to hear that the MP is such a good tow car. We plan on buying a small caravan which is only 5.1m long (Swift Basecamp 2) and weighs (MIRO) 932kg, so should be a doddle.

My wife is concerned about the length and width of the rig which would be 10.24m long by 2.28m wide - effectively double the length of the MP. She towed the Eriba when we had a Subaru Forester and the overall combo was nearly a metre shorter 28cm narrower. I suppose if you’ve had 30 years of towing experience you wouldn’t find the size issue a problem.

As I’ve been writing this - very slowly! - I’ve seen your reply to GT, saying you have a Swift. Can you comment on build quality. They look to me as though they are built for a particular price point and I was wondering how they stand up to use. Like you, we hate the chintzy nature of most caravans which is why we like the very modern interior of the Swift Basecamp. Likewise, we went for the Westfalia Columbus because it was one of the very few PVC’s with a modern interior. The Eriba, on the other hand, was pretty nasty inside.

On the question of build quality, surprisingly we had several issues with the Eriba (don’t believe the hype about quality) and similarly many problems with both the Westfalia Columbus conversion of the Ducato and bed and roof problems with the MP. I fear for the future of Westfalia ‘proper‘ in the future, before even considering the fallout from the roof debacle. The days of Westfalia being a very large, prestigious company (in their heyday they employed 3,000 in Germany and it is now down to 300) are long gone. They are now part of the French Rapido group and according to my mole in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, when Westfalia were taken over the plan was to shut down all German production and move it to France. In fact there is quite a lot of badge engineering already taking place - the ‘Westfalia’ Kepler, Jules Verne, Kelsey etc are all built in France in the Florian factory. These are inferior (but expensive) products. The furniture is poor, the ‘leather’ is vinyl. I suspect we will see increasing build quality issues as a result of cost cutting by the Rapido accountants. Rant over.
 
B

Blackrat

Active Member
VIP Member
Blackrat,

That’s just the sort of feedback I wanted and great to hear that the MP is such a good tow car. We plan on buying a small caravan which is only 5.1m long (Swift Basecamp 2) and weighs (MIRO) 932kg, so should be a doddle.

My wife is concerned about the length and width of the rig which would be 10.24m long by 2.28m wide - effectively double the length of the MP. She towed the Eriba when we had a Subaru Forester and the overall combo was nearly a metre shorter 28cm narrower. I suppose if you’ve had 30 years of towing experience you wouldn’t find the size issue a problem.

As I’ve been writing this - very slowly! - I’ve seen your reply to GT, saying you have a Swift. Can you comment on build quality. They look to me as though they are built for a particular price point and I was wondering how they stand up to use. Like you, we hate the chintzy nature of most caravans which is why we like the very modern interior of the Swift Basecamp. Likewise, we went for the Westfalia Columbus because it was one of the very few PVC’s with a modern interior. The Eriba, on the other hand, was pretty nasty inside.

On the question of build quality, surprisingly we had several issues with the Eriba (don’t believe the hype about quality) and similarly many problems with both the Westfalia Columbus conversion of the Ducato and bed and roof problems with the MP. I fear for the future of Westfalia ‘proper‘ in the future, before even considering the fallout from the roof debacle. The days of Westfalia being a very large, prestigious company (in their heyday they employed 3,000 in Germany and it is now down to 300) are long gone. They are now part of the French Rapido group and according to my mole in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, when Westfalia were taken over the plan was to shut down all German production and move it to France. In fact there is quite a lot of badge engineering already taking place - the ‘Westfalia’ Kepler, Jules Verne, Kelsey etc are all built in France in the Florian factory. These are inferior (but expensive) products. The furniture is poor, the ‘leather’ is vinyl. I suspect we will see increasing build quality issues as a result of cost cutting by the Rapido accountants. Rant over.
Hi George,
Our Swift has a Miro of 1200 and is 7 meters shipping length so quite a bit bigger than a Basecamp. I don’t find the size of the outfit a problem but then I do hold an hgv class 1 license.
We know all about build quality issues in the leisure vehicle industry hence our disappointment with the MP roof issues!
The current Swift is our 3rd and after three years of extensive use it’s been problem free and seems generally well built. The only issue so far is the fridge element has packed up so will only work on gas. It’s booked in next week to be sorted. It’s not really the fault of Swift as it’s a Thetford which are common to most caravans.
Do you have B+E on your license as you will need it even for a small caravan towed by the MP.
 

GeorgeG

Active Member
Did the tents and caravan as a kid in the 60s, small and medium tents later, we never had children so it didn't progress from there until the VW. My brothers don't get it, holiday and sleep in a metal box!!! I guess camping got in my blood but not theirs

I had real problems with Westfalia regarding quality issue with the Fiat, mind you their QC leaves a lot to be desired also. Got no support whatsoever from Westfalia, even spoke in person to the the sales manager at the NEC. I was left to sort things myself and eventually came to a compromise with Fiat but swore I'd never have another Westfalia. The dealer was the only positive, they were 100% supportive and couldn't have done more for us. I do see this as a Mercedes and not a Westfalia though:)

Very sorry to hear you have health issues, I guess you just have to play the hand you're dealt.

