Andy JenkinsonSee other Advice articles filed in ‘Caravans for sale – buying guides’ written by Andy Jenkinson
Lightweight micro-tourers are very much in vogue, but finding one on the pre-owned market isn’t as easy as it might be with more conventional models. However, they are there if you look: especially check dealers who stocked them when they were new; pre-owneds are often returned to the same forecourts when people trade them in for something new.
We went to Red Lion Caravan Centre, a small dealership in Scarisbrick, West Lancashire, that sells new Going Go-Pods and Freedom Microlites. Established in the early 1960s, Red Lion Caravans is one of the oldest caravan dealers in North-West England. Director Lee McArdle says: "We have always stayed small, but in the past few years we have grown, moving premises to our garden centre site. With more space, we are expanding the workshops and office. We sell Freedom vans and have been importing the Go-Pod since 2005. Our selection of used tourers changes regularly as stock is sold. We are also taking on the Elddis Xplore models to strengthen our new ranges."
At Red Lion Caravan Centre we found two micro-tourers with GRP bodies from Going and Freedom. Both were new for the 2015 season and had been used as demonstration units and were now being sold as nearly new models.
The Freedom can sleep three, while the Go-Pod will accommodate two and both were priced at less than £8000 – for that you can’t expect a multi-specified tourer but you do get the basics. The Freedom is 70kg lighter when loaded than the slightly bigger Go-Pod. Both are pop-tops, to allow more headroom, but when the pop-tops are lowered each tourer will fit in an average-sized garage. The Go-Pod is manufactured in Portugal, while the Freedom is built in Poland. Both brands have been around for more than 45 years. Let's compare these two contenders in detail.
2015 Freedom Microlite Bijoux
The Microlite’s GRP shell is said to last 25-plus years and, certainly, the profile hasn’t really changed since 1970. Freedom has a loyal customer following and offers buyers a tourer that is easy to upgrade. This micro-tourer has a little more living area than that of the Go-Pod. Equipment comprises a Dometic twin-burner hob, a stainless-steel sink, one mains socket, two spotlights and a Dometic fridge. A mains charger unit is also standard, as is a spare wheel and carrier. What isn’t standard is heating or hot water and none had been added. There is no washroom. The Freedom is most likely to be bought by couples who may leave the sofas at the front made up as a bed and use the single rear dinette for dining and lounging, although its size is restrictive.
Front and back windows come with flyscreens and blinds, while the non-opening side windows have curtains only. At just one year old the Freedom was as-new.
2015 Going Go-Pod
Also known as the Cockpit, the Go-Pod by Going has been imported into the UK since 2005 and has sold well over the past few years, with upgrades being made during this period.
The Go-Pod, which has its entrance door at the rear, is equipped with a coolbox/fridge, a two-burner hob and plastic sink. The water container is placed outside, so a water pump is supplied. On the socket front there are two mains, two 12Vs and an external TV aerial.
A charger and mains transformer are fitted, and the excellent lighting comprises LED spots and ceiling lights. A spare wheel and carrier are standard. The small front window doesn’t open, but those on the sides do; they also come with blinds and flyscreens. The presentation is top-notch.
Best pitch and set-up: Freedom Microlite Bijoux
For ease of pitching and setting up, we've awarded the Freedom Microlite Bijoux three-and-a-half stars and the Going Go-Pod three stars out of five.
Both micro-caravans ride on a galvanised chassis: the Go-Pod has the Al-Ko braking system. The Freedom has the conventional A-frame arrangement, with a large gas bottle container, while the Go-Pod has a linear drawbar, and its small gas bottle is positioned below the kitchen in a cupboard. A mains inlet socket is fitted to each. Both vans have a spare wheel and steel-rim wheels.
The Freedom has the usual four corner steadies to keep it stable when pitched, while the Go-Pod has just two at the rear. Grabhandles number four on the Freedom, the Go-Pod has two at the front, but they are sturdier than the plastic units used on the Freedom. Both vans have a one-piece entrance door, but only the Go-Pod’s has a window. The Freedom is quick to set up and its big gas locker allows exterior storage, so pipping the Go-Pod here.
Best lounge: Go-Pod
When comparing the lounges in the two caravans, we've awarded the Freedom Microlite Bijoux three stars and the Going Go-Pod three-and-a-half stars out of five.
The Go-Pod strikes back! Its lounge is larger and could even seat four people at a squeeze. Long seats and thicker cushions offer more comfort. The lighting is better in the Go-Pod, with twin spots, plus two LED ceiling lights. The Freedom relies on just one centrally placed spotlight. The Freedom retaliates with an opening front window equipped with flyscreen and blind.
A shelf at roof height runs around the lounge of the Freedom, while a small shelf is fitted over the window in the Go-Pod. Both have a table: that in the Go-Pod is a more versatile, swivel, mono-leg design, while the Freedom’s clips onto the front wall. The Freedom, however, also has a single dinette at the rear, but the space is tight and adults would struggle to use it on a regular basis.
The Go-Pod takes the lead here, especially with its two power points, as opposed to the Freedom’s one, and easy-access electric control panel.
Best kitchen: Going Go-Pod
When it comes to kitchens, we've awarded the Freedom Microlite Bijoux three stars and the Going Go-Pod three-and-a-half stars out of five – here's why.
