Signed and sealed
A lot of market research has gone into Bailey’s new Autograph series and it shows.
Although the company has had serious success since launching into the motorhome market in time for the 2011 season, there’s always been a niggle that even its uppermost models have lacked a bit of panache.
Well, that thought can be consigned to history here, thanks to the new flagship Autograph line-up of six coachbuilts. And there’s more than an inkling that the 79-4 T here will emerge as the star player. The T represents the twin single beds designation (the standard 79-4 has a rear island bed), but it’s as a whole that Bailey has moved the luxury levels up a few notches. Typically, as is the Bailey way, any price increase is all but unnoticed.
This is a genuine four-berth, too. Bailey has proved very much a pioneer of safety – not just as far as rear seating is concerned, but also with aspects such as fixing the fridge and cooker direct to the chassis as well as including outriggers for greater all-round rigidity. The exterior is definitely sleeker than we’ve been used to from Bailey, although the lack of flush-fitting windows is a surprise in a motorhome with such upmarket aspirations.
As with every Bailey motorhome to date, it’s the Peugeot Boxer/Al-Ko chassis combination that provides the running gear. Autographs get the 160bhp version of the latest Euro VI engine, as standard. It’s a two-litre and early indications are it’s a far more refined performer than the units it replaces. The only downside is, there’s still no sign of any automatic transmission option.
The cab remains well equipped, however, although it’s hard to see any buyer not wishing to go for at least the lesser of the two Media Pack options – these conttain the usual bundles of TV/DVD, reversing camera etc – from an insurance viewpoint we believe reversing cameras can prevent a lot of avoidable mishaps, that’s why Caravan Guard offer a premium discount for their fitment. Standard features range from the cup-holder centre console, to steering wheel controls, to swivel seats with twin armrests.
There’s a light and airy feel to the interior (note it’s the faux leather upholstery option in our images), contributing to a particularly pleasant ambience throughout. There’s a sculpted backrest to the rear travel seat, but the squab will be a bit too long for some. Unless you’re carrying extra passengers, you’ll probably want to leave the main lounge seating in its L-shaped format, where it’s accompanied by a slim table that helps access through to the nearside kitchen and beyond, with a single inward-facing seat on the nearside. That table sits on two pedestal legs, so there’s no adjustment.
The 79-4’s kitchen is up there with the very best, whatever the price. There’s excellent worktop space between the sink and the hob (three gas rings, one electric hotplate), also supplemented by a flip-up extension to the right of the sink. Also here are soft-close drawer storage, a combined oven/grill and a huge overhead locker with push-to-open operation.
A correspondingly large kitchen window opens for ventilation, but it’s a slight surprise to see Bailey hasn’t gone for the latest in plastic splashback protection.
Adjacent, there’s a Dometic fridge with removable freezer box – total capacity is a handy 155 litres. A Daewoo microwave oven is set atop this, but it’s still at a feasible height.
The washroom is another area that’s seen lots of improvement. There’s sufficient space for a separate shower cubicle with bi-folding doors. With an Ecocamel showerhead on a riser bar, and inset twin plugholes, it’s all very neat.
Other noteworthy features are the retractable clothes line and decent quality hooks, along with some excellent storage. A swivel-bowl toilet and “salad bowl” basin in white plastic complete the ablutions facilities.
Star area of the 79-4T has to be its bedroom. The curved unit between the beds is an obvious focal point – there were double USB sockets and bedside lamps, but no reading lights in this example. They’re the comfiest of beds, though, on sprung slatted bases, with provision to sit up, should you wish. Bedroom storage is good, too, with his and hers wardrobes at the end of each bed and excellent large drawers in each base too.
You also get optimum comfort, starting with an Alde central heating system, along with features such as “warm” (as opposed to bright whiter) LED lighting, two-tone finish to the lockers and more.
Does it hit the premium billing? Pretty much, yes. There’s just one aspect where it’s not so upmarket – and that’s its price. Over to you to do the sums.
Verdict: Bailey steps it up in style and an excellent twin single beds interpretation.
Plus: Excellent price per specification, strong UK dealer representation.
Minus: No auto option; fridge is manual ignition for gas; lounge table.
In-a-nutshell: Time to go Autograph hunting
There’s more information on the Autograph range on the Bailey website www.baileyofbristol.co.uk. Find out more about insuring this or your current motorhome on our motorhome insurance discounts page.
Alternatives: Auto-Trail Savannah, Hymer Exsis-t 588, Knaus Sky TI 650 MEG, Rapido 666, Swift Kon-Tiki 635
Bailey Autograph 79-4 T factfile
|Model||Bailey Autograph 79-4 T|
|Base vehicle||Peugeot Boxer/Al-Ko, 2.0-litre, 160bhp, Euro VI|
|Dimensions||7.99m L x 2.49m W x 2.77m H|
|RRP||From £52,995 on the road|
|Safety & security||ESP (Electronic Stability Program), Electronic immobiliser, remote central locking to cab doors, ESP, ABS and EBD, EBA (emergency brake assist), twin airbags, hill holder, hill descent control, smoke alarm.|
|Key options||Media Pack (£799), Media Pack Plus (£2,399), alloy wheels (£995), leather upholstery (£1,495).|