Berths: 6 Travel seats: 6 Base vehicle: Peugeot Boxer Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 610kg
This is Bailey’s second stab at the entry-level coachbuilt motorhome sector, the Advance II. It goes head-to-head with the Swift Escape and Elddis Autoquest, as well as dealer specials of each. Not forgetting the more affordable imports, too, from the likes of Chausson, Rimor and Roller Team.
Like all the new Advances, this one comes with enhanced equipment and a one-spec-fits-all approach. There are no options, no packs and no fabric choices. That’s not to say you’re missing out. New features on the 2018 ’vans include a Peugeot cab with ESP, air-con, cruise control, two airbags, captain’s chairs, concertina blinds and a DAB radio.
The body gets new rear styling, new side skirts and a low-level step at the habitation door, as well as an overcab sunroof. Inside, there’s new Eucalyptus furniture with high-gloss, duo-tone top lockers and Basalt Stone worktops, ambient lighting, more USB sockets, Combi 4E gas/electric heating, an oven/grill, an 800W microwave and a square sink with washing-up bowl, drainer and chopping board.
But, the most important item is the ultra-low Al-Ko chassis, which it shares not only with its predecessor but also the more expensive Autograph. It keeps overall height down (to 2.76m) and results in a lower floor and a much more secure feeling to the handling. It’s a really important USP for a sub-£50k motorhome.
When Bailey first introduced a family low-profile with a drop-down bed over the front dinette, the layout was a USP, too, but now both Swift (Escape 685) and Elddis (Autoquest 196) offer competitors, albeit that only the Autoquest matches the Advance’s full complement of six seatbelts and berths. It’s also worth noting that the Elddis is around a third of a metre longer than the Advance. With the possibility of carrying six in a sub-7m, 3.5-tonne ’van with two lounges, this model is unique.
And its appeal extends to a rear lounge with plenty of room for four – with 5ft-long settees, there’s potential for parental feet-up relaxation here if all the kids can cohabit up front. Corner shelves for coffee cups, etc, are a neat addition but the sole table feels too narrow. Used in the front dinette, the tabletop seems the right size but there’s still only room for four to dine. At least serving up from the adjacent galley will be convenient. The table also forms the central support of the dinette bed, which is considerably smaller than the double berth created in the rear.
The drop-down bed above the diner is, perhaps, the best place to sleep, thanks to its thick mattress on plastic springs. The ladder stores neatly in the wardrobe, but the bed’s dimensions are, again, a bit tight for a double – the 1.20m maximum width reduces to 0.94m at the foot. The biggest concern in this ’van, though, is the limited amount of storage. There are no exterior lockers and you’ll find limited stowage space below the rear lounge seats. Elsewhere, open-front compartments in the cab roof and below the drop-down bed are virtually useless, too. This is a ’van in which a family will need to pack light.