The conundrum

Casual caravanners might prefer the option to change their layout from day- to night-time with a make-up bed, so that they can accommodate different numbers of people and use the available space to maximum efficiency. That’s all very well, but for those who are using their caravan more often, comfort and convenience become a greater priority. Enter the fixed bed – a permanent fixture that doesn’t need to be put together every day and offers the benefit of a comfortable solidity to your sleeping arrangements. In this round-up, we look at some past reviews of brilliant fixed-bed caravans, and find a well-priced secondhand version for you!

BUCCANEER BARRACUDA (2018)

  • LAYOUT Island bed, central washroom
  • BERTHS 4
  • L/W 8.16m/2.45m
  • MTPLM 1990 kg
  • PAYLOAD 159kg
  • MIRO 1831kg
  • PLUS POINTS Spacious and private bedroom; flexible washroom facilities
  • MINUS POINTS Underbed storage is slightly compromised
Buccaneer Barracuda (2018)

OUR REVIEW SAID…

The Barracuda has an L-shaped lounge, where the sofa is ideally located to take advantage of the standard 32in TV on the offside wall.

The kitchen is superbly specified – from the Omnivent overhead to the well-sited microwave above the huge fridge/freezer. A peninsula unit gives a sense of separation between the lounge and the kitchen, and means that there’s more than enough work surface to make a pop-up extension flap redundant.

The multifunctional washroom is the familiar Elddis split design, which means it can serve as a family washroom, a separate shower and WC, or a traditional en suite, depending how you deploy the domestic-style door to the lounge and the sliding door to the bedroom.

The 6ft 3in by 4ft 5in fixed island double bed can be retracted to give more dressing space. And there’s the option of using the front sofa as a large single, or pulling out the base for a slightly uneven double.

Full review here

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £21,995
  • Features Al-Ko stabilise hitch, Al-Ko ATC, Alde central heating and hot water, with underfloor heating, roof-mounted solar panel, on-board water tank, hydraulic self-levelling jack system, leather seating upgrade, 32″ built-in TV, USBs.
  • Seen at www.caravandepot.co.uk

SWIFT SPRITE QUATTRO EB (2018)

  • LAYOUT Central washroom, end transverse island bed
  • BERTHS 4
  • L/W 7.98m/2.25m
  • MTPLM 1624kg
  • PAYLOAD 205kg
  • MIRO 1419kg
  • PLUS POINTS Rear bedroom feels spacious
  • MINUS POINTS Front sofas could do with being longer
Swift Sprite Quattro EB (2018)

OUR REVIEW SAID…

The two settees in the Swift Sprite Quattro EB are perfectly fine for the four people who could be living in the caravan, but might be a squeeze for any more.

In the kitchen, the elegant curved panel over the worktop has switches and one socket above. Immediately below the work surface is a 100-litre Dometic fridge, while at the other end of the kitchen unit sits a three-burner hob above the grill and oven.

The slanted design of the central washroom door, and the large wardrobe you come across as soon as you open it, might seem unconventional, but such a configuration does make great use of the available space.

The transverse island bed itself, however, is modestly sized, and in the front lounge, you really have to make up the double, because the sofas only give you small single beds.

Full review here

WE SPOTTED…

ELDDIS AFFINITY 574 (2018)

  • LAYOUT Fixed twin single beds
  • BERTHS 4
  • L/W 7.20/2/26m
  • MTPLM 1500kg
  • PAYLOAD 151kg
  • MIRO 1299kg
  • PLUS POINTS Central washroom can be accessed from both ends of van
  • MINUS POINTS Lounge seats only long enough for children to use as single beds
Elddis Affinity 574 (2018)

OUR REVIEW SAID…

With seven windows, natural light streams into the Affinity. The centre chest’s surface has a smart white finish, as does the folding leaf table that stows at the end of the kitchen worktop.

Four lights and a window illuminate the galley work area, which is equipped with a dual-fuel cooker/combination oven and grill unit, plus a microwave and rectangular stainless-steel sink with chrome-effect mixer tap.

The midships washroom is accessible from both ends of the caravan. Plus, there’s still plenty of space for a separate shower and toilet.

The fixed rear single beds in the Elddis Affinity 574 are just over 6ft in length, so will be suitable for a wide range of users. The beds are 0.69m wide. In the lounge, the seating comes together on a pull-out ladder of slats to form a double bed that measures 1.99m by 1.13m.

Full review here

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £19,995
  • Features Alde touchscreen control panel, alloy wheels, audio system, cassette toilet, mains electric, microwave, oven, shower and wet central heating system
  • Seen at www.wandahome.online

BAILEY UNICORN MADRID (2018)

  • LAYOUT Side dinette with fixed bed
  • BERTHS 3
  • L/W 7.05m/2.28m
  • MTPLM 1453kg
  • PAYLOAD 142kg
  • MIRO 1311kg
  • PLUS POINTS Spacious lounge makes up into comfortable beds
  • MINUS POINTS More access flaps needed for the undersea areas
Bailey Unicorn Madrid (2018)

OUR REVIEW SAID…

The Madrid’s front lounge feels large as soon as you step in, thanks to the light that comes in through the central window and two more Heki roof lights over the aisle.

