On the face of it, the Bailey Pegasus GT65 Ancona’s six-berth layout is pretty standard. It has two bunks and two more to be made up in a dining area. It’s reasonably light in weight and it’s on one axle, just like lots of its competitors. So what makes the Ancona special?
An important factor in terms of layout flexibility is that the settees, at 1.7m, are just long enough to create single beds for people of average height, so parents don’t necessarily always have to make up the double. That’s ideal on stopovers en route to your holiday destination.
Another distinctive feature is the shape and design of the shower room. It’s triangular, spanning the width between the bunks and the nearside. And it’s large, with a good-sized shower and plenty of space for family towelling and dressing children.
The new generation of Pegasus, launched to celebrate Bailey’s 65th year in manufacturer, is equipped with the Whale blown-air heating system with touch-screen control panel. The Ancona has four outlets for the warmed air.
This model’s practical layout, with a two-seater nearside dining area and bunks inconspicuously tucked away on the offside corner, works well.
One aspect that attracts praise about this model is the number and location of its mains sockets. There are five. Two are in the kitchen, a third is at the front of the lounge and there are two more on the dresser that divides the lounge from the side dining area. The siting of these two are of particular importance to a family as it’s on the side dining table that laptops and other devices are likely to be used – and charged.
The showering arrangements, too, came in for praise during our test week.
The shower is an intriguing shape, a rectangle with a slightly extended angle at one end. That means the entrance to it is 75cm wide, which makes it really easy for a parent to shower very young children.
The floor space outside the shower isn’t as big as you’d find in a full-width shower room but isn’t far short of it. There are two cabinets, some shelving and an outlet for the central heating system, which means towels hung on the loop on the door will dry. For six people though, we’d have liked more towel accommodation.
There’s another practicality about the shower room that won’t quite meet the preening needs of everyone. The Ancona has a mirror on the outside of the shower room, alongside the door. But the nearest power socket is forward of the dining area. That distance is more than normal hairdryer cable length. So if you buy an Ancona, it might be wise to ask for an extra mains socket to be fitted into the base of the dining area seating, near to the mirror.
The top bunk has a metal fixed ladder. The top of it runs parallel to the wooden guard rail, forming a sort of handle that the occupant can grasp hold of to climb into the bunk. Simple, but brilliant!
The base of the lower bunk can be raised in two halves to access the storage space beneath; we think that’s easier than raising the entire base, as is more usually found.
The mattresses for bunks that can be created in the dining area are made from the seating upholstery. Each section folds out, doubling its length but obviously halving its depth. That’s not a problem for little, lightweight caravanners, though – and this seating foam is firmer than many we find. A clip-on ladder for the pull-up bunk stores under the base of the fixed bunks. Wooden side guards also clip on. A curtain made of quality material, and lined, tracks around the bunk area. But because it’s good quality fabric and also because the lining increases its bulk, it looks, well, bulky, and just a little untidy, even when we carefully folded it into its tie-back. It basically sits atop the forward dining seat, and gets in the way.
The centre base of the lounge double bed extracts from the offside settee to meet the opposite settee. As with all Pegasus models, this is an easy bed-making process.
For a 5.68m caravan, storage is plentiful. There’s good space under the four seating areas, under the bunk and in nine top lockers. The wardrobe, between the fixed bunks and the kitchen, has two shelf spaces; the area under the base shelf is mostly occupied by the Whale heating system but there is enough space in front of it for a couple of pairs of shoes.
The Ancona gives you dining options. The slide-out table built into the windowsill and recessed drawer unit is fine for snacks or meals for two. Two more can eat in the dedicated dining area. And when four want to eat together, you can get out the main table. It lives under the nearside settee, resting securely on four padded metal brackets. To extract (or replace) it you have to remove the backrest in order to raise the base, though. We think that if we bought an Ancona we’d probably keep the table in an awning, because that means you only need to get it out once, when you arrive, and then set it up in the awning. When it’s needed in the caravan you can simply fold its legs and carry it inside, no need to ask people to get up and leave the lounge while you wrestle with upholstery before every meal!
Lounging, though, presents no challenges. You can just put your feet up on those long settees and turn on your television which you can place either on the deep windowsill or the dresser; both have mains, 12-volt and aerial sockets.
The Ancona’s family capability is especially apparent in lounging mode. With each settee long enough to seat three, and two more sitting to the side table, there is a lot of space and lots of options when it comes to family activities.
In kitchen surface terms the Ancona is something of a star, given that its body length is not enormous, at 5.68m. The surface is 1.12m wide; even when the drainer is in place (it’s 41cm in circumference), there is an area in the centre measuring 66cm x 41cm, plus space around the sink.
The gas bottle housing is behind the kitchen units of Pegasus models, which obviously gobbles up kitchen storage space. But with a 37cm-wide, two-shelf cabinet opposite, in the dresser, stowing food and kitchen equipment is never going to be a problem.
The microwave is above the dresser, with a locker above it. The fridge is alongside the cooker (with dual fuel hob). Under the sink, and in front of the gas compartment, three shelves give good accommodation; they are 40cm wide and 19cm deep. The top one gives enough clearance for tall items.
We’d praised the kitchen, the sleeping capability and the versatility. Only the dining table hideaway had come in for some stick from the Caravan Buyer team. Out on the road, we had nothing but praise as the Ancona displayed surefooted responsiveness on corners and stability on straight sections. The ATC electronic sway detection system is here to enhance safety by applying the caravan brakes in response to any straying out of alignment. Gusty winds during our test tow could well have upset the Ancona’s equilibrium, and the ATC would have automatically switched into action to correct it – and the driver can’t detect when that is happening. Stability enhancement systems are intelligent and brilliant devices that carry out their task undetected, looking after you and your family; they’re the silent protector.
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