Claudia Dowell
Features Editor

See other caravan reviews written by Claudia Dowell

Practical Caravan's experts review the four-berth 2014 Adria Adora Seine to find out whether it’s as comfortable as it is innovative

Overview

Slovenian caravan and motorhome manufacturer Adria is the only firm on the Continent that makes tourers specifically for the UK volume market. All of its caravans are approved by our National Caravan Council, and are ‘re-handed’ so that the entry door is on the UK nearside. They each come with a 10-year bodyshell integrity warranty, which matches the best factory-backed offering currently available from British tourer manufacturers. And best of all, in Practical Caravan’s first Owner Satisfaction Awards (March issue, 2013), Adria topped the table for best pre-owned caravans, which proves its tourers are built to stand the test of time.

Over the years, Adria has developed a strong reputation for producing well-built caravans that are full of innovation and deliver high payloads. They’re also keenly priced. Although they sometimes lack some of the standard kit found in British-built caravans, generous options packs are usually available to help narrow the gap to their popular UK competitors.

Adria currently produces three ranges for the UK: the entry-level Altea, the mid-market Adora and the top-of-the range Astella Glam. Adria has been building Adora since the early 2000s. For 2014, Adora has benefited from a substantial external overhaul, and it looks a lot more appealing for it.

The Adora range features five floorplans, each named after a European river, and all have front-lounge layouts. The Adora Seine features a popular layout: four sleeping berths with a front lounge, midships kitchen, twin single beds and a full-width end washroom, all on a single-axle chassis. We spent a week in the Adora Seine at Sumners Ponds campsite in cold conditions in West Sussex.

Pitching and setting up

The Adria Adora Seine is built on an Al-Ko chassis and comes with an AKS hitch but no ATC – Al-Ko’s excellent trailer-control system. Alloy wheels and an Al-Ko secure receiver are fitted as part of the Adora Pack (which also includes carpets, a sink cover and drainer, and ambient lighting in the lounge). Most Adoras will be sold with the Adora Pack.

The caravan’s sidewalls are skinned with durable polyester, and there are new front and rear panels for 2014. The front ABS panel has a large gas locker, plus eye-catching triple front windows. This is a nod to the styling of Swift’s Challenger ranges and Coachman’s eye-catching premium models.

The plastic glazing extends up and over the front panel to meet the caravan’s roofline, although only the huge central sunroof can be opened. Our testers agreed that it looks great, and is a significant leap forward from the range’s appearance in previous seasons.

The rear ABS panel has a moulded bumper, which houses new-style road lights, and chunky chrome-effect grab handles. Along the sidewalls are attractive, ‘swoosh-effect’ graphics.

Access to the leg steady nuts at the front and the rear of the caravan is more difficult than it should be. They’re tucked way beneath the caravan, without grooves in the panels or guide tubes to steer you, so you must crouch down on potential wet or muddy pitches to access them.

There are external hatches either side of the caravan upfront, one of which houses the battery box, and a further hatch to the space beneath the rear nearside bed. The toilet locker hatch is on the offside, and there’s an outside barbecue point on the nearside.

Lounge

The lounge is at the front of the caravan, and Adria has opted against the ubiquitous centre chest, which comes with drawers and an occasional table in most caravans on sale in the UK. Instead, its designers have gone for wraparound seating with a flip-up table. However, it does not feel the most robust of set-ups.

At mealtimes, there’s a large, freestanding table with rounded corners for easier access to the sofas when it’s in use. The Adora’s chocolate upholstery and dark furniture veneer, plus the chrome detailing to its lockers and ambient lighting, make for a pleasant lounge area.

There are no access flaps to the seat-locker bases from inside the caravan, and the seat-box tops are of slatted soft wood, with a plywood top. Although you can raise them, they’re not assisted by struts, which makes accessing the underseat storage areas rather a hassle.

The large sunroof floods the lounge space with natural light, and has LED lights integrated into its plastic surround. Our testers liked the corner spotlights: the lens unclips from its plastic cowl, flips down and can be rotated for better directional lighting. However, they would have preferred spots sited at both ends of each sofa, rather than just at the front end. They also liked the attractive ambient lighting behind the roof lockers, and found the seating well-supported and comfortable.

