The twin-dinette five-berth 2010 Elddis Avanté 505 is aimed squarely at the family market – here's what Practical Caravan's expert reviewers thought of it

Overview

Here is the Elddis version of the classic twin-dinette layout for small families. The rear dinette gives children a dedicated area for daytime play and peaceful bedtimes, behind the fabric curtain. The fold-out bunk makes a good fifth berth and the fold-out barriers are well designed. Standard kit is impressive and the layout works well overall. There are just a few niggles, but more of that later.

Pitching and setting up

The 505 is built on the highly stable BPW Swing V-Tec chassis fitted with a Winterhoff stabiliser, 13-pin electrics and a buttonless handbrake. It also has guide channels for the rear steadies, making setting up a cinch.

The front locker lifts up high and the clearly laid-out main control switches are just inside the door, along with a doormat, full flyscreen and a couple of coat hooks.

Lounge

Much of this caravan’s layout is given over to lounging, with supportive knee rolls to the seat cushions and drop-in carpets. The upholstery is attractive at both ends, with patterned back cushions, and bolster cushions at the front.

One omission is a TV point in the rear dinette – a van such as this should cater for kids in the back lounge, where they will be busy with game consoles or watching DVDs.

Storage is good in both lounges, with six overhead lockers at the front and another six at the back. There are shelves in between the lockers in the back lounge, providing extra space. However, due to the rake of the van’s front panel, the front lockers are shallow.

At dinnertime there are lots of options in the rear dinette – a slightly wobbly clip-on table, solid free-standing table and small pull-out extension.
Standard kit is good, with a music system and plenty of halogen spotlights. Heki rooflights at both ends, and blinds and flyscreens to all windows.

Kitchen

Kit is one of the kitchen’s strong points, with a three-burner hob, oven, grill, microwave and Thetford’s new silver-front fridge.

The stainless steel sink has a recessed drainer for easier washing-up and two mains sockets are angled into the space.

The worktop to the right of the sink is large enough for preparing dinner and the strip light surprisingly provides ample light.

However, storage space is a concern. The wire storage trays and cutlery drawer take up most of the big cupboard beside the fridge, leaving no room for bulky items.

The lack of electric ignition for the hob, oven and grill is another disappointment. This has been criticised in other Avantés and it continues to grate, especially for cooks who risk singeing their eyebrows everytime they want to grill bacon. Adding an ignition switch is an easy and inexpensive upgrade – what is a mid-range tourer doing without one anyway?

Washroom

With two lounges, the washroom is squeezed. However, considering its size Elddis has fit in a lot. There is a separate shower with a bi-fold door and Whale mixer tap, and a Thetford bench toilet.

Running across the top of the space is a handy hanging rail. The main drawback is a lack of storage for toiletries. Considering the space available, the room works well unless you take long trips without staying at full-facility sites.

Beds

The roomy front double bed assembles in the standard way on pull-out, soft-wood slats. There are spotlights at the kitchen end, but that means only one person has a reading light at bedtime.

The rear double works the same way and a bunk folds down from the rear wall above for the fifth berth. Boards to keep kids from falling out of bed hinge up from the bed base so you don’t have to slot them in at night or store them during the day.

Two spotlights, a ceiling light and a Heki rooflight keep the kids’ end illuminated and a fabric curtain secludes it after ‘lights out’.

Storage

In both dinettes storage space is good. There are enough lockers and shelves for organising each family member’s belongings, although the overhead lockers are shallow.

Front access to the sofa bed boxes is practical and will let you make maximum use of the area. Still, more space is needed in the kitchen and washroom.

Technical specs

Berth5
MiRO1135kg
Payload203kg
MTPLM1535kg
Interior length5.6m
Shipping length7.34m
Width2.24m
Height2.73m
Awning size9950cm

Verdict

This twin-dinette layout really does tick a lot of boxes for small families. Children will love having the curtained-off rear dinette to themselves and the fifth berth, a fold-out bunk, means a family with three children can sleep here, or one of the kids can invite a friend along!

Standard kit is impressive. The lack of a separate TV point in the rear and of an electric ignition switch for the hob are big letdowns in a mid-market van. Families would benefit from more kitchen and washroom storage space, and the lockers at the front are too shallow to be much use.

Overall, we give it 8/10.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Rear dinette works well for children
  • The fold-out bunk makes a good fifth berth
  • Well designed fold-out barriers for the folding bunk
  • Standard kit is impressive
  • Layout works well overall

Cons

  • There's no separate TV point in the rear
  • Families would benefit from more kitchen and washroom storage space
  • Hob has no electric ignition switch
  • Lockers at the front are too shallow to be much use
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