Andy JenkinsonSee other caravan reviews written by Andy Jenkinson
For the 2020 season, Marquis introduces the new Caravelair Allegra Home 560 to the UK market, offering Continental style. Andrew Jenkinson steps inside.
Back in 1964, tourer imports into the UK were non-existent. There had been some attempts in the 1930s, but all fell foul of strong UK competition. In 1964, a French make was imported by Clarkson's Caravans near Preston, Lancashire.
These had electric braking and a square profile. They imported very few, but by the early 1980s, the brand was back, imported by another northern dealership, Emm-Bee at Bury.
After being taken over by Trigano Group, the obvious thing to do was to distribute the Caravelair via Marquis, which was also part of Trigano.
Introducing the value-for-money Antarès for 2019, Marquis has added the more upmarket Allegra range, which shows a lot of promise for the 2020 season. From the two models - both single-axles and four-berths - we took a look at the rear island bed model, the Home 560. First impressions are that this has potential in the UK's competitive market.
Pitching and setting up
The door is positioned on the offside, but we'd expect to see later models have the door on the UK side.
An Al-Ko chassis is used, with heavy-duty corner steadies, plus an AKS hitch stabiliser. The steadies aren't easy to locate at the front - you'll need to get down to find the nut for the leg-winder.
The front gas locker is a good size, and houses the standard spare wheel.
GRP roof is employed, and the Allegra comes with a moulded lower front and rear panel - typically Continental. Good-looking alloys are fitted, as is an electrically operated step.
Personally, we think a normal caravan step is a better option, and this would shave a little off the cost.
A barbecue point, external mains socket and mains inlet are fitted, as is a 50-litre water tank and removable waste tank - again typical of a Continental tourer. There is an exterior locker at the rear offside, plus panel fittings on the back for a bike rack.
The finish is good and the standard of build is sturdy, as are the grab handles. However, the MTPLM of 1600kg means it's no lightweight.
The seating is comfortable, finished in smart mock leather with two scatter cushions.
There is ample storage, especially with the overhead lockers, although these do protrude into the seating area, so watch your head! A small shelf is fitted here, too.
Night lighting is a strong feature of the Allegra. No sunroof is fitted, but a large Heki roof vent does allow in sufficient natural lighting. The one-piece front window could do with being slightly wider, though.
There's a small cupboard for shoes and so on at the end of the seat by the door. No radio is fitted, nor is there provision for one, but this wouldn't be expensive to install.
A three-burner hob is fitted, as is a 140-litre fridge/freezer opposite, plus a mains plug. Lighting is good here, too, while as already mentioned, cupboard storage is fine.
A stainless-steel sink is fitted, but work surface is in fairly short supply.
On the wall by the kitchen is a TV bracket, complete with aerial socket and mains, while beneath is a stainless-steel shelf. The kitchen's not bad, but lags a bit on the specification side - a shame, but more spec would add to the price tag.
It doesn't have a window, but the designers have added an Omnivent, which we feel is a tad overspecified - a mini Heki would have been better, and cheaper, too. There is a shelf for shampoo and so on, but nothing else, so it won't feel too small for showering, and an LED light is fitted for night-time use.
Opposite is the toilet, and the room has a large basin with a cupboard below and a mirror, plus a side window. There is also a blown-air outlet, and night lighting is well taken care of. On the whole, the washroom is good, but we think that the extractor fan isn't called for.
And here the Allegra doesn't disappoint: it's a large island bed with a good mattress, plus it has a slatted base and loads of storage. It's very comfy, too, and for many buyers, this will be the deal-maker.
The bed lifts up on struts, revealing great storage, while two overhead lockers above it provide more, and the toilet room has a wall cupboard and a cupboard beneath the sink.
In addition, the kitchen has excellent storage, and those large lockers at the front - and the ample space under the lounge seating - further add to the storage capacity.
This is a well-made tourer inside and out; it looks good, too.
Although we'd dispense with some items fitted here, it feels very well put together, and we do like the interior styling. If some small spec amendments were made, its UK appeal would likely increase.
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- Comfortable lounge area
- Good storage
- Door on offside
- No microwave, oven or TV aerial