Andy Jenkinson

See other Advice articles filed in ‘Caravans for sale – buying guides’ written by Andy Jenkinson
   
With layouts to suit couples and large families alike, the quirky Orion is worth a second glance – and these Bailey caravans can make super used buys!

The Orion was the first lightweight, entry-level, Alu-Tech-built range of Bailey caravans.

It was designed to give first-timers and younger buyers a tourer that would look cool.

At launch, the range comprised four models with new interiors that were designed to be more appealing than the Ranger Series 6, which Orion replaced.

Model history

The Bailey Orion first appeared in February 2011, at the NEC show.

The range sported four layouts and the 430/4 – a side fixed-bed, end-washroom layout and shown here – was seen as the most popular version.

It was aimed at couples who were looking for a well-priced tourer.

The 2011 range got off to a less than rapturous start, but sales were good.

The GRP sides added a tough finish and the caravan could sleep up to five in 450/5 guise with its L-shaped rear seating.

A Thetford 107-litre fridge was fitted, plus a grill/oven, a three-burner hob and a quality stainless steel microwave oven.

A large stainless steel sink with clip-on drainer was also part of the spec, as was a shower and Thetford electric flush loo.

Meanwhile, the four-berth 430/4 had a front lounge, a side kitchen and a fixed bed, plus an end, full-width washroom.

Exending the range of Bailey caravans for sale

Two new models – the 460/5 and 530/6 – were added in 2013 (for the 2012 model year), designed to boost the range’s appeal, but the 450/5 was dropped.

All of the Orions had generally good storage, especially in the kitchen areas, plus excellent night lighting.

Washrooms came with a large hand basin and Thetford loo plus shower, but these units weren’t lined and the roof curvature meant headroom was restricted for taller adults.

The Bailey Orion 530/6 didn’t sell as well as expected, so finding one may be more of a problem than the rest of the range.

Families may be more interested in the 440/4, which has the same layout as the 430/4 here, except a side dinette replaced the side fixed double bed.

Today, Orions make a good used buy, but they weren’t on sale for long – they were replaced by the Pursuit range in 2013, which borrowed the Orion’s front profile.

Buyer’s checklist

  • Check the rear back panel/floor area for damp
  • Check the Thetford fridge is in working order
  • Check the GRP sides for fading
  • Check the decals for crazing
  • Check the cupboard doors for looseness
  • Check that the furniture edging isn’t coming away
  • Check the mattress on fixed beds and sofa bases for loss of support
      

What to pay?

We found Bailey Orion 430/4s on sale for up to £12,495 for a 2013 van, so our find at £10,995 seemed excellent value!

Alternatives

Flicking through the used caravans for sale pages, looking for something along these lines?

The Sprite Alpine 4 is a great tourer. It’s well made and the Diamond pack adds plenty of spec, but the washroom is a corner design only.

But then the large fixed bed makes up for that. We’d pay around £8995 for a 2011 example.

Or how about the Avondale Dart 525, which has a little extra space yet is lighter, and has a fixed bed and corner washroom – a 2008 version is £8495.

Verdict

There’s no doubt that the Orion range of Bailey caravans represents good value as a used buy.

The profile will look a bit odd to some buyers and the interiors feel a little dated, but with a decent spec and low prices, one of these could be an ideal starter van.

Look out for the edging on the furniture and also check for damaged floors with water ingress.

It’s quirky, but at these sort of prices the Orion is a wild-card pick as a pre-owned van.

Factfile

2013 Bailey Orion 430/4:

  • Price: £10,995
  • Berths: 4
  • MiRO: 1100kg
  • Payload: 147kg
  • MTPLM: 1247kg
  • Internal length: 5.23m
  • Width: 2.18m
  • Seen at: Lowdhams Caravans, Crossland Hill, Huddersfield, HD4 5NU (call 01484 817 622 or go online)