Nigel DonnellySee other News articles filed in ‘Caravans’ written by Nigel Donnelly
Price range: £18,459
ADRIA COMPLETES its 2013 season upgrades with an extra floorplan for the wide-bodied Astella.
Launched in July 2011, the upmarket Astella was the first 2.5m-wide caravan built for the UK and came in a twin fixed-single beds flavour, the 613 HT. Ideal for seasonal pitches, where the van’s extra width makes for a spacious environment, the Astella has a sociable midships lounge and a kitchen along the front wall. Those extra couple of inches of girth won’t make for comfortable touring along country lanes, though.
For 2013, the Astella 613 HT becomes the Amazon (613 HT), in keeping with Adria’s penchant for prepended river names, and is joined by a new sibling, the Rio Grande (613KB). The Amazon sports the hottest layout of the past few seasons, twin fixed-singles, while the Rio Grande carries the UK’s most popular, the nearside rear fixed bed end-washroom floorplan.
It’s a smart move by Adria to keep both bases covered, as buyers get the extra width of the Astella plus low weights for not much money. The Amazon will retail for £18,459, a small increase on the 2012 price.
Apart from the new floorplan, Astella is unchanged for 2013. The exterior features GRP sides and roof with ABS front and back panels and Adria’s Thermobuild insulation will provide year-round comfort. The chassis is Al-Ko with Delta axles and heavy-duty corner steadies and there’s a deep A-frame fairing to accommodate a bike rack.
Moving inside, both models feature front kitchens with three-burner hob, separate oven and grill and a 105-litre fridge. The worktops are finished in white with smoked glass lids to the cooker and sink. It’s an ergonomic layout with good storage and some appealing ambient lighting across the caravan’s front wall.
Lounge décor in the Astella is perhaps the most conservative and unfussy of Adria’s three ranges for the UK and has a strong European minimalist feel.
The dark cabinetwork offsets well against the white caravan walls and roof, and the fabrics scheme is a chocolate and cream combination. The curtains have a dark fabric to match the seat covers. The lounge has L-shaped seating on the offside, while opposite there’s a single seat bench, with a TV mounting bracket at the opposite end to the kitchen. All soft furnishings are comfortable and feel high quality.
Ambient lighting to the top of the cupboards will complement the side windows and large rooflight. Both models have folding lounge tables, unlike the fixed-to-floor table that was included in the 2012 613 HT. The lounge tables are placed next to the offside seat bench to provide two extra berths.
The fixed twin-singles in the 613 HT Amazon have headboards that lift up for reading in bed and this layout offers excellent access to the end-washroom. This facility comes with the ‘Ergo’ tip-up sink to save space; its retractable nature means that the sink has a smaller capacity than a conventional handbasin. A handsome nearside shower unit and offside toilet complete the picture.
The Rio Grande has a different rear end to its sibling. A nearside rear fixed bed with corner cutaway measures over 2m at its longest point and runs off the end of the lounge, with a sliding partition for privacy. Access to the end-washroom is via a door in the offside corner and the space has the same depth (840cm). However, in place of the tip-up sink, there’s a plastic bowl set on a white worktop with mirrored vanity unit to the rear wall. Elsewhere it’s the same as the Amazon, with a smart nearside shower compartment and offside toilet.
Both Astellas are well-equipped to a high specification. Standard-fit items include alloy wheels, tinted windows, external BBQ point, LED ceiling lights and Alde wet central heating and water heating. For an additional £310, the Astella Pack adds decorative roof rails, carpets and microwave.
Weights for the 2013 Astellas have been confirmed. The Amazon is unchanged on last year, with a MiRO of 1560kg and an MTPLM of 1800kg. It shares these figures with the Rio Grande. With prices for both tourers around the £18,500 mark, then potential buyers are getting a classy interpretation of two must-have layouts, stuffed with lots of kit and with an extra-wide body.
This makes both flavours of Astella more affordable than their rivals. Last season, the 613 HT was the cheapest volume-produced van with Alde heating on the market; its front kitchen and midships lounge makes a direct comparison with its rivals difficult, but upmarket single-axle vans with fixed twin-single beds and end washrooms were available for £20,195 (Bailey Unicorn Cadiz), £20,299 (Elddis Crusader Shamal) and £20,299 (Swift Conqueror 565).
The new Rio Grande model also enjoys a price advantage over its rivals, although again the front kitchen and midships lounge means it’s not quite a level playing field. Other upmarket single-axle tourers with nearside rear fixed-beds and end washrooms include the Bailey Unicorn Valencia (£19,995), Coachman VIP 560/4 (£21,595) and Swift Conqueror 570 (£20,299).
Practical Caravan’s verdict on the two-layout 2013 Adria Astella line-up
The front kitchens may be an acquired taste for traditionalists, but it would be difficult not to be impressed by the Astella’s sociable lounge. Anyone shopping for a suitable van to site on a seasonal pitch will find much to admire in either Astella: they’re stylish, well-equipped and offer great value for money. With these two must-have layouts in the range, Adria’s 2013 Astellas are a compelling proposition.
2013 Adria Astella layouts
Adria Astella Amazon (613HT) – end-washroom, fixed twin single-beds, front kitchen four-berth. Sociable lounge and well-equipped kitchen are plus points, but tip-up sink in washroom won’t please every buyer.
Adria Astella Rio Grande (613KB) – end-washroom, nearside rear fixed bed, front kitchen four-berth. Better washroom than the Amazon (613 HT) and a 2m-long fixed bed will impress fans of Britain’s most-supplied layout.