Not content with a quick peek inside the new Bailey Motorhome range, journalists Liz and Dave King took the Approach 740 on a 3 day live in test to give it a thorough examination.
It’s based on the Peugeot Boxer, from the rear it could be mistaken for a touring caravan but the Bailey Approach 740 SE is definitely a motorhome unlike any other.
The big clue is the Alu-Tech timber-free body construction, unique to Bailey.
The layout we tested was the four-berth model with a fixed rear bed and a side washroom.
Bailey has decided to offer a single cab with popular options fitted as standard for all of the three models currently available; all will be built on the new Euro 5 base. It was easy to drive, not at all commercial, with good road holding and a good driving position; just what we wanted as we drove through the Devon countryside in the autumn sunshine. We were glad of the air-conditioning and thankfully didn’t have to put the dual front airbags to the test!
The motorhome is built on the low-line AL-KO lightweight AMC chassis which with its low centre of gravity provides a more balanced weight distribution, gives wider track suspension, increases user payloads and negates the need for a step into the habitation area.
Don’t let the width intimidate you; it has its advantages as we were able to move around the habitation area in comfort and combined with the interior height, the “walnut” wood veneer furniture, the Vivaldi interior colour scheme, and the large PolyClassic windows it made the area a very spacious place to be. Interior design cues are from the company’s award winning touring caravan range. When driving, just remember if you can get the wing mirrors through the gap, then the rest will follow.
Storage was good throughout with a decent sized wardrobe, plenty of roof lockers, under bed lockers, cupboards and drawers all in the right place. There were more than we needed for our trip, but for longer trips or overwintering in warmer climates, you could take the kitchen sink.
The kitchen is fitted with the same stainless steel sink/plastic drainer, chopping board, plastic bowl and contrasting overhead lockers that feature across the company’s touring caravan range; it has a four burner gas hob with a grill and anti-shock oven which have been specially designed to be rattle-free especially if you position the single oven shelf on the “anti-rattle” lower rung. We were sceptical, but the shelf didn’t rattle at all, to our surprise. Likewise, much thought has been given to the choice of an “anti-rattle” microwave and dozens were put to the test before the correct one was found and it didn’t rattle either.
We found the kitchen easy to use and practical; we just loved the large capacity Dometic fridge and big freezer; the latter is designed to take ready frozen food, rather than to freeze food. We didn’t like having to get the big table out for every meal and missed having a low, yet removable, table between the driver and passenger seats for casual use. This is a challenge we’ve thrown down to the Bailey designers to address.
The offside shower room more than met our expectations, and benefits from the overall width of the motorhome; the storage didn’t disappoint us either.
We found the double bed a bit firm, but it may suit some people; for others like us, a mattress topper would improve the comfort.
Where to see the range; at the Motorhome and Caravan show at NEC, Birmingham, Hall 19 stand 19-29 from October 11th to 16th Display models will arrive on dealer forecourts from mid-November.
The technical stuff
Four berths, with two designated travelling seats
Peugeot engine 2.2 Hdi 130bhp with six speed manual gearbox
Grade III classification Thermal insulation for EN1646-1 as verified in cold chamber testing at Millbrook Proving Ground
Overall length 7.519m (24ft 8ins
Overall body width 2.420m (7ft 11ins) excluding mirrors and trims
Overall height 2.738m (9ft 0ins)
Interior headroom 1.98m (6ft 6ins)
MTPLM 3500 kg (68.9cwt)
MIRO 2990 kg (58.9cwt)
Fresh water tank 100 litres
Waste water tank 100 litres
Gas locker capacity 1 x13kg and 1 x 6kg
Rear bed size 6ft 4ins x 4ft 6ins
Front double 7ft 4ins x 4ft 6ins
Front single beds 5ft 6ins x 2ft 4ins
Price Still to be confirmed at the Motorhome and Caravan Show on the 11th October but circa £43,000 OTR
Estimated insurance cost: £277.50 *
Let’s be honest it’s a, well specified lazy man’s two-berth introduced at a challenging time in the market at a very interesting price and with the benefit of Alu-Tech construction. If you are thinking of buying a motorhome in this price bracket, then this must be on your “must see” list.
* Motorhome insurance based on 2012 Bailey approach 740 SE valued at £43,000. Fitted with manufacturer immobiliser and Thatcham Category 1 alarm. Kept on driveway at home at TD9 8ED. Motorhome owners – professionals over 50 years old with no claims, convictions or health conditions in last 3 years. 4 years no claims bonus mirrored from car policy and 2 years motorhome driving experience. Members of motorhome club doing less than 7000 miles annually. £250 excess applies. European cover £22 Extra. European Breakdown £43 extra. Premium includes Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) at 6% and is correct as of 12.10.11.