Bailey's new Phoenix, successor to its Pursuit range, aims to gain more of a foothold in the entry-level segment. We review the baby of the line-up.

Overview

The first thing you'll notice about the new Phoenix is that it looks reassuringly familiar - with the same vertical front window as its more upmarket Pegasus and Unicorn siblings. 

Phoenix, Bailey's latest entry-level (or 'first choice') range, is also offering a good selection of layouts - seven in all. 

The 420 we're looking at here is the end-washroom two-berth (one of the more popular layouts in the Pursuit range, in fact). So how does it compare with rivals in this competitive market? 

Pitching and setting up

Built on an Al-Ko chassis with an AKS hitch stabiliser, the Phoenix comes with alloy wheels and a Status TV aerial as standard.

As you'll find in all other Bailey tourers, there is no front gas locker (which some caravanners consider essential). Instead, there is a nearside front locker - which eats into the underseat storage.

The gas locker is on the offside just aft of the axle line. There's also another locker at the rear offside, to access the base of the wardrobe in the washroom.

The exterior is smartly finished in white GRP, with quite low-key graphics, including the Bailey 'B'. If you're looking for the battery box, you won't find it outside; it's sunk into the floor, so there is a mains-only socket fitted on the nearside.

This does mean the mains lead has to go through your awning, and we reckon it would have been better placed on the offside. The water pump inlet is also on the offside, near the front.

The accessible corner steadies are a standard design, and the grab handles, finished in a matte black, are also well placed.

Lounge

Step inside the 420 and you will find the classic end-washroom, midships kitchen and side-dresser layout. Plenty of natural light streams in through the front window and large side windows, and all offer good views from the lounge.

The lounge features parallel seating, which looks smart, but might not be supportive enough for some customers.

There are two large overhead locker here, along with a couple of corner cubbyholes (which we thought felt a tad flimsy on the prototype model we viewed).

The central front chest has two drawers and a slide-out tabletop. You have a bit more legroom here because there's no third cupboard, but some might miss that extra storage.

Twin blown-air outlets are placed in the chest's base, while LED corner spotlights with USB points, LED ceiling lights and integral overhead locker lighting mean illumination is excellent. For audio lovers, a radio/CD player comes as standard.

There are no underseat access flaps, so bedding is reached from the top of the base.

In a new strategy for Bailey, Phoenix's 'Brockwell' soft furnishings have been left quite plain, so buyers can personalise the lounge to suit their own taste.

In addition, a Dressing Pack (fitted in our test van) is available as a £229 cost option - this will provide four scatter cushions, two bolsters, two pure wool throws and a washroom carpet.

Kitchen

The Phoenix 420's side kitchen comes well equipped, with a four-burner gas hob, separate oven and grill, large stainless steel sink, 800W microwave and 103-litre dual-fuel Dometic fridge.

There is a twin cupboard here, plus a large, soft-close drawer for cutlery. There are also two roomy overhead lockers, and handy mains sockets.

The amount of work surface is reasonable and opposite the kitchen unit, the fridge also has a good worktop above. A smart microwave is fitted here, at a practical height, with a locker above for extra storage.

A midi Heki rooflight is placed partly over the kitchen, great for natural light and ventilation. Overall, the 420's kitchen is well planned and has a good spec for this price point.

Washroom

The end-washroom layout is popular among many buyers, but does the 420's cut the mustard?

The shower cubicle is partially lined and has a roof vent, which is useful, because the washroom has no window.

The handbasin is a practical size and there is good storage in the cupboard beneath it, while next to the shower is another small cupboard, where the free-standing table is stored.

The wardrobe is a good size, and its base is also accessible from the outside, by the cassette locker. The Thetford electric-flush toilet is placed right against the base of the wardrobe.

Normally, you'll find this area simply left as open space, but Bailey's designers have decided to make more use of it.

Beds

At bed-time, the Phoenix 420 has the usual choice of simply using the side settees as two single beds, or making up the lounge seating into a double.

The double bed is easily set up, using pull-out slats from beneath the central chest of drawers. The cushions are then positioned to make the mattress for a double bed that measures 1.88 x 1.49m, a good size for most users.

Storage

For two people on tour, the 420 offers enough storage for a week away, or longer trips. Although the sizeable overhead lockers will take bulkier items, we would have liked a cupboard below the front chest of drawers.

The lack of a front gas bottle compartment is also a feature you might miss.

We like the idea of the storage space below the wardrobe base, but this does take away some floor space, which again, might not be to everybody's choice.

Placing the fridge opposite the kitchen unit, in the side dresser, means that the kitchen provides good storage.

Overall the Phoenix 420 offers a respectable selection of storage areas - apart from the lack of that front gas bottle locker.

Technical specs

Berth2
MiRO1022kg
Payload117kg
MTPLM1139kg
Interior length4.03m
Shipping length5.56m
Width2.21m
Height2.62m
Awning size857cm

Verdict

The Phoenix 420 is well finished, with a good spec. We liked the airy interior and the night lighting is very good, although the seating isn't quite as supportive as we'd want. But the 420 is definitely worth a look, and could be a top choice for owners of small cars.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Improved looks
  • Bright interior
  • Low weight

Cons

  • Lounge seating
  • No front gas bottle locker

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