Berths: 2 Travel seats: 2 Base vehicle: Peugeot Boxer Al-Ko Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 695kg
The new Advance marks Bailey’s relaunch of its offensive in the budget coachbuilt sector, with a line-up of six sub-£50k models aimed squarely at Elddis’ Autoquest (plus the myriad special edition versions thereof) and Swift’s Escape.
The thing is, though, to find an Elddis motorhome with an island bed you have to go up to the more expensive Encore range. And, while Swift offers an island bed in the Escape 694, that, too, is over £50k once you’ve added in the essential Comfort Pack.
Not only that, but the Escape has a lengthways island bed (rather than the Bailey’s transverse arrangement). And it also comes with a more continental-style lounge with rear travel seats included, making it more of an alternative to Bailey’s £47,000 Advance 74-4. The only difference between a 74-4 and the 74-2 – apart from the extra £1,000 cost – is that the former swaps the slightly longer of its two side settees (the offside one) for a half-dinette with two seatbelts.
The 74-2 has the classic two-berth lounge with a free-standing table, which stores in a tall cupboard. It’s not too heavy to carry but, once erected, its surface is rather slim, so a couple will need to sit side by side to dine. The offside sofa is more capacious for this (1.29m long plays 1.10m) but easier access (because of the bathroom wall) will probably necessitate sitting on the nearside.
The lockers over the lounge are large but lack fiddle rails or lips to keep their contents in place, while access to the under-seat space below is made awkward by the seat base fronts lifting with the lids. The boiler lives under the nearside settee and the RCD under the offside. A small underfloor compartment in the lounge’s raised floor is ideal for shoes.
The galley runs along the nearside wall, aft of the habitation door (with conveniently low entrance). A worktop flap extends across the entrance, while a narrow space between the hob and bedroom is sufficient for a kettle (and has two sockets adjacent). Cooking is on a three-burner hob with grill/oven below, or in the eye-level microwave. The fridge is a no-frills 90-litre model. A tall top locker is provided but there’s only one drawer in the galley.
Opposite, the washroom is an all-in-one design and offers spacious use of the swivel cassette toilet and the fixed, oval basin. The shower has two drain holes although the curtain seems to enclose a smaller area than it should. The worktop and storage are positive features, while a pull-cord operates the lighting. But it’s the bedroom that’s the star.
There are two large windows and useful shelves at the head of the island bed, plus corner shelves at the foot (with a TV point and mirror, too). Slide the mattress back and it tips up to make a great place to sit and read, especially as there are good views out. In night-time mode, the bed measures 1.90m by 1.39m, while the space underneath houses the fresh water tank in a winterised location, as well as offering storage for chairs, etc.