We thought about a small caravan, there are some stylish ones about, very different from the old Sprite Alpine my parents had.
Also been impressed with the Opus trailers I've come across, spacious and well equipped, but lack a proper bathroom.

Just washed the Columbus, hopefully for the last time because it's not really a pleasurable job. As you mentioned driving it, especially round here in North Devon / Cornwall isn't either..
Hi SBD,

I missed the above post yesterday and was interested to see you also had issues with Westfalia QC. Unlike you, I’m yet to be convinced that the Mercedes badge will mask the deficiencies of the current Westfalia setup. And let’s not get into Mercedes quality issues and reliability - I speak as someone who has owned only Japanese built cars for the past 25 years, with the exception of a quite appalling Land Rover Freelander (wife’s choice!)

I managed to sort most of the issues with the Columbus by visiting the factory in Rheda-Wiedenbrück. The warranty guy was brilliant and we were able to overnight there with hookup etc.

Who was your Westfalia dealer? We bought new from Lowdhams in Nottingham and although we got a good deal the after sales service was very poor. The workshop was always booked up for weeks in advance. I think this was a ruse to put you off using them. Like you, I decided we wouldn’t buy another Westfalia PVC.

Who was your Westfalia dealer? We bought ours new from Lowdhams in Nottingham who, although they gave us a great deal, were of little help with warranty issues as there was always several weeks delay before you could get the van booked into the workshop.
 

GeorgeG

Active Member
Hi George,
Our Swift has a Miro of 1200 and is 7 meters shipping length so quite a bit bigger than a Basecamp. I don’t find the size of the outfit a problem but then I do hold an hgv class 1 license.
We know all about build quality issues in the leisure vehicle industry hence our disappointment with the MP roof issues!
The current Swift is our 3rd and after three years of extensive use it’s been problem free and seems generally well built. The only issue so far is the fridge element has packed up so will only work on gas. It’s booked in next week to be sorted. It’s not really the fault of Swift as it’s a Thetford which are common to most caravans.
Do you have B+E on your license as you will need it even for a small caravan towed by the MP.
Thanks for that Blackrat,

Encouraging information about Swift quality. I think in reality most ‘leisure vehicles’ are much of a muchness and the deciding factor often just comes down to size, layout and appearance.

I have B+E on my licence - I’m very old!

On the question of towing, I see from another thread that you have the factory fit tow pack which is rated to 2,500kg. I bought my MP without the tow pack and when I enquired about fitting one after-market (at the time I just wanted to use a towbar fitted bike rack) I was quoted something like £2,500. In the end a local specialist fitted a Westfalia detachable bar with the proper V-Class electrics. I’m a bit concerned that as I don’t have the additional oil cooler I may be restricted as to what I can tow. Do you think a small Basecamp with a MIRO of 932kg would be a problem? I don’t know where to look for the information.
 

Samebutdifferent

Active Member
Hi SBD,

I missed the above post yesterday and was interested to see you also had issues with Westfalia QC. Unlike you, I’m yet to be convinced that the Mercedes badge will mask the deficiencies of the current Westfalia setup. And let’s not get into Mercedes quality issues and reliability - I speak as someone who has owned only Japanese built cars for the past 25 years, with the exception of a quite appalling Land Rover Freelander (wife’s choice!)

I managed to sort most of the issues with the Columbus by visiting the factory in Rheda-Wiedenbrück. The warranty guy was brilliant and we were able to overnight there with hookup etc.

Who was your Westfalia dealer? We bought new from Lowdhams in Nottingham and although we got a good deal the after sales service was very poor. The workshop was always booked up for weeks in advance. I think this was a ruse to put you off using them. Like you, I decided we wouldn’t buy another Westfalia PVC.

Who was your Westfalia dealer? We bought ours new from Lowdhams in Nottingham who, although they gave us a great deal, were of little help with warranty issues as there was always several weeks delay before you could get the van booked into the workshop.

Rob at Campersales, formally VW campersales at Burgess Hill. His background is with Bilbos and then on his own importing Used T4 Westfalias and later T5 Calis.

He's now a dealer for Westfalia, Hymer Camper Vans and Autohaus. From my experience his customer service is second to non.

Speaking to him recently I think he feels a certain amount of despair, all three of the above to one degree or another, don't seem to give a poo about QC or customer care, their attitude leaves a lot to be desired. All this makes his job extremely difficult as all he want's is his customers to be happy.

It seems it doesn't matter what badge it wears these days or how much you pay, you just have to expect the same poor quality and poor customer service.

