Alastair Clements
Group editor

See other caravan reviews written by Alastair Clements

Read the Practical Caravan Buccaneer Cruiser review – if you're after a tourer for seasonal pitches, this large, luxurious caravan could be the one

Overview

At first glance the Buccaneer Cruiser looks as if little has changed in the brand's 2015 offering since the preceding model year, but there have been significant improvements to Explorer Group’s flagship – get the full story in the Practical Caravan Buccaneer Cruiser review. 

The most obvious is its size. At 8ft, it’s 6in broader than the outgoing model, making it the widest UK-built tourer on sale. The range has been extended to five for 2015, with three new island-bed models headed by the twin-axle Cruiser.

The thought of towing a van that’s more than 8m long, nearly 2.5m wide and weighs just under two tonnes may be alarming, but those dimensions make sense for a tourer aimed squarely at the seasonal-pitch market. 

Pitching and setting up

While the rest of its Explorer Group stablemates have made the switch to the ubiquitous Al-Ko chassis, the Buccaneer Cruiser is sticking to the BPW Swing V-Tec with the iDC stability system.

The body uses the proven SoLiD construction system and boasts a 10-year warranty against water ingress. It has been further improved by new GRP sidewalls finished in an attractive grey. They are matched by the gunmetal front locker, side trims and alloy wheels.

You expect serious kit for the price – and the Cruiser delivers. Grabbing the headlines is the E&P Hydraulics self-levelling system, which operates by remote control and pitches your van in two minutes using two axle supports and four powered Al-Ko ‘Big Foot’ steadies.

You’ll also find a 100W Truma solar panel, underfloor heating for the remote-controlled Alde 3020 system – which you can operate via your smartphone – a load-limiter to prevent tripping site electrics, wheel locks, alarm and tracking systems, and an external gas point.

Lounge

Step aboard the Buccaneer Cruiser and you’ll see that this tourer is special, regardless of whether you like dark wood and two-tone upholstery. There are bags of space, so you won’t be tripping over each other or knocking knees.

When the small pull-out table doesn’t offer enough space, fetch the freestanding table from its convenient cupboard behind the offside sofa.

The Sky-Scape panoramic sunroof will keep the lounge light – despite those dark woods – and the classy chrome details blend into the locker handles. The ‘Lexington’ upholstery has an Aquaclean-protected finish; all you need is water to wipe up spills.

Kitchen

Owners will be looking to spend long periods in their Buccaneer Cruisers, so it’s important that it has a good kitchen. There’s a big nearside fridge with a removable freezer and, above it at chest height, a microwave as standard. We also like the decent-sized door bin.

Opposite is the main kitchen unit, which is spacious and well equipped. It has plenty of sockets and a top-spec separate oven and grill. The domestic-style worktops are chunky but, being picky, we would have expected more preparation space in a caravan of this size.

Washroom

At the end of the Buccaneer Cruiser, behind a sliding door, is the superb end washroom. Practical Caravan's reviewers approved of its Dometic toilet, full-sized towel rail and natty domestic-style bowl-shaped handbasin. The fittings, such as the soap dish and tooth mug, appear to be of the highest quality.

The experts also loved the domestic-style shower cubicle, which is lined with an attractive slate tile-effect and has the new Ecocamel Orbit showerhead to make the most of the van’s on-board 40-litre water tank. If that’s not sufficient, you can plumb the van into a mains water supply.

Beds

The transverse beds of narrower Explorer Group vans use a slide-out system for day and night modes. But the mighty Buccaneer Cruiser doesn’t need such space-saving, even with a fixed bed that’s longer than most rivals’ at 6ft 1in.

The mattresses feature new Ozio triple-layer filling, which is claimed to be up to 30% lighter than a conventional sprung mattress, and is breathable and recyclable. A large mirror adds to the sense of space.

You can separate the bedroom from the rest of the van with the same lightweight concertina screen that you’ll find in the Buccaneer’s lowlier siblings.

Storage

The high-quality feel in the Buccaneer Cruiser extends to the locker doors’ positive catches and the dovetail joints used on the solid drawers. There’s also excellent kitchen storage, with four large drawers, a big cupboard and a bank of shallower cupboards overhead.

As you’d expect in a seasonal-pitch van, a cocktail cabinet is included – in this case, a tinted, glazed, drum-fronted item with a television mount below.

The bedroom has generous ‘his and hers’ wardrobes, with drawers beneath, aircraft-style lockers above and masses of storage under the fixed bed.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO1814kg
Payload160kg
MTPLM1974kg
Interior length6.39m
Shipping length8.17m
Width2.46m
Height2.82m
Awning size1090cm

Verdict

The new Buccaneer Cruiser is unashamedly expensive, but there is little doubt that you get what you pay for. It’s packed with top-spec kit, well finished with a quality feel and, most importantly, it’s huge.

If space is the ultimate treat on your caravan holidays, then this new Buccaneer must represent the last word in luxury. 

Conclusion

Pros

  • Spacious, superbly equipped and beautifully made
  • The ideal caravan for a couple planning to leave it pitched for the season
  • The washroom promises domestic levels of convenience and practicality
  • Its kitchen is kitted-out with top-spec appliances and fittings

Cons

  • Its weight and price will put some potential buyers off
  • The kitchen worktop is chunky, but insufficient for a van of this size and price
  • The concertina privacy screen is the same as in less-expensive Explorer Group models
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