Alastair ClementsSee other caravan reviews written by Alastair Clements
Practical Caravan's review of the entry-level, six-berth Adria Altea 552DT Tamar proves that if you want something a little different, it's worth a look
Adria is the only Continental manufacturer to build caravans for the UK market, with the door on the nearside. The Slovenian company's ambitious plans to expand British sales will hinge on the success of this entry-level model, new for 2015.
The reworked Altea follows the 2014 model year makeovers for the Adora and Astella, and like the mid-market Adora, the Altea now uses Adria’s ‘i-Shape’ exterior design with a curving rear roofline to improve fuel consumption on tow. The sidewalls are dent-resistant polyester, with modular plastic panels front and rear to make smaller bumps on Adria caravans cheap and easy to repair.
Adria believes that the traditional nuclear family is no more, so its layouts need to be flexible and responsive. The result is caravans such as this Tamar, one of two six-berth options in the four-model Altea range.
Pitching and setting up
This hitch is pretty bare, too, with no anti-snaking device, though for the UK market it will come with an AKS stabiliser as part of the standard ‘Golden Anniversary’ pack – along with Truma Ultraheat, a drainer and a sink cover.
There is external access to the under-bunk storage up front, but an unfortunate result of the nearside washroom is that you’ll have to take the toilet cassette out through the awning when you want to empty it.
The ‘Autumn leaves’ soft furnishings in this Adria are new and feel modern, as does the whole interior design with its hidden catches and unadorned cabinetwork. However, it would have been nice to have a bit more light: this front window isn’t enormous, and the Altea does without the Adora’s large opening sunroof – even as an option.
We love the massive drawers beneath: they’re far more useful than a tiny storage space and are much more domestic in feel, while their soft-close runners are a classy touch in a budget tourer. There’s a huge cupboard above, too, but there is no microwave and preparation space is limited, though you can always employ the dinette table sited opposite.
We like the stylish fittings, but the curving rear roofline prevents taller users from standing up straight in the shower – and we’d have preferred a fully lined cubicle.
Next there’s the offside dinette, which makes a lower bunk by dropping the table, while the upper berth folds out from the wall. It’s easy enough to do, and ideal for occasional guests during your caravan holidays.
Finally, at the back there are two fixed bunks that are usefully long so can be used by adults, or are ideal for kids and teens with their fun reading lights. If you’re likely to be touring with lots of children, you can even specify a third bunk for an extra £295, making this a seven-berth van.
The pale timber-effect finish feels very Scandinavian, with no handles but instead neat push catches for all of the lockers.
The Adria Altea 552DT Tamar is a tourer that splits opinion. It’s unlikely to appeal to a traditional British buyer seeking home comforts and a little bit of luxury on their caravan holidays, but for those who are looking for something a bit different it has plenty of appeal.
It’s a big van for a start, and its clever space optimisation and value for money make it an interesting alternative for those who appreciate its no-nonsense design.
- Big, soft close kitchen drawers
- Flexible sleeping options
- Storage is excellent
- There's no microwave
- Food preparation space is limited
- The washroom could be bigger