Spacious and stylish, the new Bailey Adamo is the company’s best motorhome yet. In this 75-4DL form, it has two comfortable seating areas and two superb – and instant – double beds. Its spec is all-inclusive, it is well-priced and it has an unusually generous garage for a rear lounge layout. Only the lack of a separate shower will count against it for some customers.
Price from: £59,999 Base vehicle: Ford Transit Berths: 4/8 Travel seats: 4 Length: 7.49m Gross weight: 3,500kg
Words and photos by Peter Vaughan
It hardly seems possible that it’s almost a decade since one of Britain’s top caravan companies, Bailey, joined the ranks of motorhome manufacturers.
That it did so with a very UK-style range and layouts, which would not seem so different to those in its tourers, was hardly surprising.
It was, after all, targeting not just Bailey caravan owners seeking to trade up to a motorhome, but also aiming to carve itself a slice of the mainstream market where other caravan brands were already well established.
Now, for the 2021 season (with the first vehicles already at its dealers by the time you read this), however, there is an all-new Bailey motorhome that doesn’t replace either of its existing Alliance or Autograph models.
The Adamo reflects a new-found confidence at the Bristol-based brand and it is unashamedly after a new type of buyer, one who previously would have bought a continental motorhome from the likes of Benimar or Chausson.
The new range is the result of 18 months’ development and is the first to specifically target the imports, says Bailey, and the potential is huge – continental models currently account for 55% of UK sales.
Clearly, this is a very different beast to the Autograph, which has so far dominated Bailey’s motorhome output.
For a start, it’s the company’s first model not to be based on a Peugeot Boxer. The lion brand could not offer an automatic gearbox – a key requirement in this sector – for another three years, so the Adamo is based instead on the Ford Transit.
It is also a 3.5-tonne range (with no upgrade offered), so there are no licence implications to put off first-time motorhome purchasers (or renters). And the initial three models all come with two key aspects – a garage and a side settee lounge that can be converted into travel seats.
This is, without doubt, the best-looking Bailey motorhome yet. It comes with a silver metallic cab as standard, while graphics blend the base vehicle with the all-white body behind, which uses Bailey’s proven Alu-Tech construction featuring timber-free upper body panels and a floor with GRP underside protection.
Above the cab is the same sunroof as on the Autograph, but in a deeper overcab pod – overall height is 2.85m in order to accommodate drop-down beds, while underneath is Ford’s own wide-rear-track motorhome chassis.
The rear end is a simple, clean design with automotive-style lights and mountings for a bike rack, while the habitation windows are caravan- type fittings that sit proud of the body.
Usefully, the habitation door is linked to the remote central locking and is low enough to allow easy access without an external step.
But, despite a warning from the Bailey bosses that the Adamo automatically relocks itself, I still managed to lock myself out, and the keys inside!
A rather more welcome automatic feature is the gearbox. This six-speed self-shifting gearbox is standard – there will be no manual Adamos – and, although we weren’t able to take to the Mendip roads in this prototype, we’ve driven enough automatic Fords to know that it’s a slick operator.
Even better, the Adamo adopts Bailey’s usual one-price, one-spec philosophy, so the £59,999 price tag of this 75-4DL model is the total. There are no Driver, Comfort, Lux or anything else packs to add, and you get – as standard – automatic lights and wipers, cruise control, cab air-conditioning, front fog lamps, driver and passenger airbags and electric/heated mirrors.
The radio looks a bit basic (there’s no touchscreen or sat-nav), but it does come with Bluetooth, as well as steering wheel-mounted controls and a reversing camera will be fitted, too, with a separate screen (not yet added to this prototype test vehicle).
More surprisingly, there’s not even an engine upgrade option. The Adamo gets Ford’s 158bhp (160PS) motor with a potent 405Nm of torque. That’s more than Fiat’s 160bhp unit and the Transit doesn’t just beat the venerable Ducato and Boxer there, as it’s better on cab comfort and ergonomics, thanks especially to height/tilt adjustment on the seats and a reach and rake adjustable steering column.
We selected the 75-4DL for this exclusive first review as it is, in the opinion of your Road Test Editor and everyone who grabbed a cheeky look inside while we were at the Camping and Caravanning Club’s lovely Cheddar Mendip Heights site, the star of the trio. It’s not the first model to match a rear lounge with a garage, but it does so with aplomb.
For a start, this is a proper garage, not just a useful extra locker. There’s a full-height door on the nearside that opens onto full-width storage measuring 1.03m high and 0.55m wide.
On the offside there’s a second, smaller loading door, while the nearside opening also gives access to shelved space above the garage. Anchorage points, lights, 12V and 230V sockets and even drain holes show that the space has been designed to be really used.
