Bryony Symes
Staff Writer

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The compact starter model in the Adria caravans range has been given a makeover, but still retains its style, layout and low weight – check out our review!

Overview

The Adria Altea Forth comes into 2017 with a few tweaks, but just as much elegance and flexibility.

The exterior has had an update with different graphics, which reflect the sophisticated interior colour scheme. The cupboards have a new wood effect.

The style suits minimalist tastes, and can easily be brightened up with cushions and blankets.

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Pitching and setting up

This lightweight and stylish caravan makes for easy outfit matching and is a good starter van for those who are just joining our ranks.

If you feel you need a more generous payload, a weight upgrade is available and would take this tourer up to an MTPLM of 1300kg: still light enough for easy car/caravan matching for those of us who are limited to 3500kg.

Towing this little family caravan is easy, especially with the aid of the AKS stabiliser and shock absorbers. But the corner steadies are set quite far under the van, making them awkward to reach. We also found that the steady winder scrapes against the GRP skirt at the front.

The nearside, where the awning goes, has a locker that gives access to the storage space beneath the sofa and an awning light, but otherwise all the service points are on the offside.

The front gas locker has plenty of space for two gas bottles and any extra equipment that you don’t want to store in the living space.

Lounge

The relatively simple layout in the Adria Altea 362LH Forth makes for a great social space: while someone is cooking in the rear, they can still get involved in any conversation in the lounge.

The lounge itself has a comfortable U-shaped sofa, with a fold-out coffee table at the front end, so you can entertain to your heart’s content. But the party may have to end early if you have little ones, because the lounge makes up the sleeping area.

If you want a quiet night in, the lounge is ideal for that as well. With a TV point and plug socket cleverly hidden in a shelf by the sideboard, you have the perfect TV set-up as you lounge on the sofas.

The lounge has had a fantastic addition to the front window in the form of a huge, opening skylight to provide extra breeze on warm days, or to make the most of great views. This makes the space superbly bright.

This skylight is fitted with fly nets and insulated blinds, as are all the other windows, so you don’t have to worry about losing heat. There is also a flyscreen on the door to keep out critters.

One of the great features that has been retained in Adria caravans for 2017 is the small shelves that are by the door – ideal for storing necessities. There are more shelves on the lounge side of this unit, too.

The lighting in this caravan is very effective, and the adjustable LED spotlights in each corner of the lounge mean everyone can have optimal light for reading. Gentle ambient lighting beneath the overhead storage lockers helps to make the van cosy in the evenings.

Kitchen

The compact kitchen at the rear of the Altea 362LH Forth has everything you could need: a three-burner gas hob, a combined oven and grill, a 90-litre fridge and a microwave.

Workspace is a little tight, especially when the hob is in use, although there is a counter to the other side of the door, which can be used as food-preparation space.

The cupboard space in the kitchen is adequate, and includes plate and cup organisers and a cutlery drawer, a chopping board and a drainer.

The window behind the sink means that lighting during the day isn’t a problem. There is also a Heki rooflight that, combined with the window, should provide plenty of air circulation to get rid of cooking smells.

A small bin on the caravan's door is very convenient.

Washroom

The washroom’s compact design makes great use of the tiny space available, with a fold-down sink, although this detail could become tiresome if you use the toilet a lot.

The plug socket beside the door comes in handy for using shavers, hairdryers and straighteners, and the mirrored cupboard doors help make the space feel bigger.

One area where the Adria Altea 362LH Forth does better than many of its rivals is in hanging space for towels: as well as the hand-towel holder, there is an additional rod across the ceiling, just beyond the shower curtain, which comes in handy for larger towels.

But some hooks on the door wouldn’t go amiss.

Beds

The lounge becomes a giant sleeping space when you slide out the bases from each side and slot the cushions in place.

The main bed sleeps two or three, and a fourth can sleep on a fold-out bunk on the nearside which is secured with good, solid bolts when not in use.

The bunk is intuitive to set up, but only strong enough to hold up to 50kg. The cushions and ladder are easily stowed under the sofa, although there isn’t much room left over.

If there are fewer people being accommodated, you can set the space up as two singles, a giant double, or a single and a double.

Storage

In working hard to ensure there is enough space for the whole family to store their belongings, the designers have made sure all the available space beneath the sofas is usable. But getting to some of it is tricky and involves moving the cushions out of the area.

You might also struggle to store bulkier items – you may find yourself using the washroom as an extra cupboard, especially when you’re on the road.

Elsewhere in the caravan, available wardrobe space is limited, with just the narrow cupboard at the rear providing hanging space. This is where the main table is stored, too, and it’s heavy. But there is a large cupboard above the fridge.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO1017kg
Payload183kg
MTPLM1200kg
Interior length3.64m
Shipping length5.69m
Width2.3m
Awning size822cm

Verdict

The 2017 Adria Altea 362LH Forth remains a lightweight van at a good price, which makes it a safe bet for anyone looking to buy a touring caravan for the first time.

Its stylish interior also belies its budget van status. But you could have some issues about where to put all your luggage, and how to access it, if there are four of you, while the competition in this section of the market is stronger than you might initially think.

Conclusion

Pros

  • It has a clean, fresh look and a class-leading panoramic front window to let the light in
  • It's lightweight and compact
  • The layout is usefully flexible

Cons

  • Some of the awkward storage issues have not been resolved
  • Hanging space is limited
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