Bailey | Approach | Wide body and walnut-effect furniture give the Bailey a welcoming

Wide body and walnut-effect furniture give the Bailey a welcoming
TEST : BAILEY APPROACH 760
“
the potential six occupants receives a
height-adjustable seatbelt.
ON THE ROAD
SIX HITTER
George Hinton is impressed with Bailey’s approach to its largest Approach
Vehicle supplied
for test by: Bailey
Motorhomes,
South Liberty
Lane, Bristol
BS3 2SS. Call
0117 305 2939.
B
ailey launched its first
Approach motorhome last
autumn, and since then the
range has been extended to
five models. You now have a
choice between a couple of two-berth
models, two four-sleepers and the six-berth
760 which we look at here.
CONSTRUCTION AND LAYOUT
A high-specification Peugeot Boxer Euro 5
underpins the Approach. Power is courtesy
of a 2.2-litre, 130bhp unit with six-speed
manual gearbox, while in the cab you will
find twin airbags, air conditioning, cruise
control and swivel seats.
Every version sits on an Al-Ko AMC
extended lowline galvanised chassis, which
you can see is used to maximum effect on
this 7.52m motorhome. The wheelbase is
4.7m (15ft 5in) and the rear axle sits
78
Microwave is at a
convenient low level
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further back than usual, giving a relatively
short, 1.75m rear overhang. The result is
really stable handling under all load
conditions at the expense of just a small
widening of the turning circle.
Rear corner steadies are not fitted, but
we think they are needed, as any movement
inside vibrates the structure.
The big Bailey difference is, of course, its
Alu-Tech, timber-free body construction.
Exceptionally, the upper floor surface is
9mm plywood, while the underside has
1mm glassfibre weatherproofing, so you
should never experience a spongy floor.
Bailey gives a six-year bodyshell integrity
guarantee, which may be extended to
10 years for a fee.
All Approaches come prepared for
common accessories such as satellite
dish, reversing camera, solar panel,
air conditioning, awning, cycle rack, roof
rack and rear ladder. The 760’s layout
is classic rear-lounge with a forward
dinette and overcab double. Each of
Al-Ko’s chassis includes an MTPLM
upgrade from 3,500kg to 3,850kg, giving a
payload of 605kg (from our own weighing).
With five average adults aboard, that would
leave 230kg (4.5cwt) for their belongings.
Exploiting the handling potential of the
Al-Ko chassis and a 0-50mph time in the
order of 16 seconds, it has that ‘on rails’
feeling that instils confidence out on the
highway. However, you do need to adopt a
broad approach to corners to avoid clipping
kerbs with that distant rear axle.
As well as reducing weight, Alu-Tech
pays off with rigid construction that
minimises body noise on the road. A few
much lower-than-average reverberations
remain, mainly from microwave oven and
cab window blinds. All locker shelves are
fixed and all doors close tightly. External
wind noise is virtually absent.
As is so often the case, the dinette
seating, though crash-tested, offers little
support while cornering and could perhaps
use some strategic, high-density filling.
This layout includes a rear window for
some welcome through-vision. What we
haven’t mentioned yet is body width: Bailey
now quotes this as 2.51m (8ft 23⁄4in) mirrors
folded and 2.77m (9ft 1in), mirrors
extended, which is unusually wide. We
measured the latter at 2.69m (8ft 10in).
A standard Peugeot radio/CD player can
be programmed to play for up to three
hours with the ignition off, while highquality JVC-branded rear speakers are
fitted above the ends of the rear settees.
Steel 15in wheels have full Peugeot
trims, a fifth being underslung in a rear
cradle. Ride quality is compliant but on the
firm side for good handling.
”
LIVING ABOARD
The low chassis means there’s no need for an
external step, the foam-insulated GRP step
well being just 13in (33cm) up. The floor is
on two levels with a 6in step down from the
cab. Minimum headroom is 6ft 5in.
The combination of wide body and
tasteful, light walnut-effect furniture, aided
by a pair of Heki 2 sunroofs, gives the Bailey
a warm, welcoming ambience.
Deep and comfortable foam-encased
sprung upholstery is fitted nearly all
round, though the dinette backrests are
foam only. The long rear settees have
useful cloth handles sewn into the rear
edges to aid handling.
The Truma Combi gas/electric boiler,
water pump and filter are located beneath
the offside settee, while the electrical
centre, trip switches and battery charger
are behind a flap in the forward dinette seat
base. Inside, above the caravan door, a
control panel with a multi-function LCD
screen is intuitive to operate.
Lighting is almost entirely by LED, one
exception being an 8W fluorescent tube
set inside the washroom doorway. There’s
also a twin-halogen ceiling lamp in the
rear lounge. The forward kitchen/diner
has 10 downlighters in total.
The rear lounge has four spotlights, two
more serving the Luton. Pre-wiring for TV
exists at two points, allowing the owner to
install a choice of aerial/dish.
