Rachel MiddlewickSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Our fleet’ written by Rachel Middlewick
This year, I decided I was going to save money and holiday in the UK – no planes, hire cars or expensive accommodation for me and my two daughters. Plus, courtesy of my former colleagues on Practical Caravan, I had the opportunity to use the magazine’s Škoda Kodiaq and Bailey Unicorn Cabrera long-termers.
Our destination was the Isle of Wight, for a 10-day sunshine break. I booked a pitch at Whitefield Forest Touring Park, the south-east England regional winner in the Top 100 Sites 2018. And what a beautiful place this is.
Nestled in a large clearing, circled by tall trees, the site has been built and maintained beautifully. The shower block and reception are log cabins and utility points are shrouded behind logs, retaining the feel of a natural environment.
The Kodiaq is an absolute dream to drive. I’ve driven a SEAT for years, so moving to another Volkswagen Group car made the driver’s set-up feel all the more natural.
Intuitive and comfortable
I found the car instinctive to operate and comfortable when in the driver’s seat. It’s large, but doesn’t feel cumbersome. The car is fitted with ‘dip’ mirrors which were helpful when hitching up to the van and reversing the unhitched car. But the front and overhead cameras were also very useful.
As a tow car, the Kodiaq certainly has the power you need – 190PS, to be precise. Acceleration was good, and setting off, even on an incline, felt effortless. The car handled the twists and turns of even the smallest lanes, with the van following on, and the retractable towbar operated well. The boot was more than roomy enough.
Inside, the space was very comfortable for passengers, with lots of leg room. My only gripe was with the sat-nav, which I didn’t find very user-friendly. It was tricky at first to set a destination by postcode, although fine once I got the hang of it.
However, the flipside to this was being able to use Apple CarPlay. This enabled us to use Apple Maps and avoid the quirks of the in-car system.
Would I buy a Škoda Kodiaq? Yes, I would. In fact, it is now on my shortlist of cars to buy, and right at the top.
Škoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI 190PS 4x4 DSG
Towing limit 2000kg
Towball limit 80kg
Unicorn Cabrera had a great spec to go with the space
The Bailey Unicorn Cabrera was a very comfortable place for us all to live in for the 10 days of our holiday. I took the island bed at the rear and the children slept on the single beds up front, which we made up each night.
With three of us staying in the Cabrera, it felt spacious and well laid out, thanks in no small part to the caravan’s 5.83m interior length. The kitchen was quite simply the best I’ve ever used in either a caravan or a motorhome (yes, I have occasionally flirted with the dark side).
The fridge was spacious and clearly high quality, with plenty of room for all of the essentials – food and alcohol. Also well placed opposite the fridge was the kitchen work surface, which really benefits from the extra space that is offered by the hinged wooden cover that Bailey introduced with the latest update to the Unicorn range. I really liked not having to bend down to use it.
The hob and oven were also high-quality units and very user-friendly. The square sink is a good size and I found that I didn’t need to make use of the worktop extension flap after all, because the sink cover provided enough space, even when I was preparing a full evening meal.
Van for couples works well for families, too
The Cabrera’s washroom layout also worked incredibly well for a family holiday. The space didn’t feel tight at all, even to get changed in, and with a central heating radiator, it was always warm and toasty inside.
As far as I was concerned, the only downside to the design of the interior was that there was no fixing to shut the sliding door that partitioned the washroom from the bedroom. We were pitched on a gentle slope, so this did cause major embarrassment from the eldest daughter (and laughter from me) as the door repeatedly opened while she was on the loo and I was in bed!
Oh, the glamour…
All of the van’s functional elements were easy to set up. The only thing I had to contend with was the usual emptying of the Wastemaster, refilling the Aquaroll and the ‘oh, the glamour’ job – dealing with the Thetford loo’s cassette. The Unicorn’s interior look, while not really to my taste, was still a perfectly pleasant place to live in.
Overall, the Cabrera was a superbly light and airy environment to spend quality holiday time in. If the chance to borrow it again came up, I’d be at the front of the queue. Thanks, Practical Caravan!
Bailey Unicorn Cabrera