We spent three days in Warwickshire with this luxury dealer-special tourer from Raymond James, based on the Elddis Avanté 550. Here's what we made of it...
This special edition caravan from the Atherstone-based Raymond James dealership is part of the seven-van Osprey range, which includes four single-axles that come in at under 1500kg MTPLM and three 8ft-wide twin-axle models at under 1760kg.
They are based on Elddis tourers (the Avanté 550 in this case). This means that Ospreys are built using the SoLiD bonded-construction technique, which comes with a 10-year water ingress warranty. Prices start at £20,995, but they are packed with extra kit.
The 550 is a four-berth, single-axle tourer, featuring a fixed, longitudinal island bed in an en-suite layout at the rear.
Pitching and setting up
That's everything you need to make towing as pleasurable, assured and as safe as possible. An Al-Ko wheel lock (you get two with the twin axles) is also part of the package.
We tested the 550 at tranquil Atherstone Stables campsite, just outside this pretty Warwickshire town.
The van was easy to tow and manoeuvre, and we were soon lowering the Osprey-spec heavy-duty corner steadies. We dropped the external Whale pump into the Aquaroll, connected the waste pipes and powered up. All systems go!
The exterior of the Osprey is modern and dynamic. Silver-grey GRP sides will resist small impacts and are decorated with simple, swooping graphics and bespoke RJC badges. The front panel features a glossy-silver gas-locker door, three front windows and a dramatic black top-panel, with orange detailing below the curved sunroof.
One of my favourite features is the service light on the offside, right above the Whale water pump inlet where you'll position your Aquaroll. A small touch that makes a big difference.
The sofas are mid-length and comfortable for sitting to dine or relaxing with your feet up, longways-on, watching a movie. Families with smaller, pre-teen children could use the seating as two single beds, while bigger teens will have to make up the front bed and sleep across the van. Both options offer very comfortable sleeping.
Come nightfall, when you close the van's blinds/curtains, you have a myriad of lighting options to choose from, making it simple to create a really cosy ambience - that thing the Scandis call 'hygge'.
The concealed mood-lighting is excellent, as are the spotlights for reading. Pop them all on at once and it's reminiscent of Heathrow airport; although with brilliant LED tech, you'll never draw too much current.
Adding to the cosiness inside is the Whale blown-air heating. This is a dual-fuel system, working on gas, electricity or a combination of the two, and it's easy to manage from the control panel by the door.
To be honest, it's a while since I'd seen this particular panel and it took me a minute to work out how to turn it on. The flashing 'on' button looked more like a light than a control at first glimpse, and you have to hold it in for a second or two. Once fired up, though, the touchscreen is one of the easiest to work.
You can select room heating, water heating or water pump. I clicked room heating, then chose a 'target temperature'. These range from a chilly 5°C to a balmy 35°C.
Finally, I chose the power source, and all at the touch of the screen. From cold - after selecting the mid-power, hook-up setting - the van is pleasingly warm in around 15 minutes. Remember to turn it down, though, or you'll have a sauna within the hour.
The carpeting in the Osprey enhances the luxury feel and warmth of this tourer, making it a real home from home.
The dual-fuel hob has three gas burners and one electric hotplate, making it perfect for all eventualities, while the oven is a good size, even for a Sunday roast with all of the usual accoutrements.
Poseurs would no doubt love the mirrored front on the microwave, although some might find this a bit of a shock first thing in the morning when they head for the kitchen to warm up some milk.
The fridge is well-sized to cater for the food of four people (albeit with careful packing) and the work surface is supplemented with a handy fold-up extension. Kitchen storage consists of two top-lockers for crockery, three drawers at thigh/knee height and two low-level, compact cupboards. With careful planning, this is sufficient, just.
Dry goods, such as cereal, rice and so on, might have to expand into the adjacent lounge top-locker. All in all, this is a good kitchen space, but as is the case with many caravans, you need to be organised to make the most of it.
Opposite the cooker is a narrow cupboard, which houses the fold-out dining table. This is very easy to extract and set up, but isn't always necessary, because the pull-out front console extension will be perfectly adequate when two are dining.
Storage capacity in this area is increased by a couple of useful drawers set below this extending tabletop, in addition to the compact, floor-level cupboard.
On one side is a shower cubicle that opens out into the bedroom. Opposite is the toilet, in its own room with a handbasin. This door swings around to latch across the corridor, separating the en-suite facilities from the front of the van.
For total washroom privacy, there's also a concertina, pull-across partition, which creates a good-sized shower room spanning the full width of the van.
The shower cubicle is large enough for XL folk, although the very rotund might struggle a bit. The curved Perspex doors slide around to meet in the middle, where magnetic strips hold them together.
The shower head itself delivers a good flow, but seems quite frugal on the water-usage front. This is good, because on day two, I'd just put the shampoo bottle down when I remembered I hadn't swapped the Aquarolls over, and I knew the first was running low.
This nerve-wracking game of soapy Russian roulette certainly adds a frisson of excitement to any ablutions - as it happened, the water ran out seconds after I achieved total soap removal.
The illumination in the toilet/washroom is good, with a backlit mirror and an LED downlighter. There's a Heki rooflight for improved ventilation, a handy cupboard beneath the stylish handbasin and mixer tap, blown-air heater outlet for improved towel drying and a tall cupboard for soaps and supplies. The Thetford cassette toilet has electronic flush and a swivel seat offers maximum versatility.
The bed extends, so can be pushed back during the day to maximise space surrounding it. I didn't bother, instead using the easily accessible space below the overhanging end of the bed to store my camera bag and shoes.
The top of the bed also lifts easily on hydraulic struts, giving access to the huge space beneath. Some vans fill this area with spare wheels and the like, but in the Osprey, it's just waiting to be filled with bulky (but lightweight) cargo.
The bedroom has a plethora of lighting options, but I like the backlit headboard, which creates a gently glowing aura up the rear wall. This is supplemented with two spotlights for reading.
Each occupant gets a fair-sized wardrobe, and a roomy top-locker above the bed, plus a small shelf to the side, for watch and book, and three drawers. Next to the shower is a neat dressing table, with cupboard and downlit mirror. There's a plug point here, which I used to charge my phone, although it's perfectly designed for hair drying and make-up activities, for someone perching on the edge of the bed, with the cupboard full of potions and lotions to hand.
This tourer is based on the Elddis Avanté 550, a popular caravan that has been further enhanced with a wide range of extras, from the Stargazer rooflight to the external barbecue point.
For couples seeking luxury touring, this could be a great choice, matching styling with practicality, and versatility with very cost-effective pricing.
It's not perfect - the lounge sofas are only mid-length, and the storage space available in the kitchen may prove to be a little lacking if you're travelling four-up. But the additional extras that you get (for not much more that £1500 over the sister Avanté's price tag) do make this a comfortable, impressively specced caravan that's well worth a look.
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The four berth Adria Adora 613 DT Isonzo has a popular layout, a good spec level and is spacious and comfortable, albeit with a fairly heft MTPLM.
Meanwhile, the modern and attractive Bailey Phoenix 440 could be described as a more budget-conscious option, albeit with a lounge that's slightly on the small side.
You should also consider the Coachman Acadia 675, which has brought the popular transverse-bed layout to a lower price point, making it a great seasonal tourer.
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- Outside service light
- Comfortable seating
- Clever en-suite washroom design
- Kitchen needs careful planning to utilise storage to best effect
- Lounge sofas are only mid-length