The Bailey Advance coachbuilt bodies are 8cm narrower than the Autograph range, and this helps to give the models a neat blend where the body joins the cab. The low-line roof describes an attractive curve above the windscreen, but the body lacks curvature elsewhere and ends up looking rather boxy and, it has to be said, caravan-like.
Looking thoroughly modern, however, is the new Peugeot Boxer front end. The 2014 facelift has trimmed all the excess fat off the cab and given it a really clean new look. The sharp lines of the lights and the smaller bumper are the stand-out design features over the old model.
The cab facelift extends inside with an interior that looks, and feels, just a touch less van-like than before.
Little appears to have been done to the 2.2-litre HDi engine, which is still noisy on first start-up and generally less refined than the 2.3-litre Multijet II unit found in the Fiat Ducato. For all that, the Peugeot engine pulls very well for its 130bhp output (no upgrades are offered, nor is there an automatic), and markedly better than the facelifted Ducato that seems to have lost some grunt under the surgeon’s knife.
Like the Autograph range (and uniquely at this price point), all Advance models sit on a really low Al-Ko AMC chassis. This creates an easily accessible (30cm) entrance step up into the habitation area, but it’s what the chassis delivers out on the road that’s far more significant.
The 635 is exceptionally stable. It corners without excessive lean and isn’t sent off course by sidewinds or when passing trucks out on the motorway. The steering is direct enough to kid you that you’re driving a large van conversion.
In the lounge, near-two-metre-long benches face each other across a wide aisle. There’s room for three on either settee, with two more on the swivelled driver and passenger seats. Four could eat at the fold-out table that stands firmly on proper legs – no socket-mounted, single-legged, wobbly tables here, thank you.
Given the entry-level nature of the 635, Bailey hasn’t gone spec-crazy in the kitchen. This is a functional, no-frills kind of place, and I don’t think the motorhome suffers one bit because of it.
At the heart of the kitchen is a Thetford Duplex oven with a triangular, three-burner hob set into the worktop above. For £149 you can complement the cooking facilities with a microwave in one of the cupboards above the kitchen. The Dometic 103-litre fridge next to the oven has plenty of capacity for a couple’s chilled needs. The matt finish front of the fridge is a great idea, it’s not going to pick up scratches and is a lot easier to keep clean than stainless-steel or gloss black.
What happens when you take two large benches and turn them into a bed? You get a double that is 2.07 metres long and 1.86 metres wide – or one of the biggest beds you’re likely to see in a motorhome of any size. If you’re old school, that’s 6ft 9½in by 6ft 1in. And if you’re comparing it with home then it beats a super king-sized mattress on both length and width!
Making up this behemoth of a bed is incredibly easy (as long as you’ve got sheets and duvet of sufficiently gargantuan dimensions) – slats pull out of the offside bench to meet the nearside bench, then the bench base and back cushions pull down on top and the bed is made in under a minute. It’s comfortable, too. This is helped by the fact that the bench cushions are designed for sitting and lying on, and they don’t have to fulfil that additional task of being a firm, belted travel seat.
This is an abridged version of the full review that appears in the March issue of Which Motorhome