Practical Caravan's expert reviews the four-berth compact Xplore-based Elddis Sanremo 304 dealer special from Venture Caravans

Overview

Start with a budget tourer and dress it up with better spec. That’s the approach that Northamptonshire-based Venture Caravans has taken for its new Sanremo dealer specials, based on the few-frills Elddis Xplore line-up. 

The Elddis Sanremo 304 is the baby of the family, at just under 5.5m long, but it is an ideal size for people who shy away from towing large vans. It still has space for four and boasts extra kit, including a radio/CD player.

Pitching and setting up

Newcomers to towing will like this compact’s manoeuvrability. The Al-Ko AKS 3004 stabiliser keeps it steady in high winds, while the narrow body glides smoothly along country lanes.

Bespoke graphics adorn the attractive grey sidewalls, which are of dent-resistant GRP. It comes with three-year parts and 10-year bodyshell warranties.

The front gas locker has oodles of space and the water pump is conveniently on the offside, so you won’t trip over the Aquaroll as you enter.

Lounge

The 304 has one of the few L-shaped lounges around, but it makes excellent use of the space. A convenient shelf is below the tall offside window and a fold-out TV stand, with mains and aerial points, which is well placed for easy viewing from any spot on the bench seats.

During the day, the huge front window joins those on the sides to flood the area with light, while allowing you to lounge and admire the view. When night comes, close the blinds and switch on the LED lights. There is even a stylish strip lamp below the overhead lockers.

Removable carpets, dual-fuel Whale heating and Grade 3 thermal insulation help keep the interior cosy. Four 230V sockets will save you the headache of unplugging some gadgets to operate others.

Kitchen

The kitchen has everything you need to cook family meals: three gas burners, a mains hotplate, a combined oven and grill and a microwave. Unfortunately, the last is at head height above the hob – not the safest location.

You’ll need to lower the glass covers for the stove and sink and flip up an extension flap over the nearside sofa to have any work surface, aside from a strip to the right of the sink, where there’s room enough to stand a kettle.

Storage space, like worktop, is severely restricted in this kind of layout, but there are more options than you’d expect. The overhead cupboard has plate and cup holders, cutlery fits in a drawer below the sink and the cupboard under the oven can hold pots and pans.

Across the aisle is the Dometic fridge/freezer, while the dining table is stored in the wardrobe.

Washroom

The wetroom is squeezed into the nearside corner. A swivel-head electric-flush toilet and a basin are fitted above the shower tray. An eight-litre water heater provides the option of using the shower, but the room is likely to be used mainly for middle-of-the-night visits.

Beds

At night, the Sanremo’s lounge can be turned into a double bed using slats that are pulled from the front seat bench and slide along guides on both sides. If you keep things on the low offside shelf, you’ll have to find somewhere else for them first.

When it’s set up, however, you can forget about accessing anything you’ve stored in the drawer under the front seat or the control unit on the offside.

The offside corner dinette can be turned into bunks. The lower bed is made by dropping the table to half height and placing it between the seats. This creates a good-sized single.

Above is a drop-down bunk, which is supported by battens at either end and secured with bolt locks. The occupant only gets 0.58m of headroom, but it is meant for young children.

Two side guards, at the head and foot, are stored under the mattress, while a separate ladder can be secured between them.

Storage

A family of four should have little trouble fitting their kit in the 304. All the bed boxes have storage space that is accessed by lifting the seat bases. The space in the corner dinette’s seat boxes is harder to use: you must first take down the table and then remove the cushions.

Extra gear will fit in the half-height wardrobe, sharing space with hanging clothes and the folding dining table.

There are no wet lockers or external access to bed boxes. The gas locker can help out here, but take care not to exceed the noseweight limit when using it.

The washroom provides only one option: a cupboard with two shelves. It may be plenty for two people’s toiletries, but not for a whole family’s. The towel hooks are a helpful addition, though.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO908kg
Payload161kg
MTPLM1069kg
Interior length3.8m
Shipping length5.47m
Width2.18m

Verdict

This van has just enough space for a small family and its kit, with features that make it cosy and usable. You’ll need to be on the small side, though, because the double bed is just enough for a six-footer and the bunks are sized for children.

The extra spec makes this dealer special from Venture Caravans and Motorhomes in Watling Street, Daventry, less austere and more attractive as a first caravan.

Conclusion

Pros

  • L-shaped lounge makes good use of space and converts into a double bed
  • This caravan has more storage space than you'd expect

Cons

  • The wetroom is cramped
  • Access to some of the storage space is not always easy
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