Bryony Symes
Staff Writer

See other caravan reviews written by Bryony Symes

The experts at Practical Caravan take a look at the Elddis Avanté 462, a clever and compact caravan for couples

Overview

The end washroom two-berth layout first appeared in mainstream brands in the late 1980s and enjoyed a sales boom through the 1990s. The addition of a spacious dressing-and-shower room brought hotel-type luxury to small tourers. 

The layout’s popularity took a hit with the advent of fixed beds, but a flurry of new designs and lower weights have returned it to the best-seller lists.

Elddis and Swift were at the forefront of the ’90s development of the layout. Here we assess Eldiss' latest mid-market offering. The Avanté range has a sharp new design for 2013 and boasts Elddis’s new SoLiD construction system.

This model is a compact two-berth that manages to fit in an impressive amount of storage space and a well designed kitchen.

Pitching and setting up

Elddis’s SoLiD construction uses adhesive to join body panels and attach exterior fittings. This reduces paths for water ingress and weight by up to 40kg leaving you more flexibility to take the kit you need. Towing safety is enhanced by BPW’s Swing V-Tec self-centring axle and Winterhoff stabiliser.

The exterior is smart and shapely. A silver-coloured lid opens to permit access across the whole gas locker, but you have to bend awkwardly to get under it.

The mains consumer unit is behind a flap in the nearside seat and a 12V control panel is next to the entrance. Controls for the Whale space and water heater are by the kitchen. This model runs on 230V or gas, so it cannot warm up as quickly as systems that use both power sources at once.

Lounge

A lot of thought has gone into the interior of this caravan, with five 230V sockets, including a well thought out socket by the full-length mirror; useful for hairdryers. Our test model had optional ‘Kento’ fabrics, but we prefer the darker standard ‘Tia’ scheme.

The lounge is great for reclining in or seating visitors, but the raked front makes lounging in the corners difficult. Some will miss having a sunroof, but a large Heki rooflight and spacious roof lockers are adequate compensation.

The all-LED lighting impresses, especially the bright, indirect illumination above the lockers. Our only gripe is Elddis’s choice
of an LED strip under the front locker instead of spots in each corner for reading. The Avtex bracket-mounted TV/DVD player is generous in a van with this price.

Kitchen

The Avanté is over 20cm longer than similar models, and half of that extra length is used here. Overhead storage is good but the lower cupboard lacks shelves, so it’s less useful. The worktop is boosted by a wing that extends over the seat and a removable drainer. The stainless-steel sink is a generous 390mm in diameter. There are two plug sockets well placed by the kitchen work top.

Opposite the kitchen is a 1.15m long dresser with well-detailed storage and more work surface. Surprisingly, we could not find
a cutlery tray anywhere. The 112-litre fridge is Dometic’s latest, and the hob has an electric hotplate. The microwave is fitted over
the dresser at eye level.

Washroom

The washroom uses the other 10cm of extra length, but with less benefit than in the kitchen. The Avanté’s round shower cubicle looks good but consumes a lot of space without being all that roomy.

The wardrobe is huge and offers capacious shelving, but this will be hidden behind clothes on its two hanging rails. The trendy basin, above a two-door cupboard, works well. But why are the adjoining shelves and worktop so narrow?

Lighting and ventilation are good, but if the mirror steams up, there’s a full-length one just outside with a 230V socket nearby.

Beds

We measured the two single beds at 1.83m compared to Elddis’s stated 1.8m. But that’s still only 6ft – shorter than a domestic bed and of no use to taller people. Perhaps some of the splendid dresser should have been sacrificed to make one bed 1.9m or more.

Choose to sleep in the double bed and there’s no such problem: pull-out slats retained on their slides bridge the two seats for a bed measuring 2.14m x 1.41m, even with the chest of drawers in place. Whichever way you sleep, reading lights will be missed up front.

Storage

Two people will be challenged to use all the storage space here. The bed boxes offer plenty of free space, thanks to the under-floor Whale heater and the careful positioning of other items. Full-length front flaps provide easy access. Large items still not accommodated could go at the bottom of the wardrobe.

The dresser unit will take more than food, pots and pans, and there are deep roof lockers all round for lighter items. It’s a shame that Elddis has been mean with locker shelves; only one is fitted as standard, and the optional shelving pack costs £40.

Technical specs

Berth2
MiRO1137kg
Payload133kg
MTPLM1270kg
Interior length4.66m
Shipping length6.36m
Width2.24m
Height2.72m
Awning size910cm

Verdict

The Avanté 462 scores well in all sections but excels in few, perhaps reserving that for more upmarket models.

The short single beds are a disadvantage, but the Avanté’s spacious storage in roof lockers, wardrobe and the dresser unit make up for this.

It is a well planned caravan with a classic interior, and some thoughtful extras to make touring more comfortable.

Conclusion

Pros

  • The kitchen is spacious and set up for serious use
  • The dresser opposite adds even more options to the already copious storage space throughout
  • The lounge converts easily into an enormous double bed, even with the centre chest in place
  • A flat screen TV/DVD player is a generous piece of kit in a tourer in this price range
  • A mirror by the washroom door has a mains socket beside it, useful for plugging in a hairdryer

Cons

  • There is no cutlery drawer
  • Items stored on the large shelves in the wardrobe will be hidden behind clothes
  • The shower cubicle takes up a lot of space while not being very roomy
  • There are no reading lights at the front of the lounge
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