Oh and I sure MB are no different but I can still kid my self for a short while that I have bought a Mercedes and not a Westfalia.
 
B

Blackrat

Active Member
VIP Member
Thanks for that Blackrat,

Encouraging information about Swift quality. I think in reality most ‘leisure vehicles’ are much of a muchness and the deciding factor often just comes down to size, layout and appearance.

I have B+E on my licence - I’m very old!

On the question of towing, I see from another thread that you have the factory fit tow pack which is rated to 2,500kg. I bought my MP without the tow pack and when I enquired about fitting one after-market (at the time I just wanted to use a towbar fitted bike rack) I was quoted something like £2,500. In the end a local specialist fitted a Westfalia detachable bar with the proper V-Class electrics. I’m a bit concerned that as I don’t have the additional oil cooler I may be restricted as to what I can tow. Do you think a small Basecamp with a MIRO of 932kg would be a problem? I don’t know where to look for the information.
Hi George,
Rest assured you won’t have any problems.
Towing capacity was something I researched at great length before buying the MP for obvious reasons.
From memory the towing capacity without the factory upgrade is around 2000 kgs, far more than you will need for virtually any caravan. If you go for the Basecamp you will hardly know it’s there.
 
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Samebutdifferent

Active Member
SBD, What did you make of the move to Devon?, I'd be interested to hear how you have settled in to a more touristic area of the country? Also did you make the move "blind" to a town/village you didn't know or did you have some history in the area...always been a "back of the mind" dream to up-sticks and start a new downsize chapter in the SW.

Settled in ok despite the unfriendly locals. It rained all the first year we moved down, local newsletter said it was the wettest year since last year, all previous editions say the same. Don't even think about moving down here.



















lol :D

Will send a message shortly, Just got back from Buckfastleigh stopping off at Tavistock for my wife to visit Owens, a great Jigsaw shop and me to buy some craft beer from Stannery Brewing Co and need a beer.
 

GeorgeG

Active Member
Rob at Campersales, formally VW campersales at Burgess Hill. His background is with Bilbos and then on his own importing Used T4 Westfalias and later T5 Calis.

He's now a dealer for Westfalia, Hymer Camper Vans and Autohaus. From my experience his customer service is second to non.

Speaking to him recently I think he feels a certain amount of despair, all three of the above to one degree or another, don't seem to give a poo about QC or customer care, their attitude leaves a lot to be desired. All this makes his job extremely difficult as all he want's is his customers to be happy.

It seems it doesn't matter what badge it wears these days or how much you pay, you just have to expect the same poor quality and poor customer service.

Oh and I sure MB are no different but I can still kid my self for a short while that I have bought a Mercedes and not a Westfalia.
I’ve spoken to Rob a number of times when I was interested in a Westfalia Joker City. It was silly money, but he offered me a good trade in on the Columbus. However, when I bought the MP from Mercedes Southampton they attempted to get the Columbus underwritten by Campersales and Harbour Creek in Hayling Island. Rob‘s offer was derisory, suggesting that the margins in the Joker City must have been very large. In the end Harbour Creek offered the Mercedes dealer £5,000 more than Rob and that secured the deal.

Harbour Creek now seem to mainly offer, amongst a lot of other marques, the ‘French’ Westfalias, possibly because they were already an established Florium (another Rapido product) dealer.

Westfalia seem to be going the way of brands like La Strada and Wingamm in that they have almost priced themselves out of the UK market and the franchises are in a continual state of change. Hopefully Rob at Campersales will have more luck.
 

Samebutdifferent

Active Member
@GeorgeG There's a lot of friction between Campersales and Harbour Creek, that could explain some of HC actions. It's not all about the money, he likes to get one over Rob

He's made me a good offer on my Columbus and the V250D AMG he has is only a little more than the recent private sales on here.
It will need a heater fitted though.

To be honest he didn't try to sell it to me pointing out the reliance on poor Mercedes support. I didn't want anything to do with another Wesfalia and I'm miles away from a dealer. But my wife is keen on it, she had a C class estate which she liked, she'll drive it, she won't drive the Ducato so she made the final decision.
 

GeorgeG

Active Member
@GeorgeG There's a lot of friction between Campersales and Harbour Creek, that could explain some of HC actions. It's not all about the money, he likes to get one over Rob

He's made me a good offer on my Columbus and the V250D AMG he has is only a little more than the recent private sales on here.
It will need a heater fitted though.

To be honest he didn't try to sell it to me pointing out the reliance on poor Mercedes support. I didn't want anything to do with another Wesfalia and I'm miles away from a dealer. But my wife is keen on it, she had a C class estate which she liked, she'll drive it, she won't drive the Ducato so she made the final decision.
Are you buying from Rob or HC?

