Andy Jenkinson

See other caravan reviews written by Andy Jenkinson

Great value and with a clever, L-shaped kitchen, the two-berth Xplore 422 could be a shrewd newcomer for 2018 – join us as we take a closer look

Overview

Originally launched for the 2008 season, the Xplore range didn’t take off very quickly, but it has gradually strengthened its position in the market.

Now in 2018, it is a well-established, value-for-money caravan brand.

Having dropped the two-berth 402 late in 2016, parent company Elddis has now come back with a new couples tourer – the 422, with an L-shaped end-kitchen layout.

We think this has been a clever move by Elddis – the L-shaped end kitchen has become a popular layout and the 422 offers it in an affordable package, so this model could do well.

Not for nothing is this bargain-priced lightweight our current budget tourer of the year.

And to see other Xplore caravans for sale, click here.

Pitching and setting up

All Elddis caravans ride on Al-Ko chassis.

The Xplore has an AKS hitch and its bodyshell uses SoLiD ‘glued not screwed’ construction, with a GRP protective skin on the floor adding further peace of mind.

The front gas locker is easy to access, open and operate.

There are full-height moulded panels at the front and rear of the 422, with a panoramic window at the front.

The front and the rear grabhandles are large and well-placed for ease of use, while one-piece aluminium sides with smart graphics complete the stylish exterior.

An LED awning light is included, as is an unglazed stable door and a Teleco adjustable TV aerial.

A Midi Heki brings in more light over the front lounge area and all service points are placed on the offside of the caravan.

Our test van was fitted with the £469 Xplore SE option pack, which meant that the AKS hitch, spare wheel, alloy wheels, wheel lock receptor and CD/radio were all included.

Lounge

The 2018 Xplore 422 has a large front lounge, which is bright and airy – even on a dull day.

We liked the quality and thickness of the upholstery, which includes two bolsters and two cheerfully patterned scatter cushions.

A chest of drawers is fitted here, although for a £259 option, you can have wraparound front seating.

There are two drawers, with a small cupboard below, and a slide-out coffee table. A freestanding table is also supplied, offering comfortable dining for you and any guests.

The Whale blown-air heating system only has a 2kW output, but this should be enough to keep a van of these compact dimensions snug.

The mains panel is located in the offside seat base, which also has an access door. However, there are no access flaps in the seat bases.

Overhead storage is good, with six sizeable lockers.

No sunroof is fitted or offered as an option, but the large windows and Midi Heki allow in a good amount of natural light.

Night-time illumination is provided by LED ceiling lights, plus two halogen eyeball corner spotlights. Another thoughtful touch is the LED striplight fitted above the chest of drawers.

Kitchen

The Xplore 422’s main feature is the L-shaped end kitchen, which works very well.

It has brilliant storage in the way of cupboards and overhead lockers, and lots of worksurface, too.

The sink has a clip-on drainer and a glass top, while next to it is the three-burner gas hob.

No microwave is fitted – this is a £190 option – but the 422 comes with a combined oven/grill.

Two mains sockets are included here, as is the light switch for the kitchen area.

In terms of storage, there are three drawers and a cupboard below, plus three overhead lockers.

The Dometic 110-litre fridge is located in the base of the wardrobe, in the centre of the caravan.

A mini roof vent in the kitchen allows in good natural light and ventilation. There are also two windows here.

Washroom

Although the 422 might be classed as entry-level, its washroom feels rather more upmarket.

The size is particularly impressive when you consider that his caravan is just 2.18m wide.

The washroom is placed in the offside rear corner, with a fully lined shower that is of a good size, while the side window and roof vent make it bright and airy.

The handbasin is a stand-alone unit with a mirror above, and the designers have managed to add some useful worksurface here, too.

Shelves and a small cupboard provide washroom storage which, although limited, makes the best of the available space.

A Thetford electric-flush toilet is fitted and very neatly placed.

Overall, the 2018 Xplore 422’s washroom is well planned and user-friendly.

Beds

When it comes to sleeping, the choice is simple.

The two seats can be used as single beds if you are not too tall, but most users will probably prefer to make up the 6ft 6in x 5ft 1in double.

This is formed using the usual arrangement of slats that pull out quite easily from the central chest of drawers.

This then allows for the seat bases to be folded down flat to make up the bed, which should prove comfortable to use.

Storage

On the whole, storage in this new Xplore 422 is impressive, but the side wardrobe is a bit of a compromise – hanging space is rather limited in height, because of the fridge being located beneath.

The storage capacity here is not particularly generous, but should be enough to serve two people. In general, though, the plus points outweigh the negatives.

Great overhead storage is a definite bonus and the 422 also has a side dresser, which provides more worktop and a mains/12V power socket. It also has a large cupboard above and below, plus a drawer.

The kitchen is especially well-provided with storage space, with drawers and cupboards and more overhead lockers.

Although the side washroom has minimal storage, the designers have eked out every last inch.

So apart from the wardrobe, the 422’s storage capacity is excellent.

Technical specs

Berth2
MiRO959kg
Payload118kg
MTPLM1099kg
Interior length4.2m
Shipping length5.88m
Width2.18m
Height2.65m
Awning size860cm

Verdict

The 2018 Xplore 422 provides a more upmarket layout in this sector.

For a lightweight caravan, it offers a great deal, and the MTPLM can also be upgraded by 22kg.

We especially love the kitchen and the side washroom.

The overall fit and finish is impressive and with its cheery graphics, the exterior looks smart, too.

This caravan offers a well-put-together package at the right price and weight – a worthy award winner.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Both the kitchen and washroom are great
  • Storage is mostly excellent
  • The interior décor is smart
  • It's great value

Cons

  • Wardrobe hanging space is rather limited, in terms of height
  • There's no microwave as standard
  • Only loose strip carpeting is used
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