Taking into consideration that there is very limited space for kitchen equipment, meals emanating from either tourer are going to be basic rather than lavish.
Both caravans have twin-burner gas hobs that look unused. The Freedom has a small Dometic fridge fitted, while the food chilling equipment in the Go-Pod is more of a coolbox than a fridge; nevertheless it has good capacity for keeping food for two cold.
The Freedom has a stainless-steel sink, while the Go-Pod has a plastic basin; neither has a drainer. Glass lids cover the Freedom’s sink and hob, but only the hob is covered in the Go-Pod. However, despite the gas bottle taking up storage in the Go-Pod’s kitchen, it offers some good space, with a neat worktop extension flap helping with the prep area. The Go-Pod also has a window bringing light into the kitchen. The Freedom has none.
The Freedom has two small overhead lockers, while the Go-Pod manages just a shallow shelf. Overall the Go-Pod just nudges past the Freedom here.
Best beds: Going Go-Pod
Of vital importance are the sleeping arrangements in these micro-tourers. For ease of use and comfort, we've awarded the Freedom Microlite Bijoux three-and-a-half stars and given the Going Go-Pod four stars.
The lounges in both tourers convert into a double bed; plus the Freedom has that rear dinette, which makes up into a single, although its narrow width and confined space next to the kitchen really make it more suitable for a child.
The Go-Pod offers a large double bed (1.57m x 1.90m), which uses the table to make up the base and a spacer cushion to finish the job. Alternatively, by removing the two backrests you create twin single beds (0.53m x 1.90m). Good thick cushions make the bed, or beds, comfortable and should ensure a good night’s sleep.
The table in the Freedom Microlite Bijoux is also used to bridge the gap between the seats. It’s not a big bed (1.24m x 1.90m), but will be fine for most, although the seating cushions are not as thick, so offer less support. In this round the Go-Pod is the winner.
Best washroom: Go-Pod
The Freedom Microlite Bijoux gains no stars here, but we've given the Going Go-Pod one star out of five.
Although neither tourer has a washroom, the Going Go-Pod does supply a manual-flush toilet, which is stored under the wardrobe. If you buy the Freedom you could buy yourself a toilet if you plan to tour off-grid. Both vans will need a toilet tent if using a site with no facilities. The kitchen sink in each micro-tourer can be used to wash hands, but both have only a cold water supply. Because it does include a toilet, the Go-Pod just beats the Freedom!
Best storage: Going Go-Pod
We've awarded the Freedom Microlite Bijoux two-and-a-half stars and the Going Go-Pod three stars out of five.
Of course, with a tourer of this type, you are going to be very limited on options for stowing belongings, but there are some.
The front seat bases in the Go-Pod offer far more storage for bulky items, such as bedding, than those in the Freedom. The wardrobe in the Freedom is quite compact and comes with a cupboard below, while the Go-Pod’s has two good-sized shelves, but then this restricts hanging space. The two small overhead lockers in the Freedom’s kitchen are supplemented by shelves below and the rear dinette also has some limited storage in the seat bases. The Go-Pod has more kitchen storage and scores the extra half point.
What you need to know: 2015 Freedom Microlite Bijoux
- Price £7895
- Internal length 2.82m
- Overall length 4m
- Overall width 1.94m
- MiRO 580kg
- Payload 100kg
- MTPLM 680kg
- Galvanised Knott chassis
- Steel wheels
- Mains socket
- Spare wheel
- Dometic fridge
- Gas twin hob
- Stainless-steel sink
- Flyscreens and blinds for front and rear window
- Mains charger
What you need to know: 2015 Going Go-Pod
- Price £7895
- Internal length 2.05m
- Overall length 4.32m
- Overall width 2.08m
- MiRO 480kg
- Payload 230kg
- MTPLM 750kg
- Galvanised chassis, with Al-Ko hitch
- Truma water pump
- Awning light
- Gas twin hob
- Coolbox style fridge
- TV aerial exterior socket
- Mains charger
- Spare wheel
- Steel wheels
- Flyscreens/blinds for side windows
- Glazed entrance door
Verdict – best micro-tourer: Going Go-Pod
We've awarded the 2015 Freedom Microlite Bijoux three stars and the 2015 Going Go-Pod: three-and-a-half stars out of five.
These are not luxury caravans by any means, with hot water and heaters being options, and spec-wise they are not worlds apart.
The 2015 Going Go-Pod is a real head-turner: its styling is unique, it’s well made and very easy to handle. It’s a really quaint tourer for two.
The 2015 Freedom Microlite Bijoux is a distinctive tourer that still commands a loyal following. It’s quite spacious inside, but the rear dinette is small and perhaps should be left out altogether. Its exterior appears a little dated and the build feels less solid than the 2015 Going Go-Pod. Storage in both is naturally limited, although both have used most of the restricted space they have.
It’s a close call: these nearly new tourers are in excellent condition, and both little caravans are ideal for those who are restricted in what they can tow and where they can store their vans when not in use, but the 2015 Going Go-Pod is a cool-looking tourer and takes the trophy.
If you can't find used Freedom Microlite Bijoux caravans and Going Go-Pod micro-tourers in the classified adverts when you're hunting for used caravans for sale, you might like to consider other micro-tourers. Check out our 2010 Pino Pi review, our 2012 Going Cockpit S review and 2015 Wingamm Rookie 3.5 review.