Budgeting for your own island
Want a caravan at a keen price that isn’t completely shorn of modern-day luxuries? Enter Phoenix.
A seven-model line-up, Phoenix represents Bailey’s latest attempt to tackle the budget end of the tourer market. But, it’s a bit more than just low-cost – more budget-plus, if you like. Or maybe even budget-premium.
The 640 here is one of two island bed models in the range, both retailing at the same, sub-£20,000 on-the-road price.
Still, there are plenty of the kind of features you’re more likely to see on a premium tourer – like the extended front central window, which lets in so much more daylight and also opens for ventilation.
Inside, the upright body shape allows the settees to extend right into the front, also optimising the interior space (albeit at the loss of a ledge across the windows). They’re set around the usual choice of a slide-out tabletop from the chest of drawers and/or a free-standing dining table. Reading lamps with USB charging outlets are a neat touch.
Mid-‘van the kitchen facilities are split between the fridge and microwave oven on the nearside and the main kitchen unit on the offside. The latter is home to a Thetford Caprice cooker with four-ring hob, separate oven and grill.
There’s lots of kitchen work surface, thanks to the flush-fitting cover for the cooker … not forgetting also the worktop over the fridge across the corridor, all easy to hand. Under the sink, it’s a large drawer (with cutlery compartments) and a double-doored cupboard going down to the floor.
This is very much a caravan of two halves. Open the solid door from the kitchen and you walk into a full bedroom with island bed, via a generous shower cubicle on your right and a toilet room on your left.
That cubicle has folding doors and plastic wall linings and an Ecocamel showerhead, but lacks somewhere to put your showering victuals.
There’s a swivel-bowl Thetford toilet and a fixed basin in the toilet room. There’s also a towel holder, but nowhere else to hang clothes etc. For storage, there’s a locker under the basin and a high-level cupboard plus some open shelving and a mirror. No window, though.
Carry on through and that island bed slides out to almost fill the room, lengthways. There’s space each side for a wardrobe and bedside locker, plus lockers overhead. There’s plenty of storage room in the bed base, too – that’s despite the presence of the dining table, not always the ideal location for lugging out such an item. Also in the bedroom is a vanity area at the foot of the bed (offside) and a corner shelf for a TV, along with sockets, on the nearside. A sliding door completes the bedroom privacy.
Your tow car will, of course, be the deciding factor, but Bailey seems to have struck an ideal compromise between low weight and structural build quality, along with a specification that is far from wanting. Indeed, apart from the usual extras your dealer might choose to tempt you with – solar panel, satellite TV system etc – there are few factory-fit options. One is a Dressing Pack of bed throws and extra cushions (as shown here) that helps complete the comfort.
From the outside, there are few signs that this is a lower-cost tourer. Access is via a stable door, the gas locker is near the axle, with Bailey eschewing the usual locker at the front. That latter point may be the only one of any contention in a touring caravan that doesn’t lack for appeal.
Verdict: Set to ruffle a few feathers
Plus: Excellent blend of specification and price
Minus: Manual gas ignition for the fridge, occasional flimsy internal fittings
In-a-nutshell: Keen on price and kit. Watch Phoenixes fly
There’s more information on the Phoenix range on the Bailey website . To find out more about insuring this or your current caravan visit our caravan insurance discounts page
Alternatives: Coachman Vision 585, Elddis Avante 550, Swift Sprite Major 4EB
Bailey Phoenix 640 factfile
|Model||Bailey Phoenix 640|
|Dimensions||7.37m L, 2.21m W, 2.62m H|
|RRP||from £19,064 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||Al-Ko ATC (£425), Truma iNet upgrade (£275), four-year extension to bodyshell warranty (£265), three-year extension to manufacturing warranty (£439), Dressing Pack (from £275)|