We tested the six-berth Adria Adora 612DT Rhine for four months and took it to Italy – read our review to see if this is the perfect family caravan for you
It feels rather as though Slovenian caravan manufacturer Adria has been a strong presence on the UK caravan market for as long as any other home-grown rival, such is its remarkable success story over here. But large-scale imports actually only began in earnest in 2003, via Fleetwood Caravans. Ironically, Adria has since gone from strength to strength, while Fleetwood went into administration in January 2009.
The 612DT Rhine has been a mainstay of the Adria range for some years now, with its classic six-berth layout offering families who need much of a twin-axle’s interior space, but not the attendant manhandling issues, plus plenty of versatility by day and night. It’s a good-looking machine, too – imposing, but not intimidating – and its inherent build quality is evident the moment you open a locker door.
Its interior layout has served the model well for years. It comprises a nearside rear fixed double bed next door to an all-in-one en suite washroom, with a side dinette/bunk amidships and a large parallel lounge up front. The variations this layout offers are seemingly endless – two people can use the front as a lounge and the side dinette as a breakfast area, while families of three or four have ready-made beds for both children and adults, leaving additional sleeping up front for visiting family or friends.
Recent improvements include a new panoramic front ‘sky roof’, which really floods the lounge area with light, while key Adria characteristics such as colossal kitchen drawers and ample 12v lighting remain.
Pitching and setting up
Arriving on site, we deliberately chose a pitch with good all-round access because, with the hefty Volvo XC90 factored into the mix, it was quite a lengthy outfit to reverse into place. Being a single-axle means that twisting the caravan more accurately into position is entirely possible, but it’s mighty heavy nonetheless, so make sure that all hands are on deck to help out.
Levelling off is easy, but lowering the corner steadies is just a tad laborious. Being of premium heavy-duty design, they take a little longer to lower than less substantial variants, and a lack of guide tubes or skirting cut-outs means locating the winder can be a bit hit and miss, especially at the back.
Adria deserves credit for putting the habitation door on the ‘UK’ (nearside) wall, and the design and location of the awning light is such that you don’t step out of the caravan in your own shadow – with the inherent risk of missing your footing on the step.
The water inlet, toilet hatch, hook-up point and grey water drains are kept sensibly on the offside wall, all the better for maintaining a clean and clutter-free awning, and it’s good to see exterior door access to both the under-bed void and the area beneath the nearside front settee. The toilet cassette, incidentally, is jumbo-sized and comes with fitted wheels and a telescopic pull-handle, while the grey drains are close to the axle line for optimum drainage, however uneven your pitch is.
Accessing the simply vast front gas locker is a breeze, thanks to a superbly over-engineered door and low loading lip. There’s bags of room in there for a host of pitching sundries as well as the usual two gas cylinders – just watch your noseweight allowance!
The lounge proper is in essence U-shaped, with a single seat where you’d expect to find a central chest of drawers on a British caravan. There’s a small table here, too, which folds out of the forward bulkhead – it’s not big enough for full-blown mealtimes, but it’s certainly sufficient for a couple of glasses and maybe even a hand of cards.
What really lifts the Adora’s lounge, however, is its simply colossal panoramic rooflight. This enormous window dominates the whole area and, unlike some of its ilk, actually opens. It also has its own blind and flyscreen, together with a trio of spotlights sunk into its surround pelmet. Factor in the couple of reading lights and the increasingly familiar sight of ambient ‘rope’ lighting along the top of the roof lockers, and this area feels as bright and cheery by night as it does by day.
The overwhelmingly mid-brown colour scheme – it features on the soft furnishings, curtains, tie-backs and scatter cushions – might not be to all tastes, but it’s pleasingly neutral and reassuringly resilient to the rough and tumble of young family ownership.
There’s some good design sense here, too – the sink cover doubles as a chopping board, although its close proximity to the hob does mean there’s a greater risk of singeing it if you’re not careful.
