Caravan Awards 2018 - The Winners
It's that time of the year when we announce to readers our choices on the best of caravans and caravan accessories to come out for the new season.
More people are choosing to take their holidays in the UK, which means caravanning is becoming more popular than ever. The choice of caravans is wide and there are some exceptional vans on the market, and new, useful accessories.
Here are the winners and highly commended for 2018!
Adria Action - Best Caravan for Activities
- Price £16,990
- 1100kg MTPLM
This caravan is made for two people who are looking for a holiday base with bags of storage space in a small, ultra-lightweight caravan, and who also want head-turning exterior styling.
Adria relaunched its curvy-rear-bodyline Action model this year amid an emphasis in the market on caravans designed for sporty use.
The cute little Action is designed to sleep two but is capable of sleeping three. Its MTPLM is just 1100kg. The body is just 4m long; its width is 2.2m.
The Action first appeared a decade ago. The new-look Adria Action has a hitch-to-tail-lights length of just 5.1m and has a U-shaped seating area, a rear kitchen and a corner toilet-shower compartment.
A high-arching sunroof plus a slender front window together let in plenty of light. The side windows have voile panels. The fridge is above a three-drawer unit, on the offside just forward of the toilet compartment. The washbasin is hinged, integral with a mirrored unit.
A rail runs across the roof for hanging towels.
The Action has a surprising amount of storage space in its minuscule body length and a lovely wrap-around lounge that makes into a big double bed. It has a Bluetooth sound system that you pair with your iPhone.
It's comfortable. The interior design is super-modern, and all the showering and cooking equipment you need is here.
Welcome back, Action; maybe you were ahead of your time 10 years ago. Now, though, you're ideal for the rising demand for caravans for action-packed holidays and short breaks.
The Action will appeal to people who want a caravan that's outstandingly different in looks – from the outside, this is a caravan like no other.
It's solidly built, yet bantamweight. It has all that you need, in an ultra-compact body. We love the neat sound system and the simple styling. Can a caravan be described as sexy? If ever one can, it's this one.
- 1002kg MTPLM
- 750kg MTPLM
- 1000kg MTPLM
Best Caravan For Seasonal Siting - Lunar Alaria Range
- 1705kg-1875KG MTPLM
Lunar Alarias' size and domestic-style lounges make them ideal for seasonal siting.
Four models, all with L-shaped lounges and E&P's hydraulic Levelsystem which automatically levels the caravan with a touch of a button.
Alarias are luxurious, twin-axle caravans. They first appeared for 2017 – and got our attention then. Now, for 2018, they are wider, at 2.46m.
Buyers have a choice of four models, TS, TI, RI and TR, each with a different bed configuration.
The TR has a rear bedroom with the bed head mounted against the rear wall, and a central shower room. This model has the slimline fridge-freezer.
The Alaria RI has a 190-litre fridge-freezer, a central shower room and rear bedroom. This time the bed is transversely aligned. Wardrobes are alongside the bed and there's also one in the shower room.
The TI has an open-plan layout with the shower room across the rear and a transverse bed forward of it. The TS has an exceptionally large shower room with two wardrobes. It has the 190-litre Dometic fridge-freezer and an over-hob extractor fan, also by Dometic. All bases covered, then! And all of them are ultra luxurious.
While Alarias are definitely built to be tourers, their size and domestic style of lounges also make them ideal for seasonal siting. Our award goes to the whole range; four super-luxury, spacious caravans for connoisseurs, with Alde heating, self-levelling system and many appealing bells and whistles.
Alarias' size and domestic-style lounges make them ideal for seasonal siting
- Alaria TR
- Alaria TI
- Alaria RI
- 1900kg MTPLM
- 1871kg MTPLM
- 1730kg MTPLM
- 1990kg MTPLM
Best Luxury Two-berth Caravan - Bailey Unicorn Seville
- 1326kg MTPLM
The Seville is a superb option for two, light in weight and with a layout that has immense practical appeal.
Bailey Unicorns have always easily earned the description 'luxury' for their high spec including Alde heating. But perhaps the two-berth layout in the range has been overshadowed by its longer, double-bed siblings, until now.
The Seville gets a complete redesign for 2018, now with an L-shaped kitchen and washroom containing a separate shower cubicle.
