Base vehicle: Peugeot Boxer Al-Ko Price from: £65,280 Berths: 6 Travel seats: 6 Length: 8.12m Width: 2.49m Height: 2.83m Gross weight: 4,250kg Payload: 850kg
Bailey's top-of-the-range Autograph is the company’s best-selling motorhome line-up by a mile, so the arrival late last year of the third-generation version was big news.
Still based on the Peugeot Boxer (but now in Euro 6d form), the new model gets a graphite-coloured cab, diamond-cut 16in alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights.
Base vehicle spec has always been high, so you still get cab air-conditioning, cruise control, sat-nav, cab blinds and a DAB radio. The chassis is still from Al-Ko, too, although the new Autograph has a version with more ground clearance while retaining a low floor inside for better weight distribution and handling.
Externally, the Slate Grey side walls immediately differentiate the latest Autograph from its predecessors, while the overcab section has been redesigned and there’s a new rear bumper with LED road lights and Audi-style sequential indicators. A new Thule awning and new Hartal exterior locker doors are fitted, while the door step now has a non-slip mat and grab handle.
Inside, there are new cab reading lights with USBs and a new décor scheme with Slate Grey worktops and tabletops and Cashmere gloss curved locker doors with a contrasting grey stripe. The new Farringdon soft furnishings include four large scatter cushions.
The Autograph 81-6 seen here is the range’s six-berth model and the only one with the swoopy roofline. It replaces the previous 79-6 and has grown from 7.98m long to 8.12m but the format remains the same – front pullman dinette with seatbelts on both the forward and rear-facing benches (so six travel seats), central kitchen and washroom, and a rear U-shaped lounge.
As with previous Bailey motorhomes, the travel seats benefit from the lessons learned during the company’s extensive crash-testing programme, carried out before the company entered the market.
The rear lounge on the latest model now feels very spacious and comes with corner JVC speakers, reading lamps and USBs, although the rooflight overhead is only a mid-sized unit. We particularly like the new corner headrests here but the big news is that the end lounge can now make into a huge 2.05m by 1.84m double bed (Bailey’s figures), so sleeping lengthways in twin single beds becomes an option for many customers.
Up front, the seats are not as bolt upright as some and automotive-style head restraints are included. The table is removable (safer for travel) and the windows have padded surrounds. With the side settee and (higher) swivel passenger cab chair included, this front seating area could easily seat seven. There’s no overcab sunroof on this layout, though, and the drop-down bed (2.11m by 1.37m according to its maker) precludes a rooflight over the lounge. However, it’s the provision of two very spacious seating areas that is key to the 81-6’s appeal.
The kitchen, to the rear of the habitation door on the nearside, is well-appointed with a Thetford Caprice cooker with oven, grill, three gas burners and a mains hotplate. There’s an 800W Russell Hobbs microwave above, too.
The new 153-litre fridge/freezer is a Dometic 10-Series with universal- handed door mechanism, so you can open it from either side. The sink is a new round stainless-steel unit with concealed fixings, swan-neck mixer tap, washing-up bowl and removable drainer but more notable is the solid cover (rather than glass) over the hob, which will provide useful extra preparation space – especially if you’re feeding six.
The washroom has a separate shower with twin drains, while a new basin is inset into the generous countertop. An opening window is fitted here but the only storage is in a top locker.