Peter BaberSee other caravan reviews written by Peter Baber
Updated for 2018, the Bailey Unicorn Madrid is now strictly for three, but packed with neat details and fresh styling, it's certainly a compelling package
And now we are excited to look at one of them – the Madrid.
Even in its third-generation guise, the Madrid was a spacious van, occupying the same larger bodyshell that all except its strictly two-berth cousin, the Seville, enjoyed.
This time around it naturally shares all the design changes featured in the other Unicorn models – the absence of a bulkhead in front, the wooden cooker top and the redesigned gas bottle locker.
But although it has the same side dinette just ahead of the washroom, Bailey is no longer offering as an option the fourth bunk that you could have fitted above the bed that can be made out of this dinette.
Demand for this was apparently too small, so the 2018 Bailey Unicorn Madrid is strictly a three-berth only.
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Pitching and setting up
As you might expect with an upmarket range of Bailey caravans, we found that the Madrid was a pleasure to tow, even in windy conditions.
It helps that it comes with an ATC trailer control system, an Al-Ko AKS stabiliser and shock absorbers as standard.
The new Unicorns also feature an unusual grabhandle that extends all the way across the rear panel, which should ensure that many hands can indeed make light work of getting you on to your pitch.
With the Madrid, the services are split. The electric hook-up connects on the nearside, so you might have to trail the lead through your awning, but both the toilet cassette and water connection are tucked away on the offside.
Even at night there is plenty of ambient lighting, plus two central LED lights included within the central window’s housing.
Just having a minimal draught-excluding end to the nearside settee helps, too: the entrance feels much more as if it flows into the lounge. This does mean that there is only minimal support for whoever sits here, however.
The flap under the settee to the left of the door gives access to the whole of the under-seat cavity, but particularly to a clutter-free area at the front where you can easily leave your boots.
Not having the front bulkhead means you could seat six people on these sofas, although it will be more comfortable with four, which is probably the maximum that the freestanding table can accommodate.
To do this you will have to retrieve the table from its dedicated space by the washroom door, although it is not as heavy as it first appears.
Not having that bulkhead does mean, however, that you do not have nearly as much surface storage as you used to up here.
But we are pleased to report that that cushions and bolsters are very comfy. And 2018’s cream upholstery with a bold floral pattern on the scatter cushions and curtains, together with a slightly darker tone to the wood, certainly makes the Unicorn look more modern than its predecessor.
As well as the DAB radio/CD/MP3 player with speakers, we are fans of the USB sockets in the two front spotlights that so impressed the judges at this year’s Tourer of the Year Awards.
Thanks to nearby fabric pockets, you can neatly store your devices when they are charging without cluttering the lounge.
There is one more USB point in each of the two spotlights serving the side dinette although, sadly, there are no storage pockets on the walls. There is also a mains socket under the far seat.
Between the two lounges is a swing-out cupboard on which you could easily rest a TV, as all the appropriate sockets are included. You might just need to negotiate which way it faces.
These are actually two drawers and a locker at the bottom. The drawers are not quite as big as they first appear, but they should hold most sizes of saucepan.
There is a great amount of workspace thanks to a large extension flap, the wooden cover to the hob, and Bailey’s decision to remove the bottle cabinet that was here in the third-generation Madrid and instead install two sockets, lighting switches and the Alde controls.
You’ll now find the bottle rack in the tall cupboard beneath the space for pan-handles to the right of the hob, that features three gas burners and an electric hotplate.
The square sink with removable drainer is a useful size, and we were particularly impressed at the size of the lockers above and below the 133-litre AES slimline Dometic fridge, at the far right of the kitchen.
There is a decent-sized locker below the Thetford Caprice separate oven and grill, and you could also make use of the three small shelves in the swing-out cupboard opposite.
A Daewoo microwave is to the right of a single overhead locker complete with racks and shelving. But we do not like the way this door has a push-button control that is separate from the grabhandle – you need two hands to open it.
The shower cubicle in the nearside corner is solidly made and comes with a rooflight, an LED light, a rack for soap and a clothes drying rail (something that has been carried over from Bailey motorhomes).
The salad-bowl washbasin in the middle has a small unit underneath it with three shelves that are perfect for shampoos and gels.
It sits beside a laundry basket, which has been improved for the fourth-generation Madrid with a wider opening.
There is a small shelf running all along the bottom of the lit mirror, plus a cubbyhole for extra loo rolls behind the offside circular toilet.
The area immediately behind the door is the best place to towel down, as here you will find towel hooks (but no rail), a cupboard with shelves big enough to store underwear and t-shirts, and an Alde radiator to keep you cosy.
You’ll have to step back into the main caravan to access the wardrobe, which has a trio of shelves.
If you want to make up a double (1.99m x 1.46m), this is easily achieved by sliding slats out. You then use the back cushions to make up the bed, and although there are two of them, they fit together snugly.
On our test model, getting the front panel of the slats back into the slot took a little adjusting.
The single bed in the dinette is made easily, by just removing the leg from the table and sliding it in – its length (1.87m x 0.73m) means that it is probably best for a young adult.
But it would still have been useful to have a flap on the inside, along the length of the sofa base.
There is such a flap for the offside settee, but it doesn’t open along the full length of the space available here.
The slatted seat bases in the dinette are not supported by gas struts and one of these cavities is partly taken up by the fuse box.
The wardrobe by the washroom door, however, is a good size and, cleverly, has a split door to minimise any obstruction.
Overhead locker doors on Bailey caravans we have seen in the past have tended to be heavy. They are less so here.
Along each side of the lounge is a long overhead locker split in two, one side of which is shelved, plus a neat locker nestled in each front corner, while there’s a pair of lockers over the dinette.
We were particularly impressed with the way the designers have hidden the two wheel arches in this van. Usually at least one of them spoils an otherwise useful space – here you hardly notice them.
The 2018 Bailey Unicorn Madrid is a comfortable caravan that provides more than ample space for a couple on tour.
We suspect, however, that as a three-berth it will probably most likely appeal just to couples who may perhaps occasionally have a friend or grandchild join them on holiday.
- It has a spacious lounge that makes up into comfortable beds
- The washroom has an almost domestic feel
- The kitchen's lockers have separate handles and push-button locks
- More access flaps are needed for the under-seat areas