Two’s light company
This might be the two-berth baby of the seven-model Phoenix caravan range, but it doesn’t mean it can’t pack a punch – especially if you’re after a smaller two-berth tourer with a generous washroom. It’s very keenly priced, too, as we’ve come to expect from any Bailey caravan. The Phoenix range, in particular, is billed for budget buyers.
Just as critical, it keeps weight down, most of all in the two-berth 420. That’s not to say it loses out altogether on the luxury front.
Like all Baileys, it’s made in Bristol using the company’s Alu-Tech construction process, for its bonded, GRP-skinned bodywork – with a six-year (extendable to 10) integrity warranty as well as a three-year back-up for the components.
Typical of all Phoenix’, it’s a rather bluff exterior, with graphics kept to a minimum. There’s a distinctive deep centre front window, which lets in lots of light. The back panel is windowless and – again, typical Phoenix – there’s no full-width front locker.
Instead, there’s gas cylinder storage in a locker just aft of the axle on the offside. There’s also exterior access to the nearside settee and a further hatch on the rear offside provides access to the toilet’s cassette.
It’s a window-free main door, too, but there’s a single handy coat hook on the inside, as well as a low-level storage pocket. Two more coat hooks are on the bulkhead next to the doorway.
The main control panel, a series of switches, is also just inside the door, adjacent to which is a small ledge that could be handy for stowing keys etc.
A separate panel below houses sockets for a TV.
The lounge has the usual two settees, separated by a two-drawer front chest, with slide-out tabletop and two heater outlets at floor level.
Flat lockers are overhead, with rather flimsy cubby holes in each corner. Seating goes right into the front end, while backrest support is pretty minimal.
Another concern here is the bases lack of door access – you’ll be relying on hinging up the whole section to access your bedding before converting the front end into a 1.88m x 1.49m (6ft 2in x 4ft 9in) double. Alternatively, you could have a couple of narrow singles, both 1.88m long.
Behind the lounge/sleeping area, the main kitchen unit is along the mid-‘van offside. The Thetford cooker has four gas rings and separate oven and grill. There’s a stainless steel sink alongside, with space to add a drainer panel to its right. Two mains sockets are handily nearby, too. Worktops, including the cover for the hob, are in a granite-effect design.
A Dometic 103-litre Fridge and Daewoo microwave oven are across the corridor, the latter at an attainable height for most folk, plus there’s a locker above.
Across the back of the Phoenix 420, the washroom has the usual, ubiquitous swivel-bowl toilet with fixed basin in matching white.
The shower cubicle boasts an Ecocamel showerhead.
There’s also room in here for a large wardrobe as well as a slimline shelved cupboard alongside. It’s strange, however, not to have a washroom window.
Keeping to a strict budget is a key part of the Phoenix-appeal. A roll-call of standard equipment, however, sees the 420 still come with alloy wheels, radio/CD/MP3 player, lounge reading lamps with USB ports, and more.
Unless offered by your dealer to secure a sale, ignore the “Dressing Pack” option. Your £229 will be better spent elsewhere if you want to add scatter cushions, a couple of bolsters, settee throws and washroom carpet.
The floor location of the leisure battery affords it better insulation compared to an exterior-access hatch, and makes for better load distribution. The only issue is it’s not so easy to access for maintenance etc.
Verdict: Two-berth budget ‘van that’s far from austere
Plus: Classic floorplan, low weight, keen pricing
Minus: Washroom lacks a window, occasional flimsy internal fittings
In-a-nutshell: Baby Phoenix keeps it all compact
There’s more information on the Phoenix caravan range on the Bailey website. To find out more about insuring this or your current caravan visit our caravan insurance discounts page.
Alternatives: Adria Action 391, Coachman Vision 450, Elddis Affinity 462, Lunar Quasar 462, Swift Sprite Alpine 2
Bailey Phoenix 420 factfile
|Model||Bailey Phoenix 420|
|Dimensions||5.56m L, 2.21m W, 2.62m H|
|RRP||from £17,764 on the road|
|Safety & security||Al-Ko AKS stabiliser, laser-balanced wheels with security tyres and anti-tamper bolts, smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, floor-mounted spare wheel, CRiS with concealed data chip|
|Key options||options Al-Ko ATC (£425), Truma iNet upgrade (£275), four-year extension to bodyshell warranty (£265), three-year extension to manufacturing warranty (£439), Dressing Pack (£229)|