How did you get on downsizing to a PVC? - Motorhome Forums, Motorhome Discussion, Motorhome Chat

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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 15-10-2018, 13:36 Thread Starter
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How did you get on downsizing to a PVC?

Having lost our large Carthago A Class as an insurance total loss due to a severe hailstorm in July we decided to bring our eventual downsizing plans to a PVC forward as its replacement.

So from fairly grand 7.8mtrs of accommodation we're now going to be squeezing the proverbial pint pot into half a pint with a 5.99mtr Challenger PVC.



Obviously we'll be carrying a lot less of those 'might come in handy one day' items and will be sticking to basics from now on. We don't pick up the Challenger until the end of this week so not sure how the storage will actually work as yet.

So, who's downsized similarly and how have you got on?

I use UK Pub Stopovers, but then I would
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 15-10-2018, 17:45
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I'd be interested in the answers to this one neilmac - when I changed last year I seriously (well, sort of!) considered a PVC but decided it was a step too far, tho there's only me - and the occasional guest for a couple of weeks or so.

I was concerned about 1) storage and 2) insulation.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 15-10-2018, 20:24
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We downsized to a PVC (AutoTrail V-Line 635SE) earlier this year, having thoroughly enjoyed many years of extensive travelling in our previous AutoTrail Tracker EKS.

The good news:
I achieve over 31mpg based on the van's computer. Being lower and narrower it's easier to drive and I feel so much more relaxed on narrow roads or lanes. I find it a doddle to park, especially in towns. It has good internal storage although the upper lockers are curved at the top to match the exterior profile meaning slightly less volume. I honestly find the floor easier to keep clean and it's simple to shake out the bedding, both using the rear doors. We love the two dining areas, having breakfast & lunch at the front and supper at the rear. LED lighting has hugely reduced power consumption. The frig/freezer seems to be slightly more spacious. So far it seems no warmer (on a hot day) and no colder (on a cold day) than our previous van, although we've not yet camped in snow.

The bad news:
We were aware of the following before purchase and agreed the way forward for us. The bathroom is a compromise, the whb an unusual shape making it tricky to be economical with water, and the shower is too small to be comfortable. The fresh is only 75 litres and can only be topped up when the sliding door is closed. Don't open the sliding door when the nearside rear window is open or you'll break it! Because of the bracing bracketry the under bedding lockers are frugal. The ability to turn on the heating whilst out walking using an app on your phone is not for me, and I disconnected the system after our shakedown trip.

Additional:
Solar panel is a real benefit and I can now live off grid without worry. When in storage it keeps the battery topped up perfectly. It's simpler to keep the exterior clean.

It's definitely been a good move for us, but we have always been extremely tidy and never carry surplus junk. If you are at all untidy, or believe in carrying all manner of things you think you might need one day, then a PVC is not for you.
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Last edited by HurricaneSmith; 15-10-2018 at 20:26.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 15-10-2018, 21:10 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiwawa View Post
I'd be interested in the answers to this one neilmac - when I changed last year I seriously (well, sort of!) considered a PVC but decided it was a step too far, tho there's only me - and the occasional guest for a couple of weeks or so.

I was concerned about 1) storage and 2) insulation.
Well, there're 2 of us and our dog but we are very used to being in each others company 24/7

Storage 'looks' good for the van's size with lockers everywhere. Once we've collected it we'll have a better idea where things will go.

Insulation is one of Challenger's boasts at the moment using a system they call VPS (vehicle protection system) - time and use will tell. The Carthago was very easy to keep warm but not so easy to keep cool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneSmith View Post
We downsized to a PVC (AutoTrail V-Line 635SE) earlier this year, having thoroughly enjoyed many years of extensive travelling in our previous AutoTrail Tracker EKS.

The good news:
I achieve over 31mpg based on the van's computer. Being lower and narrower it's easier to drive and I feel so much more relaxed on narrow roads or lanes. I find it a doddle to park, especially in towns. It has good internal storage although the upper lockers are curved at the top to match the exterior profile meaning slightly less volume. I honestly find the floor easier to keep clean and it's simple to shake out the bedding, both using the rear doors. We love the two dining areas, having breakfast & lunch at the front and supper at the rear. LED lighting has hugely reduced power consumption. The frig/freezer seems to be slightly more spacious. So far it seems no warmer (on a hot day) and no colder (on a cold day) than our previous van, although we've not yet camped in snow.

