Peter BaberSee other awning reviews written by Peter Baber
It's not all about air awnings! We review the long-popular Isabella Ambassador Seed, which goes into the 2017 season with just a few modifications
Air awnings have become so much the rage over the past few years that you could be forgiven for thinking that this is the way the market is inevitably going to go.
Market leader Isabella, however, feels that there is still a lot of life left in the conventional awning that’s supported on poles, so is continuing with its popular Ambassador Seed range for the 2017 season. The model we tested was a 900, which sits towards the shorter end of the range.
Its poles have long since stopped being made of steel, and are now constructed of much lighter CarbonX rods (glassfibre reinforced with carbonfibre).
Isabella has designed this awning so that all poles are interchangeable, except the two corner examples, but these are labelled for easy reference.
Once tightened, the bottom of the vertical poles attaches to adjustable tabs on the canvas, lessening the chance of wind getting between canvas and pole.
A veranda pole, fitting between two of the vertical examples so that you can open the top of one of the panels halfway, comes as standard. All four of the panels in the Isabella Ambassador Seed 900 can be removed totally.
The extendable poles are fitted with Isabella’s Isafix locking mechanisms, which are much easier to use than butterfly nuts. The roof poles fix onto the van with FixOn screwless brackets – Isabella no longer uses suckers.
The curtains are deployed via what Isabella describes as a ‘suitcase on wheels’ system, with plastic catches that easily clip onto a runner.
Isabella awnings can be on the pricey side. The Ambassador Seed range starts at £1802 before you’ve even added any extras – but you get what you pay for.
All peg fixings are reinforced. Plus, the metal rings that catch the top of the vertical poles to keep the roof in place come with additional washers to lessen the chance of water getting in still further.
Finally there’s the fabric. It’s acrylic, so it’s very breathable, with a density of 295g per square metre – far tougher than you will find on most similar awnings. And, because the material is dyed – in either granite, steel or sand colourings – at the fibre stage, it’s much less likely to fade.
A draught skirt, wheelarch cover and typhoon storm sashes all come as standard. The optional extras, which are extensive, include the Cosy Corner II – a canopy you can have on the corner at the front that’s large enough to cover a chair and side table.
The 2017-season Isabella Ambassador Seed is between 850cm and 1175cm wide, with a depth of 250cm. And it weighs 36.8kg-65.7kg. Access is via two front doors.
Other optional extras available include: an annex (£536-£649), a door canopy (£105), a front net panel (£99-£115), a side net panel (£90), the aforementioned Cosy Corner II (£454-£661), a partition wall (£368), an Eclipse front sun canopy (£454-£661), a gutter (£125), storm tape with a peg (£17 each).
Specs and Layout
The Isabella Ambassador Seed is proof that you don’t necessarily need to follow the crowd and opt for a blow-up awning.
- There's great attention to detail with the reinforced tabs
- It's made of a superior fabric – and it shouldn't fade
- Starting at over £1800, it's not the cheapest awning out there