Every year since 2008, we’ve rounded up an expert team of judges to review the best new caravans on sale in the UK for our Tourer of the Year Awards – and now the results are in for 2015’s crop of vans.
At a ceremony held tonight at Woburn Sculpture Gallery, the winners of our seven categories were revealed, plus the coveted title, Tourer of the Year 2015, was bestowed on one van. For the fourth successive year our awards were sponsored by Whale – without the unerring support of this leading heating and water-systems specialist, our annual celebration of the best of the best from the caravanning world just couldn’t happen.
For our 2015 awards, the judging panel comprised former Practical Caravan Editor Nigel Donnelly, plus caravan tester and historian Andy Jenkinson, alongside our Group editor Alastair Clements and Test editor Mike Le Caplain, ensuring that we had a judging team packed with knowledge and experience, delivering you a verdict you know you can trust.
And this year there was more to fight for than ever before, as we added a brand new category – innovation of the year. “It’s a category that our judging panel all felt was long overdue,” said Mike. “In recent years, the entire caravan industry has been on a mission to innovate, be it in the construction of the tourers themselves, or adding to their specifications to make the vans of today safer, lighter, more comfortable or simply easier to live with while on tour.”
We are very excited to now share that this new prize was scooped by the Swift Group for its pioneering SMART HT, an impressive step in the battle against water ingress. But that’s not all. We also celebrated two other innovations – make sure you pick up the November 2014 issue of Practical Caravan, on sale on 7 October, to get the full list.
The caravans for couples category was one of the most hotly contested of all, causing much debate among the judging panel. After a great deal of deliberation, this category was won by the four-berth Coachman Vision 575/4, a £18,795 tourer that’s great for couples on their caravan holidays, its end-washroom, front-lounge layout a real plus in this class.
Of course, you’re going to want to know what this year’s Tourer of the Year was. We’re very pleased to announce that it is the Bailey Unicorn Seville, a two-berth that judge Nigel said, “simply cannot be ignored,” adding that it is “plainly a class above previous posh Baileys in terms of the overall fit and finish”.
Assessing the contenders for the awards is a long and thorough process, ensuring we deliver results you can trust to help you make your next caravan buying decision.
“The judging panel spent two full days assessing contenders and agonising over the often contentious process of reducing the longlist to a shortlist upon which we could all agree,” said Mike. “In the event, we had to be really pedantic about even the smallest design detail in order to arrive at our final list, as each category was packed with genuinely talented caravans. Rarely has a secret ballot provoked such heated debate!”
“The new Bailey Unicorn Seville is a hugely deserving winner,” added Alastair. “No other tourer elicited a ‘wow’ like this one as we stepped aboard. Not only that, but it also comes from a range that has, in our view, taken one of the biggest strides forward for its third generation, addressing past criticisms head-on and improving substantially in just about every quarter. That we could be so amazed by a layout that has been around since the dawn of caravanning is testament to the quiet revolution that has taken place in this range.”
The full list of winners and our judging panel’s verdicts on them all will be published in a 16-page special in the November 2014 edition of Practical Caravan, on sale on 7 October.
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This year there was more to fight for than ever before