For our first look, we stepped inside the Bailey Phoenix+ 642, a four-berth with fixed single beds and an end washroom.

Bailey’s Phoenix was introduced with relatively little fanfare a couple of seasons ago. Since then, the manufacturer has been hard at work launching the more budget Discovery and updating its other ranges.

So isn’t it about time the Phoenix was given a bit of an upgrade? Well, for 2021 it becomes the Phoenix+, described as a limited edition, although you won’t be able to buy standard Phoenix vans any more (just as Unicorn became Black Edition).

Bailey has dropped the 760 – it felt there was only room for one bunk-bed layout and, as the 650 was more popular, that remains in what is now a six-model range.

Pitch and set up

Phoenix+ has elegant Dove Grey sides to complement the Polar White bodyshell

Evident at first glance, the major change for the Phoenix+ comes on the outside. Whereas the previous Phoenix caravans were decked out in all white, their Phoenix+ descendants now have Dove Grey sides, while still retaining Polar White on the front and rear of the Alu-Tech body shell.

It certainly makes the caravan look more upmarket – a good impression that the inclusion of 14-inch silver alloy wheels helps to enhance. Which is just as well, because you could easily miss the ‘plus sign on the understated new graphics.

Lounge

Enormous sunroof and central window flood lounge with daylight

There’s now a silver-finish grab handle to help you in, although it isn’t illuminated. The Light Oak furniture finish is new for this year, as are the more airline-style, Italian design, curved overhead lockers.

They too have been given a slightly more upmarket finish, with the inclusion of a canvas-textured contrasting stripe. And with piping in a complementary tone, the Chesham upholstery gives a nod to that of the Discovery. Hazelnut loose-fit carpet makes the interior feel distinctly warmer.

The large central window lets in a huge amount of light, and the ambient lighting has been extended into the corner shelves. One of the spotlights has a USB point.

There is a mains socket on the nearside of the central chest, although you won’t need it for a radio: the Phoenix+ comes with a fitted DAB radio, also with a USB.

There is space for a TV over the sideboard to the right of the door, with the necessary sockets. This would be easy to view from the comfortable settees, and the area will be kept warm by two heating vents for the Truma Combi 2 heater.

Kitchen

Although there’s no extension flap in the kitchen, the available work surface is generous

The new development in the kitchen is the round stainless-steel sink that graces the worktop. There is no extension, but you probably wouldn’t need one: there is loads of workspace here, as Bailey has added a wooden cover for the four-burner hob, and there is always the top of the sideboard. Below the sink, there is a drawer and a double cupboard with a shelf inside. One of the two overhead lockers now includes a plate rack. Up above the sideboard, which is mostly taken up with the 106-litre fridge, you will find an 800W microwave and another locker. There are two handy shelves to the right.

Washroom

End washroom is fairly compact, but is well lit and has plenty of storage space

The compact end washroom remains pretty much unchanged. It enjoys plenty of light, however, thanks to a central roof light and a lit mirror above the handbasin. The shower cubicle is well lit and there’s a cupboard under the basin.

Beds

Fixed single beds each have a spotlight for reading, and one of them has a USB point

There’s a spotlight over each of the fixed beds, one with a USB and a little shelf nearby. There is a mains socket under the nearside bed, ideally placed for a hairdryer.

At 1.81m (only 9cm shorter than the fixed beds), the front single beds would be fine for all but the tallest adults, which means this van could be ideal for groups as well as families. The base cushion and backrests are split, too, so they can easily be made up into a comfortable double.

Storage

External-access lockers are on the nearside at the front and the offside at the back

Unusually, the Bailey Phoenix+ 642 has external-access lockers on the nearside at the front, but on the offside at the back. Further back on the offside you will also find a wet locker in front of the cassette access. This is becoming a regular feature in Bailey models, and it is an ideal place to store items that might otherwise make the interior look a bit cluttered.

The new locker located under the central chest partly makes up for not having a conventional gas bottle locker at the front, and the overhead lockers – two in the front and four in the rear – are a good size and half-shelved. The areas under the beds are mostly clear. With that big wardrobe in the washroom, storage is more than adequate.

Verdict

Bailey has certainly made the Phoenix+ more upmarket, with its impressive spec. Aside from the width, it looks more and more like its Pegasus Grande cousins.

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