When the UK caravan market is doing so well, home-grown manufacturers can tend to fall short on supply. That creates an ideal opportunity for a new imported brand to establish itself.
One such firm is Caretta, a Turkish van producer specialising in lightweight teardrop tourers. The UK market can be a pretty tough nut to crack, so new models need to have lots of appeal. Does the Caretta Calypso 4?
Pitch and set-up
The Caretta Calypso 4 is fairly simple in design, which helps to keep costs down. As tested, it came to £19,258 – you can also take a look at our guide to the best caravans under £20,000 for similarly priced tourers.
Its stucco side finish is typical of Continental tourers. The exterior build seems solid, but the front window is the only one that is plastic – the tinted side windows are toughened glass.
Based on an Al-Ko chassis with AKS hitch stabiliser, the van also has a built-in folding entrance step. Alloys are fitted and there is an on-board water tank, as well as a side gas locker (which only holds one bottle).
The front drawbar does have a locker, but this houses the mains RCB unit and Black & Decker charger. The battery is also here, with some extra space for chocks and so on. The door is on the Continental side, with an awning light offset from it. If you are manoeuvring the Calypso by hand, grab handles are only fitted at the front. Overall, the finish seems very good.
As you might expect, the lounge is quite compact, but it should be fine for a young family. The sturdy table is a good size, although it is not a freestanding unit.
The front window is quite small, but at least it is there: usually this is a £900 extra, but the UK importer has rightly included it as standard. It opens, too, so allows some ventilation. The side windows only have curtains, but the front window does get a blind. The seating is comfortable.
It’s fairly obvious that in a tourer of this size, space in the kitchen is not going to be particularly generous.
The first thing you’ll notice about this one is that the worktop is limited. But you might only be using it to prepare light meals anyway, because you only have one gas burner, and there’s no grill or oven.
The sink is small, too, although there is a window and a small shelf just above.
The kitchen is fitted with a mains socket, one of the three supplied in this caravan.
There is also a mini-Heki to provide natural light and ventilation, and there’s a mains-only fridge fitted opposite. The fridge is a Regal – a manufacturer based in India and not a brand we have seen before. It’s a good size, but it does take up what would have been the wardrobe.
Beds in the Caretta Calypso 4
The Calypso 4 comes with two fixed bunk beds. They are generous in size and offer excellent headroom. The mattresses also look high quality. You make up the double bed in the front lounge by folding the table down and fitting it between the settees, so that the flat seat cushions then slide easily into place. It’s not a massive bed by any means, but should be fine for most people.
This is a pleasant surprise in a van of this size – it’s not bad at all. There’s not much floor area, but it’s perfectly functional. The swivel Thetford cassette toilet has an electric flush. The corner handbasin is a good size and you’ll find a handy cupboard below for storage, and a mirror above to one side.
A roof vent is fitted here, but there’s no side window. The tap on the handbasin also does duty as the showerhead. You even get a colour choice for ambient lighting.
Storage in the Caretta Calypso 4
There’s no wardrobe fitted in this caravan, which might be a bit of a deal-breaker for some customers. There is a large cupboard below the fridge, but it has no hanging rail. As a workaround, you could hang a few things in the washroom, which thankfully does have a sizeable cupboard underneath the handbasin. There’s more storage below the bottom bunk bed, and the kitchen comes with a surprising amount of drawer and cupboard space (with lipped shelves), although the overhead locker here isn’t massive.
The lounge has small side overhead lockers and more storage space under the front settees. Overall, it’s pretty good, but the lack of a wardrobe might deter some buyers, as might the relatively meagre payload. But on the plus side, the entrance door is fitted with some handy shelves.
The lightweight Caretta Calypso 4 would be an ideal choice if you have a compact driveway and a small car – if you’re looking for the latter, our guide to the best small tow cars is worth a look.
The van feels well put together and the finish is hard to fault. The lack of a wardrobe could be a bit of a disadvantage – we’d prefer a smaller three-way fridge, too. And the single gas burner could restrict meal preparation.
This van is really designed for former tent campers and touring newbies, and it should serve that market very well.
- We’ve rounded up the best caravans around
What we liked:
- Easy to tow and store
- Good build
What we didn’t like:
- No wardrobe
- Door not on UK side
- Restricted worktop
- No rear grab handles
- Price: £19,258 (as tested)
- Berths: 4
- MTPLM: 750kg
- MiRO: 680kg
- Payload: 70kg
- Built-in step
- Front locker with battery/mains unit
- Hot water
- Awning light
- AKS hitch
- Choice of colours for ambient lighting
- Thetford electric-flush toilet
- Three mains sockets
- Three exterior colour choices
- Heating optional
Or you could try…
- Marquis Majestic 304: this dealer special is lightweight and easy to tow, and also offers plenty of extras.
- Weinsberg CaraOne 400 LK: coming with a triple-bunk, this affordable van is an attractive choice.
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|Interior Length||3.88 m|
|Shipping Length||4.81 m|