Nigel DonnellySee other caravan reviews written by Nigel Donnelly
Find out what Practical Caravan's experts say about the 2013 Elddis Xplore 505, a low-price, family five-berth with a side dinette and fixed bunks
When the Elddis Xplore 505 was launched for the 2013 model year, Practical Caravan immediately recognised that it was one of the most interesting budget-price family tourers.
The Xplore features parallel seats in the front lounge, an offside dinette that converts into a single bed, two fixed bunks, a small washroom in the nearside corner, and a good-size nearside kitchen. It is designed for a family of five, but the layout promises to be fairly flexible for a family of four, because the side dinette need not be converted at night, and provides space for children's quiet play.
The 505 is built using Elddis’s groundbreaking ‘SoLiD’ construction method. It also undercuts rival tourers on price and weight.
Pitching and setting up
The front gas locker has locks at either end but no strut; you pull it up and use an old-fashioned stay to keep it open.
The battery box is on the nearside, and the water system connects on the offside. Less ideally, the toilet’s waste tank is in the nearside rear corner, so it will open into a full awning.
The single-piece window confirms the caravan’s entry-level status but, together with the side windows and mini Heki rooflight, it lets in plenty of light.
The ash-wood tones go well with the light brown upholstery, and the seats are comfortable with good back support. A TV can be set up on the small dresser at the end of the kitchen worktop.
Equipment-wise, you get a cooker with three gas burners and there’s a separate oven and grill underneath. A fridge with separate freezer compartment sits at the opposite end of the kitchen, and is helpfully offset from the sink, so you can get the milk out while someone does the washing up.
The sink itself has an aluminium finish and is 13cm deep, so it’s practical as well as looking smart. There’s a rooflight above the sink, a small side window and a strip light along the bottom of the lockers.
There’s no microwave as standard; the left-hand overhead locker has space for one but lacks an electric point. A pair of sockets at the lounge end of the kitchen will take a kettle or toaster.
The shower area uses wallboard instead of a moulded enclosure, so keeping an eye on the condition of the sealant is advised.
A toilet roll holder sits to the right of the toilet, and a towel ring is fixed high on the wall opposite.
The side dinette provides the fifth berth, while a pair of fixed bunks each measuring 1.82m x 0.6m is in the offside corner. Each bunk gets a light, and a cupboard next to the wardrobe contains a slide-out TV bracket.
The front seat boxes can both accommodate bedding, and further room is provided under the side dinette’s lounge-end seat base. There’s more storage space under the lower fixed bunk for larger items you won’t need to access often.
The wardrobe next to the bunks at the rear wall is 0.47m wide and has two hanging rails, one at shoulder height and one at waist height. A drawer sits underneath for small garments.
The washroom features a small moulded plastic cupboard in the nearside corner, which will swallow a multitude of toiletries.
This is a cracking caravan, with very respectable specification for a tourer in this price range. Its fit and finish are of a high standard and the 10-year bodyshell integrity warranty (for the first owner only) adds reassurance to the package.
Our few reservations concern small flaws that are nonetheless significant. The mains input is on the nearside so the hook-up cable must go through the awning. Opening the nearside toilet cassette hatch into a full awning won’t be ideal either, nor will services that drain at the rear; if your pitch isn’t level drainage could become a problem.
With up five people on board, the wet room will be stretched to its limits, although this won’t faze families who use site washblocks.
Despite these reservations, the Elddis Xplore 505 is a lot of van given its low weight and price. The amount of kit, the layout, the construction method and the warranty go a long way to make it quite desirable.
- Sharp exterior looks
- 'SoLiD' construction method reduces weight and risk of damp
- High equipment levels for the price
- The plain fabrics will show impact of heavy family use
- The cramped wet room could be a compromise too far
- Nearside hook-up socket and toilet cassette access will clash with a full awning