The hob is set into the rear sector of the kitchen area, with the sink in the nearside sector. A large dresser, forward of the door, creates even more surface space.
Pale grey kitchen splash backs with the word 'Unicorn' embossed on the lower sector, are a feature of all models, with a concealed strip of LEDs above. In the Seville, the splashback forms the whole rear kitchen wall.
Concealed bright, white lighting runs below the kitchen units, too; storage comes in three drawers, a slim, full-height cabinet and two large head-height cabinets. One is fitted for tableware; the other is divided into four shelf spaces.
Like all models in the 2018 Unicorn range, the Seville has a double hob cover – a glass cover, plus a second one, matching the kitchen surface, effectively creating more usable working space.
The shower room is longitudinally aligned, with the shower cubicle at the rear. A hinge-down towel rail is suspended from the ceiling.
The Seville's wardrobe is forward of the shower room, with full garment-length hanging space plus three large shelf spaces. The big storage story continues into the dresser, with a double-doored cabinet containing four shelf spaces.
The Seville has the slimline Dometic fridge-freezer, positioned forward of the wardrobe.
The new Bailey Unicorn Seville is a superb option for two; light in weight at 1326kg MTPLM and with a layout and generous storage capability that gives it immense practical appeal.
We love the hinge-down towel rail in the shower, the double hob cover which increases surface space and little luxury touches including the concealed lighting running below the kitchen units.
- 1299 kg MTPLM
Best Lightweight Two-berth Caravan - Xplore 422
- 1043kg MTPLM
This new two-berth model, with a separate shower, is a masterpiece of compact design ingenuity.
When we reviewed the new-for-2018 Xplore 422 compact, lightweight two-berth we described it as 'redefining the end-kitchen, two-berth concept.' Whereas traditionally, end-kitchen two-berths had combined shower-toilet compartments, this new model has a separate shower – and its body length is a mere 4.2m.
The kitchen is L-shaped, with windows both at the rear and sides, making it exceptionally light and bright. There's a proper dresser, alongside the door, whereas classic end-kitchen two-berths had the fridge here. In this new layout the fridge is on the offside, with a half-length wardrobe above it.
The L-shape of the kitchen creates an awesome amount of storage space, in three cabinets and three drawers.
The oven and grill are a combined unit, which means there's space beneath it for a deep cupboard.
The separate shower, in a compact two-berth layout, the exceptionally light and bright kitchen area with an amazing quantity of storage space… This new model is a masterpiece of compact design ingenuity. And its sunny mango orange fabric accent colour plus its turquoise decals add to its get-out-and-tow appeal.
It gained slightly more marks than the two other models on the shortlist, made by the same manufacturer, purely because it's lighter in weight.
- 1249 kg MPTLM
Best Twin-bed Caravan - Buccaneer Clipper
- 1979 kg MTPLM
If you're looking in the over-£30,000 sector, the new Buccaneer Clipper layout may just prove your best option.
The Clipper isn't a new name, but it has a new layout for 2018, with twin beds at the rear and a centrally positioned shower cubicle on one side and a toilet-washbasin room opposite.
This layout works well for couples, of course, and it's also practical for families, especially when offspring are teenagers. That's because the bedroom at the rear is totally separate from the rest of the caravan, with the grooming facilities in the centre, accessible from either end.
No one has to walk through anyone else's bedroom to get to the loo and the shower.
The sheer size of the Clipper – 2.45m wide, with a body length of 6.39m – also gives it the edge for families who need plenty of space.
For couples, the Clipper can easily be regarded as close to an apartment in tourer terms. And if you're looking for top spec, you've found it here. Just look at what you get: the E&P Levelsystem automatic levelling device is standard; the Alde heating system has underfloor heat channels. Now consider the versatility of this layout for families and couples, and you may be beginning to see why this tourer is a winner.
It has the highest spec among the contenders for this award, but it didn't win on that attribute. High marks were gained for its huge exterior cabinet (an ideal place for welly boots, walking boots, dog tethers and anything else that needs to be outside the caravan), its gargantuan storage capacity, its large rectangular sink.
And the L-shape of the kitchen, making it feel well separated from the lounge and creating a huge amount of surface.
