The Alliance 59-2 might be Bailey’s most compact motorhome but it still comes with an Al-Ko chassis and a high standard spec (especially for the Peugeot cab), all included in a one-size-fits-all price that looks good value. The separate shower is a big plus for a small ’van and the lounge is a great place for a couple to relax. Some may bemoan the varying floor heights in the living area and the lack of a single bed option will be a downside for others.
Base vehicle: Peugeot Boxer Al-Ko Price from: £47,999 Berths: 2 Travel seats: 2 Length: 5.99m Width: 2.28m Height: 2.76m Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 820kg
Launched last October, Bailey’s Alliance was not so much a completely new range as an enhanced spec option for the entry-level Advance.
All layouts bar the transverse island bed (74-2 and 74-4) were copied over into this new mid-range line-up, while a single bed/end washroom floorplan also debuted simultaneously for both Advance and Alliance.
Now, following its February NEC debut, Bailey has plugged another gap in its portfolio with the launch of this 59-2 layout in both ranges, addressing the desire of some customers for a sub-six-metre motorhome.
Following usual Bailey practice, the numbers make this a 5.9m(ish) two-berth motorhome.
This is the Bristol maker’s smallest model, but it benefits from the same extra kit in higher priced Alliance form: a graphite metallic cab (instead of white), a 160bhp diesel engine (in place of 130bhp), a radio that incorporates sat-nav, a Fiamma wind-out awning, an illuminated surround for the overcab sunroof, a 100W solar panel, and a change of décor.
Alliance motorhomes feature a Natural Slate finish in the kitchen (with matching splashback), Portland soft furnishings (or Wandsworth as an option) and Pebble Shore carpets.
It’s clear that the 59-2 has all the design cues of its bigger brethren, but equally obvious that this is a compact ’van.
It probably looks smaller than it is thanks to the neat low-profile body (wood-free Alu-Tech construction, of course) and low Al-Ko chassis.
One unique feature of the layout, however, is the slide-out electric step required to ease access. This is a reasonable 330mm off the road and then there’s a further slight step over the threshold.
Other exterior features of note are a Vision Plus TV aerial socket and a hatch into the under-seat space on the nearside. Useful, but only if you can find a home elsewhere for your bedding, as the offside settee base is predominantly occupied by the fresh water tank (good for winterisation) and the Combi boiler.
On the rear wall are fixings for a bike rack, while on the offside are the locker and the toilet servicing. Underneath, you’ll see the small-bore waste drain and the lack of a spare wheel (buyers get a Fix and Go kit instead). There’s no winter pack option to insulate the pipework or heat the underslung waste tank.
Like all Alliances, the 59-2 is built on a 3,500kg chassis – here resulting in a whopping 820kg payload.
This is a classic couple’s layout with side settees (no rear travel seats) and a rear kitchen with corner washroom.
Here, as with most rivals, it feels spacious and open. Large side windows in the lounge, plus the opening overcab sunroof and central Midi Heki rooflight, mean there’s plenty of daylight. After sundown, illumination continues to be a strength with concealed lighting over the top lockers, and four reading lamps over the settees, as well as more in the cab.
Another aspect that strikes you immediately is the generosity of headroom. There’s up to 2.10m of standing height in the rear galley area, though this reduces as you step up into the lounge. Then there’s a further rise in floor level to enter the cab. Shouldn’t the lounge and cab be on the same level, so just one step is required?
Once you’ve sat down, you’ll have no complaints, though – and no thoughts that you’re in a small ’van. With the cab chairs rotated, there’s comfortably room for six in this lounge area.
There’s no bracket or cupboard for your TV, but the surface over the fridge has adjacent 12V, 230V and aerial sockets. Forward of that, the worktop is lower, so you can put drinks here and not block your view of the TV – a neat bit of design.
Not so clever is the table storage. At first, having looked in the wardrobe, we thought the table had been forgotten – it wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened when testing a prototype. But, no, it slides into brackets fixed to the nearside settee base. Sliding the table in or out from under the settee wasn’t easy and, on one occasion, the rails holding the table moved and it dropped down into the seat locker.
That said, this is a good-sized table (915mm by 570mm) with the versatility of being free-standing.
With its duo-tone top lockers and all-white lower doors, plus the slate-style splashback, this is a well-presented galley. It’s got some nice accessories, too, such as the removable draining board, washing-up bowl and chopping board.
We’re also fans of the half-height Thetford Triplex cooker, which incorporates a three-ring hob and combined oven and grill. The spec here also includes an 800W microwave, fitted at eye-level.
The design of the kitchen is typical of this type of motorhome, with the main galley unit across the rear wall and the fridge mounted separately, forward of the habitation door. The refrigerator is a three-way model of reasonable capacity, which can be enhanced by removing the freezer section. In usual Bailey style, though, it’s a basic model with push-button ignition for the gas function.
There’s plenty of cupboard space, both at high and low level, but just one drawer. The cupboards over the lounge also lack shelves. They are capacious (you’ll get lots of folded clothing in here) and have positive locking catches but you might find stuff tumbling out when you open the doors.
The final area of storage is the wardrobe. It has a good hanging height of around 890mm although, at 400mm wide, it is rather slim.
Perhaps the modest wardrobe was a casualty of the decision to fit a separate shower in the washroom. If that’s the case, we think Bailey is on the right road; it’s not often that you’ll find a truly separate shower in a six-metre ’van.
There’s much else to applaud here. There’s useful worktop alongside the basin, a large mirror, towel/robe hooks, plenty of room on the loo, a lock on the door, and the shower is a good size with huge headroom and twin drain holes.
The only night-time sleeping option is a transverse double bed made from the settees.
Bed make-up is simple, with the slatted support of the offside sofa pulling right out across the aisle to form the base of the mattress. You’d expect now to simply drop the backrest cushions into the middle but, actually, you use just one backrest and an infill cushion. Because the settee cushions have knee-rolls, you may feel the need to turn the base cushions around to create a flatter bed.
That done, you’ll have a long, comfortable bed with venting panels to keep your pillows away from the side walls and a neat bedside table if feet go towards the offside.
As well as the DAB radio with built-in TomTom sat-nav, Bailey specifies the Boxer cab for these Alliance models with cab air-conditioning, cruise control, driver and passenger airbags, ESP and cab seats with twin armrests, but not the alloy wheels seen on this test vehicle.
Like the larger Alliances, the 59-2 also gets the 160-horsepower engine as standard, rather than the usual 130bhp unit. Both are 2-litre Euro 6 diesels, and have an advantage over the equivalent Fiat in terms of smoothness and refinement – as well as showing much bigger progress compared with their 2.2-litre forebears.
In such a small and light motorhome the engine upgrade results in lively performance with the 59-2 scaling the Mendips effortlessly on our test route and often in a higher gear than expected.
The ultra-low Al-Ko chassis also makes its presence felt. Some compact coachbuilts can feel quite twitchy as they are too tall in relation to their wheelbase length, but the Bailey seemed as surefooted as its bigger brothers, with very reassuring road manners.
On the road, then, this – the smallest member of the Bailey family – beats all of its closest rivals.
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