Funnily enough, my wife no longer felt confident to drive the Columbus after she suffered a retinal occlusion (blood clot) in her right eye following a long haul flight back from New Zealand. However, she’s perfectly happy to drive the MP. I finally had enough of being the sole driver of the Ducato when I fell asleep at the wheel on a single track road in the Outer Hebrides!
 
Grand Tourismo

Grand Tourismo

Active Member
VIP Member
One consideration would be your license entitlement if you passed your test after 1997 as any caravan towed by the MP will be over the combined 3500 kg limit meaning you need the B+E entitlement. Not an issue if you passed before 1997 as you have grandfathers rights.
Hi Blackrat, License not an issue for me but good to note for anyone else thinking of towing a 'van behind ...a van!
 

Samebutdifferent

Active Member
Are you buying from Rob or HC?

Funnily enough, my wife no longer felt confident to drive the Columbus after she suffered a retinal occlusion (blood clot) in her right eye following a long haul flight back from New Zealand. However, she’s perfectly happy to drive the MP. I finally had enough of being the sole driver of the Ducato when I fell asleep at the wheel on a single track road in the Outer Hebrides!

Rob has the MP, didn't really get good vibes from HC when we had decided to go with the Columbus and visited both.

Spooky, May 2014 we toured the Western Isles in our T5, and he spent a month touring the North & South island in a Motorhome.
That was Feb 2018, I'd been battling Fiat for 6 months regarding the quality issue, Westfalia had just completely blanked me but Rob was fantastic.

Long story short, We'd had the van six months I got a goodwill payment from Fiat but still had the problem, Rob wanted us to be happy so ordered us a new Columbus. We dropped the original one off with Rob and he took us to Heathrow. New one arrived just after we got back.

He says the market is extremely buoyant, There were rows and rows of vehicles awaiting pick up when we visited recently. They'll be flooding the secondhand market in the next few years.

The edge rumbles on the M5 have woken me on couple of occasions, very scary!
 

GeorgeG

Active Member
Rob has the MP, didn't really get good vibes from HC when we had decided to go with the Columbus and visited both.

Spooky, May 2014 we toured the Western Isles in our T5, and he spent a month touring the North & South island in a Motorhome.
That was Feb 2018, I'd been battling Fiat for 6 months regarding the quality issue, Westfalia had just completely blanked me but Rob was fantastic.

Long story short, We'd had the van six months I got a goodwill payment from Fiat but still had the problem, Rob wanted us to be happy so ordered us a new Columbus. We dropped the original one off with Rob and he took us to Heathrow. New one arrived just after we got back.

He says the market is extremely buoyant, There were rows and rows of vehicles awaiting pick up when we visited recently. They'll be flooding the secondhand market in the next few years.

The edge rumbles on the M5 have woken me on couple of occasions, very scary!
Sounds like Rob is a good man. Agree about HC vibes.

Spooky as you say. We also toured the North and South Islands of New Zealand in February 2018 for a month in a Maui Mercedes Sprinter conversion. I was so looking forward to driving an automatic Mercedes after the manual Fiat. It was a good drive, but the conversion - done in house by Maui - was dreadful. We paid extra to hire a van less than 18 months old for reliability, but it broke down anyway (auto gearbox oil pressure valve failed). Fortunately we were reasonably near Nelson where they was a Mercedes dealer, but the replacement had to be driven from Maui’s base at the other end of the South Island in Christchurch. This messed up our itinerary, but I managed to extract AU$600 from Maui as compensation.

Regarding the Western Isles, we couldn’t believe the number of huge A-class motorhomes we came across on the largely single track roads. It was difficult enough in a 6m Ducato. It often led to frequent stand-offs - who would blink first and reverse a 100m or more back to a passing place.
 

Samebutdifferent

Active Member
Snap, we didn't have any breakdowns though.

For Western Isles read North Devon where I live. Unwritten rule is largest vehicle has right of way, but some people seem incapable of reversing:mad:


New Zealand.jpg
 
Grand Tourismo

Grand Tourismo

Active Member
VIP Member
Unwritten rule is largest vehicle has right of way, but some people seem incapable of reversing:mad:
:Thumbs up: Yes, very right!!...Although uphill vehicle has priority over downhill vehicle and trumps all size priority (unless it has blue lights on it or is the binman or beer dray!) in my book.
 

GeorgeG

Active Member
Snap, we didn't have any breakdowns though.

For Western Isles read North Devon where I live. Unwritten rule is largest vehicle has right of way, but some people seem incapable of reversing:mad:


View attachment 1449
Snap, we didn't have any breakdowns though.

For Western Isles read North Devon where I live. Unwritten rule is largest vehicle has right of way, but some people seem incapable of reversing:mad:


View attachment 1449
 

GeorgeG

Active Member
Don’t know what happened with previous post above!
But here is photo of our maui in NZ.
 

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