Bailey Unicorn 3 Pamplona: Test Review
Can you turn a British cruiser into a ’dinkum’ Aussie van? Bailey Australia has had a red hot go with its unique Unicorn Series 3 Pamplona.
The 22ft (6.7m) Pamplona was an integral member of Bailey UK’s Unicorn Series I and II ranges that have become part of our landscape since Bailey was properly introduced to this country nearly five years ago. But the latest Series III Pamplona is a uniquely Australian model available nowhere else in the world.
The changes came about following the formation of Bailey Leisure mid last year, with the rights for Bailey distribution moving from the Caravans Australia group to a new Bailey Australia joint venture company with impressive new headquarters in Campbellfield, Vic.
Layout & design
For the past two years, tandem-axle Baileys have been equipped with two locally-moulded 65L sub-floor water tanks, while most other British and European vans have above-floor tanks, usually located under their beds or the front lounge.
But conscious of Australian vanners’ desire for good ground clearance, whether to access service stations or negotiate deep flood drains, the Al-Ko chassis, with its torsion rubber tandem-axle suspension, has been further raised by 125mm in the Pamplona, so the caravan sits about the same height above the bitumen as an average Aussie on-road van.
Australians also like lots of bench space, so the Unicorn 3 Pamplona has 10% more kitchen work space and its front lounge is now 15% larger. This bench space can be further increased by raising a hinged bench extension on the front lounge side.
The kitchen has plenty of large, soft-close cupboards finished in a classy, high gloss timber look and decent bench space compared to its predecessor (particularly if you raise the bench extension). But the fixed mixer tap doesn’t extend far enough over the stainless steel sink bowl and you’ll inevitably splash water into the Thetford gas cooktop when its glass lid is raised.
With plenty of storage space in the deep external lockers, which extend beneath the front lounge, plus the previously mentioned rear tunnel boot – plus generous storage space inside beneath the lift-up double bed – you could easily take up the Bailey’s full 400kg payload if you needed to.
The only downside is that these external compartments are all shared with various pipes and sundry electrical items, so you need to be careful how you pack, particularly if the roads you travel might cause things to move about. I would like additional shielding and protection in these areas, but handy owners with some foam rubber could do it themselves.
THE BOTTOM LINE
With its new Australian joint venture, Bailey now has its ears on the ground to listen to what we want from our caravans and they have put some of those oft-desired features into the latest Pamplona.
There is still a little way to go to make the new Series III Unicorn the perfect Aussie tourer, but a number of the items we questioned on the prototype we tested have already been addressed in production models being delivered to customers.
If you like Euro styling and features, and want a full-sized caravan for touring without changing your tow vehicle, you must have the Pamplona on your comparison list.
- Standout exterior and interior styling
- Light weight for its size
- Many standard features
- Loads of storage space
I would have liked…
- A water tank filling system that’s easier to use
- A shelf in the ensuite
- Longer wardrobe hanging space
The full test appears in Caravan World #536 April 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!