Truly family-friendly layouts in touring caravans – capable of accommodating up to six, including children from tots to teenagers – are a bit of a challenge for designers. You obviously have to provide plenty of space that is flexible, so it can adapt to a growing family’s changing demands. Yet at the same time, all this needs to fit in a van that is still relatively lightweight.

That’s because the one thing young families tend not to have is a lot of spare cash – so they probably won’t be able to upgrade their car to tow the all-singing, all-dancing giant you’ve created! If you are one of those families looking for just such a well-judged, well-balanced van, here is our selection from years gone by.

Bailey Pegasus Ancona (2016)

Bailey Pegasus Ancona (2016)
  • Layout Rear lounge
  • Berths 5
  • L/W 6.44m/2.23m
  • MTPLM 1475kg
  • Payload 179kg
  • MIRO 1296kg
  • Plus points Flexible sleeping arrangements, great end washroom
  • Minus points No ATC fitted

OUR REVIEW SAID…

Bailey Pegasus Ancona (2016)

The Pegasus range was the first from Bailey to include its new Alu-Tech construction system, now used widely across all of its models.

Designed so there are no external fixings, that means this caravan, which is actually a fourth-generation Pegasus, should stand the test of time longer than some of this vintage.

At the time, this particular model was one of our long-term test vehicles. We loved the way the five berths in this caravan (with an optional sixth) created a realistic sleeping option for larger families that was missing from other Bailey ranges back then.

Bailey had also redesigned the Ancona for 2016 to give it an end washroom extending across the van. We like the way this brought the bunks forward into the main living space. This reduced the ‘cave’ feeling anyone in the lower bunk might have. This bunk gets its own window, too.

We only had reservations for nervous tow car drivers, because for 2016, Bailey did away with the ATC trailer control system that had been standard on previous generation Pegasus models.

Full review

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £15,495 (2016 model)
  • Features Five berths, alloy wheels, microwave, TV aerial, motor mover, 12-month warranty
  • Seen at www.couplandscaravans.co.uk

Bailey Pursuit 560-5 (2014)

Bailey Pursuit 560-5 (2014)
  • Layout Rear lounge with bunks
  • Berths 5
  • L/W 7.38m/2.23m
  • MTPLM 1441kg
  • Payload 212kg
  • MIRO 1229kg
  • Plus points Flexible living space, plenty of headroom
  • Minus points Not much kitchen workspace

OUR REVIEW SAID…

Bailey Pursuit 560-5 (2014)

The Pursuit was still a very new range back in 2014. We thought this five-berth caravan would be particularly well suited to families because of its large lounges at either end, which provide plenty of space for the whole family to stretch out, and the partition running across the middle, which can also offer a bit of privacy for the adults when they are craving it.

The large settees mean that this caravan is also very flexible when it comes to bed sizes. The fifth berth is a bunk that drops down in front of the rear window. The children on our test seemed to like it, but we thought that, because of the effort involved in getting all of the cushions in place, this bunk would be better off as an occasional bed for visitors, making the caravans as a whole more comfortable as a four- rather than a five-berth.

The central washroom is excellent for families, with enough floor space for adults to hep small children, and a large shower. But the central kitchen is a bit cramped in terms of both storage and workspace, and only provides you with a combined oven and grill.

Full review

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £12,450 (2015 model)
  • Features Premium Pack, which includes Al-Ko AKS3004 stabiliser, branded radio/CD/MP3 player, floor-mounted steel spare wheel, microwave, door flyscreen
  • Seen at www.viscountleisure.co.uk

Coachman Vision 580/5 (2014)

Coachman Vision 580/5 (2014)
  • Layout Rear lounge with bunks
  • Berths 5
  • L/W 7.38m/2.26m
  • MTPLM 1565kg
  • Payload 165kg
  • MIRO 1400kg
  • Plus points Well-equipped kitchen, room to stretch out
  • Minus points Storage space is limited

OUR REVIEW SAID…

Coachman Vision 580/5 (2014)

The Vision range was launched in 2014, replacing Coachman’s Amara models, and this five-berth, with its well-equipped but compact rear corner washroom, was the key family-orientated offer in the new line-up.

We found the spec level was good, with a particularly well-equipped kitchen. The second lounge at the back (which can be converted into the fifth bed) provides plenty of opportunity for a family to spread out. And while the front lounge is too short for the two settees to be just left as single beds, it is large enough to hold a family games session – although you might miss having a sunroof.

Our only gripe was with the storage, which we thought only just adequate for five people. In particular, we found the open shelves over the front windows less useful than lockers, and there is no internal access to the underseat areas, so you have to lift the cushions to get to them.

Full review

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £14,995 (2016 model)
  • Features Microwave, door flyscreen, TV aerial, stereo system, 12-month warranty
  • Seen at www.canterburycaravans.co.uk

Sprite Major 6 (2018)

Sprite Major 6 (2018)
  • Layout End washroom with bunks
  • Berths 6
  • L/W 2.31m/2.25m
  • MTPLM 1468kg
  • Payload 219kg
  • MIRO 1249kg
  • Plus points Great washroom, doesn’t feel entry-level
  • Minus points Look for models with Diamond Pack to get the best out of it

OUR REVIEW SAID…

Sprite Major 6 (2018)

We know that this model, from this year, is a good purchase, because it was our Tourer of the Year for 2018!