In the kitchen there is a great amount of workspace, thanks to a large extension flap, and the wooden cover to the hob.

Having a mirror right across the back wall of the Bailey Unicorn Madrid’s end washroom makes it feel bigger than it already is. The shower cubicle in the nearside corner is solidly made and comes with a roof light, an LED light, a rack for soap and a clothes-drying rail (something that has been carried over from Bailey motorhomes).

The extra room created by removing the bulkhead makes turning the two front settees into single beds easy. If you want to make up a double (1.99m x 2.46m), this is easily achieved by sliding slats out.

Full review here

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £19,995
  • Features Alde wet central heating, 100W solar panel, soft-close cupboards and drawers, ATC trailer control, Al-Ko wheel lock, TPMS tyre pressure monitoring system, alloy wheels, gas barbecue point, alarm and tracker, microwave, CD player with digital radio and Bluetooth
  • Seen at www.ropersleisure.co.uk

COACHMAN VIP 545/4 (2014)

  • LAYOUT Island bed on a single axle
  • BERTHS 4
  • L/W 7.46m/2.32m
  • MTPLM 1630kg
  • PAYLOAD 155kg
  • MIRO 1475kg
  • PLUS POINTS Kitchen is well equipped, with plenty of floor space
  • MINUS POINTS Toilet cassette hatch is on the nearside – inside the awning
Coachman VIP 545/4 (2014)

OUR REVIEW SAID…

The Coachman VIP 545/5’s layout has a pair of facing bench seats at the front, a midships kitchen, and separate shower and toilet cubicles.

The main feature is an island bed arranged lengthways at the rear, which reduces the space available for the lounge.

The 545/4’s kitchen is well-equipped. In the cooking department, it has a dual-fuel hob, a separate oven and grill, and a microwave housed in its own locker. The Omnivent is an impressive addition; however, workspace is tight.

The washroom is an unusual arrangement with shower cubicle and toilet in separate ‘rooms’ on opposite sides of the van at the foot of the bed.

The preferred spot for a good night’s sleep is the island bed, and a second double can be made up in the front lounge by drawing a metal frame from under the offside sofa.

Full review here

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £17,495
  • Features ATC trailer control and Al-Ko stabiliser, heavy-duty steadies, external 230V socket and gas barbecue point, alarm, microwave and CD players.
  • Seen at www.autotrader.co.uk

SWIFT LIFESTYLE 4 (2015)

  • LAYOUT Fixed French bed
  • BERTHS 4
  • L/W 6.39m/2/23m
  • MTPLM 1250kg
  • PAYLOAD 145kg
  • MIRO 1105kg
  • PLUS POINTS Alloys and panoramic sunroof
  • MINUS POINTS The washroom isn’t lined and is more for occasional than everyday use

The traditional layout means the Lifestyle 4 has a compact body, with a shipping length of 6.39mOUR REVIEW SAID…

At just 21ft in overall length, this is far from a large caravan. So the fact that it packs in a longitudinal fixed bed, a good-sized kitchen and a lounge that can – at a pinch – seat up to six people is pretty impressive.

The kitchen makes do with three gas burners. But elsewhere, it’s all good news. The oven and grill areas are separate and are boosted by a high-level microwave. The fridge is a modern Thetford three-way unit, too, boasting a healthy 113 litres of capacity.

The washroom door opens to reveal a fairly sparse-looking and unlined room containing a shower tray, a riser and – at the rear – a swivel toilet. Clearly, this is a washroom intended for occasional use on full-facility campsites, not year-round self-sufficiency.

Like most French beds, there’s a degree of cut-off around the foot of the mattress, but it’s pretty negligible, and the bed is a good size.

Full review here

WE SPOTTED…

SPRITE FREEDOM FB (2016)

  • LAYOUT Side dinette with fixed bed
  • BERTHS 6
  • L/W 7.92m/2.23m
  • MTPLM 1508kg
  • PAYLOAD 180kg
  • MIRO 1328kg
  • PLUS POINTS Lots of storage options
  • MINUS POINTS Shower/toilet isn’t lined
Sprite Freedom FB (2016)

OUR REVIEW SAID…

At just under 8m long, the twin-axle FB is a big caravan. However, its MTPLM is a modest 1508kg. The huge front window lets in lots of natural light.

Like the lounge, the kitchen is very spacious, but without any frills. What you do get is a three-burner gas hob and grill, and a 113-litre fridge/freezer. There’s no oven or microwave, although the latter is an option. You also get acres of work surface, aided by the removable drainer, and loads of storage options.

A combined shower/toilet area is in the rear offside corner of the washroom, next to the fixed bed. It’s not lined, but there is a shower tray and a wrap-around curtain.

A fixed bed with a Duvalay Duvalite mattress is in the rear nearside corner. At the front, there’s the option of decent-sized single beds, or a massive double.

Full review here

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £13,995
  • Features Side dinette with bunk conversions, cooker, fridge, shower and blown-air heating
  • Seen at www.hagansmotorhomes.com