If you want the best in caravanning opulence, and you want your corner steadies to lower and raise themselves at the touch of a button on a handset or a panel by the door, this is a fantastic choice.
And if you're looking in the over-£30,000 sector, whether you're a couple or a family of four with offspring rising into teenage years, the Clipper layout may just prove your best holiday option.
- 1776kg MTPLM
- 1477kg MTPLM
- 1776kg MTPLM
Best Transverse-island-bed Caravan - Lunar Lexon 660
- 1625 kg MTPLM
The new Lunar Lexon 660 is an appealing package of spacious touring accommodation.
The ever-growing market for transverse-island-bed caravans gets a special addition from the Lexon range for 2018.
The twin-axle 660 has a rear shower room. Stunning lighting design creates an opulent look, a frame of light around the top kitchen lockers, lighting concealed within an open-shelved corner cabinet in the lounge and small circular bright lights set into the roof.
The double bed is 1.83m (six feet) long. If you're taller, you can get a 10cm mattress extension which slots in at the pillow end of mattress, to make the bed six feet four inches long.
Lexons have restyled, sleeker-design gas lockers for 2018. Grab handles are new, in a chunkier design. Grey kitchen locker doors are introduced, together with a new splashback and tap design.
A Belfast-style washbasin arrives, plus a new fabric scheme featuring pale chocolate brown. Curtains pick up the chocolate shade and mix it with creams in a horizontal pattern. Cushions are a stunning feature of the décor, with the words 'beach', 'sun', 'soak' and 'seaside' involved in the pattern.
The coastal-theme cushions, of course!
But no caravan ever won an award for its cushions alone. They are, though, a lovely part of the whole appealing 660 package of spacious touring accommodation, with a big, comfortable bed, a lengthy lounge and plenty of kitchen surface space.
And we love the option to get an extension to take the bed to six feet four inches in length; what's more, the extension costs only £29!
- 1695kg MTPLM
- 1639kg MTPLM
- 1900kg MTPLM
- 1624 kg MTPLM
Best Luxury Fixed-bed Caravan For Couples - Bailey Unicorn Barcelona
- 1680 kg MTPLM
The new-layout Bailey Unicorn Barcelona is one fantastic caravan that fulfils its role in an exemplary manner.
After the first Barcelona was launched for 2011 it went on to win Caravan's Caravan of the Year title for its luxury, light for its length and great value. Two versions of this model have come along since then; both great caravans.
Now, though, the fourth- generation Barcelona has arrived, with a layout and styling utterly stunning, and some fabulous new features.
When we went to the Bailey factory for a pre-launch viewing of the new model prior to its public unveiling at the October NEC show, we were hugely impressed and felt sure buyers would feel the same. When it came to the intense judging for these awards, this caravan scored exceptionally high marks in all areas.
These are some reasons why: the new kitchen, with a double hob cover so that the available surface is increased; the new bedroom layout; and the new shower room styling is stunning. Plus, the exterior lines are smooth and classy.
The new Barcelona scored its high points, in particular, for its light weight for its length, its lower price than many of its competitors, its brilliant storage capability and because it has the largest fridge-freezer on the market.
This is one fantastic caravan that fulfils its role in an exemplary manner; the first Barcelona was a star, the next two were good but not as exceptional; this one is even better than the first. And that's praise indeed.
- 1990kg MTPLM
- 1705kg-1875 kg MTPLM
Best Luxury Caravan For Families - Coachman Vision 630
- 1677kg MTPLM
The Coachman Vision 630 - Value and lightweight... you get all this for £22,295, and 1677 kg MTPLM, putting this level of luxury within reach of many budgets and towcar weights.
This award was arguably our most difficult to judge. Three cracking family caravans, all earning high scores in all sections during the final judging. All luxurious in their own ways.
All on twin axles. All offering ample space for great family holidays… Yet the winner isn't the one with the highest spec, which proves our scoring system works because it's designed to achieve a rounded result.
The Vision's bunk arrangement, on the offside, just forward of the luxuriously large rear shower room, and secluded by a part wall, was among the features which gained this caravan's top scores. Another was the super-convenient split-level kitchen, the lower surface giving you the option to put your TV here or use it for kitchen purposes.
We love the position of the wardrobe within the shower room. And the generous amount of kitchen storage space. And the light, bright ambience created by pale woodwork and fabrics.
