Jump to content

Unicorn Cartagena Opinions

Recommended Posts

Been having a look at a new Cartagena and would appreciate the views and any comments from any members who own one, believe there are at least two owners on here.

Looking for your thoughts, positive and negative. What do you like, what could be better and anything in particular to be aware of.



Link to post
Share on other sites

We haven't got one (Use a Valencia) but are in and out of those that the owners club have. If that is the layout you want then they are very well liked by the people we know with them. The only thing one person commented on was that the bathroom area was not as big as their previous van. But in the length of the van then you can't have all the living space and the big bathroom (physics).


I make no apologies for repeating that the Unicorn 3 has been the most successful Bailey Range ever. So successful they have not changed it for the third year. Feel free to do a search on here to find any known problems, compared to other makes. Bailey now run full checks on the vans before leaving the Factory (unlike some makers) The most common things to check for are down to the dealer PDI.


1. Do check they have cleaned out the Awning rail of excess sealant. It is on their instruction sheet but some of them just ignore it.


2. Do check they have set the alde heating pump to number 2. Its on the back of the boiler and has a tiny little arrow on it to point at the numbers. (Not the flat of the handle as my dealer was using)


3. Do check they have set the Solar panel to your type of battery. (Look for the blank look on the face of the staff when you ask this one)


4. The early fridge door shelves were molded wrongly and split in use. Should all be OK by now but check to see they are a loose fit. If they are then you have the modded ones.

Kia KX 3 auto / Bailey Alicanto Grande Estoril and Swift Challenger 570 (2010 model Not towed - used as a static)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Absolutely love ours. The only fly in the ointment is the leaky join on the roof. ..


Drop me a PM if you need any more info, but leak aside it's by far the best van we've had. Stacks of space, warm, decent shower etc. We are a family of 4 and we don't have any issues with space at al

Link to post
Share on other sites

Forgot to mention to check the BBQ point to make sure the screws have not been over tightened and split it.


Ours has (after 18 months) probably a one off but you never know. Parts on order warranty repair, and dealer says a 'while you wait 1 hour job.'


If we could get it in the barn then one would be there right now, but Valencia is a big as we can deal with (so far).

Kia KX 3 auto / Bailey Alicanto Grande Estoril and Swift Challenger 570 (2010 model Not towed - used as a static)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to all for the replies. Milkymarsh, sorry to hear about the leaky roof, I had a chat with our local Bailey dealership about that subject just the other day. He was saying he has only had about 4 vans with that problem, not a lot considering the amount they sell but not good if you happen to be one of the unfortunate owners.

Thanks Alan for the comprehensive summary. I have been a (mostly) satisfied Bailey owner for the best part of twenty years so obviously like the brand. I had already done a forum search to see if there were any recurring problems but couldn't see any, hopefully a positive sign. The awning rail sealant I knew about, current van had been cleared at pdi but previous one had me up a ladder with a Stanley knife before going on first trip. Alde pump on previous van was set correctly but I had to adjust this one despite the salesman saying at handover he had set it to 2 himself, mind you it is awkward to get to and see the settings. Solar panel did seem to be at correct setting, not something I would ever use myself to be honest, can't remember the last time I was on a pitch without hook up. BBQ I will check on my current van also although again that's something I never use.


I did feel the toilet/shower area was a little bit on the tight side, but compromises have to be made no matter what caravan you choose, it's not something that would make or break a deal.

Glad to hear Milkymarsh finds it spacious with a family of four, in my case there is only the two us and the two dogs.


A couple of specific questions though, until we go back for another look at the weekend. On two previous twin axles ( Wyoming and Barcelona) to fit the awd mover meant having to lose the underslung spare wheel carrier, does the wind down spare in the Cartagena need to be done away with or is there clearance? I also just noticed from reading the spec last night that it has an on board water tank - how does that work? The other Baileys I had with an on board tank also had the onboard water pump and you chose from a selection of valves which water source you were pumping from, the onboard tank was also filled from the aquaroll by the pump. The one exception to that was one van which had the smaller tank that was removed for filling via an external hatch, think that was still an onboard pump though.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi we have the Cartagena it is a nice van, my only niggle is the bathroom, it is a bit tight.

We have not used the onboard tank yet but you fill from the aquaroll, there are a couple of valves that you open and switch to the internal pump.

The only faults we have had is the bathroom blind and a gas leak on the cooker.

I cant help with motor movers as we don't have any.

The bed is lovely and comfortable but it is a tight squeeze when the bed is out.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, we've had 2 Cartagenas. A series 2 and series 3. The S2 didn't have an onboard tank but I fitted one. The S3 has an onboard tank but you have to switch tanks via a manual valve under the seat. I've replaced mine with an electric one which makes the tank far more practical to use.


At present, we are living in ours as we carry out a barn conversion. No problems as yet. The only niggle I've got is the size of the bathroom but, as has already been said,you can't have everything.