That was the year Swift consolidated all production under the Swift name, and dropped some of its brands, including Sterling.

But heritage ensured Sprite stayed as the name behind this revamped range, which you would never guess – with its three front windows and external lockers – is entry-level.

Inside, the revamp involved exchanging the previous year’s brown for blue and grey upholstery and fabrics, and white furniture, to give a really fresh feel.

With its two dinettes, this six-berth has plenty of room for a large family, although we’re not sure you would get all six around the table in the front lounge alone. The kitchen is well lit, with a separate oven and grill, and the shower cubicle should make family washtimes a doddle.

Full review

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £17,350 (2019 model)
  • Features Diamond Pack (includes alloy wheels(, sunroof, microwave
  • Seen at www.chrishonesleisure.co.uk

Sprite Super Quattro DB (2018)

Sprite Super Quattro DB (2018)
  • Layout End washroom with bunks
  • Berths 6
  • L/W 7.98m/2.46m
  • MTPLM 1711kg
  • Payload 225kg
  • MIRO 1486kg
  • Plus points Bags of space for all the family to move around in
  • Minus points The fridge could be a bit bigger

OUR REVIEW SAID…

Sprite Super Quattro DB (2018)

One of two 8ft-wide Sprites Swift introduced in 2018, the twin-axle Quattro DB is essentially a wider version of the Major 6 above. As long as you are a confident tow car driver, go for this and you should have plenty more space for the family to move around in.

Bear in mind that ATC trailer control isn’t included in the Diamond Pack that many Sprites from this vintage came with – it was an optional extra on top of that.

We like the way the designers have made provision for today’s tech-savvy families, so you will find a couple of USB ports for charging your phones and tablets in the front panel.

At only 100 litres, the Dometic fridge that has been fitted is a bit small for the food of a family of six, and kitchen storage isn’t overly generous. But Swift makes up for this by having bags of storage space elsewhere in this caravan.

Full review

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £18,995 (2018 model)
  • Features Microwave, sunroof, corner washroom swivel table by bunks
  • Seen at www.highbridgecaravans.co.uk

Venus 590/5 (2017)

Venus 590/6 (2017)
  • Layout Central washroom and kitchen, children’s dinette at the rear
  • Berths 6
  • L/W 7.39m/2.21m
  • MTPLM 1380kg
  • Payload 187kg
  • MIRO 1193kg
  • Plus points Doesn’t look budget, but is lightweight
  • Minus points Washroom is a touch compact

OUR REVIEW SAID…

Venus 590/6 (2017)

It was the weight of the revamped Venus models introduced by Lunar in 2017 that got people talking. With an MTPLM of 1380kg, this caravan can easily be towed by a fairly standard family car. Yet it is still capable of sleeping six people, and includes a cosy rear dinette that your children should love.

The new-look 2017 Venus models were more upmarket than their predecessors, too. You still get only a single window at the front, but the upholstery is a huge improvement, the decals on the outside set the caravan off better, and the spec’s not bad, either – especially if you find a model with the Plus Pack included. That gets you a microwave.

The central washroom might be a bit limited in space, but it is well lit and ventilated. And there is loads of storage space in this caravan, although as a budget model, it doesn’t offer access flaps to the underseat areas.

Full review

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £15,495 (2019 model)
  • Features ATC, alloy wheels, motor mover, microwave, CD player
  • Seen at www.ajmleisurecaravans.co.uk

Elddis Avanté 866 (2017)

Elddis Avanté 866 (2017)
  • Layout Rear corner washroom with bunks
  • Berths 6
  • L/W 8.05m/2.45m
  • MTPLM 1738kg
  • Payload 179kg
  • MIRO 1559kg
  • Plus points Very long beds, spacious second dinette
  • Minus points It is on the heavy side

OUR REVIEW SAID…

Elddis Avanté 866 (2017)

This new-for-2017 model is 8ft wide – a width the company had previously only lavished on its much more upmarket Buccaneers.

This means that you get much more space, obviously, but we also loved the way the extra room encouraged the designers to come up with a really family-friendly second dinette that’s right next to the kitchen and is capable of seating four, possibly five, for meals.

Buy this caravan when your family is young and you shouldn’t have to worry about the children getting bigger, because every berth in here is at least 6ft long. The two bunks towards the back are actually 6ft 4in, and they come with their own window, light and privacy curtain.

The only drawback is perhaps the weight, although with an MTPLM of 1738kg, it’s not much heavier than rival caravans that are a lot less family-friendly.

Full review

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £19,995 (2017 model)
  • Features Alde heating, motor mover, CD player, awning, warranty
  • Seen at www.rockcaravans.co.uk

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