Price range: £18,895-£21,995
For the start of the 2013 season, Bailey has focused all of its development time and energy on its flagship Unicorn line-up.
All single-axle models now weigh less than 1500kg MTPLM, and interiors have been re-thought, but the standout feature is the all-new vertical, opening skylight.
The 2013 Unicorn line-up consists of five models, which is two fewer than previously. The fixed-island-bed Cabrera and Pamplona models are not currently listed in the 2013-season line-up, although Bailey says that an island-bed model could appear in time for the Motorhome and Caravan Show, which will be held from 16-21 October 2012 at Birmingham’s NEC. The new Unicorn models are set to arrive in dealerships from September 2012.
Although they continue to be built using Bailey’s unique Alu-Tech construction method, a lot of work has gone into engineering down weight for the 2013 season, with Bailey now building single axle models on the 1500kg rather than 1600kg Al-Ko chassis.
Noseweights are engineered down, too, with gas cylinders relocated near the axle to distribute the load more evenly.
All Unicorns are tougher, now too: dent-resistant GRP replaces aluminium sidewalls and roofs, while impact-resistant plastic bumpers front and rear provide additional protection from stone chips. Al-Ko ATC, stabiliser and shock absorbers are standard kit, along with Michelin tyres and an easy-to-use spare wheel carrier to replace the standard system.
Smart new sunroof
But it’s the vertical sunroof that grabs the headlines. The design is largely in response to developments in recent seasons from Swift Group and Coachman, both of which featured attractive sunroofs that proved to be runaway sales successes.
Externally, Bailey’s take on the sunroof fad is certainly different. First, it is vertical rather than horizontal and uniquely, it opens to provide ventilation as well. It’s best admired from a seat in the front lounge when the van faces an attractive view.
With no shelves dividing the vista, the giant picture window floods the lounge with light. A split pleated blind provides privacy. It’s framed inside by walnut veneer (to match the lockers), which is bonded to the interior surface. This extends to include a further Heki rooflight overhead, which is framed with an LED-lit surround. It’s impressive stuff from a company better known for manufacturing innovation than showroom appeal.
The inside line
The absence of a gas locker up front means there’s room for a recessed three-drawer front chest with an occasional lap table, which is great news for legroom in the lounge, and a sense of interior space. The slatted seat boxes slide out to form a double bed, and there are flaps for access to the storage space under them.
Kitchens get granite-finished work surfaces, a new stainless-steel circular sink with swan-neck mixer tap, plus a washing-up bowl, drainer and chopping board. They also get a new Thetford oven, grill and a dual-fuel hob.
Similarly, a facelifted washroom gets a new shower unit and circular cubicle, adding a dash of glamour previously missing from Unicorn washrooms. We’d prefer an opaque window, though.
Overall kit levels remain high, with the Alde wet central heating system included on the standard equipment list, plus an entertainment system featuring an 18.5in flat-screen TV.
As with all Bailey vans, a six-year transferable bodyshell integrity guarantee is standard, but this can be extended to 10 years as a cost option.
Competitiors in this upmarket sector include Swift Conqueror, Coachman VIP and Lunar Clubman.
2013 Bailey Unicorn Range
This classic two-berth layout features facing sofas up front and a full-width rear washroom. The new circular shower unit makes for a more stylish and user-friendly washroom than last season’s model. At 1350kg all up, it’s 84kg lighter than its predecessor.
This four-berth features facing sofas up front, with noticeably more legroom than last year thanks to the recessed chest. The side dinette converts to bunks, making it ideal for families with younger children, and there’s a full-width rear washroom. With an MTPLM of 1484kg, it’s 112kg lighter than last season’s model.
This four-berth features the ever-popular fixed double bed and full-width rear washoom. Range upgrades include Michelin branded tyres and new Status 550 direction TV aerial. Its maximum weight is down 68kg from last season.
The four-berth Cadiz features the most fashionable layout of recent seasons: twin rear single beds and an end washroom. It would suit a family with teenagers who’re too big for bunks and no longer prepared to share a double bed. Its MTPLM is now 1498kg, some 95kg lighter than last season.
The four-berth twin-axle model has the same basic floor plan as the Valencia: that is, fixed double bed and full-width rear washroom. Range upgrades include a new dual-fuel hob with electric hotplate as well as three gas burners, ideal for those who want to get best value out of the electric hook-up they’ve paid for on site. At 1686kg, it’s 68kg lighter than last season, but will still demand a heavyweight towcar.