Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475

By: Lawrence Schäffler


Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475 Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475
Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475 Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475
Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475 Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475
Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475 Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475
Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475 Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475
Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475 Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475
Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475 The 470 has its vanity within the bathroom. The 475's is separate. Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475
Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475 Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475
Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475 Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475
Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475 Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475
Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475 Caravan review: Caravelair Allegra 470 & 475

The latest Allegra caravans from French caravan manufacturer Caravelair will appeal to buyers looking for easy towing, chic contemporary styling and an affordable price tag.

Caravelair caravans and motorhomes are manufactured by France's TRIGANO VDL – Europe's largest RV production unit. The factory produces more than 10,000 vehicles a year and its caravans are the top sellers in France. They are imported into New Zealand by Auckland's Euro-RV Ltd.

The caravan range is divided across three styles – the Antares Luxe, Allegra and Venicia Premium. Each of these offers multiple choices in size, styling and layout. Common to all, however, is a lightweight build to simplify towing, solid construction and excellent finishes. There are plenty of upholstery options for personalising your caravan too.

These two models – the 470 and 475 – are from the Allegra range and are the first of their kind in New Zealand. They're designed for four (ideal for a small family) and sit approximately midway in the overall stable. Confusingly, the model numbers don't reflect size – rather a variation in layout. In fact, they have identical dimensions.

They measure 7.00m overall (with a 5.77m body), 2.58m high and 2.30m wide, and weigh a smidgen over 1200kg in running order – meaning you don't have to hitch them to a gas guzzler.

Sleek and stylish caravans

Externally, you'd struggle to tell them apart. They present a sleek, low-drag profile with large tinted windows and mag wheels. Both ride on a braked, single-axle Alko chassis, equipped with the Alko anti-sway coupling. As European imports, the entrances are on the driver's side.

The model numbers point to the swapped interior layouts. Where the 470 has an island double bed up front and a dinette at the back, the 475's double bed is at the rear, set against the side of the caravan, with the dinette up front.

More significantly, this switch completely alters the bathroom/kitchen configurations. The 470 – with the island bed up front – has the kitchen and bathroom on opposite sides, midway along the caravan. The island bed's major appeal is its ease of access and matching ‘his and hers’ hanging lockers, with nifty cubbyholes in the sides for storing the TV remote, specs, books and mobile phones.

Caravelair _1

In the 475, shifting the rear bed against the side eliminates those two His & Hers lockers. Instead, the bathroom is moved to the rear, next to the bed. Unlike the 470's bathroom which comprises the toilet, vanity and shower in one cubicle, the 475's bathroom is split.

The cubicle next to the bed has only a toilet and shower – the vanity is separate – a little further forward. Next to it is a large hanging locker. Opposite is the kitchen. The two dinettes are identical, at opposite ends of the caravans.

470 vs 475: which is nicer?

Difficult to say. Somehow, even though the interior volumes are identical, the 475's layout creates a sense of a more space. There is certainly more room in its kitchen area and I like the separate vanity which makes for a larger bathroom. But I also like the 470's easy-access island bed and those large lockers either side…

As always, it comes down to personal preferences and requirements. My advice would be to explore both before committing – make up your own mind about what works for you.
Those variations aside, the Allegra sisters have many common features. The finish is exemplary – nicely styled, with a warm interior ambience (oak veneer cabinets) and strategically positioned LED lighting. Two features I particularly like are the grey water tank and the fridge.

The 30-litre grey water tank is a mobile unit – a sensible, practical innovation and something Euro RV introduces to the caravans once they arrive on our shores. Unlike a permanently mounted tank, this one lives in the caravan's large front locker until it needs to be used.

Having retrieved the tank from the locker, you place it on the ground and plug it into a plumbing fitting on the side of the caravan. The tank is also equipped with an electrical flotation switch for monitoring its level.

This innovation not only gives the caravan a self-containment certificate – it also makes emptying the tank very easy. Equipped with wheels, you simply unplug it and walk it to the nearest discharge facility. The caravans have a 40-litre fresh water tank. Two 9kg gas bottles also live in the front locker, together with the spare wheel.

In the kitchen…

The fridge is a 150-litre drawer model that slides out from under the kitchen bench. Ultra-convenient and at an excellent height, it's very easy to take in your supplies at a glance – no need to employ your limbo dancing skills to find that elusive tomato.

Note that the fridge runs on 12-volts DC and 240-volts AC only, not gas. Above and below the fridge are similar-sized drawers for cutlery and pots and pans, with more storage in the eye-level lockers.

As a one-piece unit the stainless steel cooker (three burners) and sink are easy to keep clean. This fixture tends to dominate the kitchen bench work surface area, but there is a reasonably-sized space alongside, and the fold-down glass covers increase the work area significantly. There is no oven, though there is place for a microwave.

Caravelair _2

Both kitchens service the dinettes nicely. These have spacious U-shaped benches that will accommodate extra dinner guests with room to spare. Both dinettes have free-standing tables, allowing you to use them for al fresco dining. Both tables have easy fold-down mechanisms for creating the second double bed.

The caravans are fitted with a single 200 amp-hour battery and a 240-watt solar panel on the roof (with a MPPT controller to help keep the battery at optimum level). On sunny days, far from civilisation, the solar panel should do a decent job of keeping the fridge happy. Both Allegras are fitted with a 4kW Truman central heating system.

The verdict

The Allegras are functional, well-finished caravans that will follow your tow vehicle without fuss. And – at $47,900 apiece – they won't melt your credit card either. Your biggest dilemma will be deciding between the island or side bed configuration. And I'm afraid I can't help you. I like both.

Thumbs up

  • Modest weight – easy to tow
  • Drawer fridge – excellent use of space
  • Grey water tank – pragmatic plumbing

Thumbs down

  • Gourmet chefs might yearn for an oven

For further information contact Rainer Zeltwanger of Euro-RV Ltd on (09) 832 0064 or 021 266 3602.

For the latest caravan reviews, subscribe to our Motorhomes, Caravans & Destinations magazine here.

Keep up to date with news by signing up to nzmcd.co.nz's free newsletter or by liking us on Facebook