First look, June 2010
When the Xplore line up appeared in early 2008, it was well equipped, but lacked sparkle. The 2010 revamp addressed that, ditching the insipid beige interior and green exterior graphics in favour of something more fun. The range is one of Practical Caravan’s favourites.
The Xplore 544 sports a nearside fixed bed layout with a corner washroom. A big seller in the past, this layout has been largely superseded by the rear washroom models which appeared in 2009. There is still plenty to commend the corner washroom model however. The layout feels very open and is a very comfortable caravan for a couple, particularly if they favour using onsite washroom facilities.
Pitching and setting up
As with all Elddis products, the Xplore uses a BPW chassis but it is a lesser version than used on the other Elddis models. As a result, there is no standard stabiliser but it does help keep the weight sensible. The rear exiting waste pipes are fine unless you are on a pitch sloping from front to back.
Inside the van, the lounge seating is supremely comfortable, with firm, supportive cushions that are better than you’d expect to find in an entry-level tourer. The upholstery is bright and breezy and shows that cheaper tourers don’t need to be deathly dull inside. The only noticeable cost cutting is the single spotlamp on either side of the lounge and a carpet runner rather than a fitted piece of carpet. The van is prewired to make installing a CD/Radio easy, but there is not one fitted as standard.
The kitchen takes up lots of space in this long single axle caravan. The three burner gas hob, separate oven and grill and a large fridge mean it lacks no essential kitchen kit. Storage is good too but the recessed sink drainer robs the van of workspace. The sideboard on the nearside provides plenty of space to rest plates while serving up though and the fold-out extension flap is a perfect perch for an electric kettle. The biggest gripe is that £12000 caravans should not need matches to light the oven.
The washroom is the weakest point, but it’s only partly down to the small size. Having the basin at 45 degrees to the wall makes that area of the van feel cramped although getting into the cupboard under the sink is easy. The washroom works well otherwise.
Storage is a little lacking and the towel hook is outside the shower above the washhand basin. Just make sure you the coast is clear before going and getting your towel. The submersible water pump was more than capable of providing a shower but the van must be absolutely level to ensure the tray drains properly.
The bed mattress is thinner than found in posher tourers. It is fine for a week on site, but for longer tours, you might be better upgrading to an Avante model which boasts a thicker mattress. There are a pair of spotlights above the bed but no suitable little shelves for night time paraphernalia. The front bed makes up in the normal way with pull-out slats and offers better support than the rear bed and is pretty flat too.
Storage for two people is very generous and with loads of roof lockers all around and the sideboard unit at the foot of the bed can swallow all manner of touring kit without flinching. Storage underneath the bed is generous, the wardrobe is large and has a useful cupboard underneath for shoes. We found that the locker doors don’t quite lift high enough for comfort and more shelves would be useful.
Cheerful, spacious single-axle fixed bed that can be towed by a regular family car.