Peter BaberSee other caravan reviews written by Peter Baber
How does one of the Bailey's most popular caravan layouts work in the guise of the new Unicorn models? We take a look inside to find out.
Since its launch near the beginning of the current decade, the Bailey Unicorn has become one of the UK's most popular ranges of caravan.
In a straw poll carried out last year on our Facebook page, the Unicorn Vigo was named best layout, possibly because it features the transverse rear island bed and rear washroom layout that other manufacturers have also had great success with.
Given the timing, however, when they cast their vote, most people were probably thinking of the Vigo in its third-generation Unicorn guise - the one that still had the 'smile' on the front panel.
The fourth generation, which was launched last summer, has got rid of that smile and replaced the decals on either side of the large central window with glazed panels. It has also made substantial alterations inside, which include some ideas taken on from the firm's burgeoning Australian operation. So is this van still a UK winner?
Pitching and setting up
One helpful new element is the single grabhandle that runs across the rear panel above the light clusters, also new. If you need help pulling your caravan onto an awkward pitch, now many hands can help you.
Two external hatches on the nearside make unloading heavy items easier. You also get an external mains and gas socket. As the toilet is also in the rear offside corner, the access hatch would be well out of the way of any awning.
However, the external spec isn't quite as top-notch as you initially think. You get heavy-duty corner steadies, for example, but only at the rear (admittedly where you need them most). And you don't get an offside service light, either.
Just as well, then, that Bailey has made the offside gas bottle locker easier to access by having two bottles stand side by side, rather than in line. Finally, an Al-Ko wheel lock and fitting also comes with the vehicle.
A rear island bed often leads to compromises up front, so you could only really seat four in this lounge. However, the seats are comfortable. You have to go back to lift up the nearest half of the rear bed to get to the table, but it certainly has space for four. There's also a shelf you can pull out from the chest of drawers.
The large central window and rooflight let in lots of light. In between these, there are two LED lights. You also get four spotlights, two with the USBs and storage pockets for your tablet that so impressed our awards judges this year.
A speaker by each of the front corner lockers connects up to a stereo in the nearside locker, while there are sockets for a potential TV bracket by the door.
When upright, the cover does block out some of the daylight, so it is just as well this workspace also has a striplight. There are two mains sockets close to hand.
Not having such a large gas bottle locker intruding into the interior means there are two larger drawers and a locker under the workspace.
There is a smaller pan locker under the Thetford oven and separate grill, and on the other side, a narrow cupboard with racks for two wine bottles. One large overhead locker is partially shelved and there's a microwave just to the right.
Across the gangway there is a 133-litre Dometic tower fridge with a small locker above it. A rooflight helps light up the aisle.
Outside this there is a sizeable salad bowl handbasin with three shelves underneath, and a large laundry basket. The toilet in the offside corner is in front of a large, shallow, shelved cupboard.
The room has one LED light and only a small rooflight, so it could be a bit dark, but at least it's private. You also get two towel hooks. There is no socket in here, but there is one by the bed just outside.
The shelf under the wardrobes is just large enough for a glass. A small dresser in the offside front corner includes a second set of TV sockets.
The end of the bed drops down to make more room, but it is quite a squeeze to release the catches to do this. There is a socket for a hairdryer here.
The front settees make small single beds. The comfortable front double is easy to make up, thanks to split backrests.
The front nearside underseat area is externally accessible and largely waterproofed. These slats stay up with the base cushion on. The offside underseat area is partly taken up with the Alde heater, but the clear part can be accessed through a flap.
The two wardrobes either side of the rear bed both have rails, although as this is the only hanging space, it is a bit on the skimpy side if there are four of you. There are also small cupboards below both wardrobes and in the dresser unit.
The front lounge includes two large overhead lockers, which are half-shelved. There are two more unshelved ones above the bed, with a small shelf in between.
In a very crowded market, the Vigo holds its own well, particularly when it comes to price. The interior looks classy, although some of the new design touches, such as the wooden hob cover, may divide opinion. The van feels solidly built throughout. This layout, more so than others, lends itself to couples who occasionally go on tour with friends or relatives.
- Excellent externally accessible storage
- Great washroom
- Comfortable seating in the lounge
- Entrance door secures via a catch rather than a magnet
- More wardrobe hanging space could have been provided