Sitting (and sleeping) comfortably
The ultimate touring caravan? This isn’t a bad place to start the debate. With a £30,000 price tag dangling in the middle of its three-windowed front, you can happily demand something special. Can the Aruba deliver?
Named after a small island near Venezuela, the Buccaneer is built by Elddis which is part of the Erwin Hymer Group these days which, in turn is owned by America’s Thor Industries.
There’s no mixing of nationalities here, though. The Aruba is a thoroughly all-British caravan, not least in its appeal to those who want to be surrounded by luxury. It’s got presence, too, as one of the latest wave of extra-wide 8ft twin axle caravans.
You’re looking at towcars in the Range Rover category to team up with a unit as hefty as this. Then again, plenty of folk seem to be buying extra-wide caravans for permanent pitching rather than touring the highways and (particularly) byways.
But, you’ll have also guessed these latest Buccaneer caravans don’t lack for presence. Apart from sheer size, there’s the distinctive look of the silver sides and white front and back panels, plus items like flush-fitting grab handles, heavy-duty (of course) corner steadies, all the way up to the E&P Hydraulics LevelSystem. This works off the leisure battery and promises to get you level within two minutes of arrival on your pitch.
Step inside and it’s just as eye-catching. Dark furniture is offset by light soft furnishings. There’s a gentle curve to the lockers and lots of LED lighting, including LED strips over the lockers and under the worktops.
There’s no shortage of seating on board the Aruba tourer– not just parallel benches at the front, but also a central U-shaped settee – and there’s still space for a permanent bed, in this instance a French double with washroom alongside.
As French beds go, it has a generous length (1.90m), but, it’s not the widest at 1.25m. Commendably, it’s low-set, for easiest access. There’s a proper headboard, as well as ledges and lockers.
The other sleeping berths are at the front (of course, where you could go for two slightly short (1.81m) singles or a massive 2.12m x 1.45m double.
Then there’s the centre lounge, although to be honest there’s a lot of fiddling about with extra cushions and the pedestal leg table here. And, the corridor between front and back gets somewhat constricted.
The washroom itself has a tile-effect finish in the shower cubicle (where you also get an Ecocamel showerhead and a retractable clothes line), a countertop basin and an Alde heated towel rail radiator. Shame there’s no window, despite seemingly there’s an ideal spot for one.
There’s no hint of stinting in the kitchen. Set left is a Thetford full cooker with dual-fuel hob and, unusually, cast-iron pan supports, plus separate oven and grill.
To its right there’s a large rectangular sink. Also here are a Dometic fridge with removable freezer compartment, microwave oven (at a convenient height) and a flip-up worktop extension.
Such things could be considered essentials, of course, but then you get to features like self-closing drawers, acrylic splash-back panelling, electric roof vent and more.
It’s the same elsewhere. Other windows have concertina blinds and flyscreens, plus eyelet curtains. There’s an upmarket Pioneer stereo system and pet-friendly upholstery.
Long sunroof over the lounge areas. Mains and USB sockets. Deep, angled backrests to the seats. 100Watt solar panel.
Alde Load Monitor to make sure you don’t trip out the electrics. That “wet” central heating system extends to the underfloor, too. Another unreserved luxury touch.
Storage? Is that ever going to be an issue in a unit like this? There’s internal and external access to the front seat bases as well as the rear bed. Upper level lockers are in their teens. The wardrobe is more than just spacious.
It’s not all pluses, of course. At this price, you’d expect flush fitting side windows, a more reassuring feel to the locker doors and the tidiest of wiring (ideally completely out of sight) when you really start poking around.
The Aruba caravan has no obvious rivals, however. Nobody else produces a floorplan like this at this level of width, price and specification.
Verdict: Feel the width, check the quality
Plus: Ultimate luxuries, spacious washroom, generous seating
Minus: Tricky centre double bed
There’s more information on the Buccaneer range on the Elddis website . To find out more about insuring this or your current caravan visit our caravan insurance discounts page.
Alternatives: Bailey Pegasus Grande Turin, Lunar Alaria TI, Swift Elegance Grande 655
Buccaneer Aruba factfile
|Dimensions||8.16m L, 2.45m W, 2.64m H|
|RRP||from £33,994 on the road|
|Safety & security||Al-Ko Secure Diamond wheel locks, Al-Ko ATC, Thatcham Cat 7 Tracker tracking system, PIR alarm, smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, CRiS|
|Key options||Leather upholstery (£1,350), wraparound front seating (£259), Fiamma bike rack (£379), bedding set (£260), additional locker shelving (£42), Teleco satellite TV system (£1,995), Truma air conditioning (£1,595), alternative upholstery (from £275)|