Purchasing a Roller Team Rambler six-berth on a Fiat Ducato chassis

In this monthly column, Jill Malcolm interviews the owners of a Roller Team Rambler six-berth to learn how they made their decision

Brian and Kathy Chandler came from England to live in New Zealand in 1985. Brian worked in IT and Kathy was a teacher, but both are now retired. They love tramping and the outdoors and are passionate about conservation. Both work on multiple conservation projects.

Kathy and Brian are dedicated bird watchers and conservationists

The couple live in West Auckland but are planning to move to the South Island, partly to be near family but also to take advantage of the great outdoor opportunities. Brian and Kathy will still spend time back in Auckland, however – and that is where their new Roller Team Rambler motorhome comes in.

Tell us about your camping/RV experience so far

We are long-time campers and trampers. Camping was always a family affair and our four kids grew up with an appreciation of nature. We had the mandatory Christmas holidays by the beach, but much of our camping involved touring and setting up and taking down camps, which was time-consuming and laborious.

We bought an ex-rental four-berth Ford Transit 15 years ago and have been around both islands. Often we’d use it as a base for multi-day tramps. It’s great getting back from a tramp to shower and change in the car park! We also used it at the beach and on long journeys and consider ourselves to be fairly experienced RVers.

Why did you decide to buy another motorhome?


The dinette seating is spacious and comfortable

Eventually age caught up with our venerable camper; we needed to upgrade and include a few more luxuries.

How did you go about researching and working out what you wanted?

After 15 years of motorhoming we had a good idea of what was practical and what was not. Brian had kept up to date with trends for years. We asked a lot of questions of other RVers as we travelled around, searched online, looked through magazines and visited a few sales yards.

Not long before we bought, we’d had a week touring Alaska in a hired motorhome and picked up a lot from that; the quality of the build, for instance, as on the unmade roads there much of the trim on that vehicle was shaken loose.

What was the biggest challenge in choosing the right RV?

Not going too far over our budget! There are a lot of options out there and we had to draw the line somewhere. Our wants didn’t always match up and we had to work out how to compromise.

What were the deciding features for your RV?

The paramount requirement was separate, permanently made-up beds

Size was important, although we ended up with an RV that was a little smaller than we had envisaged. We were buying second-hand but wanted a low mileage. Two permanent beds were paramount.

For Kathy bench space and good kitchen layout were important

Kathy wanted a kitchen with plenty of bench space, and a good working flow with the equipment handy. We wanted a good sized, three-way fridge, a separate shower, good interior lighting, a heater and a permanent house-door step.

Why did you decide on the make and model you ended up with?

We went to the RV show in Hamilton and looked at a lot of vehicles. Some we liked but were outside our budget, and a surprising number we didn’t take to at all. Then on the RV Super Centre stand we saw a Roller Team Rambler six-berth on a Fiat Ducato chassis.

We both liked it and agreed on any compromise and Kathy said, "Just get it!" So we did. We bought an ex-rental of that model. It was the right price and in great condition. The mileage was low and it had most of the features we wanted. We took it for a test drive and were very happy with how it went. The engine was powerful and quiet.

Did you end up buying the RV you imagined owning?

Brian is getting used to the height of the Luton

Probably. Very close anyway. We were not looking for six-berths, but with grandchildren around that might be useful. I wanted a low profile and was not keen on a Luton but I am okay with it now. I’ve just got to remember the extra height. Not buying new saved money, but we were dependent on what was available at the time.

How did you find the process of buying and the handover?

At the show the staff at the RV Super Centre stall were very helpful. We hadn’t intended to buy anything at the show, but that’s what happened! The handover went smoothly and everything was well explained.

We’ve been able to operate everything okay (we think) so the explanations must have sunk in! There are one or two little things we’ll eventually get round to telling them about and get fixed but we’ve yet to address those.

Would you do anything differently?

No because we did our research thoroughly and did not over-extend ourselves financially. We compromised to a certain extent as we did not always have the same requirements.

Is there anything about your new RV that you need to adjust to?

A bigger boot space was preferred but meant too many compromises

We will personalise some things, such as the internal storage. We would have liked more storage and a larger boot but then we would have had to compromise in other areas.

We are new to front-wheel drive vans, and although we have had no trouble so far, we are aware that we will be a little more restricted in where we can go compared with the Transit, which could get up almost impossible inclines!

What advice would you offer others?

The most obvious advice is to do thorough research. I’d tell people to hire a motorhome or two first so they get an idea of how they get on in confined spaces and find out what they must have and where they can make compromises. And don’t discount low-use, second-hand, ex-rental vehicles.

What travel plans do you have?

Brian and Kathy Chandler are making some big life changes

We are going to move down to the South Island and intend to be out and about a lot as we pursue our tramping interests and work on conservation projects. We will also be taking the motorhome back up north and for extended periods when we will use it as our home.

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