Bailey’s Approach Autograph range of coachbuilt motorhomes has seen plenty of success for the Bristol-based company, partly due to the fact that they offer stonking value for money.
Their high specification with standard-fit kit normally only found on much more expensive ‘vans, caused a stir in the industry. But there’s more than just good value here, as Bailey carried out a programme of crash testing, resulting in rear travel seats that are some of the safest around.
Now the all-new Approach Advance has arrived and is Bailey’s entry-level range of coachbuilt motorhomes, with four low-profile models at launch.
Layouts are predicable:
A compact rear lounge
Big front lounge/across-the-rear washroom
Fixed French bed
Family-sized front dinette/rear-lounge.
Again, specification and kit-levels are surprising: all are on upmarket Al-Ko rear chassis, while the Peugeot Boxer cabs lack only cruise control – all the other desirable stuff is here, including air-con and the latest Peugeot radio with steering wheel-mounted controls and USB socket. Engines are 2.2-litre, 130 horsepower units with six-speed manual gearboxes.
The 665's layout – with dinette opposite kitchen in the front – separates the cab from the rest of the living area, so its seats are of limited use once pitched. However, Bailey has retained seat swivels, I guess providing a separate seating area, maybe for the chef to sit and have a break while cooking.
It only takes a few moments of inspection to see that the rear-facing dinette seat’s bulkhead has been strengthened.
There’s more under the skin too as steel structures beneath the seats are designed to help prevent submarining in the event of an accident. The same is true of the forward-facer and including the cab, there’s a total of six fully-belted seats – safe travel for all residents, the result.
Come bed-time, the dinette – in the time-honoured fashion – converts into a lengthways double bed: the table (which is light and easy to handle) lowers to fill the gap between the seats and backrest cushions drop in. The result is neither large or particularly flat or supportive – it’s six feet long, but well under domestic width of 4ft 6in. The shaped cushions make a rather undulating bed with gaps underneath that don’t help. However, this bed is really designed for a couple of kids (although it’ll sleep one adult in comfort) and the undulations might be somewhat short-circuited by adding an overlay.
So, this is a six-berth motorhome and it’s a low-profile, right? And the rear lounge takes care of two sleepers, correct? So where do the other two people sleep? The answer lies above the dinette as a push of a button sees a lengthways double bed descend and provide. Now we have a bunk-style set-up, the access ladder for upstairs neatly stowed on the inside of the washroom door, so it’s easy to get at.
We hope you enjoyed this abridged version of the full review, which can be found in the January edition of MMM magazine
, which goes on sale on December 11, 2014. You can order an advance copy here
or buy a digital copy of any issue of MMM here
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