The only way I can participate in this is to say I have no idea. Unless something drastic happens to Casper I don’t intend getting another. C1 and medical could interfere with that in a few years though but I expect any vans mentioned in this thread would be outside my price range but will read with interest
I wouldn't like to say which are the best, it would be much easier to say which are the worst!
It all comes down to peoples experience and everybody has a different view of what is good and what is bad.
Quality is not the only factor, design, usability and pay load also comes in!
Personally, I think most probably the German vans are the best, but only the very top end models!
And most probably very very few of us have owned the best as they are probably out of our price range!
Our previous Hymer B654 SL Star was pretty good, but certainly not the best and our later Exsis is cheaper and not as good!, Its OK, has it's faults (design wise and build) but better than many!
The problem with that is that Practical M/H readers are most probably inexperienced M/H ers, and another thing is that most British Motorhomers buy British, therefore the answers might be quite slanted!
For example, I haven't purchased a m/h magazine for years and years, as I am sure I know more than their very own expert testers and I am sure there are many on here who are similar. Not forgetting that manufactures pay to advertise and the magazines don't want to upset them
I've owned a hymer B694 (fiat) which handled lovely but bathroom equipment fitted was average and soon faded,then a Hymer S820 (mercedes) which as expected was the dogs danglies for finish and luxury but handled like a pig, we downsized to 3500kg as I didn't want to bother with my LGV license and have owned a trigano tribute (fiat) (cheap and shoddy), a British built Devon Sapphire on a Crafter base van (thirsty) which was well built but very poorly insulated and have ended up with a Wildax Solaris XL on a Citroen chassis, I can honestly say it is the best van I have ever owned. The finish is superb, every bit as good as Hymer and the specifications superb with big fridge/freezer/microwave/full oven and so on, on my experience I'd say Wildax are very very good and of similar quality to the best German converters, and although it sticks in my throat the French Citroen relay is very good.
We’ve had 2 autosleepers, a Knaus and a Bürstner. The build quality on all 4 has been excellent, unlike (eg) the Bailey my SIL had. Like many here, I’ve had most of the covers and panels off to furtle around which tends to reveal any ratty edges or shortcuts. .
Depends on which sector of the market you are looking at, but to generalise, although it pains me to say so, German makes usually win out on quality of construction and finish. We’ve had Hymers and Chausson and currently a Carthago. Our first Hymer, a second-hand B544 was built like a tank, [not the Fiat part!] and like Grath we noticed a falling of standards on later Hymers. Chausson are very good on innovative interior layouts, but the construction is only average, however their customer care in our experience was excellent.
Birdie is my one and only motorhome (yes, I know - cheap and cheerful British build!) so I don't have experience of any others... they all look quality to me! From what I've seen of other vans that I've been inside, I tend to like the older ones rather than the new. It seems to me that some are getting a bit too plastic these days, although the high-end ones are stunning. If I won the lottery and could have any van, I'm still not convinced I'd go for new but I'd go for a German build because everyone says they're the best.
The very best van out there, whether it be self-built or commercially made, is the one that suits you the most! It's got to keep me warm in winter, cool in summer, easy to cook a meal in, be comfortable and welcoming. My little self-build delivers for me, it's simple and I can fix any anomaly that happens because I built it.
I have had a few vans but only 2 that could be classed as a motorhome but I must admit I have inadvertently become a fan of Rapido’s whenever I go look round vans I can’t fault then even the newer ones.
But I am sure Charlie will be along to tell me they are cr@p. ??
I quite like the bigger German stuff like the concords built on proper truck chases and would love one that stores a baby fiat 500 in back. I really like the Dethleff van I have now maybe a bit large for some but loads of storage realy well insulated and comfortable as hell for us three but best van layout and use of space I think I’ve ever seen is rugbykens hymer we had 8 very large adults sat round a table for a roast dinner couldent do that in mine no chance.