The space is heated by the conventional gas and electric Truma 3004 S space heater with blown air. There’s a CD/radio sited in an overhead locker, and a small dresser alongside the entry door that’s perfect for positioning a TV, with a bank of plug sockets, aerial points, monitors and controls for the onboard facilities stacked directly above it.

Kitchen

The attractive kitchen is sited on the caravan's offside. The hob features three in-line gas burners, and is set in an L-arrangement with the combined sink. The sink is small, but the swan-neck tap makes it possible to fit most kettles beneath it easily for filling.

There is ample workspace, and the unit has wide drawers, plus a side cupboard. LED strip lighting is fitted to the underside of the overhead roof lockers, and in the ceiling is a roof vent.

Next to the kitchen unit is the Thetford 104-litre fridge/freezer with a Spinflo Midi Prima oven with separate grill positioned directly above it. Some of our testers complained that the grill was sited too high for comfort.

Washroom

The long single beds make the washroom necessarily rather narrow, but it’s wide enough to be practical.

Adria has fitted a frosted window to the offside wall, behind the swivel toilet, to supplement the roof vent above the nearside shower area. Unusually, the shower cubicle, which measures 0.75m deep by 0.82m wide, comprises simply a tray on the floor, with a folding partition door; it’s not a moulded, sealed unit so water will splash the wallboard. The hand basin is of the transparent ‘salad bowl’ variety, with a swan-neck tap.

The large, central vanity mirror has downlighting above it, a cupboard below it, plus a narrow cupboard on either side, each of which is shelved.

Beds

The sofas can only be used as single beds by young children as they measure just 1.54m in length. They’re more likely to be turned into a large double bed across the width of the caravan by pulling the seat bases together and dropping in the backrest cushions. The front double measures a substantial 2.12m across the width of the caravan, so should be comfortable enough for most couples, providing a decent flat sleeping surface. The spaces beneath the sofa boxes can be used for storing bedding.

A concertina partition separates the bedroom area from the front lounge space. The rear single beds are huge. The bed on the nearside measures 2m x 0.78m, while the offside bed measures 1.9m x 0.78m. Both bed bases can be raised at the head end – resting against the washroom wall – thanks to a cantilevered bed base that can be reclined at multiple click-stops to a comfortable rake. It’s great for sitting up and reading in bed. Both have a shelf and reading light above them, although there’s no board to keep the mattress away from the sidewalls.The only issue is that the mattresses are so wide they can obstruct the opening and closing of the washroom door, especially when they’re made up with bedding.

Storage

Storage throughout the caravan is good, partly because it’s longer and wider than many similarly priced rivals on the UK market.

As well as the wide drawers in the kitchen area, the large overhead lockers in the lounge and bedroom area and the storage in the dresser, there is a wide and deep wardrobe sited above the space heater.

The Seine offers abundant storage space for a couple, and ample space for a family of four.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO1503kg
Payload197kg
MTPLM1700kg
Interior length6.14m
Shipping length8.19m
Width2.3m
Height2.58m
Awning size1068cm

Verdict

The addition of the sunroof may well make buyers take a second look at the Adora range for 2014. The Seine is an impressive – and in places unique – take on what has become one of the most popular layouts on the British market today.

With an MTPLM of 1700kg the Adora Seine is a heavyweight for a single-axle tourer, so you’ll need a large estate car such as a Mercedes-Benz E350, or a large 4x4, to tow it. But if you have such a tow car, this caravan is keenly priced from £17,790 when new, and is worth consideration.

Conclusion

Pros

  • It’s well-built, stylish and spacious
  • Large, panoramic sunroof floods the van with light
  • Wide drawers provide ample storage in the kitchen area
  • Adora Pack includes chrome-detailed lockers and ambient lighting
  • Large single beds with raisable bed heads

Cons

  • It’s big and heavy
  • Washroom is on the narrow side
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