Andy Jenkinson

See other caravan reviews written by Andy Jenkinson

The range has had a big make-over and now has a new transverse-bed layout – so will the 2016 Elddis Avanté 554 be a top choice for couples?

Overview

Elddis has made great strides in design and construction in the last few years. Every year, just as we thought they had topped their game, the following season's models looked better than ever.

Part of the mighty Explorer Group, Elddis has given the Avanté range a good going over for 2016, introducing a new front panel and graphics plus a new front sunroof. Interiors too have new locker design and wood finish along with new design soft furnishings. Elddis means business with its Avanté range in 2016 and adding a new model has strengthened the range further. 

The new Elddis Avanté 554 offers a transverse double bed, complete with end washroom and centre kitchen with front lounge. This layout has been brought into play by most manufacturers in 2016 and is currently considered a 'must-have'.

Elddis has made the 554's transverse bed in such a way that you can extend it by 400mm at night. Although classed as a four-berth caravan, the Elddis Avanté 554 is most likely to be used by couples, and this layout should prove ideal for two.

The Avanté range is well known among caravanners for offering good value for money, and the latest model and re-vamp further strengthens this fine reputation. No longer really classed as an entry-level van, the Elddis Avanté 554 should have wide appeal. And to see other Elddis caravans for sale, click here.

Pitching and setting up

A few years ago Elddis changed its chassis from BPW over to Al-Ko units and for 2016 this continues. The AKS hitch and also ATC are also part of the Avanté's standard specification, along with alloys, while for 2016 a new front gas locker design with the models number displayed ads to the Avanté's appeal. New graphics have been added and, with the tough one-piece aluminium sides, the Avanté's good looks give you a hint that this tourer offers good value for money.

Elddis Solid construction is proudly displayed with a neat chrome type badge on the vans nearside. A new TV aerial has been added too it's a Telco Teleplus directional unit replacing the Avtex Stick roof mounted unit from last year. Elddis still keeps to a glazed stable door, a feature that is still popular with many caravanners.

The front gas locker is large and will take other caravanning items with relative ease, such as the Aqua Roll handle and small folding chairs.

The corner steadies on the Elddis Avanté 554 are standard units, rather than heavy-duty versions, and are all easy to access. You'll find the service points on the offside, including the battery box. On the nearside there is an access locker for the storage area beneath the fixed transverse bed. The 554's exterior is neat, modern and distinctive and the caravan is 2.645m (8'8) high overall.

Lounge

The front lounge in the Elddis Avanté 554 is light and airy, thanks to the new panoramic sunroof, as well as the range's switch to a new lighter wood finish for 2016.

The soft furnishings are in a new 'Mayfair' fabric design, with the upholstery benefitting from Ozio high performance construction. The lounge seating also has scatter and bolster cushions as standard. The new roof locker design is finished with a Hessian-type pattern on the lower edge and all lockers have new chrome handles with positive locking.

There is a chest of drawers in the lounge area with a slide-out occasional table for those times when you don't need to use the free-standing table. Elddis has also fitted access flaps so that you can reach the bedding without disturbing the seating.

Also enhancing the atmosphere in the lounge is a CD/Radio, with speakers sensibly fitted in the front of the lockers on each side, rather than pointing downwards from the ceiling or the underside of the lockers.

The lounge lighting is well designed, with four LED corner spot lights and LED lights just behind the sunroof. There are more LED lights just above the roof locker, which means that the lounge area is well illuminated in the evening and uses only LEDs.

The maximum headroom inside the Avanté is 1.95 (6'5"), so most people won't bang their heads on anything.

At mealtimes four people will be able to eat in relative comfort, but we think that the Elddis Avanté 554 will mainly be sold to couples.

Kitchen

The Elddis Avanté 554 has a well equipped offside kitchen. The new granite-effect worktops look good, as do the contrasting flush-fitting kitchen units with chrome inserts. There is enough kitchen worktop space in the van, because on one side it slightly overhangs into the lounge area, and there's a further work surface opposite, with a small dresser unit that's also used as a TV stand.

