When speaking recently with dealer principal of Bailey NZ, Mike Driver, he couldn’t be happier; he has finally managed to bring in what he considers to be the best-quality UK-built motorhomes on the market, with floor plans that are perfect for our New Zealand conditions. Bailey NZ have been waiting for the right time to import the Bailey motorhome range, and now with full backing from Peugeot NZ they can proudly offer a full NZ warranty on the cab chassis, an important point for Mike. With Bailey’s 10-year water ingress warranty and Peugeot’s three-year 100,000km warranty Mike feels this offers his customers the best support in the market.
There are two model ranges coming in; first to arrive were the Autograph top-of-the-line range, and the Advance range arrives in September. These models were released in the UK in February this year so they are hot new product. We went to the Christchurch NZMCA motorhome show in July and previewed the Autograph 79–4T four-berth with two single beds in the rear. A couple of weeks later we visited the Pukekohe dealer TrailLite and took this model for a drive to see for ourselves how the Peugeot drives and to check the motorhome over thoroughly. Then we looked at the other models on the yard – there is a floor plan and bed setup for everyone by the look of it.
Common to all these models is the cab chassis based on the Peugeot 2.0L Blue Hdi 160bhp 350Nm Euro 6 engine and 6-speed manual transmission, and loaded with all the necessaries like ABS, ESP, traction and cruise control, alloy wheels, remote central locking for cab and habitation door – always handy. The ultra-low profile ALKO AMC chassis ensures the drive of the vehicle is smooth and almost car like; I had no problem zipping around Pukekohe in it.
The Dometic habitation entry door is on the left passenger side, which Kiwis love. Stepping up into the 79–4T, to the immediate left is a seat, which I noticed lifts up for storage and has a drop-down cupboard front – easy to pop shoes in there I thought. Opposite is the front-facing seat-belted dinette seating and another seat on the wall, and with the cab seats swivelling around, this area becomes an excellent lounge entertainment area. When you want to dine, lift the hatch in the floor and pull out the large dining table. Brilliant use of space, and worth the step up in the floor layout. To the right of entry is the kitchen area with under-bench Thetford Duplex XL combined oven and grill; the hob is Thetford as well and offers three gas burners and an electric hotplate. A large Dometic 145L tower fridge with internal freezer is at the end.
The bathroom is opposite and has a 12V electric flush pedestal toilet (a panel radiator in here is great), and the shower has the latest ceramic ball mixer tap and Ecocamel shower head all enclosed in a one-piece fully sealed cubicle – less problems in the future. The ‘Granite Stone’ finish on the walls is pretty flash as well. Lots of storage in here, and privacy doors close the area off from the living area and the rear bedroom space.
Stepping thru to the rear bedroom, immediately on each side are full-height wardrobes and twin single beds running down each side with nice headboard fit out, LED lights, a roof vent overhead. Big, deep drawers under the beds offer storage, as does a large drawer between the beds, and overhead lockers take anything else you can’t fit into them – and for shoes or coats, lift the beds up for storage there as well.
This impressive model also offers a rear bedroom with the popular island bed.
Other features common to the range include the Truma 100W solar panel, 18.5˝ HD digital TV, Waeco reversing camera and screen, Alde Hydronic Compact 3020 programmable combined water and radiator heating, 93.5L grey and fresh water, a 145L tower refrigerator. The model we viewed had had the latest and greatest entertainment gear installed by RSE in Takanini – TV upgrade and satellite dish installed – so entertainment was sorted.
What is really impressive is the range of berth and bed layout options, in both the under- and over-3500kg range, with the fantastic six-berth Autograph 79–6 at 4250kg GVM and 7988mm length, and top price point of $155,995 our favourite, with its large rear U-shaped lounge and electric ceiling bed in the front.
If you’re looking for a two-berth in the under-3500kg GVM, the Autograph 68–2 with rear lounge that makes up to a large 2120mm x 1560mm bed and is 6794mm in length, starts at $142,995.
The Autograph 75.2 is a four-berth, 6794mm long and has a rear fixed French bed and front lounge bed conversion – both models offer great floor and living space.
A good-looking vehicle with dual wheels, inset LED road lighting and ‘Aero Style’ rear bumpers; the graphics I noticed are very stylish and create a good line on the sides to take your eye away from the windows being at different heights – clever move. The rear end is set up for bike racks to be mounted, the backing camera is already installed, and it’s ready for a tow bar to be fitted if required. All the exterior hatches are double sealed with two compression locks and retaining clip to keep out that pesky dust. Double-glazed windows throughout, and exterior 230V and BBQ gas points are there as well.
What a combination from Bailey motorhomes. Two popular models, the award-winning Bailey Autograph and the Bailey Advance range will be arriving any day now, both offering a variety of floor plans from island beds, drop-down ceiling bed, and single bed options. There are so many great features that will suit many looking for a new motorhome, you really do need to get along and see these models for yourself to appreciate all the extras tucked into them.
Bailey UK – the build
Looking at the UK Bailey manufacturer shows us an RV manufacturer that has been building leisure vehicles in South Bristol since 1948. Over this time a lot of research and development has gone into their RVs and it shows in the product: innovative storage solutions, multi-purpose areas, comfort and safety, and a floor plan to suit every need. The company has been a world leader in RV construction R&D. In 2009 they developed the Alu-Tech Construction System, an interlocking aluminium external framework that clamps the body sandwich panels together to produce a shell that is considerably stronger than one manufactured using traditional methods with wooden frames.
At the time this innovation reduced the number of external joints and fixing points on their caravan builds by 90 per cent, which is huge for protection from water ingress. This technology leap inspired the rest of the industry to change the way it looked at construction. Essentially today we have a composite plastic internal skeleton, a high-density polystyrene insulation to Grade III spec, and a GRP inner wall lining. The exterior is cloaked in a single sheet impact-resistant GRP outer skin for extra durability – even the strengthened floor has a GRP underside protection.
Vehicle safety is taken seriously by Bailey, and they have done extensive crash-testing programmes to ensure that all travel seats withstand the force of a head-on impact. As a result, Bailey motorhomes have the extra support of chassis outriggers to strengthen floors, stronger fittings for items such as ovens and fridges, plus steel-framed seat-base supports for all designated travel seats, and a steel-framed structural bulkhead to support rear-facing designated travel seats.
Bailey NZ have distributors around the country – RV Mega Centre Mt Maunganui, DeLuxe Group Blenheim, TrailLite Caravans and Motorhomes Pukekohe and Christchurch, Pykes Auto Court Timaru – so get yourself out to one of them, or see them at the NZMCA motorhome show in Hamilton in September.