The S3 spare wheel is slung underneath and is lowered by means of a winch mechanism under the bed. If you get one have a practice before you get a puncture. The S2 has the normal cradle but if you buy the Powertouch AWD mover they supply a kit to move the carrier. On both models you have to remove the Al-Ko jacking points to fit the mover so make sure you buy a decent jack if you want to change a wheel yourself.


The space at the bottom of the bed is a bit sparse when it's pulled out but if you are average, or below, height you can use the bed in it's "pushed in" position.


All in all, we're more than happy with the 'van.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Very happy with our 2015 model and no problems with it so far. Onboard tank was a pain to use so fitted electric valve and a level gauge it's now much more practical.


We have a 2wd powertouch mover fitted and it copes well with the big Bailey so unless you have some tight turns to make you won't need the AWD mover.


The bathroom is a little tight but we prefer to have the extra living space.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the further replies, much appreciated.


I'm familiar with the wind down mechanism for the spare wheel, current and previous van had this, just wondered if this set up would foul the mover as I recall having to remove the underslung carrier in my Barcelona and Wyoming. That wasn't a problem though as I really don't like the underslung kit at all, had a practice run with that on my driveway, on a nice sunny day with the caravan level and it was a pain in the proverbial then, never mind at the side of a roadway on a wet miserable day.


The electric valve and gauge upgrade to the onboard tank sounds a good idea, I might come back to you both for more info on that at a later date, if you don't mind.


Regards the AWD motor, I did try the single axle version on the first twin axle I owned but it did struggle with my driveway. It's a combination of slope with sharp right angle turn at the top. Eventually upgraded the single mover to the AWD for that and the subsequent twin axle van.


As to sleeping with the bed pushed in, not sure if that would work for me at 6 foot tall but will bear the suggestion in mind.

Again, thanks for all the feedback. Going back tomorrow for a second and longer look at the van.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a 2015 U3 Cartagena.


It's the perfect layout for us, we love it, and wouldn't consider any other van. If your towcar has got the grunt, it's worth going for the TA Cartagena over the SA Vigo, because as I've said on other threads the shelf by the door transforms how the van is used. The big panoramic window is a marmite issue; we love the fantastic view it gives from inside without a shelf compromising the view like it does on other manufacturers' vans. Gas bottles & battery are where they belong (as an engineer) - low, near the axles.


As others have said, the shower-room could benefit from a little more space - I'm six feet tall and literally 3 or 4 inches more depth there would make the toilet far better (the lounge could stand to lose that). Shower itself is fine. However, I'm nit picking.


We've had a few issues, all resolved without incident under warranty:


  • bed frame had to be replaced. Be careful in use, it won't stand up to being lifted from anywhere other than the foot of the bed, and will explode ball bearings everywhere (wasn't us; dealer did it fitting motor mover)
  • needed new pump for the Alde (noisy)
  • door to shower-room was warped so rubbed on wall so was replaced.
  • (p)leather surround to rooflight has bubbled & is being replaced.

We've had no issue with leaks - as with all U3 there are some reports of the roof join not being adequately sealed.


Jobs I need to get around to on ours - fit electric valve to fill the onboard tank (we do use ours all the time) and upgrade the struts on the bed.


"Standard" niggles to watch out for on U3s - is DAB aerial plugged in to stereo, pump set to 2, is fit of clock too tight, have radiator guards been fitted. All these should now be fine on new vans, and on a 2nd hand will probably have been resolved. Ref Alan's comment, I thought the fridge shelf issues were on the narrow fridges used on the single axle models.


The spare wheel solution works well and is easy to use (actually same as my Discovery), but read the manual before you need it. ..I didn't and had to get a new winch (was only £70).


In my view an AWD motormover is needed - one of my motors is playing up sporadically so I occasionally have to rely on single axle/two motors. ...is a nightmare. Jacking points have to be removed to fit AWD. Get a lock n level and it'll cover you for changing wheels, applying wheel locks & leveling van.


If buying new, negotiate weight upgrade and fitted bedding set into price.


Price isn't the determining factor for me, but the Cartagena is approx 10% cheaper than the equivalent vans from other UK suppliers. I can see no reason for that given the spec & quality.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As disco says, get a lock n level. We find it superb.

We also got the weight upgrade thrown in. Makes a massive 63kg difference to payload, so in effect cancels out the weight of the mover and battery.

We've also changed the aerial input to allow twin feeds from sky to go through it and also take a feed into the bedroom area (that took a lot of effort tbh)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, really appreciate all the comments and suggestions.

Went back to the dealership today for a second look at the Cartagena, they are also a Swift/Sterling dealer so had a look at their equivalent models also but decide to go with the Cartagena. Deposit paid, delivery expected March/April.

Will probably be back on here asking more specific questions then ( or before ) Milkymarsh's comment about the twin satellite connection has already intrigued me. .



Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...