Inside, the inclusion of the garage makes a real difference to the feeling of the rear lounge. It’s still a U-shape with windows on three sides, but there’s also a wardrobe in the offside corner, a shelved locker (also accessible from outside) on the nearside, and a huge – and hugely useful – shelf between.
The wardrobe has a drop of 870mm, so is great for shirts, etc, while the area under the back window is perfect for drinks, especially as there’s no table here.
The corner cabinets mean you don’t quite get the all-round vistas of a more conventional end lounge, but the area here feels more cosy, more private. The side settees aren’t especially long (at 1.29m), but there’s plenty of room to stretch out across the motorhome.
Lighting is generous, too, with downlighters set into the bed base above and reading lights featuring built-in USBs. It’s a great chill zone.
The rear of the DL (double lounge) layout might also be the parental escape space, while the larger front seating area is taken over by the kids. Here, the cab seats rotate easily and the twin side settees (longer on the offside) mean there’s room for five around the electrically height-adjustable table.
In continental style, the table is also a permanent fixture and, whilst it’s a useful size when folded, it becomes massive – 1.06m by 0.82m – when unfolded. Pity it isn’t a bit firmer, though, so you’d better sit the kids on the offside where the surface feels more substantial.
That table forms no part of the night-time arrangements, though. If the thought of turning seats into beds every night fills you with gloom then we hope you’ve read this far because, despite the lack of any fixed bed in this layout, the Adamo 75-4DL offers sleeping for four with nothing more strenuous involved than pressing a button, or three.
First job, up front, is to lower the table (electrically, of course). Then, you simply remove the armrest cushions and the drop-down bed whirrs down to seat level, with the settee backrests still in situ.
The mattress stops just 730mm off the floor and, although the dimensions quoted in our Fact File don’t look especially generous, there’s room for pillows to rest on top of the backrests that poke up at the head of the bed.
Reading lights and even little corner shelves for your specs or a night-time drink show careful attention to detail here, although you do have to watch that the stalks of the bedside lights don’t get trapped as you lower the bed.
Concertina blinds are another plus, but the cab curtains are skimpy and struggle to provide effective privacy. That’s easily remedied, though, by getting your dealer to supply insulated screens or fit cab blinds.
Then, over the rear lounge, a second (similarly sized) drop-down bed lowers to the same low level for easy access. Like the front bed it proved exceptionally comfortable and this one has a privacy curtain, too.
It’s worth noting that the habitation door is still usable (just) with the front bed lowered, although the gap between the galley and bed frame is only 240mm, so it’s a bit of a squeeze. The kitchen and washroom are completely unobstructed.
And, of course, with four berths you need the same number of belted travel seats. Here, it’s Aguti foldaway backrests that turn settees into forward-facing travel seats with enough legroom for adults, and the fact that Bailey has put the Adamo through a stringent crash-testing regime, just like it did when it launched the first Autograph, is reassuring.
Substantial steel seat frames are a result (wooden seat boxes as seen in some rivals can collapse in a crash) and other details have been addressed, too, such as beefing up the TV mounting so that the telly does not become a missile in a crash!
If you’re buying a motorhome for family holidays, this attention to safety could be one of the biggest reasons of all to buy a Bailey.
Of course, the appeal of a British-spec kitchen is easier to spot and the Adamo comes with a full cooker (three gas rings, mains hotplate, separate grill and oven), while a microwave can be added by your dealer.
Accessories (washing-up bowl, drainer and chopping board) can be purchased, too, but the standard galley includes a decent amount of worktop with a folding extension at the forward end. A small cutlery drawer is included but this is the only pull-out storage and most of the cupboard space is up above – quite high in some instances as the lockers go up to the ceiling and headroom here is 2.11m.
There are two 230V sockets next to the worktop on the left of the hob and backlighting around the kitchen window adds a dash of bling, but the fridge takes top billing. Positioned opposite, this tall unit has a 142-litre capacity as well as the convenience of automatic energy selection.
Alongside the fridge, you step up into the washroom where headroom inside is still more than 2m. What you won’t find here is the separate shower that you get in the other two Adamo layouts, but there is plenty of storage, good ventilation (an opening window and a roof vent), a generous slab of worktop next to the basin and a useful drying rail.
Of course, there’s the usual swivel cassette toilet, too, which might be mounted rather high for comfort unless you have very long legs.
You might find the bright lighting a bit of a shock when you go to the loo in the night and pull the light chord and, while it’s impossible to escape the embrace of the shower curtain in the morning, the twin drains ensure your suds flow away easily.
Hot water (and space heating) come from the popular Truma Combi 4 gas/electric boiler, while it’s worth noting that the Adamo’s considerable equipment tally also includes a TV aerial, a 80W solar panel and 100-litre capacities for both fresh and waste water. The former is inboard for winterisation and, of course, the Adamo meets the Grade III standard for insulation.