Claudia Dowell
Features Editor

See other caravan reviews written by Claudia Dowell

The luxurious Buccaneer Caravel, with its space, comfort and practicality, impresses Practical Caravan's expert reviewer Gentleman Jack

Overview

When buying eight metres of luxury caravan you expect to pay a premium. If you’re thinking about shelling out for a Caravel you’ll certainly do that. Aside from the cost (more than £22,000 at launch) you also pay a weight penalty, with an MTPLM of 1900kg. But buyers of this van, who are largely experienced caravanners, will not be put off by the big numbers, provided the van delivers unrivalled space, comfort and practicality.

Pitching and setting up

Despite its flush-fit tinted privacy windows and 40th anniversary livery, the exterior is functional and simple. It has a roomy front locker with two gas struts and heavy-duty steadies with plastic feet for grass pitches.

Lounge

Stepping inside, you enter cosy yet upmarket surroundings. The dark-wood cabinets, leather upholstery (a rather pricey option) and granite-effect worktop all work well together. The décor in the Caravel leaves you in no doubt that this is a high-ticket caravan. The layout is similarly functional, with a familiar dinette in the lounge and an offside kitchen.

The Alde wet central-heating system is an addition that makes this van rather special. The heating, controlled from a digital panel by the entrance door, is easy to use and accurately maintains a set temperature. It has many advanced functions – you can even set the heating to come on at a suitable time, much as you would at home.

Kitchen

The best bit about the kitchen is unquestionably the enormous 175-litre fridge/freezer, which is set above a cupboard so you don’t need to stoop to use it.

Washroom

The washroom arrangement is unusual, with an offside separate shower and ceramic toilet and basin on the nearside. The shower cubicle is nice and big, and you’ll enjoy strong water pressure from the Whale water pump. Moreover, with a 40-litre on-board water tank, there’s plenty of hot water on tap.

The toilet area works less well. You’ll feel cramped when using the toilet or brushing your teeth, but the laundry bin is handy and the radiator will keep it toasty on chilly mornings.

Beds

The stand-out feature of this van is the island bed. Designed to solve the problem of fixed-bed sleepers having to clamber over each other for night-time loo trips, these beds polarise opinion. In theory they work well, with plenty of room for both people and two separate wardrobes.

This one even has a fantastically comfy memory foam mattress. There’s plenty of room underneath the mattress for storing bulky items, too. But there’s no denying that the island bed takes up a lot of space. With the bedding in place, it is a squeeze getting around the foot of the bed.

Storage

Storage is great, with shelves over both windows and a clever cabinet hidden behind the offside mirror.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO1618kg
Payload282kg
MTPLM1900kg
Interior length6.26m
Shipping length7.96m
Width2.29m
Height2.58m
Awning size1046cm

Verdict

This frankly luxurious caravan is designed to keep its owners in the style they're accustomed to. It's superbly  comfortable and well designed. If you have deep pockets and a powerful tow car (or possibly a seasonal pitch) this is for you. Overall, we'd give it 8/10.

Conclusion

Pros

  • A very special caravan
  • Luxurious
  • The island bed is very comfortable
  • Enormous fridge/freezer
  • Alde heating

Cons

  • MTPLM of 1900kg is too much for most tugs
  • There's no tracker
  • The island bed uses a lot of space
  • Expensive
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