Bailey Unicorn 3 Barcelona review

By: Peta Stavelli

Bailey Unicorn 3 Barcelona review Bailey Unicorn 3 Barcelona review
Bailey Unicorn 3 Barcelona review Bailey Unicorn 3 Barcelona review
Bailey Unicorn 3 Barcelona review Bailey Unicorn 3 Barcelona review
Bailey Unicorn 3 Barcelona review Bailey Unicorn 3 Barcelona review
Bailey Unicorn 3 Barcelona review Bailey Unicorn 3 Barcelona review
Bailey Unicorn 3 Barcelona review Bailey Unicorn 3 Barcelona review

Peta Stavelli struggles to understand the nomenclature for the Bailey series of caravans but quickly comes to terms with the improved design features.

You’ve got to hand it the Brits – they know a thing or two about caravan design. They’ve been at it for a while now, working in a highly competitive market, with three main contenders each trying to trump the others for the title Best of British.

Those contenders are Swift, Bailey and Elddis. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am a great fan of the Elddis caravan range and recently threw down the gauntlet to other importers and manufacturers to show me something to trump the Elddis.

Not so long ago, on an unusually gloomy Mount Maunganui day, I sat in the Bailey Unicorn 2 Barcelona, and I was not overly enamoured of it. But it seems that a few months can be half a lifetime in terms of caravan design, because a few days ago I sat in the latest model on the lot at On The Way RV, and experienced a lightbulb moment.

So what had changed in the short while since my last visit? Quite a lot, actually.

What’s new?

All of the layouts in the third generation range have been reconfigured to maximise efficiency and floor space while not increasing the laden weight. For those of you unfamiliar with British caravans, their lightness of being is one of the top reasons for choosing one over a similar offering from a New Zealand or Australian manufacturer, whose vehicles have – in the past – been perceived as more robust.

In the past, ‘lightweight’ has been associated with flimsy, and there are plenty of stories about British caravans bought from unscrupulous importers which have been plagued with problems. But time and technology has moved on. British manufacturers have developed new construction methods which alleviate problems associated with water ingress.

But for my money most were still falling behind when it came to design and layout. And yet here I was sitting in a patch of sunlight in the toasty warm interior of the Unicorn 3 Barcelona, suddenly understanding what all the fuss was about.

Bailey has a unique Alde radiator system which makes this an ideal trans-seasonal vehicle. It’s efficient and low cost, and when combined with double-glazed windows and grade three insulation, four skylights and that aforementioned panorama window. It was easy to be seduced.

Subtle changes include lengthening the twin sofas to create more sitting room, adding extra bench space, and reconfiguring the floor design so you actually have more room to move in the galley. It all adds up to a great deal more functionality.


The Unicorn

Bailey offers three ranges – the Pursuit, Pegasus GT65 and the top of the range Unicorn. Of the three, the Pursuit is the lightest and most affordable offering with six layouts to choose from. Next comes the Pegasus GT 65. This mid-market range also offers six layouts, all with Italian-inspired names from the two-berth Genoa to the six-berth Turin.

The Unicorn is the top of the range, offering eight models, this time with Spanish inspired names, from the two-berth, single-axle Seville, up to the four-berth, twin-axle Cordoba. This range includes the demonstration model, the twin-axle, four-berth Barcelona with its north/south bed and rear bathroom creating a perfect adult retreat.

There’s a small pullout table for snacks or coffee cups, and a fold-away, four-person dining table which has its own custom hideaway in the master bedroom. It’s these thoughtful touches which impress.

Another thoughtful touch is the extra bench space created by the foldaway bench arm to the left of the sink. Together with the bench space opposite, I think this is one of the most workable galleys I have seen in a while.

A bathroom can be a deal breaker. Bailey does this well and the latest bathroom has again been reconfigured to offer a shower with 25 percent more area in a stylish rear bathroom complete with toilet and vanity.

Construction quality

Bailey has been working closely with the department of mechanical engineering at the University of Bath to improve construction and stability. As a result key changes have been made to create a more stable vehicle with lower nose weight.

The Alu-Tech bodyshells feature a composite plastic internal skeleton doing away with the old timber frames that are prone to damp. The newly designed interlocking framework helps reduce external joints and fixings by 90 percent.

Certainly for me, sitting in the cosy lounge on a cool winter’s day, I began to feel as if this was a vehicle I could trust to take me wherever I wanted to go.

Check out the full article in issue #132 of Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations magazine (on sale now!). Subscribe here.

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