Claudia Dowell
Features Editor

See other caravan reviews written by Claudia Dowell

Twin test, July 2009

Pitching and setting up

The Xplore has a BPW chassis with an easy-to-use buttonless handbrake. Stabiliser and spare wheel are not standard. The front locker is a large space, but instead of a gas strut, the door is held open by a metal prop that has to be slotted into place while holding the door open.

The entrance door is two-piece, but it doesn’t have a window or flyscreen. Inside, the mains switches are split between the entrance door and the lounge, but are clearly named.

Lounge

The large lounge has plenty of room for a family of five to gather. The seats are long so fitting around the large dining table at meal times is no trouble. The seats are comfortable, too, as they have knee rolls, though there are no bolster cushions for reclining.

The lounge has just a ceiling light and two spotlights for reading. Without corner lights it is a little dark at night. But the large rooflight floods the area with light during the day. There is also a pre-wired place for a Radio/CD player.

The light and roomy rear lounge is an ideal space for kids during the day. At night the area less functional because it has only a ceiling night, not spotlights, so reading or colouring in is ruled out.

Kitchen

The kitchen is small, but it has a lot of equipment, including a 108-litre fridge, separate oven and grill, three-burner hob and recessed sink and drainer. The two overhead lockers are large, and one has plate and cups racks. There is also a cupboard below the sink which has a cutlery drawer and a shelf, though some of this space is lost to the wheel arch.

There are a couple of niggles in the kitchen. The recessed drainer means there is no worksurface in the kitchen. Both the sink and hob have glass lids so the space can be used for meal preparation, and there is also a small fold-out section of worksurface at one end. The tap is sandwiched between the two glass lids and can be knocked on by opening them. And the only powerpoint is under the fold-up table so cords will hang into the lounge.

Washroom

This washroom does feel squeezed in. The shower, which is over the basin, has a separate head and tap. Above the basin is a small, mirrored cabinet. This and a shelf above the loo is the only storage in the washroom, so families will struggle to fit in all their kit. The wheel arch intrudes under the basin where extra storage could be. Though the step created is a handy space to put shampoo and conditioner while showering.

The swivel toilet is separated from the shower by a curtain. This wraps right around the shower, so should protect the loo from most splashes, but in this small space it will be hard to stop it sticking to you.

Beds

It is easy to convert the front lounge to a double bed. Slats pull out from the chest and the cushions fit well to make a comfortable mattress. The one niggle is that only one side has a reading light.

Converting the rear lounge is trickier. Once all the cushions are off the bunk can be raised. The side guards are attached to the base, so are easy to put into place, and extra cushions are provided to make the mattress. With the bunk in place, the double bed can be made up. The cushions are a good fit for the length of the bed, but they leave a gap at one side. There are no reading lights for either of the beds.

Storage

Storage is lacking in the kitchen and washroom, but is good elsewhere in the van. The front lounge has six overhead lockers and two large corner shelves as well as under-seat storage. The rear lounge has another four overhead lockers and combined with the under-seat storage, this creates plenty of storage to keep kids contained.

There are a couple of things that could be improved. Trunking in the wardrobe limits the available hanging space and lifting the dining table up into its dedicated storage above the wheel arch is a little awkward.

Technical specs

Berth5
MiRO1088kg
Payload212kg
MTPLM1300kg
Interior length5.03m
Shipping length5.86m
Width2.2m
Height2.73m
Awning size945cm

Verdict

A well-built, desirable budget caravan with a few practicality niggles – 6/10.

Conclusion

Pros

  • The rear lounge is a great place for kids
  • It provides lots of space to store toys and games, and a fabric door separates the area from the rest of the van
  • With an MTPLM of just 1300kg, the Xplore is light enough to tow behind most family cars.

Cons

  • The washroom is very tight and offers too little storage space for a family
  • Cooking family meals will take some juggling because of insufficient kitchen worktop
  • The front lounge lacks corner lights and has only two spotlamps, making the area dark.
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