A caravan layout that’s become highly popular here in the UK – extending transverse island bed with a full-width washroom beyond – is also available at a highly competitive sub-£19,000 price from French manufacturer Caravelair.
Its Antarès 480 caravan may lack some of the niceties of more expensive British-made rivals, but there’s a style to go with the substance here that suggests Caravelairs may appeal most to newcomers to caravanning. But, you’ll also want to do some specification comparisons to see how the Antarès ups the ante.
There’s a more continental look to the exterior, for starters, with a single front window and no sign of the kind of sunroof arrangement that’s increasingly favoured in the UK (although the interior boasts two high-level lockers instead, which some folk will find more useful). Then again, the alloy wheels and heavy-duty corner steadies are pointers that not all corners have been cut in terms of costs.
That bodywork of the Caravelair Antarès 480 caravan is all-GRP (backed by a seven-year water ingress warranty), with minimal graphics. Unlike some imports, the door is UK nearside. And it comes with external mains, gas and shower outlets. Look closer and you’ll spot you also get shock absorbers (for a more pliant ride) plus fixing points for a bike rack at the back.
Inside, the Antarès 480 has a short front lounge, although this converts easily enough into a 2.00m x 1.60m transverse double bed. In the daytime, you can have the seating U-shaped if you wish, but there’s also a handy flip-up tabletop ideal for your favourite drinks and snacks. For full meals, there’s a free-standing table to retrieve from the wardrobe that’s on your right as you enter the caravan.
Below the wardrobe is the fridge (87-litre total capacity, with manual gas ignition which helps keep the price of the Antarès down), while the main kitchen area has a short run along the offside mid-‘van.
Here, there’s a Thetford Triplex cooker to the far right (two gas rings, one electric hotplate, combined oven and grill), a circular sink (with loose glass cover) to its left and a small, but nevertheless useful, flip-up worktop extension.
That compact cooker has another key advantage – it frees up storage space, hence two decent low-level lockers, a drawer with loose cutlery tray directly under the sink and two overhead lockers.
There’s a curtain to divide the bedroom of this Antarès 480 caravan from the rest of the living quarters. That bed extends to some 1.89m x 1.35m, with an anti-bacterial, anti-dust mite Comfort mattress on sprung slats for extra support as well as ventilation.
There’s plenty of storage in the bed base, accessed by hinging up the metal frame, as well as via an external hatch.
The bed itself is flanked by units each housing a wardrobe, mattress-level ledge and shelved locker. There are twin lockers overhead, but you should still be able to sit up in bed (it’s a low headboard, though).
A corner unit at the foot end could do double duty as a dresser, thanks to its two large mirrors, or a place to put a small TV (there’s a mains socket here, but the only aerial inlet is set high just inside the habitation door, where you also get a flatscreen TV holder).
A sliding door provides access to the washroom of the Antarès 480 caravan, where there’s a swivel-bowl toilet (albeit with only a manual flush) with window behind. Centre washroom is a storage unit under a rectangular countertop basin. A separate shower cubicle occupies the nearside corner – it has bi-folding doors, plastic wall linings, etc.
Although most definitely built down to a price, there are a few surprises in the specification. It’s a Truma Combi 6 boiler for the heating and hot water supply, complete with iNet system for remote operation, for example. There’s a decent spread of mains and USB sockets, plus pre-wiring for a solar panel. Reading lights – two-apiece in the bedroom ad lounge – are on flexible stalks. You even get a 30-litre, wheeled waste water container.
The only factory-fit option is the £1,399 Plus Pack (includes TV aerial, 100Watt solar panel and leisure battery).
You can forgive, also, some of the cost cutting features, when you see what else you get for your money here.
Verdict: Keenly priced variant of one of the floorplans du jour
Plus: Light weight, light price
Minus: Lacks a bit of finesse
In-a-nutshell: Caravelair on a purse string
There’s more information on the Antarès range on the Marquis Leisure website. To find out more about insuring this or your current caravan visit our caravan insurance discounts page.
Alternatives: Bailey Phoenix+ 644, Elddis Xplore 554, Swift Sprite Major 4 SB
Caravelair Antarès 480 factfile
|Caravelair Antarès 480
|7.31m L, 2.30m W, 2.58m H
|from £18,995 on the road
|Safety & security
|AL-KO 3004 stabiliser, shock absorbers, heavy-duty corner steadies, smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector
|Plus Pack (£1,399)