The bad news:
We were aware of the following before purchase and agreed the way forward for us. The bathroom is a compromise, the whb an unusual shape making it tricky to be economical with water, and the shower is too small to be comfortable. The fresh is only 75 litres and can only be topped up when the sliding door is closed. Don't open the sliding door when the nearside rear window is open or you'll break it! Because of the bracing bracketry the under bedding lockers are frugal. The ability to turn on the heating whilst out walking using an app on your phone is not for me, and I disconnected the system after our shakedown trip.

Additional:
Solar panel is a real benefit and I can now live off grid without worry. When in storage it keeps the battery topped up perfectly. It's simpler to keep the exterior clean.

It's definitely been a good move for us, but we have always been extremely tidy and never carry surplus junk. If you are at all untidy, or believe in carrying all manner of things you think you might need one day, then a PVC is not for you.
That all sounds pretty positive - thanks

We've been used to a front dining area and rear bedroom so that basic aspect will be the same.

The driving, fuel economy and parking advantages sound great and we'll look forward to finding places that were a bit difficult in our Carthago.

Shower room is small but at least the sink slides one way or the other to suit your requirements but we'll only know if its too small when we get to use it. We've been used to using onboard facilities entirely.

I use UK Pub Stopovers, but then I would
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 16-10-2018, 10:30
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We debated for around six years about downsizing and eventually took the plunge and bought a IH N630 RL on the Fiat long chassis. We enjoyed the change at first but then the novelty wore off and we realised that most things were a compromise too much on the habitation side when it came to size. We have gone back to a coachbuilt and very glad we did. So a very expensive exercise for us but we are all different of course.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 18-10-2018, 16:55
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I think the biggest issue with any PVC might be a the lack of or shortage external lockers, so everything muddy/smelly or not has to come inside.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 18-10-2018, 22:56
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As I said before, we are a scrupulously tidy couple, and never brought muddy stuff inside our previous van as boots were always cleaned outside before entering. We'll just continue that good practise with the new panel van and don't seem to miss the single external locker we previously had.

Drying wet boots are currently left in the driver's cab area, and there's a large locker opposite the sliding door for a wet hookup cable when winter camping. It's currently being used as our booze cabinet and there's room for both

I've changed the method of fresh fill from a previous trundle truck to a watering can, and that sits in the passenger well when parked up. So far, it all seems to be working well.

We previously used an external mixer tap hose set to warm to wash our little Westie, but she passed away age 14 in early Spring this year and the loss of that external hose is not an issue. If Yvonne changes her mind and takes on another dog, then I'll simply get our dealer to add that hose back on.

All vans are a compromise of one sort or another, but I can't see us returning to a coachbuilt, because for us the benefits seem to outweigh the disadvantages. I'm stunned by just how many people seem to be driving them now, on one site this summer almost 2/3 were pvc's which astonished us.

.

John

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 21-10-2018, 14:51
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Hi Neilmac from Sal and Don , Denia!

We downsized from our 7.3m 4.5t Hymer to a Bürstner City Car 540 (5.4m) and we love it. Great success. It has a bed in the back that can be lifted for easier access to storage but we leave it down and still access storage easily. And it’s amazing just how much we can squeeze in there. Plus a gas locker with room for two 11kg gas bottles. 100l fresh water, 80l waste. 34mpg. Plenty storage for other bits. Narrower, shorter, easier to find parking places. Ticks all the boxes.
However, we fulltimed in the Hymer and the longest trip we have made so far in the City Car was two months.

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Last edited by MyGalSal; 21-10-2018 at 14:55.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 21-10-2018, 17:41 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyGalSal View Post
Hi Neilmac from Sal and Don , Denia!

We downsized from our 7.3m 4.5t Hymer to a Bürstner City Car 540 (5.4m) and we love it. Great success. It has a bed in the back that can be lifted for easier access to storage but we leave it down and still access storage easily. And it’s amazing just how much we can squeeze in there. Plus a gas locker with room for two 11kg gas bottles. 100l fresh water, 80l waste. 34mpg. Plenty storage for other bits. Narrower, shorter, easier to find parking places. Ticks all the boxes.
However, we fulltimed in the Hymer and the longest trip we have made so far in the City Car was two months.
Hello you two, good to hear from you

Sounds very encouraging... We picked ours up yesterday so still trying to figure out what can or can't go where... and how the shower curtain is going to work etc but we'll get there.

First impressions are mostly positive
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