Apart from the purple graphics, the Phoenix 760 is so like the more expensive Bailey Unicorn in body shape and window configuration that you could mistake one for another at a quick glance. It has Unicorn Segovia DNA running right through it – the same oven and grill, the same brilliant double worktop, the same woodwork, the same layout. Any which way you compare the two caravans, the new 760 looks enticing value.
This six-berth Bailey Phoenix 360 caravan has vast kitchen storage and a layout that gives kids their own room
This six-berth van has vast kitchen storage and a layout that gives kids their own room
Bailey's old Pursuit range was generally perceived as sitting in the entry-level bracket; light in weight, a little basic and at an affordable price level. Its successor, though, is anything but basic.
In many ways the Phoenix is akin to its top-spec Bailey Unicorn cousin – with the same high-arching front window, similar body lines, and furnishings that are among the best. Yet the seven new Phoenix models are still light – all the single-axle models weigh less than 1500 kg and the twin-axle option tips the scales at just 1600kg.
Our review model provides an interesting caravan for comparison between the Unicorn and Phoenix. That's because the Phoenix 760 has the same layout as the Unicorn Segovia, which won Caravan magazine's Caravan of the Year title and our Best Caravan for Families award.
The Segovia wowed our judges with its cleverly designed layout, with a bunks-and-day-furniture kids' room divided by two doors and a washroom from the rest of the caravan. The Phoenix 760 offers the same layout for £6000 less.
And the differences? The Phoenix has Truma heating (whereas Unicorns have Alde). The 760 has the 133-litre slimline fridge-freezer, compared with the Segovia's giant 190-litre version.
Those, though, are the only significant differences – apart, of course, from that tempting £6000.
Phoenix is distinguished by bold purple graphics, matt cream top locker doors, and the type of simple, plain upholstery that no one is going to dislike. That's where the Phoenix fun starts. It's a bit of a blank canvas, with neutral tones – and a key option pack.
These caravans come, as standard, without cushions. So you can personalise your Phoenix by choosing cushions in your favourite colour from anywhere.
Or you could opt for Bailey's 'Dressing Pack', a £229 extra, which gives you four gorgeous scatter cushions (one side vibrant pink crushed velvet, the other side pink and purple diamond design), a pure wool throw (superb quality, lovely natural shades), two additional armrests and a carpet for the washroom.
The preening space in the Phoenix 760 is awesome in its design and convenience for family needs. It has a hinged door to separate it from the kitchen, and a sliding door to separate it from the kids' bedroom. The shower is on the nearside, the washbasin and toilet are opposite.
We'd definitely opt for a carpet here if a 760 were coming home with us. It's the only thing that's missing. Otherwise, the 760's washroom is superbly practical and luxurious.
There's plenty of shelving and two cabinets, a towel loop and two hooks (maybe we'd like another two hooks, but that's being picky), and a wardrobe with three deep shelves. That's more than enough space for six peoples' footwear.
When night falls, there's a cohesive bedroom for four, with two bunks and two more to create from the table and seating. Two large top cabinets and a cupboard separate the bunks. The rear seat is equipped with TV points, separated from the parents' evening lounging zone by two doors to reduce sound.
It all adds up to a recipe for family holiday harmony.
Up front, your choices are single beds that are 1.88m long, or a double that's 1.95m x 1.46m; a webbing-linked slatted base draws out from beneath the two drawers at the front to complete the double bed base.
Occupants of both the converted lounge-bedroom and the room at the rear can access the toilet and showering facilities without disturbing each other, the principal appeal of this style of layout.
The wardrobe offers 40cm of hanging width – we think that's not much for six, although it must be remembered that, the younger the children are, the less likely they are to have clothes that need to go on hangers. It's the cupboard space that proves important, and the two big cupboards in the bedroom are ideal, with a three-way split, so that there's a full-height section and two additional shelf spaces.
The under-bunk space is accessible from an outside hatch as well as by lifting the bed base.
The space under the seats in the rear room is also easy to access by lifting the top – you don't have to remove the upholstery to do so. This same applies to the spaces under the lounge sofas, one of which also has exterior hatch access.
Add into the mix two large top lockers in the lounge plus two drawers, and there's plenty of storage space for the needs of six.
The 760 has two family dining options. Two can eat in the rear 'dining room' and four at the table in the lounge (it's conveniently stored in a cabinet just aft of the kitchen). All six can eat together if you extend the snack table and place the table next to it.
A caravan in which each generation can relax in its own space wins our praise every time. And the 760 excels for its two large relaxing/playing/TV-watching rooms, which are well separated from one another.
Another key factor is the length of the lounge settees; at 1.88m long, each offers comfortable seating for three or acres of space for a couple to put their feet up.
It's been praise and A-ratings most of the way. Now for the biggest test: the efficiency of a kitchen is essential to happy six-person caravanning. Would the 760's kitchen match the other elements of the model?
First, storage space. Its 133-litre fridge-freezer has cupboards both above and below. There's a small cupboard above the microwave, and another below the oven. There's also a 47cm-wide cabinet on the nearside, split into three shelf spaces.
On the other side of the van, there's a 72cm-wide double-doored cupboard with a cutlery drawer of the same width, plus two top lockers. And there's a two-shelf space in the cabinet, where the table lies when it's not in use. It all adds up to enormous kitchen capacity, although those top lockers lack tableware racks.
Comparing the new Phoenix with the old Pursuit, the cooking facilities have come on in leaps and bounds, with four (rather than three) burners and a separate oven and grill (Pursuit had the combined unit).
Phoenix also boasts the unique-to-Bailey double hob cover, with a glass top plus a lid that matches the kitchen surface, creating an additional 1.26m of food prep surface with this lid down.
We can't help comparing the 760 with our long-term-test Bailey Unicorn; the similar kitchen in the Unicorn has a hinged extension, missing from the 760.
Including one would greatly improve the efficiency of the 760's kitchen considering it's designed for six. Importantly, the microwave is at a height suitable for most heights.
With twin-axle inherent stability and towing ease, the 760 is among the best when on the road. ATC stability control is a £425 option; go for that and all boxes will be ticked (had this automatic anti-snake device been standard we'd have awarded an A rating here.)
At 1600 kg MTPLM the 760 is among the lightest twin-axle tourers on the market.
Apart from the purple graphics, the Phoenix 760 is so like the more expensive Bailey Unicorn in body shape and window configuration that you could mistake one for another at a quick glance. It has Unicorn Segovia DNA running right through it – the same oven and grill, the same brilliant double worktop, the same woodwork, the same layout.
As for differences, it's fractionally narrower (although you don't notice this); has blown air rather than water-based central heating; and its lounge top corner cupboards are open shelves.
Any which way you compare the two caravans, the new 760 looks enticing value.