For clothes storage, there are 12 main
roof lockers, five being shelved, plus >>
Dinette features firm,
single-pedestal table
Cab is well appointed
TECHNICAL
RATINGS
CONSTRUCTION & LAYOUT
ON THE ROAD
LIVING ABOARD
KITCHEN
WASHROOM
SLEEPING
VERDICT
0
RRP/as tested
Base vehicle
Engine
Power
Torque
Transmission
Fuel/tank/econ
Overall length
Overall width
Overall height
Min internal height
MRO
MTPLM
User payload
Berths
NCC approved
Plenty of room in the lounge,
which offers some through vision
www.caravanclub.co.uk
1
2
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4
5
6
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8
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10
£43,550/£45,000 OTR
Peugeot Boxer 3500
2,198cc HDi 4-cyl DOHC 16v common-rail
130bhp (74kW) @ 2,900rpm
236lb/ft (320Nm) @ 2,000-3,000rpm
Six-speed manual, FWD
Diesel/17.6gal (90 litres)/25mpg approx
24ft 8in (7.52m)
7ft 11in (2.42m) exc mirrors; 8ft 10in
(2.69m) inc mirrors
9ft 10in (2.99m)
6ft 5in (1.98m)
3,245kg (63.88cwt)
3,850kg (75.78cwt)
605kg (11.9cwt)
6
Yes
Figures supplied by manufacturer
Slatted centre base slides
out from underneath chest
Club insurance: 0800 028 4809 • Info: baileyapproach.co.uk
August 2012 The Caravan Club Magazine
79
TEST : BAILEY APPROACH 760
height, while the centrally-locked Hartal
door incorporates a waste bin. Overall,
it’s very practical.
WASHROOM
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Innovative
washroom has
plenty of storage
80
two in the Luton. We expected the
optional rear chest of two drawers to have
a flip or pull-out tabletop, but were
disappointed. The extra surface was
much appreciated though.
The wardrobe is approximately two feet
square and boasts an excellent 48in hanging
length. Two full-depth shelves are located
at the bottom – there’s just a slight
wheelarch intrusion and some heating
tubes at the bottom.
The large free-standing table, which
measures a generous 39in x 25in, stows
in the wardrobe for travel, opposite the
clip-on dinette table, which sits really
firmly on a single pedestal.
Whale’s Aquasource II inbuilt pump
system fills the 22 gallon (100-litre)
underfloor heated and insulated fresh
water tank. The matching waste tank
has its large rigid drain outlet on the
offside. Latest legislation means there
is a carbon monoxide detector as well
as a smoke alarm.
A Varta 105Ah battery is located in the
external nearside locker, which also houses
the 16A mains hookup inlet (25m cable
supplied). One 13kg and one 6/7kg gas
cylinder can be carried in the nearside
locker. Mountings for an awning and a rear
cycle rack are ready-fitted.
KITCHEN
”
This area is distinguished by its tall roof
lockers with side-hinged doors fitted with
opal acrylic inserts. The worktop is 4ft 8in
(1.43m) long and 25in (65cm) deep.
The stainless sink, borrowed from the
Bailey tourer range, comes complete with
tailored polythene bowl and 19in x 12in
nylon chopping board/cover. This stows
with the grey ABS plastic drainer in
the base locker when not required. For
your electrical appliances, a 13A socket
occupies the left-hand corner, together
with two light switches.
The cupboard beneath the hob houses
the slide-out fitted cutlery drawer at the
top; there are two wire baskets beneath and
more stowage below that. Shame the
drawer can’t just be a drawer.
Beneath the four-ring gas hob is the
Thetford oven/grill unit. Dometic’s
RM8550 refrigerator has a generous
122-litre gross capacity and a detachable
freezer compartment. The dresser, left of
the entrance, is simply a 24in x 19in
worktop, with the external gas locker
beneath and a roof locker above. Ideal as a
TV station, Bailey has mounted the
12V/230V sockets close by.
The stainless steel Baumatic microwave
is set above the sink at low roof locker
Quite different in layout from the twoberth models, this washroom features a
washbasin located within the shower
cubicle. It sounds odd, but it works.
The shower tray is 38in long and
16-23in wide, though the basin means the
effective length is just 28in. A water-saving
showerhead, two large drains and a non-slip
mat contribute to a very pleasant shower,
all enclosed by tri-fold doors.
There’s obviously no storage in the
shower area, but a large cupboard contains
five shelves to swallow your toilet bags and
other gear. Thetford’s improved flat-top
C262 CWE rotating cassette toilet has a
separate header tank allowing use of
flushing additive.
The deep oval basin has a downlighter
immediately overhead and there is a
striplight over the doorway. Both are
operated by a corded ceiling switch that
children can reach.
Fittings include twin double robe hooks,
tooth mug, towel/tissue holders and a
long mirror. There’s no window, though
the five-way rooflight in the shower
compartment provides plenty of light.
SLEEPING
The slatted centre base for the rear double
bed simply pulls out from beneath the chest.
Once the small, folded infill section has been
added, the sleeping area is a comfortable
4ft 4in x 7ft 4in. Alternatively, you can form
a pair of 6ft single beds by simply removing
the backrest and corner cushions.
The dinette converts conventionally, the
table top forming a 6ft x 3ft 7in bed – a bit
small to be termed a double unless children
are using it. It does not extend into the
aisle, which at least means the alloy ladder
for the overcab double bed need not be
obstructed. Lined purple curtains
supplement the Horrex pleated flyscreen/
blinds, while the cab is equipped with
Remis window blinds all round.
The Luton berth is 4ft 2in x 7ft, with an
adequate 25 inches headroom above its
luxury 4in mattress. ■
VERDICT
There were one or two minor quality
glitches on our test van where heater
trunking clips had torn off, but the
overall picture is of a very comfortable
motorhome that is a pleasure to drive
and represents truly excellent value.
www.caravanclub.co.uk
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