Not just all-new, but really rather promising – that’s the first impression of the Affinity range of four models (initially) that replaces Odyssey, sitting between Avanté and Crusader in the latest Elddis line-up.
But, it does look as if Elddis has judged to a tee the fine line between luxury and low weight – keeping weights below 1500kg and prices starting at well below £20,000, yet with a specification that has a more then generous look to it.
Talking of looks, here’s a slight anomaly. It’s a crisp enough appearance, from the alloy wheels up, that’s very much the latest Elddis “family look” – thanks to whiter-than-white body panels and a grey acrylic full-size front locker (it’s a maximum 100kg noseweight limit here), meanwhile retaining a three-window front that should appeal to the traditionalists.
There’s certainly a solid feel to this new tourer. Sorry, make that SoLiD. That’s the name given to the new bodywork technology recently unveiled by Elddis.
Chemically bonded, it should mean no water ingress, as Elddis reckons some 90 per cent of the screws used in a typical caravan are no longer needed. In case you’re wondering, that’s a lot of screws.
SoLiD has been some three years in proving, but you might be able to forgive a certain reticence regarding the all-new construction. It’s rare indeed for anyone to launch anything quite so new and exciting and get it absolutely perfect right from the off. So far everything looks to be in Elddis’ favour, though, even taking into account it’s repairable (in the event of an accident).
SoLiD is actually the result of a co-venture between Elddis and Henkel, a long-established company that’s been responsible for, among other things, the kind of adhesive technology that keeps the wings on aircraft.
OK, it’s unproven as far as touring caravans are concerned, but two aspects bode well. First, Elddis is obviously so confident it’s already switched over to SoLiD for the construction of all its 2013 caravans (and indeed motorhomes), and is offering a ten-year water ingress warranty. It also sees Elddis sticking with the excellent BPW Swing V-tec chassis with iDC (intelligent drive control, for safer handling) – don’t forget the savings you can get for electronic anti-snaking devices such as iDC when insuring your caravan.
As for the flagship Affinity model here, this 574 is the twin single bed variant, a floorplan that is particularly well suited to the Alde central heating system that heads up an impressive kit list. Plus stretching the washroom across the back means lots of changing room space.
There certainly shouldn’t be any issue with keeping yourselves entertained on board. First, there’s an Avtex flatscreen TV (perfectly placed for viewing from bed), with a 16 in screen. You can also watch your favourite DVDs on this, or take advantage of its Freeview facility to tune into any number of TV stations. There’s even a USB port here, too. Plus, every Affinity also comes fitted as standard with a stereo radio/CD with iPod/MP3 connectivity.
Who sleeps where? The beds are the same width (0.68m/2ft 3in), but there’s a 4in difference in length – at 1.89m/6ft 2.4in and 1.86m/6ft 1in. Comfort, as we’ve come to expect in any fixed caravan bed these days, is reassuringly high.
That doesn’t mean there’s any particular compromise in the kitchen, where you get a microwave, dual-fuel hob, a new-look sink with removable drainer etc, and yes, there is a bit of spare work surface.
It’s not just the quality and the relatively low weight (taking into account the specification here), but also the price that puts the Affinity very much on track
Plus: SoLiD body with ten-year water ingress warranty. Alde heating system. Generous specification. Relatively low weight
Minus: Unproven bodywork. Nonsensical chassis upgrade.
Summed up in one word: Generous
Cost to insure: £327*
- Price from £19,494 on the road
- Berths: 4
- Overall length 7.40m
- Interior length 5.70m
- Width 2.24m
- Headroom 1.95m
- MIRO 1339kg
- MTPLM 1496kg
- Key options Omnivent £159, alternative upholsteries (two) £225, Aquaclean upholstery finish £275, wraparound lounge seating £179, leather upholstery (lounge) £1149, Robstop £119, Suretrack tracking system £649, additional shelving pack £40
- Security and safety GRP underfloor skin, Winterhoff stabiliser and iDC, alarm with PIR and corner steady sensor
- Alternatives: Swift Challenger SE 565, Bailey Unicorn Cadiz
More info: Elddis (www.elddis.co.uk)
*Caravan insurance cost based on Elddis Affinity, £19,494. Fitted with hitchlock, wheel clamp and standard fit alarm. Kept on drive at HX4 0BE. Caravanners over 30 years old, claim free for 3 years and a member of a caravanning club. £100 excess. 180 days European cover and up to £75 per day for up to 15 days emergency accommodation cover included. Legal expenses cover, extended European cover and other emergency accommodation expenses cover options are available at extra cost. Quote includes 10% online discount and 6% Insurance Premium Tax and is correct as of 17.09.12.