This is a large motorhome that best serves a couple, which of course will make up the vast majority of buyers. It’s well specified and has many good features, especially at its price.
Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Base vehicle: Peugeot Boxer Gross weight: 3,850kg Payload: 458kg
Bailey’s six-model Autograph range is the Bristol company’s more upmarket line-up (above Advance). All are large motorhomes, from 6.8m to nearly eight metres long, and what really makes them stand out on the road, literally, is their width. A smidge under 2.50m, they’re the broadest British coachbuilts available on a light commercial chassis and, whilst providing unrivalled living space on-site, reaching that campsite on narrow, congested British byways can occasionally be challenging.
The Autograph appears impressively bulky but it’s less angular than the original Approach. All Bailey motorhomes come on Peugeot’s Boxer chassis cab, mated to an Al-Ko low-level chassis. The smooth, powerful and economical 160bhp, 2-litre BlueHDi turbo-diesel engine meets Euro VI obligations by using AdBlue.
The cab comes with a high spec including twin airbags, air-conditioning, electrically operated and heated door mirrors and cruise control as standard, along with a DAB radio with Bluetooth connection and steering wheel controls. The cockpit is comfortable over great distances, with supportive, multi-adjustable seats and twin armrests.
The two rear-seat passengers get a bench seat, which is wider than many competitors (courtesy of the Bailey’s extra width) and fitted with nicely shaped backrests. The seats are rather squishy. It’s still rare to find a coachbuilt with perfect rear travel seats, and Isofix fittings to secure child seats in place are even rarer.
You’d be forgiven for worrying that the Autograph might be a handful to drive and manoeuvre, but not a bit of it (on larger roads, at least). Parallel parking on the high street is surprisingly simple: those elephant-ear door mirrors, plus the rear camera, really do the business. And, on the open road, the Autograph is fast, handles well and feels narrower than it is.
Access is easy, courtesy of the low-line chassis and you turn left into the lounge with its L-shaped settee on the offside, incorporating the front-facing travel seats. There’s also a single inward-facing nearside seat and, naturally, the cab seats swivel. Quirkily, the raised lounge floor lifts to reveal the tabletop and its two legs stored below. The table is small for this six/seven-seater lounge and a traditional free-standing table might serve better. The décor is pleasant and inoffensive, and largely beige.
The lounge is spacious (of course) and both bright and light. It has skylights overhead and above the cab, plus a large offside window, but at night things are rather dimmer. There are no ceiling lights, just mood strips above the top cupboards and modest reading light provision. However, you can watch television as there’s a bracket, sockets and aerial point positioned within the nearside high-level cupboard.
Aft of the door is the kitchen. It’s a large unit, with a worktop that’s extended by a lift-up flap and there’s a deep stainless-steel sink with mixer tap. Adjacent is the three gas burner/electric hotplate hob over a Duplex oven/grill. Accessories include a chopping board and a plastic draining tray, though the tap’s position prevents it butting-up to the sink properly.
Below the work surface is an impressive array of huge-looking soft-close drawers. There’s an overhead locker under an enormous door, which Bailey says its customers prefer compared to a two-door set-up. The 133-litre tower fridge with its removable freezer provides further food and the microwave above is low enough to be safely accessible by most.
The washroom, opposite the kitchen, has a one-piece moulded floor incorporating (behind a three-section translucent door), a large shower tray with two drain holes. The shower has a riser bar and Ecocamel head and the smooth, easily cleaned cubicle walls look good.
A large mirror on the sidewall and a shelved cupboard behind the loo complete the furniture, and there are also towel hooks, a towel ring, a mug in the cupboard and a lightweight retractable clothesline in the shower; only a soap dish was absent from the shower’s riser bar. Two ceiling lights serve the shower cubicle and lighting strips frame the mirror perfectly adequately.
Up a step is the bedroom, with twin beds either side of a smoothly curved, elegant wooden drawer unit. Windows are fitted on each side and there’s a skylight above. There are no ceiling lights, just ambient strips (repeated at floor level) and two diffuse box-lights on the wall between the bedheads, which we found insufficient for bedtime reading. There is plenty of headroom to sit up in bed. Privacy is achieved by pulling a wooden screen across the aisle. Another TV mount allows for decadent viewing from the beds.
Storage is excellent, with sufficient cupboards and lockers to hold a family’s holiday essentials with ease. Externally, there’s a rear store with doors each side. It has 60cm by 46cm openings on either side and could carry a good deal, including barbecues, etc (there is an outside barbecue point, too). Inside, the bedroom has two wardrobes, deep drawers under the beds’ ends and more space below the beds.
The Alde heater doesn’t rob too much space under the offside bed. In addition, with a large drawer in the central unit, a shallow store under the bedroom floor (ideal for shoes) and two overhead cupboards, the 79-4 T has a lot of storage, so check you don’t overload it. There’s more storage in the lounge in the overhead cupboards, and beneath the settee and lounge seat.
Within its price, Bailey equips its motorhomes well. The Autograph has Alde heating, a 4.5-metre awning and a 100W solar panel. The fresh water tank (93.5 litres) is insulated and heated, with filling via a fiddly Whale connector/pump system.
If you enjoyed this review, you can read the full version and more in the November 2017 issue of MMM magazine.
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