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Bailey’s latest offering became an instant best-seller. Rob McCabe puts the eight-foot-wide tourer through its paces
The debut of Bailey’s Alicanto Grande Evora was the equivalent of a star striker scoring a hat trick on his first appearance, and against his new team’s biggest rivals to boot. Not only did this twin-axle win the prized Any 8ft Wide Caravan Class in the Club’s Caravan Design Awards 2023 competition that was judged at the NEC Motorhome & Caravan Show, but it went on to become – by some distance – Bailey’s best-selling model at the same exhibition. Not bad, given that the Evora’s asking price is nudging 40 grand. So, what’s all the fuss about? Only one way to find out.
Evora’s huge, sharply styled body is supported by corner steadies of the ‘let’s keep going until they look too big’ variety. The absence of a gas locker and that enormous panoramic window give the front end an attractively streamlined and modern look.
Indoors there were a couple of little niggles on our example, foremost of which was that the smaller front window blinds were very stubborn in operation. And a noticeably uneven panel gap between two of the kitchen overhead lockers detracted from the otherwise faultless joinery evident throughout the rest of the vehicle.
This is a huge caravan in every respect. It is, of course, 8ft wide – and I’ve mentioned in previous reviews the compromises involved in towing such a beast around the UK’s busy and sometimes narrow roads. It’s also a giddy 25ft 10in long and weighs nearly 1.7 tonnes before you even think about packing. These stats need to be factored into any buying decision – but they’re clearly no barrier to sales success, as this model’s performance at the NEC show proves.
Twin-axle tourers are reassuringly stable performers, thanks to the fact they have four wheels on the road. More reassurance comes from the guardian angel of caravanners, Al-Ko’s ATC trailer control system.
The lounge is wonderfully spacious. Both front corners of the sofas are served by headrests, which are very nice to lean back into – and they simply detach if you’d rather not use them. That vast panoramic window floods the entire front area with light, and it also opens a generous distance.
The built-in stereo system features DAB radio, aux-in and Bluetooth, and has outputs via the two branded speakers in the lounge as well as another pair above the island bed. There are USB ports dotted about everywhere and a plethora of mains sockets too. The 80W solar panel on the roof is a boon for off-grid stopovers and for keeping the battery fed during extended lay-ups.
The front chest has the usual slide-out extension, although I can’t for the life of me think why they didn’t make it sit flush with the existing surface when it’s pulled out. Storage has been thoughtfully provided – there is everything from two exterior-access hatches (one to the wide-open spaces beneath the double bed) to a ‘shoe hatch’ just inside the entrance door.
The transverse island double bed is... well, really rather large. Its 5ft width exactly matches that of a domestic king-size bed, and its 6ft 3in length will luxuriously accommodate all but the very tallest of us. It is outstandingly comfortable, whether fully extended or when pushed back into ‘day mode’.
You’re generally spoiled rotten in the bedroom, what with the lovely lighting, stereo, TV viewing station, central heating, huge bedside shelves and drawer units, sunroof... I can well imagine that many buying decisions are reached while trying out this wonderful room for size.
Up front, overnighting guests can choose between a quickly made-up double or even lower-maintenance singles. It’s worth emphasising that the washroom is right at the back, so guests will have to nip out to the block if they don’t want to tip-toe through the main bedroom at night.
The generous width means you get a kitchen with a bit of an L-shape vibe going on, meaning there’s a useful chunk of extra work surface. The sink cover and the top hob cover (there’s also a glass lid) have the same finish as the work surface, which looks great when they’re all in place. Lift up the sturdy sink cover and you’ll see an equally sturdy chopping board on the underside – good work.
The door of the glossy built-in fridge opens either way (impresses me every time, that one) and there’s the full house of cooking options: dual-fuel hob, separate oven and grill, and a very neatly built-in microwave. I’m a wee bit less keen on the garish splashback and the next-to-the- cooker wine rack, however.
Ladder-style radiator? Check. Wash basin lifted straight from a Sunday-supplement hotel? Oh yes. And the marbled-tile-effect wall panels above the basin and in the shower are also very posh. With plenty of storage, an opaque window with blind and flyscreen, a usefully big, dressing-room-like mirror and a generally spacious feeling, what’s not to like?
In a recent test, I gave the Coachman Acadia my unofficial award for the most lighting permutations in a caravan. Well, scratch that. The Alicanto has a touchscreen unit on the side of the kitchen unit, operable from the lounge, that offers thousands of options. It controls the colour of the low-level ambient lighting that runs under the lounge seating and just above floor level in the kitchen – and it’s a dimmer control too, adding even more permutations. What a fun bit of kit!
There’s plenty of serious illumination too. Outside, there’s an offside services lamp as well as the usual awning light above the entrance door, and the wardrobe illuminates upon opening the doors, which is an excellent, user-friendly touch.
In the washroom a pull-cord brings on all the lighting, which is powerful and – thanks to backlit panels in the shower and above the wash basin – glamorous too. Lounge, kitchen and bedroom are all very well catered for, with lots of individually switched lamps and LED strips.
Imposing in every way, with space (lots of space), luxury and practicality all rolled into one. Will it be a success? Well, the caravan-buying public have already answered that one, it seems.