Rallye is the flagship range from Compass, which boasts high kit levels and impressive construction quality – read more in our Compass Rallye 554 review
Compass returned to the market in September 2013. It’s a brand that dates back to the 1970s, but parent company Elddis discontinued it in 2009. However, it reversed that decision for the 2014 season, arguing there was not enough choice for caravan buyers.
Elddis promised that the new line-up would not comprise badge-engineered versions of existing models, and launched three ranges: the entry-level Corona, the mid-priced Omega and the luxury Rallye. We’re looking at the Rallye 554, which features a full-width end washroom and a transverse island bed. It’s the ultimate luxury layout that was introduced to single-axle tourers only in recent years.
Pitching and setting up
As you’d expect from a premium model, it is loaded to the gunwales with external equipment: it’s built on an Al-Ko chassis, which differentiates it from Elddis’s own-brand models, which are built on BPW chassis. The Rallye gets ATC trailer control and shock absorbers as standard, along with the Al-Ko Secure wheel lock and a Phantom tracking system.
It boasts tough GRP sides, mudflaps and a 40-litre on-board water tank that works in tandem with an Aquaroll, plus external satellite TV, aerial, 230V and gas points.
Of course, the washroom and the island bed put the squeeze on the lounge, where space is at a premium. An occasional table slides out from beneath the central dresser top. The free-standing table, which is stored in the wardrobe by the main door, will accommodate four diners, but in rather cosy confines.
The must-have integrated sunroof, which is something buyers have come to expect in caravans at this price point, does a good job of illuminating the lounge during the day.
The light-toned cabinet work is pleasantly complemented by a brushed-metal effect finish to the handles. The oatmeal upholstery and green detailing in the curtains and cushions are appealing, and those cushions offer plenty of support and chunky knee rolls.
The attention to detail throughout is impressive: there are coat hooks by the door, and drawers are built with dovetailed sides and patterned bases. The over-locker lighting is appealing throughout, and the LED lights create a warm ambience.
Heating and hot water are provided by Alde’s wet central heating system, which uses the latest, user-friendly touch-screen control panel.
The granite-effect plastic sink is deep, while the hob has three gas burners and an electric hotplate. Below are a separate grill and oven, and above it is a microwave oven, which is fitted as standard. Overhead, there’s an Omnivent fan, a premium piece of kit that can extract odours or blow in fresh air.
The kitchen is neatly styled, with coordinated, brushed-steel facings for the sink, microwave, hob top, above the Thetford grill and oven, and to the Dometic fridge door. There are racks for cups and crockery in the overhead lockers, which get push buttons rather than handles, to help differentiate the kitchen from the rest of the living space.
It’s a really wide galley, with loads of space for the caravan cook to manoeuvre and opposite is a dresser, topped by a worktop that’s lower than the kitchen’s. Beneath it is a drawer, which houses a moulded cutlery tray, while an adjustable bracket for a flat-screen TV is mounted above the dresser. Overhead is a drinks cabinet with an acrylic door and ambient lighting.
Alongside the toilet, a towel rail is fitted above vents for the Alde heating, although there’s not the heated towel rail we’ve come to expect from vans with Alde heating.
Elsewhere, there’s a chrome-effect toilet-roll holder and clothes hook, and a large basin beneath a vanity mirror. The fully lined shower cubicle has a bi-fold door, and a showerhead that is on a riser bar to let you adjust the height easily.
Unlike some versions of this layout, the Rallye’s transverse island bed is not shortened by day. It is genuinely a fixed bed that remains at its full length, sparing you the hassle of having to make it up at night. This does, however, reduce access around the foot of the bed.
In the lounge, the seat benches can be converted into a generously proportioned double bed. The slats are secured in runners, which makes them easy to pull from the central chest and return in the morning.
Elsewhere, there are wardrobes and drawers on either side of the island bed, and plenty of overhead lockers throughout for storing all your bits and pieces.
At the end of the Practical Caravan Compass Rallye 554 review, it is clear that this caravan is a solidly built luxury tourer whose looks are up-to-date and whose kit list is filled with much of the latest gear. The island bed has eaten into the space left for the kitchen, lounge and washroom, but the 554 is still luxuriously appointed.
Some may argue that it’s too much like an Elddis Crusader, but it will appeal to anyone who prefers simple styling over flamboyant touches.
- Its bodyshell has, so far, scored very well in our annual Owner Satisfaction Survey
- This van offers a lot of kit at a keen price
- It is rather heavy for a single-axle caravan