Want a small but perfectly formed family van? The dinky new Caravelair Antarès 406 is definitely worth a look – let's find out if it's a miniature marvel
Available exclusively through the 12 branches of Marquis Leisure, these distinctive French imports offer low weights and appealing specifications for competitive prices.
And the Antarès proposition has just become even more alluring.
Marquis placed a hefty order with Caravelair for the 2018 model year, which like the retailer is part of the mighty Trigano Group, so all new Antarès vans arriving on these shores will have entrance doors on the UK nearside.
They will also be approved by the NCC.
With the Antarès, Marquis opts for an ‘all-in’ spec: what you see is what you get.
And the kit list is certainly lengthy, including an Al-Ko AKS hitch stabiliser, alloy wheels, a Truma Combi 6 dual-fuel space and water heater with blown air, external gas, mains and shower points, LED lighting, twin USB sockets and fixing points for a rear cycle rack (in addition, fixed-bed models have quality foam mattresses).
Antarès bodyshells use Trigano’s robust but low-weight XPS system, and have Grade 3 insulation.
All models come with a seven-year warranty (five years for water ingress and two years for construction).
Six Caravelair Antarès models are available in 2018, three of them carried forward from last year’s line-up.
This is one of three all-new vans – the four-berth 406.
And to see other Caravelair caravans for sale, click here.
Pitching and setting up
The corner steady winder stows neatly in the front locker, just above the gas bottles.
Mains hook-up and water connections are made on the offside, with external gas and shower points on the nearside.
Enter the 406 via the rear nearside door, just in front of the hatch for the toilet cassette, and the integrated control panel is located above the door.
However, this does means that if an awning is fitted, you have to carry the toilet cassette through it.
The parallel sofas will comfortably seat four, and if the folding-leaf table is not being used, then a tip-up flap under the single-piece front window can be used for drinks and snacks.
Three windows, a pair of LED stalk lights and a ceiling light provide illumination.
Further lounging space can be found in the offside rear corner, with a dinette area that’ll be suitable for children.
And just like the front lounge, this area has a window, two LED spotlights and a pair of curtains.
The 406’s nearside midships kitchen is compact, but with the cooker lid lowered and one or two of the available tables on standby, cooks will certainly have enough preparation space to get busy on.
An LED tasklight strip runs above the cooker, and a window overlooks the round sink, which has a swan-neck mixer tap.
An 85-litre dual-fuel fridge with separate freezer compartment is located on the other side of the caravan.
During warmer weather, Caravelair Antarès 406 owners can hook up a barbecue to the external point in the front nearside corner.
Enter through a domestic-style door to find a half-length mirror, a shower attachment and a round sink on the rear wall.
A cassette toilet occupies the nearside rear corner, with the floor space around it forming the shower tray.
A curtain on a U-shaped track will keep spray from contacting washroom surfaces.
The rear dinette can be converted into bunks that measure 1.8m x 0.85m and 1.8m x 0.65m, and this area also has a privacy curtain.
Six overhead lockers are spread throughout the van – two each in the front lounge, kitchen and rear dinette.
There’s also a half-length wardrobe, above the fridge, and cupboard space in the kitchen.
External access to the nearside lounge seat box is via a hatch with push locks, so a variety of touring essentials can be posted through here rather than having to be taken through the van, which will make loading for holidays and short breaks much easier.
Pitched at just under £15,500, the Caravelair Antarès 406 is well benchmarked against its British rivals, and it carries a well-curated selection of desirable kit.
Having the entrance door on the UK nearside is also a step forward, narrowing the differences between the 406 and a British-built van.
With four berths and two discrete lounging and dining areas over 3.8m, this Antarès has a flexible layout for buyers looking to keep things compact.
- It's a compact but flexible floorplan with two separate zones to eat or sleep in
- The door is on the UK nearside – unusual for a French caravan
- It boasts a decent spec with desirable extras
- With a low weight you've got a wide choice of tow cars
- The toilet cassette is accessed on the awning side of the van