Some Continental caravans often arrive in the UK without any other form of cooking facilities, but the Adria warrants a proper Spinflo Midi Prima oven and separate grill, while factory-fitted microwave oven pre-installation means that slotting a model of your choice into position will take your supplying caravan dealership no time at all.
The fridge is a good size, too. Of Thetford manufacture, it can swallow a full 104 litres of food and drink for your family.
That said, six-berth caravans tend to spend most of their lives on full-facility campsites, so you could justifiably argue that the Rhine’s washroom is for occasional use only.Viewed in this light, the Rhine’s all-in-one wetroom is perfectly acceptable.
The shower tray is a good size and properly four-square, and while the bench toilet and tip-up washbasin might hark back to the 1990s, they work perfectly well in practice. The mirrored vanity unit and ample lighting increase the illusion of space, too, and towels dry very quickly in here thanks to the presence of a blown-air vent. It’s good to see a proper frosted window, too – it’s amazing how many manufacturers still fit clear panes in their washrooms.
The main bedroom area is at the rear, and comprises a European French-bed design. While still slightly ‘chopped off’ to allow better access to the adjacent washroom, it measures a healthy 6ft 6in by 4ft 7in, which should be room enough for even the tallest occupant. And having enjoyed a full week’s worth of blissful sleep in there, we can confirm that the mattress is both supportive and comfortable.
The forward double bed is even bigger – it stretches the tape measure to a scarcely believable 6ft 11in long – but ironically is perhaps the bed that is likely to be used the least. Make-up is a simple matter of pull-out slats and a couple of minutes’ cushion-flipping.
The remaining berths sit amidships, just behind the lounge. By day, this is a handy dining or play area, but by night converts into a pair of 6ft 2in-long bunks, complete with lighting for the top bunk and a pull-around privacy curtain.
Or you could do as we did, and simply leave the bunk made up all the time, which opens up an interesting little contained play area ‘downstairs’ and somewhere for a little one to have a daytime nap as required.
The single biggest area lies beneath the fixed bed, and can even be accessed from the outside, although it can only be used to its fullest extent
once the caravan has been safely pitched up. Excess weight in here under tow would do your outfit’s stability no favours.
There’s plenty of room under those settees at the front, too, although getting to the smaller void beneath the window involves removing most, if not all of the lounge’s cushions first. We do approve of the exterior access provided, however, and we’ve already mentioned the super-generous gas locker.
There are roof lockers pretty much everywhere you look in the Adria Adora Rhine, and each is simply enormous.
The dilemma of panoramic rooflight versus additional over-window roof lockers is very much in evidence in the lounge, but the sheer number and size of those provided elsewhere more than make up for this. And there’s always those gigantic kitchen drawers to make full use of!
There’s usually a degree of compromise involved in large family-sized caravans such as the Adora Rhine, but while its washroom does feel a little short-changed, it’s for a good reason (sleeping provisions) and elsewhere it ticks pretty much every box that really matters.
This caravan is all about space, and managing to keep genuinely useable accommodation for six people confined to a single-axle van – no mean feat – and on the whole, it pulls it off. It’s rare to see such generous-sized beds – and quite so many of them – and we don’t think we’ve ever seen such storage space in a kitchen before... not without sacrificing a proper cooker, at any rate.
Buyers used to the traditional feel of a British-made caravan may find the Rhine’s interior ambience a little on the stark side, but it’s well-lit – thanks to that panoramic rooflight and to the lighting above the lockers – and everything feels as if it’s built to last. This does feel very much like a manufacturer that places a higher value on function than form – and we rather like it for that.
And if you really must have a palatial end washroom to go with your fixed bed, you could always opt instead for the similarly-sized Adria Adora Thames, although you do lose two sleeping berths as a result.
For us, though, the Rhine is the one to go for. You might need a big tow car to match it, but there are few other single-axle caravans that can accommodate six people quite so effortlessly.
- Single-axle caravan
- Big enough for six people
- Plenty of space and light
- Washroom is small
- Slightly stark interior
- Big tow car needed (2000kg kerbweight)