Is a ten-year-old camper van a good buy?

We're keen to buy a camper van with which to explore the UK. We've seen a 2001 Fiat Ducato for £18,000, which seems ideal as with the elevated roof it gives my tall husband sufficient room to stand and, most importantly, has the essential long berths so he can lie flat. However, do you think it would be a wise buy given the age of the vehicle?

Fiats used to have a very bad name but had their reputation recovered by 2001 and is the Ducato generally considered reliable? Are there any other campers of this size you would recommend? We don't really want to spend more than £20,000 or thereabouts.

Asked on 27 October 2012 by SS, Wareham, Dorset

Answered by Honest John
The problem with camper vans is that they are based on the chassis of LCVs that have a design life of 200,000 miles in four years. Campers tend to do an average of 5000 miles a year and still deteriorate at the same rate as the LCVs they are built on, so a ten-year-old camper with 50,000 miles at an inflated price is definitely not a good buy. You should be looking for a vehicle as new as possible for your money regardless of mileage. A four-year-old camper with 100,000 miles is a far better buy than a ten-year-old camper with 50,000 miles.
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