Adria Altea 552PU: Review
Adria’s Altea 552PU has a flexible layout, reminiscent of a different era but with a very modern edge.
Slovenian-built Adria Caravans has been in Australia for some years and, among importers, I would consider it a long-term player. Over the last 12 months or so, there have been a number of positive changes made to the entire range, some of which are unique to the Australian market.
One of these is that all the vans received a bit of an internal makeover, bringing the Slovenian-built vans in line with the other British and mainland European caravans that are available in Australia. Although Adria has stuck with the timber-look interior, it’s a very light hue and isn’t overbearing.
LAYOUT & DESIGN
All the windows have internal blinds and insect screens and, except for the kitchen and bathroom, all have net curtains as well as decorative side curtains. They do add a bit of style but I’m not sure about the practicalities – I guess you either like them or you don’t! It was a very bright, sunny day when I looked over this Altea 552PU van and I thought the nets did an effective job of muting the sunlight.
Hidden LED strip lighting is fitted to the bottom of all the overhead lockers and it’s a mood-changing alternative to the bright overhead lights. Light switches and powerpoints all appear to be in reasonable, easy-to-access places and there’s a control panel with a water tank gauge and the like beside the door, which is handy when you’re entering or leaving the van.
Within the 6.31m (20ft 8in) length of the van, the Adria team has managed to include a rear island bed, front club-style dinette, a nearside kitchen and an offside bathroom. That’s not a bad achievement and, with the dinette converting to a very decent-sized 2.1x1.4m (6ft 11in x 4ft 7in) bed, this is a true four-berth van.
Front dinettes and lounges are very popular in Europe and, while the usual style is two sideways facing lounges, this club-style configuration still offers expansive views. A freestanding table is a nice alternative to the more common pole-mounted one and it can be folded down easily to make the bed.
Between the lounge and the offside bathroom is a small waist-high cabinet. Apart from offering some shelving underneath, the air space above is used to house the swivel arm-mounted flatscreen TV. In keeping with caravan-building tradition, the mains circuit breakers are located at floor level in the cupboard, making them a bit awkward to get at. Above the club lounge, overhead lockers are fitted down the offside and across the front, with an open shelf taking up the nearside wall area.
BEDROOM & STORAGE
In the rear, the 1.9x1.5m (6ft 3in x 4ft 11in) island bed takes pride of place between the two side wardrobes. There aren’t any bedside shelves, so the two-door wardrobes are flush from floor to ceiling. A small compartment is fitted where the doors meet but it cannot be used unless the doors are open.
It’s possible to lift the posture slat bed base to get to the under-bed storage but it’s done in the traditional Euro style by splitting the bed base in two and lifting from the side. There isn’t actually a great deal of storage space as the nearside area is taken by the Truma Saphir air-conditioner and the offside by the water tank. This is a common feature in European vans, in part, to stop the water from freezing in the tanks in the cold northern hemisphere winter, but it also has the advantage of improving ground clearance for low-height vans.
When fitting out the kitchen bench, Adria has made full use of its exclusive (in Australia) three-burner cooktop/stainless steel sink combo unit. In fact, it almost looks like the kitchen bench has been built around it. What’s effective about this design is that with the cooktop running along the rear of the bench and the sink making up the end of the L-shaped unit, the front of the bench remains free. It’s not an overly generous space but it certainly works well here, where the kitchen bench length has been honed to a minimum.
So what storage do you get in this minimalist kitchen? It’s quite simple: two drawers, two overhead lockers and one floor locker, all of which make effective use of the space.
Opposite the kitchen is the bathroom cubicle. Inside, everything is very compact but there is room for a cassette toilet, flexible hose shower and a fold-down wash basin. The latter is fitted below the shaving cabinet but both the cabinet doors and the base of the wash basin have a mirrored surface, which not only makes for a large mirrored surface but also does a lot for space perception. Aiding that is the large (for a bathroom) translucent window, allowing plenty of natural light.
THE BOTTOM LINE
In some ways, the Adria Altea 552PU layout, with its two double beds, resembles that of the more popular caravan layouts from the 70s and 80s, when many vans were designed for family caravanning. Of course, anyone who has seen something like a Viscount caravan from that era will recognise that this van has a much more sophisticated layout and can be used by two people just as easily as four. This makes the Altea a very flexible offering and, for a van that is just 6.31m (20ft 8in) long, it’s a very well thought-out layout.
- Lightweight, easy-to-tow caravan
- Nice LED lighting
- Light and bright interior
- Decor and finish much improved on previous models
- Quite small kitchen
- Dinette blocked slightly by bathroom
- Microwave is set quite high
ADRIA ALTEA 552PU SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall length 7.6m (25ft)
- External body length 6.31m (20ft 8in)
- External body width 2.4m (7ft 10in)
- Travel height 2.58m (8ft 6in)
- Internal height 1.95m (6ft 5in)
- Tare 1370kg
- ATM 1800kg
- Ball weight 100kg
- Frame Composite
- Cladding ABS and polyester, with fibreglass front and rear
- Chassis Hot-dipped galvanised
- Suspension Al-Ko Torsion
- Brakes 10in electric
- Wheels 14in alloy
- Water 2x50L
- Battery 1x100Ah
- Solar No
- Air-conditioner Truma Saphir
- Gas 2x4.5kg
- Sway Control No
- Cooking Dometic three-burner
- Fridge Dometic RM8551 189L
- Microwave Camec
- Toilet Thetford cassette
- Shower Combo with flexible hose, fixed height
- Lighting LED and halogen
- Hot water Truma 14L
Price as shown
- $50,740 (on-road, Qld)
The full test appears in Caravan World #544 December 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!