The Adria Altea Severn is a great-value choice for a family of six (or seven!). Give careful consideration to the shortage of storage space in the kitchen, and whether it suits your family’s needs; get your retailer to fit a couple more towel loops, and the Severn is a great option in the important family lightweight budget bracket.
The Adria Altea Severn is a six-berth, lightweight caravan with two living and sleeping areas, for just £14,199 and with an MTPLM figure of only 1415kg.
The Severn, one of two family layouts in the lightweight Adria Altea range, has a rare attribute. It’s capable of accommodating seven people; you can order your caravan with three bunks rather than two, for an extra £295.
Triple bunks emerged and then disappeared quite quickly as a trend in caravan layout. True, the restricted headroom of each bunk area when three are crammed into the normal depth space of two bunks means that, as little children become less little, you begin to call into question the continued suitability of the caravan for your needs. Triple bunks are undeniably ideal, though, when your children are young. One reason is that the base bunk is so close to the floor that rolling-out-of-bed incidences won’t inflict any risk of injury.
So, ideal for young families and equally ideal for buyers who have light weight at the top of their priority list. At 1415kg this is among the lightest six-berths in Britain. Only the Xplore 526, at 1312kg MTPLM, the Xplore 586 at 1350kg, and the Venus 580/6 at 1380kg rival it in weight terms.
The Severn sits nicely into the budget market, a great choice for families looking for a tourer with no frills but with well-planned accommodation in two separate areas. The kids’ zone has a two-seater table opposite the bunks, and a tall cabinet containing two deep drawers and a drop-down-door cupboard. This unit is perfect to hide away all manner of holiday apparel. And there’s a mains socket close to the surface; this one of four mains sockets in the Severn. The others are in the kitchen, the lounge and, bizzarely, on the outside wall of the shower-toilet room, at waist height. We are puzzled as to the purpose of siting it here; it would have been more usefully employed in the family area at the back of the caravan.
Amid market expectancies of separate showers, the Severn’s shared shower-toilet compartment is now unusual. Whether this arrangement is suitable for your family’s needs depends on your priorities: Is showering in the caravan important? Or do you prefer everyone to use campsite showers?
Assuming it’s for occasional use only, this shower is fine. Space is confined, and even though a curtain protects the door, the whole compartment would have to be wiped dry after every use.
Alteas have a cleverly designed washbasin, integrated into a mirrored cabinet. The basin hinges down, over the toilet, making the most of the space in the little room. The basin is shallow in depth, but it’s a good width, at 48cm, and measures 36cm from front to back.
There are two towel rails, one on the wall and the other across the ceiling. But, with six aboard, additional towel-drying provision would be wanted; a couple of loops on the wall of the compartment would answer this need. (Most caravan dealers would be able to fit these.)
The bunks are 73cm wide and 1.93cm long; there’s no risk of the kids outgrowing these in terms of length! Each has a large window and a light, with a shade bearing images of cute little grey elephants. The bunks that can be created in the dining area are also 1.93m long. These are slightly narrower, at 70cm. The mattresses for these bunks, though, are not as deep as those on the fixed bunks (10cm). The lower dining-bunk’s mattress, making up from the seating units, is 8cm deep and the mattress for the top bunk is 6cm deep. That’s fine for lightweight tinies but not as comfortable as the children grow, and begin to need a greater mattress depth to get comfy. So, the dining bunks are for the youngest two and the older kids get the fixed bunks.
The double bed in the lounge is created by drawing base sections towards the centre from under each of the settees. It’s a quick and easy process.
The lower bunk base rises on self-supporting spring hinges so delving inside the space beneath is really easy. This is where, ideally, the top bunk mattress would be stored, but there’s still ample space here for other stuff here.
The spaces under the dining seating are also easy to get into. The five webbing-linked slatted tops slide back to create wide apertures.
Four top lockers surround the rear area and two more are above the lounge.
Using the spaces under the lounge seating is not so easy, though. The seat bases are quite heavy because there’s double the amount of slatting here, half of it sliding out to form the bed base. And there are no self-supporting hinges. So getting stuff in and out here is a two-person task; one pair of hands to hold up the base and the other to extract the duvets and pillows.
The wardrobe, aft of the toilet room, has 56cm of hanging width. It contains two shelves, but these are at the back of the hanging space, so you’d have to reach through a forest of clothes to get at items placed here. Shoe space is limited to the base of the wardrobe; if we bought a Severn we’d assign one of the rear dining area storage boxes to shoe use.
The kids, of course, have their own lovely little dining area in the rear. The freestanding table is stored in its own cabinet on the front end of the kitchen.
The lounge seating is U-shaped, so five can sit around the table. So, with two at the rear table, if you go for the seven-berth option, you can be certain that seven can easily sit to dine in the Severn.
At the front of the lounge a coffee table hinges up, increasing versatility here; that’s great for laptop use, too, we quickly discovered.
With two very separate areas, family lounging time, Severn-style, would be just about as good as it gets.
The Severn’s lounge look is subdued, with shades of fawn, cream and grey in curtains and cushions, and plain fawn seating. If this is too quiet for your tastes, a couple more cushions, in a bold colour, would transform the look to something more special. Personalising a caravan, in just a minor way like this, can be quite fun.
One visual aspect of both lounge-dining areas is utterly stunning. Lighting runs under the lockers, in a recessed ledge, backed by silvery grey surface and with a white base. The silvery colour and the white accentuate the illumination, creating a unique and amazing lighting design.
We love Adria’s unique-design in-line hobs. Each of the three burners is a different size, so giving a greater or lesser heat area.
Alteas have combined oven-grill units. In the Severn, it’s alongside the fridge. The cabinet beneath will take care of most of your pans. That’s the only lower kitchen storage space, though. Opposite, under the wardrobe, a 52cm wide drawer will help. But there’s no fitted cutlery drawer, so somehow cutlery would have to mingle with other stuff in this drawer, which isn’t ideal.
Surface space is limited to a 70 x 20cm area forward of the hob, plus an 18cm-wide area alongside the sink.
Alteas don’t come with microwaves. There’s a socket at the rear of one of the two top kitchen cabinets. Adria dealers can fit microwaves but, in the Severn, if you go for this, you’d need to bear in mind that you’d lose top locker space in a caravan that’s by no means generous on overall kitchen storage.
Well within weight-scope of a wide choice of mid-sized cars, Severns make a good choice if weight is a key consideration for you. The Severn’s test tow, albeit behind a vehicle far in excess of what’s needed for this caravan, was sheer joy. The Severn’s weight made very little impact on the power produced by our two-litre SsangYong Rexton, and manoeuvring it was an easy pleasure.