Bailey Unicorn Vigo
The Bailey Unicorn is one of the UK’s best-selling caravan ranges. Rob McCabe takes a closer look at the island-fixed-bed Vigo to see what all the fuss is about.
One thing you’re not getting when you take delivery of a new Bailey Unicorn is exclusivity – this is one of the UK’s best-selling caravan ranges, and the island-fixed-bed Vigo tends to fly out of the showrooms quickest of all. The combination of a massively in-demand layout and a standard equipment list as your arm is clearly a big draw. Let's take a closer look to see what exactly makes it so popular.
Review taken from June 2019 edition of the Club Magazine
Build quality – 90%
Ten years ago, Bailey launched Alu-Tech, paving the way for almost every UK caravan manufacturer to launch their own nattily-named advanced construction methods. With Alu-Tech, the bodyshell panels – with an outer glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) skin to give improved impact resistance – are joined together by a series of aluminium joints that does away with the need for external fasteners. In theory, that means there’s no way for water to get in; you get a six-year bodyshell integrity warranty to back that up.
Indoors, this example put up a very good account of itself. The joinery was all neat and precise, and everything that’s intended to move up and down or open and close did so sweetly, with one exception: a soft-close drawer wasn’t inclined to shut at all without a bit of help.
Towing – 93%
Short of actually towing it everywhere for you post-purchase, I’m not sure Bailey could have done anything more for its customers. You get the built-in hitch stabiliser, of course, as well as ATC – Al-Ko’s excellent electronic trailer control system. There’s no front gas locker here – it’s on the offside sidewall, which is good news on the weight distribution front. So too is the
fact that all the heavy kitchen stuff – cooker, microwave and fridge – is directly over the axle. All that’s left for you to do is to get the match right; and while the MTPLM of just under 1,500kg could hardly be called gossamer-light, it’s perfectly reasonable for a kit-laden, top-of-the-range tourer.
Daytime – 92%
For many of us, much of the appeal of going away in the caravan comes from actually spending time in the caravan itself – and in this regard the Vigo excels. The lounge is lovely, with the three plump individual backrests on each sofa imparting a cosy, drawing-room-like ambience that’s matched by the agreeable comfort. And whaddaya know – there’s even an edge to flop against in the corner nearest the door.
You can fall into any corner you like and enjoy the very-good-quality built-in JVC stereo, which gives you the full works – DAB radio, CD, USB, aux-in and Bluetooth. Or if you’d rather watch telly, all the necessary socketry is on the wall by the entrance door – it’s a case of fit your own bracket, though. There are two mains sockets right at the front of the lounge, so you can always relocate the gogglebox to the front chest to watch a DVD or Blu-ray. There’s another pair of mains sockets in the kitchen, and two more in the bedroom. Outside, there’s yet another one, plus a satellite connection inlet and a gas barbecue point.
The front chest has a pull-out extension but it doesn’t sit level with the existing surface, which is a bit of a shame. If you need the freestanding table, it’s super-easy to fetch and carry from its home under the double bed; it simply rests on its supports, so just lift it up and away you go.
Storage is another strong point – exterior-access hatches give entry to all that space under the double bed and the nearside sofa, and in both cases they’re served by big, sturdy, weatherproofed plastic trays. One or both of these will no doubt be used as a ‘shed’, given that there’s no front gas locker to take on these duties.
The key shelf above the entrance door is a welcome, user-friendly touch, as is the shoe locker next to the doormat.
Night-time – 92%
Caravans of this four-berth configuration are almost entirely used as two-berthers, but any overnighting guests will be pleased with their big, pleasantly comfortable double bed. They may be less enamoured by the washroom’s accessibility, given that it’s right at the back of your bedroom.
However, buyers choose the Vigo because, first and foremost, they want a classy en-suite bedroom – and that’s exactly what they get. The plush 6ft 1in-long transverse island double pushes back during the day to provide more walking/dressing space around the base, although there’s still enough room to shuffle past when it’s fully extended. The individual padded headrests look good, and the reading lights both include USB sockets (as do two of the four readers in the lounge). Each occupant gets a little bedside shelf that’s perfectly big enough to accommodate a glass of water and reading glasses, and they each receive their own wardrobe too. A wide-opening sunroof lets daylight in while you enjoy that first cuppa in bed. Even in day mode, the bed makes a welcome retreat if you want to put your feet up and read for a bit on a rainy afternoon. The bedroom closes off by means of a concertina fabric blind; effective at what it does, but lacking the finesse of a ‘proper’ door.
Kitchen – 90%
The worktop-matching hob cover does a good job of smartening up a facility that is already rather dashing (the plastic Unicorn-branded splashguard notwithstanding), as well as potentially providing more useful work surface. But if the hob is in use (as it’s bound to be much of the time), it’s obviously out of bounds. Fear not, though – there’s a little fold-up extension that can be brought into play.
When it comes to appliances, usual flagship- model rules apply, ie dual-fuel hob, separate oven/ grill, fitted microwave and a sleek tower fridge.
Washroom – 83%
It may sound like I’m damning by faint praise, but this is a perfectly nice washroom. It’s not the biggest, nor the most lavish, but it’s smart in a minimalist kind of way. The illuminated mirror is the attractive focal point, but it’s not the most practical shape – a longer one on the inside of the cupboard door would have enhanced the area’s dressing room credentials considerably.
The shower cubicle is good and spacious, but it’s noticeably devoid of anywhere to plonk your gel and shampoo – a curious omission, given the attention to detail that has led to numerous practical additions elsewhere on board.
Lighting – 88%
Much of the interior illumination comes courtesy of concealed strips at ceiling level. As well as helping to give a neat, uncluttered look, you get a pleasing lighting effect thanks to the almost- shimmering glow of the LEDs against the glossy, brilliant-white ceiling.
The kitchen even has mood lighting emanating from underneath – maybe not much help if you’re following a recipe, but it does look cool. The washroom is well served: the mirror is attractively lit from above and below, there’s a flush-fitting ceiling lamp and a dedicated light in the shower. If you’re off-grid, the standard-fit solar panel helps buy you some valuable extra lighting time (and keeps the battery topped up during periods of inactivity).
Verdict – 90%
There’s a lot of fierce competition at the £25k, top end of the market – and the new Unicorn’s blend of agreeably comfortable surroundings and high specification clearly goes down well with caravanners. I don’t see any reason for that to change.