You get all this for £22,295, and 1677 kg MTPLM, putting this level of luxury in reach of many budgets and towcar weights.
Value. And lightweight. Those two factors pushed up the Vision 630's scores, so that its figures just took it ahead of its competitors. Our judges thought all this caravan's attributes added up to family luxury available to many families.
- 1979kg MTPLM
- 1767kg MTPLM
Best Layout For Couples - Sprite Quattro EB
- 1624kg MTPLM
Fantastic space, a brilliantly-cosy bedroom... the new Sprite Quattro EB has it all.
Well done, Swift, for creating a layout of immense practicality and charm.
The designation EB stands for 'end bed'. This model brings to the Sprite range the fashionable end- bedroom, central-shower-room configuration that has now swept throughout tourer ranges, from top-spec, £30,000-plus options to lesser-spec, lower-priced marques.
Sprite, always the icon of affordability, now has a caravan in its range which has two separate rooms. Or should we say three? That all depends on whether you want to class the shower room as an en suite or a separate room.
Either way, it's a brilliant arrangement, with a forward-hinged door to close off the entire sleeping-showering sector, and a sliding door to separate the bedroom from the washing facilities.
This new version of the current on-trend central-shower-room layout is on twin axles, which doesn't just mean that tow stability is boosted; it means the Quattro EB is longer than many versions of this layout – and we have to say this layout works best with a longer body length.
That's because the length enables both the shower area and the lounge to be spacious; the EB's settees are 1.9m long – ideal if you like to entertain friends as there's enough seating space for six here.
Fantastic space, especially in the shower room. A brilliantly-cosy and secluded rear bedroom… The new Quattro EB has it all – including a shower room that's also a dressing room; that's because the wardrobe is in here.
Well done, Swift, for creating a layout of immense practicality and charm. We love it!
- 1865kg MTPLM
Best Lightweight Caravan For Families - 1500kg Or Under - Caravelair Antares 406
- 1150kg MTPLM
The new Caravelair Antarès 406 is a stunning caravan for its price tag, with extreme light weight, an exceptionally affordable price and an ingenious layout.
Caravelair Antarès Caravans are imported exclusively by the giant retail group, Marquis. They are made in France. All the models are light.
This new model brings to the market a family model of exceptional light weight. But the 406 didn't win this award simply because it's the lightest of the caravans on the shortlist. It didn't win it because it's the lowest priced, either, although its impressive value did elevate its score in the 'value' sector of our scoring system.
The impressive thing about this caravan is its cleverly designed layout that accommodates four, and has two seating areas, in a caravan with a body length of a mere 3.8m (its overall length is just 5.5m).
The U-shaped lounge feels cosily comfortable. It has a neat coffee table to hinge up at the centre front. And the second seating area, a dining place for two, is well separated from the lounge by the furniture that houses the fridge and wardrobe.
Children will love this nice seclusion; a place to play as well as eat. This area converts to bunks – again, the seclusion is important. To find a secluded area in such a small caravan is awesome.
The shower shares space with the toilet but there have to be compromises to achieve so much in such a short caravan; it's a compromise that's easy
The kitchen is just big enough for family catering, and has a feature we didn't expect in a caravan of this price – a mains hotplate, alongside two burners. The oven and grill are a combined unit.
Storage space in the kitchen is impressive – two big cabinets and a large drawer with a section fitted for cutlery.
The extreme light weight. The exceptionally affordable price. The ingenuity of the layout. The seclusion of the dining-bunk area. The good amount of storage space in such a small caravan. The 406 is a stunning caravan for its price tag.
- 1350kg MTPLM
- 1480 kg MTPLM
Accessory Of The Year - E&P Compact Levelsystem
E&P's Compact Caravan Levelsystem wins this award because it brings hydraulic levelling within reach of more caravan owners. How?
It costs less and has less impact on your payload than E&P's Complete Caravan Levelsystem.
This new system is basically a cut-down version of E&P's heavier, more expensive Complete Caravan Levelsystem.
The Complete system has two axle jacks plus four hydraulic levelling legs, costs £2957 (fitted) and adds 30 kg to the weight of the caravan; the Compact system, which comprises just the two axle jacks, costs £1808 and weighs 20kg.