IT’S BEEN A productive year for Bailey, with new launches (Orion and Unicorn) and a revamp (Pegasus). The Bristol-based manufacturer rounds off a busy 2011 with a facelift for the Olympus, its narrow-body range.


There was speculation that Bailey would kill off Olympus, but not all entry-level buyers are ready for something as trendy as the Orion. Add to that the lack of a layout for larger families, and you can see why it makes sense to have a conventional offering for newbie caravanners, or for those upgrading to their first brand-new van.


Last season, there were seven layouts in the range. For 2012, this has been cut to four, with two new floorplans added. This is the 540-5, a single-axle five-berth with nearside corner washroom, offside bunks and a side dinette, and the 620-6, a twin-axle six-berth featuring a nearside corner fixed bed, offside corner washroom and side dinette. The new Olympus interiors are light and airy, and you can see the influence from its upmarket siblings in the styling. The original Olympus didn’t have much charm, but that’s not the case any more. The dark worktops have been retained, following popularity with customers. These sit atop Walnut cabinetwork and ‘Panama’ soft furnishings. The overall combination works well, and despite the narrow width (2.19m compared with the 2.28m-width of the Pegasus and Unicorn), there’s a feeling of space to go with the comfort and style.


Equipment-wise, the new Olympus has everything you need. A four-burner gas hob, separate oven and grill, stainless steel microwave, 107-litre fridge, Truma heating and Thetford C250 cassette toilet provide all the essentials, and you also get a branded stereo, speakers and Status TV aerial. In terms of options, Bailey is keeping things simple. Wrap-around seating is fitted as standard, a centre chest being optional, and there is only one choice of upholstery.


In terms of layouts, the 540-5 is a straight lift from the successful six-berth Pegasus Ancona, but one of that van’s three bunks has been removed. There’s plenty of room inside, plus enough storage space for all the family.


The twin-axle 620-6 is the other new layout and will easily cater for larger families with its extra length. Things get a bit tight towards the rear of the van, though, as there’s not masses of space alongside the fixed bed. The washroom is split between a wet room and an external hand basin area. It’s the only real compromise in the van, though, and there’s lots of space up front and in the kitchen.


Elsewhere in the new Olympus range, you’ll find the 460-2, an end-washroom two-berth, and the 530-4, a four-berth with an end washroom and nearside fixed bed. We couldn’t find much to dislike in either, and the same goes for the whole range.


Practical Caravan Verdict

Weights have yet to be confirmed, but Bailey says that the single-axle vans will come in under 1450kg, and the 620-6 is expected to weigh approximately 1618kg. These figures will allow the new vans to be towed with a wider variety of cars, and help keep towing costs down into the bargain. If the prices are as competitive as Bailey promises, then the facelifted Olympus could be a big hit.