Bryony Symes
Staff Writer

See other caravan reviews written by Bryony Symes

A compact, budget caravan that offers great flexibility, read more about the 3+1-berth Adria Altea 362LH Forth in the Practical Caravan review

Overview

Adria's current range continues to be one of the most contemporary on the market. The clean lines, neutral colours and simple design create bright and airy living spaces.

The relatively low weight and modest length make the Forth easy to tow. Just because it is small, though, doesn’t mean it isn’t impressive. The storage and flexible layout will work for couples or families.

It is similar to the Adria Altea 4four Go Signature, except this is for those who don’t want customised walls, but do want a lower price.

Pitching and setting up

Even with a tidy MTPLM of 1300kg, you get a generous 288kg payload. This makes it ideal for those towing on B licences who may otherwise struggle to keep their outfits within the legal limit of 3500kg. The Adria can also be manoeuvred easily by hand.

Operating the steadies was a little tricky, because the winder guide hole through the GRP body is slightly difficult to line up. Still, we were glad that the toilet hatch and other service points are all on the offside.

The front gas locker is spacious, and the A-frame is a useful stepladder for cleaning the window. You’ll be reassured by the Al-Ko chassis and stabiliser, and the GRP body.

There is external access to both storage areas under the sofas, so you don’t have to carry mucky kit inside to put it away.

Lounge

The living area feels modern, with LED lighting aplenty for reading or socialising. The sofas are of unequal length, but there is plenty of room for six people. The lounge lacks the 4four’s panoramic front window, but it’s a bright space nevertheless.

Wrestling the hefty freestanding table out of the rear closet is awkward. However, once free of the wardrobe, it is easy to set up.

There are mains and aerial points in the shelf space behind the central nearside worktop, making it a convenient TV stand as well as extra food preparation space. Still, those on the nearside sofa will have to crane their necks to see the screen.

The front of the lounge lacks sockets, but that’s something only those permanently attached to their phones will find tricky. There is a neatly hidden socket in the shelves, two on the central unit and another on the wall between the refrigerator and the washroom, perfect for hairdryers, as well as one in the kitchen.

Kitchen

The Adria Altea 362LH Forth’s kitchen has all the necessities: a three-burner Dometic gas hob, a sink with stylish mixer tap, a 90-litre fridge/freezer and a combined oven/grill. If you can’t survive without a microwave, this is available as a dealer-fitted option. The (free) Golden Edition pack adds a chopping board and drainer to fit over the sink.

The kitchen’s position at the rear of the caravan is useful for keeping clutter away from the lounge; those who aren’t cooking can sit back and relax. However, while the line of three gas hobs is practical in terms of cooking, the shallow workspace in front of them is difficult to use. There’s an easy way around this; turn 180 ̊ and you have more worktop atop the sideboard by the door.

There is plenty of space in the two large drawers, a big pan cupboard and an overhead cupboard for all your kit. A slight drawback of this layout is that you cannot open the cupboard or drawers if the washroom door is ajar. Take care not to scrape it.

Another difference between the Altea 362LH Forth and the Altea 4four Go Signature is the size of the fridge. The 4four boasts a mighty 140-litre tower of a fridge/freezer, while the Forth’s is more modest by 50 litres.

The illumination really shines in the kitchen, with LED lighting around the splashback and under the top cupboard.

Washroom

The new ‘Ergo’ washroom design in this caravan – located in the rear offside corner – gives you a fixed bench toilet with a fold-down sink above it. This can make using the area awkward, but the savings on space are worth it.

There’s a decent shower space, with a curtain and towel rail, but no heating vent. The storage above the fold-down sink is impressive, with three generous shelves hidden behind the mirrored exterior.

Beds

Whether you are using the Forth to sleep two, three or four people, there’s a sleeping arrangement to suit. The sofas can be used as twin singles, albeit with a slight intrusion from the stowed bunk on the nearside.

By far the most spacious option is to pull the slatted frames from the seat benches towards the centre and assemble the cushions. The resulting transverse double is so huge it can fit three people. A fourth can sleep in the drop-down bunk.

Alternatively, pull out the frame from just one seat base to make a narrower double, leaving the other one as a single and a slight gangway between them. You’ll get a good sleep regardless, despite it not having a sprung mattress.

Roller blinds keep out enough light to let you sleep long past dawn. The design team can give themselves a pat on the back for dispensing with a central chest to boost sleeping space.

Storage

We particularly like the concealed shelves by the lounge. Below them is a cabinet with a large drawer and a Truma Ultraheat, which should enable year-round touring.

Thoughtful additions to the kitchen’s array of cupboards include a plate rack, a cupholder and a cutlery organiser in the top drawer which, like the others, is soft-close. And the large cupboard above the fridge is joined by others along both sides of the lounge.

The wardrobe, in which the table is stored, is narrow so it is only useful for keeping coats. The shelves below are good for stashing dirty footwear.

There is bags of under-seat storage, although the bulky cushions make accessing it difficult. If you plan to use the bunk, its parts will fill one of the long storage compartments.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO1012kg
Payload288kg
MTPLM1300kg
Interior length4.28m
Shipping length5.7m
Width2.3m
Awning size822cm

Verdict

Adria’s Altea 362LH Forth is a budget van that could work for small families, but is more likely to appeal to couples. Buyers also have the option of the bright, fun 4four, which is based on this van. They both have a flexible layout and plenty of storage options for tourers of this size. The Forth is excellent value, but could perhaps do with a few more design touches, such as the 4four’s panoramic sunroof.

Conclusion

Pros

  • The service points are on the offside
  • There's external access to the under-sofa storage areas
  • It's a small van, but the lounge can seat six
  • There's great storage
  • It excels with the flexibility of its living space and sleeping options

Cons

  • The steadies are fiddly to wind up and down
  • It's a compact van and the compromises come in the kitchen and washroom
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