Adria refreshes its three conventional caravan ranges on a rotating basis, and this year, it is the turn of the Alteas. The full line-up, with three family layouts (the Aire has been dropped) will be on display at this October’s NEC, and you’re unlikely to see new models on forecourts before then. But we managed a sneak preview of the new four-berth Adria Altea Dart, kitted out for the UK market, at a recent Adria press event.
Pitch and set-up
Unlike the largely white Continental vans, UK Alteas have an all-silver exterior. This certainly frees Adria’s entry-level range from any budget look, particularly as those GRP sides are matched by alloy wheels.
Even more impressive is the rear panel, with its elegant shape, minimal branding and slimline Hella LED light cluster. The Altea also copies the front panel on Adoras and Alpinas, with vertical grab handles, and you get a larger front gas bottle locker.
Built on Al-Ko’s lightweight Vario X chassis, this new model should be within the capabilities of smaller, cheaper tow cars, although weights are still to be confirmed. If you’re looking for such a vehicle, our guide to the best small tow cars will be a great place to start.
People familiar with the Dart’s layout of U-shaped lounge, central washroom and rear island bed will recognise this interior: it hasn’t changed. What has changed is the look. The settees are now upholstered all the way to the floor. Adria says this is to make the van feel more homely, and with the pastel fabrics, it certainly does.
You might notice something different about the interior walls, too. They are of Symalite, a thermoplastic composite made from recycled materials, which Adria says is lighter weight and offers better insulation.
The same material is used on the ceiling, coated with polyurethane. On the walls in its raw state, it resembles felt. That gives the interior a warm feel, backed up by light flooding through the sunroof. At night, spotlights further brighten the lounge.
The felt effect of the walls is matched by real felt pockets for handy storage, which can be hung wherever you want.
The fold-out shelf in the middle of the ‘U’ will be useful, and compensates for the one snag here: the foldaway table is stored all the way back in the bedroom.
This caravan also includes a set of hooks that hang over doors. Like the felt pockets, you can move them wherever you like.
Apart from the new, very loud worktop, the kitchen is fairly standard Adria fare, with a pull-out extension and a three-burner hob at the back. It is well lit by the window and a striplight, although the sink is slightly small. Its tap comes with versatile baskets for sponges, brushes and so on. These are a favourite of Erna Povh, product manager for Adria caravans, who showed us around the new Altea.
You also get a Duplex oven, a slimline fridge and a microwave.
The nearside cubicle includes a rather basic shower, with only one plughole and much of the tray taken up by the wheel arch. It does come with a good light, a roof vent and a rail for drying clothes, however. The main offside washroom is better, with a well-lit mirror, opaque window and a towel rail.
Beds in the Adria Altea Dart
The rear bedroom continues the warm theme, with plenty of pale woodwork. There is more space for those movable felt pockets on the headboard, so that should provide you with somewhere to store your phone at night. A large Heki and windows let in lots of light during the day. There is a second set of TV sockets on the nearside, and a noticeboard on the opposite panel.
If you were wondering how you make up the front double when the settees are fully upholstered, Adria provides two metal rails that fit along the top of the settees’ front panel, to support the slats that roll out from the central chest. These stow away inside the settees when they are not in use, but you do need to position them very carefully for them to work effectively.
Storage in the Adria Altea Dart
Both underseat areas in the lounge are relatively clear of clutter, although you do have to remove one-piece cushions to reach them. The additional upholstery means there are no access flaps. The overhead lockers are a good size, however.
The bedroom is furnished with two narrow wardrobes, with plenty of shelving below. Unusually, the bed base opens vertically for access.
The microwave takes up one overhead locker, but the other one is a good size, and below the worktop are three large drawers.
The new exterior removes any hint of the Altea being an entry-level van – although the £27,000-plus price tag is hardly budget. The warm interior with those felt-like walls is welcoming, even if the extra upholstery makes assembling the front double a little trickier, and storage is good. All in all, this is a good upgrade, with only a few small niggles.
After more van inspiration? Take a look at our best caravan round-up, where we share our top picks that are currently on the market.
Or you could try…
- Marquis Majestic 304: this tourer is a lightweight and compact 4 berth that combines an impressive build with a great spec list.
- Eriba Touring 820: pricey yet iconic, this van is impressively built and has excellent features throughout, such as underfloor heating.
- Adria Adora Tiber: the 8ft-wide tourer offers an great and stylish touring base.
- Price: £27,175
- Berths; 4
- MTPLM: TBC
- MiRO: TBC
- Payload: TBC
- Silver GRP side panels
- Hella LED rear lights
- Symalite interior walls
- Duplex oven
- Cassette toilet
- TV sockets
- USB ports
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