Anyone who is a regular reader of Practical Caravan will know that 8ft-wide caravans are all the rage at the moment.

Only a few seasons ago, such a width was only really available – at least when it comes to UK firms – from Buccaneer. Then, what used to be the Explorer Group began including family-friendly 8ft-wide models in its Elddis and Compass ranges. Lunar caught on, at its second try, with its upmarket Alaria.

So Bailey wasn’t exactly the first off the mark in launching its own 8ft-wide models, in the summer of 2018. What was unusual was the line-up in which it chose to introduce them first – neither the top-of–the-range Unicorns, nor the more recently launched entry-level Pursuits, but the mid-market Pegasus line-up. And this has now completely evolved into the Pegasus Grande.

Still, eight feet of width must be something everybody associates with luxury, so you would think, now that Pegasus Grandes are on dealership forecourts, there has been customer interest in the idea of 8ft-wide Unicorn models as well.

Apparently there has indeed been such pressure, but looking to buck the trend, rather than just bringing out more Unicorns, Bailey has produced a whole new range.

Taking flight

So step forward the new Bailey Alicanto – or Alicanto Grande, to give the range its full title. It’s named after a bird from Chilean mythology, which was said to have wings that shone at night with metallic colours and was also reputed to feed on gold and silver.

The new line-up will initially be three models, all four-berths. There are two with island beds – an in-line bed with a central washroom in the Porto, and a transverse bed with an end washroom (a popular layout, particularly for seasonal tourers) in the Sintra. Then there’s the Estoril, which has fixed single beds and an end washroom.

You’ll have noticed one difference in the naming. Having exhausted the names of Spanish cities in the Unicorn range and Italian cities in the Pegasus Grande, Bailey has moved on to another country – Portugal.

Single-axle vans

There is an important difference between the Alicanto and similar highly specified models from other brands. Only one model in the range (the 1779kg Porto) is a twin-axle.

Bailey clearly thinks that the MTPLM of the other two (1596kg for the Estoril and 1624kg for the Sintra) doesn’t warrant the second axle. It says 8ft-wide single-axle caravans are a common sight on the Continent. This is indeed the case – neither of the models in Adria’s Alpina range have twin axles, and they are both 8ft wide, with a heavier weight.

But although this new range has evolved out of existing ones, there are important changes (or improvements, if you prefer) when compared with them.

Working from the outside, the first difference is in the decals: whereas all other current Bailey models have lines down the side that are strictly horizontal and usually end in a large ‘B’ for Bailey, the Alicanto is graced with a large shape that twists and twirls upwards towards the back, as the bird might do.

You do get the same 14in alloy wheels (15in on the Porto) that are a feature on the Unicorns. But the extra width means that you do not get the Unicorn’s large single grab handle across the rear panel. Instead, there are vertical handles, one each side.

Stepping inside, you’ll find a warmer, more yellow-toned Mendip Ash furniture finish, rather than the Eucalyptus you see in the Unicorns.

There are mirrors inside the two corner shelves in the front, while the locker doors have a high-gloss ‘Cashmere’ finish, and smart black handles.

The settees in each lounge are distinctive because they come, again like Adria’s Alpina range, with headrests. Only here you get three of them, in each corner except the one by the door.

Unlike Adria’s headrests, which fix to the backrests with two poles that slide inside, as they would in a car, Bailey’s headrests are clipped on with press-studs, so should be more easily removable.

In the kitchen, the Alicantos come (as you might expect from a range that has been developed this year), with Dometic’s new Series 10 fridge that can open either way. There’s a marbled grey worktop, which extends to the cooker top, in contrast to the plain slate-grey on the Unicorns. And there is a better provision of splashbacks – one Perspex sheet that stops you splashing the lounge headrest, and another by the hob.

No more salad bowl

Two of the models – the Porto and the Estoril – also include a wine rack, set up high by the overhead lockers. This would, of course, only be useful once you are stationary. On the move, you would need to secure your precious cellar somewhere else. There is a cupboard by the door that might serve this purpose.

But it’s in the washroom that perhaps the most noticeable change from years gone by is apparent. Over the past few seasons, salad-bowl-style basins have become de rigeur in new caravans – to such an extent that any self-respecting new range would have to include one to stand a chance of passing itself off as luxury.

Well, the Alicanto models do not have one. Instead, they have an ordinary (actually quite small) basin that is sunk into the surround. It has been suggested that this radical change might have been the result of requests from dealers.

The main improvements that you will find in the bedrooms are the slightly expanded headboards, for greater comfort.

Luxury and value

Of course, with a luxury range – with any range, really – there will always be the question of price. The Alicantos do not have certain items fitted as standard, such as a levelling system or a motor mover, which some other ranges do include to justify their luxury status.

That obviously makes pricing all the more critical, so it’s good to see that the Alicanto Grandes all come in at less than £30,000 (not including delivery).

Cost options include bespoke bedding (from £229.99) and Portobello upholstery (£225).

Technical specs

Bailey Alicanto Grande Porto

  • Price: £29,999
  • Berths: 4
  • MiRO: 1679kg
  • Payload: 160kg
  • MTPLM: 1779kg
  • Shipping length: 7.86m
  • Awning size: 1083cm

Bailey Alicanto Grande Estoril

  • Price: £28,399
  • Berths: 4
  • MiRO: 1469kg
  • Payload: 155kg
  • MTPLM: 1596kg
  • Shipping length: 7.38m
  • Awning size: 1031cm

Bailey Alicanto Grande Sintra

  • Price: £28,499
  • Berths: 4
  • MiRO: 1441kg
  • Payload: 155kg
  • MTPLM: 1624kg
  • Shipping length: 7.86m
  • Awning size: 1031cm