IT'S BEEN A busy year for Bailey. In February it launched the Pegasus GT65 range, featuring a radical vertical-styled opening sunroof. In the summer months it followed this by expanding its Unicorn line-up with two additional layouts: the Vigo and Cordoba. But arguably it’s saved its most significant development for last – the all-new entry-level Pursuit range.
The narrow-bodied Olympus underwent its most recent facelift in 2011, but remained very much a conventional offering for those new to caravanning, or upgrading to their first brand-new tourer.
In essence, Pursuit is the best of both ranges. And while price and weight are crucial in the entry-level market, Bailey has also worked hard to maximise interior space on offer.
Pursuit is built using Bailey’s patented Alu-Tech method of construction. It’s been around five years now, but is still worth explaining for those new to our hobby, or who’ve missed all the reports on it.
The bonded panels (sidewalls and roof) are clamped together with an aluminium extrusion, which is in turn held in place from the inside by a metal connecting bracket.
The assembly is then locked together by a T-bolt fixing and a plastic cap covers the fittings so it all looks neat from the inside. The benefits of this are a stronger shell, and Bailey claims a better defence against leaks at the seal where panels join.
The Pursuit range is skinned with GRP on its outer walls, as well as its inner walls. At 2.23m it’s wider-bodied than Olympus, and its grey sidewalls and white front and rear panels are eye-catching.
Up front, we’re pleased to see an opening sunroof is offered as a cost option (£356). It’s not the vertical one from Pegasus GT65 and Unicorn – instead we’re told it has been carried across from the firm’s motorhome range.
Apparently, the radius where the rear wall meets the roof has also come across from the motorhome range. It is gentler than the radius of the Orion's rear wall. Bailey claims it improves fuel economy on tow significantly.
Also, the graphics treatment does a neat job of marrying the lounge and kitchen windows, giving a streamlined impression. Our only gripe: the white-framed exterior locker doors really stand out against those otherwise lovely grey sidewalls.
Pursuit has taken its design cue from Unicorn and Pegasus GT65 in that the gas locker has been moved to side of the van, close to the axle, in order to help reduce the van’s noseweight and increase stability on tow. Otherwise, the single front window is a pointer to its entry-level status, as is the two-piece entry door.
The inside story
Step inside, and you certainly feel the extra internal width compared with Olympus, while headroom is 6’5” throughout. There are six layouts at launch, all listed below.
The interiors are light and airy, and feel more spacious than Olympus. You can see the influence from Bailey’s more upmarket siblings in the styling: there’s the chrome-look fittings, the walnut finish furniture, but with hessian-look lower sections. The dark worktops have also been carried across from the firm’s motorhome range.
The new soft furnishings are called ‘Spice’, with an oatmeal-coloured squab cushions, while bolster cushions, backrests, scatters and curtains are all get a rich copper colouring.
Costs and the competition
Is the styling as warm as key rivals such as Xplore from Elddis, or Sprite from Swift Group? We reckon it’s close.
Equipment-wise, Pursuit has pretty much everything you need. The kitchen is perhaps a little minimal: there’s a three-burner gas hob, combined oven and grill, and Dometic fridge-freezer.
Heating and hot water is dual fuel, courtesy of the Truma Combi system, and is controlled by means of a smart new control panel with a rotary knob rather than touch screen. There’s also a Thetford C260 cassette toilet – so basically it’s all the essentials.
In terms of options, Bailey is keeping things pretty simple. There’s the Premium Pack (£399), comprising an AL-KO AKS hitch, a spare wheel (mounted inboard under the double bed), a door flyscreen, microwave oven and radio CD/MP3 player. AL-KO ATC Trailer Control System and Seucre wheel lock are also options.
The Premium Pack costs £399 and the Sunroof £356. Other factory fit options are AL-KO ATC trailer control system at £399 & AL-KO Secure wheel lock at £194.
Practical Caravan Verdict
The low weights, smart exterior looks, pleasant interior styling and acceptable equipment levels make the Pursuit range a truly appealing and very welcome addition to the value market. It’s a strong proposition that may have arrived at just the right time, on the back of a hot summer and improving economic fortunes in the UK. Alongside the perennially excellent Sprite, and the much improved Xplore, entry to caravanning has rarely looked more appealing.
Pursuit Layout Finder
This compact two berth features large facing sofas in the front section, a small offside kitchen, and large washroom across the full width of the van at the rear, with a separate walk-in shower cubicle. It was a popular layout in the Orion range.
This compact four berth features short facing sofas in the front section, a small kitchen, a fixed double bed and full-width end washroom. Another strong selling layout from Orion.
This is a larger version of the 430-4, with a longer sofas up front, particularly on the nearside which may be suitable as single beds, plus a bigger kitchen with more work surface space. A popular model in the Olympus range.
This four berth features perhaps the most fashionable layout in modern British caravan manufacturing: fixed twin single beds and an end washroom. It takes its lead from the best-selling Pegasus GT65 Rimini and Unicorn Cadiz models.
This five berth has fixed corner bunk and end washroom, with a nearside single dinette facing an offside kitchen. It was also a layout offered in the outgoing Olympus line-up. Again, a strong seller in the Olympus range.
This new five berth is a floorplan not offered elsewhere in the Bailey line-up: it features parallel sofa lounges both at the front and rear. The rear also converts to a transverse bunk bed.