When it comes to the kitchen appliances on offer in the Elddis Avanté 554, let's start with the domestic-style 110-litre fridge-freezer fitted into the kitchen unit. Then there's a glossy black enamelled Aspire Mk2 oven, grill and dual-fuel hob with an 800W electric hotplate, three gas burners and spark ignition, neatly hidden under a smoked glass lid that acts as an extra work surface when the hob is not in use. To supplement this you'll find a microwave oven neatly fitted into the side dresser opposite, housed at a good height for most people to use safely.

Excellent storage is available in the 554's kitchen too, with four overhead lockers, plus drawers and a large cupboard. Lighting is also a strong point, as there are two integral LED spotlights shining a concentrated light onto the worktops. There are twin sockets near the cooker, and two more opposite in the dresser unit. For kitchen ventilation there is a Mini Heki rooflight to help you get rid of unwanted cooking smells.

To sum up, the kitchen is well designed, well equipped and is an ample size.

Washroom

The full end-width washroom in the Avanté 554, is a major selling-point and Elddis has given the washrooms an update in this range. In the 554 there is a sliding entrance door to the spacious washroom, which comes with a Thetford cassette loo with an electric flush. No window is fitted, but there is a Mini Heki roof vent that allows plenty of daylight and ventilation into washroom.

Above the toilet is a large wall cupboard and in the middle of the end panel is a vanity unit consisting of a hand basin with a cupboard below and large mirror above.

Blown-air heating and LED lighting make this a comfortable washroom to use all year round, by day and night.

There's a door to a fully lined separate shower cubicle in the corner, which is large enough for most people. The washroom will be fine for those who prefer not to use site facilities and those who like to stay on more remote CL sites.

Beds

The 554 boasts a transverse double bed, so to increase the usable floor space in the van during the day, Elddis has created a bed that actually retracts by 400mm. At night you just pull the bed out to extend it back to its full size. Even when the bed is extended, you can still move around the end of it. It may be a tight squeeze, but it's acceptable for night usage.

The rear island double bed measurements are 1350 x 1900cm (4'5'' x 6'3'').

The front lounge has short settees, which means you can only make them up into a front double bed, not two single beds. It measures 1130 x 2080cm (3'8'' x 6'10''). Elddis has built a slatted base that slides out from the chest of drawers – so it's quick and easy to make up the double bed. The transverse bed boasts an Ozio mattress, which has been well proven for comfort.

Storage

There is plenty of storage in the Avanté 554, with deep overhead lockers complete with removable shelves. The kitchen, in particular, has excellent storage space, with four overhead lockers, two drawers and a large cupboard. Opposite is the dresser, with cupboard and overhead storage. Next to the transverse bed are twin wardrobes, both with drawers. The main wardrobe by the entrance offers a good hanging space and three drawers in its base. On the other side of the fixed bed there is a smaller wardrobe, also with some hanging space. Added to this are overhead lockers.

The washroom comes with a decent cupboard beneath the hand basin and also a large wall cupboard above the toilet. Overall, it's fair to say that storage is excellent in the Elddis Avanté 554.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO1250kg
Payload153kg
MTPLM1500kg
Interior length5.75m
Shipping length7.37m
Width2.26m
Height2.645m
Awning size1025cm

Verdict

After reviewing new 2016 caravans from all the major manufacturers, we can see that the new Elddis Avanté 554 model will be welcomed by most. It has been launched at a competitive price, especially as it has great features such as the ATC as standard. It also has Whale heating, delivered by a new Expanse under-slung water heater, which frees up space inside the caravan.

We like the overall feel and build quality of the Avanté 554 and we really rate the large kitchen and the adjustable transverse bed design. Overall the 2016 Elddis Avanté 554 scores high marks from us, because it has made a great leap forward with its interior design and specification.

But the main selling point is that this caravan boasts an excellent transverse bed layout that really works well.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Great kitchen area
  • Excellent kitchen storage
  • Modern interior
  • Quality soft furnishings
  • Great for two

Cons

  • No BBQ point
  • No Mid-Heki rooflight in bedroom area
  • Excellent storage
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