Time for a refresher
Bailey’s perennially popular Unicorn caravan range was given a bit of a make-over when the company announced latest variants would be called Black Edition. There’s added premium oomph to the overall specification as well as the slightest of changes to the overall look.
Two-berth Merida kicks off the seven-model line-up and, as you’d expect, it’s a good blend of equipment and competitive pricing.
As with all Bailey caravans, it all starts with the company’s Alu-Tech body construction, using GRP exterior and interior skins, polystyrene insulation, fully bonded and wood-free. It runs on 14in alloy wheels with shock absorbers helping to even out some of the inevitable bumps in any road.
Also on the outside, everything is in place for a proper caravanning holidays – satellite TV, gas and mains electric sockets – including recessed awning railing. Pre-wiring for a caravan mover is a handy bonus, too.
Inside the Merida caravan, it’s easy to forgive Bailey for a floorplan that is completely classic, albeit executed in a thoroughly modern manner. It’s all typical for a two-berth with a full-width washroom across the back.
There’s a choice of two soft furnishing schemes – Brompton, featuring here, is standard, the lighter-hued Alperton a £225 option. Furniture includes off-white gloss finish to the upper locker doors, a good complement to the dark wood finish to the main units.
At 1.94m (6ft 4in), those settees are long enough to act as single beds, if you wish. Or, it’s easy enough to create a generous double – 1.96m x 1.51m. Unicorn caravan fans may even detect a different feel to the cushioning – it’s now a foam that Bailey calls Honeycore. Typically, that central chest of drawers can provide an extended top at coffee time or, at full meal times, there’s a decent-sized free-standing table that goes back into a dedicated locker for storage.
Along the mid-‘van offside, the Merida caravan kitchen is well specified, with Thetford full cooker (dual-fuel hob, separate oven and grill) and (across the corridor) 103-litre Dometic fridge and high-level microwave oven.
The circular stainless steel sink comes with washing-up bowl and attachable plastic drainer. Note, also, the hinged cover for the hob is in the same material as the rest of the worktop – it makes for a neater appearance when the kitchen isn’t in use, but could also mean more work surface under certain circumstances.
Rear washrooms like this are always that bit more generous with their space around the countertop plastic sink, swivel-bowl toilet and separate shower.
There’s lots of typical Bailey touches in the Merida caravan– from the storage pockets to the linen basket. Plus, a good array of direct and ambient lighting. The standard kit count includes such desirables as Alde “wet” central heating and hot water system, Truma 100Watt solar panel, DAB radio/CD/MP3 player, Status 570 TV aerial etc.
You’re unlikely to want for too much more – Bailey prefers not to offer factory-fitted options, choosing instead to use your dealer’s expertise in adding extra items of kit – but it’s handy to know if you do, you could always up the maximum weight rating to 1,450kg which, in turn, means payload increase to a more realistic 233kg.
Tracker Monitor tracking and Al-Ko’s ATC head up a good list of security and safety fittings that also includes a PIR alarm, TyrePal tyre pressure monitoring and Al-Ko Secure wheel lock. All these will give you some generous discounts on your caravan insurance premium.
Of course, a traditional end washroom two-berth formula like this, at what these days is a mainstream-premium price, puts it up against rivals from the usual main UK manufacturers – Coachman, Elddis and Swift. Needless to say, then, competition here is particularly fierce. Over to you.
In this video we take a look inside the Bailey Unicorn Black Edition Cabrera caravan, which has the same features of the Merida but a different layout.
Verdict: General Unicorn improvements
Plus: Top level security fittings as standard, generous overall specification, classic two-berth format
Minus: Stiff competition, not the most generous of payloads
In-a-nutshell: Bailey has worked its magic
There’s more information on the Unicorn Black Edition range on the Bailey website. To find out more about insuring this or your current caravan visit our caravan insurance discounts page.
Alternatives: Coachman Acadia 460, Elddis Affinity 520, Swift Challenger 480
Bailey Unicorn Black Edition Merida factfile
|Bailey Unicorn Black Edition Merida
|6.19m L, 2.28m W, 2.61m H
|from £24,564 on the road
|Safety & security
|Tracker Monitor (with three-month subscription), Al-Ko ATC (Trailer Control System), AKS stabiliser, Al-Ko Secure Locks, TyrePal tyre pressure monitoring system, laser-balanced wheels with security tyres and anti-tamper bolts, shock absorbers, smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, floor-mounted spare wheel, CRiS with concealed data chip, Tracker PIR alarm with tilt sensor and key fob operation.
|Four-year extension to bodyshell warranty (£265), three-year extension to manufacturing warranty (£439), alternative upholstery (£225)