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8ft thoughts - after the NEC


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Our visit to the NEC was a good chance to look at most of the 8ft vans that UK manufacturers have now started to offer.

 

There's the Elddis / Compass / Bucaneer offerings - all twin axle, the Super Sprites and Elegance from Swift, Adrias (obviously not UK made, but very UK focussed) and Bailey's new Pegasus Grande (alongside existing mainland Europe offerings).  

 

As a family, I was very interested in the Super Sprite, Pegasus and Elddis vans which offer fixed bunks, rear corner bathroom and two double dinettes in the middle / front of the van.   Personally, I felt the Pegasus and the Sprite were the best. The Pegasus makes do with one wardrobe but offers a bigger fridge.   The Sprite had a nicer bunk area but the Pegasus had a better middle lounge with very comfy seating and no need to extend seats to make up the small double. The Sprites bed makeup was fairly easy, especially compared to the flimsy effort in the  Elddis.   There were a lot of well heeled families in these vans (also in the Swift Elegance with it's drop down double) and all were after a van where they could have fixed bunks and leave a double made up some of the time.   I expect we'll see a lot sold.   

 

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I did look in the single axle Pegasus Grandes too. I couldn't decide if I liked the odd front lounge or whether it was a bit of a gimmick.   What do others think?  At least Bailey are trying something to make use of the extra width.   Personally, I'd like to see a single axle 8ft van that is aimed at families - the extra width would really change the feel of our own van (a Sprite Major 6td).  

 

What do others think? Are they here to stay?  Are Coachman missing a trick?

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Ah but you clearly don’t understand do you??   Some people NEED something to worry about.   All they have to do is add the extra width to the all the other (perceived) nightmares

If you fancy buying an 8 Foot caravan go for it. STOP WORRYING ABOUT THE WIDTH   My caravan is 2. 5m which is actually more than 8 Feet, yes it's a little tight on the Channel Tunnel (just

No, I don't think so.   It's clear that a wider caravan will be more difficult in some circumstances and everyone has their views on what's acceptable.  

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Yes plenty of 8ft vans to look at. TBH we were there for the full 8 hours on Tuesday looked at everything we might have been interested in (we are a coupleso not looking at the same layout as you) but we did manage to look at a few. Of them the Bailey was interesting but for my money the Hymer seemed to be better built albeit at a price.

Couple of asides. We were looking at both caravans and motorhomes and we felt there were far mor people interested in the Moho's than caravans!

Also it may just be us but the continuation of use of transverse beds across the front of the van still astounds me. I cant believe that manufacturers cannot produce a good sized double bed where you sleep up and down the van, removing the need to climb over your partner to go to the loo. Almost all of this type of layout can be used as 2 singles but the drawers get in the way of a large double. This is probably the main reason why we will stick with our Pegasus for the time being.

Sorry it was slightly off topic.  

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I went to the show with the aim of looking at my shortlist, which were all 8ft wide (needing fixed bunks and a dinette for 4)...

Bailey  Pegasus Grande Palermo

Elddis Avante 866

Swift Elegance Grande 655
Swift Sprite Super Quattro DB

plus a Tabbert and an Eriba which weren't there to look at.

 

I didn't really like the Swift's.  Interior build / finish didn't seem as good as the others.  I think toss up between the Elddis and Bailey.  Going to head back on Sat or Sunday for a second look and to purchase one or the other.

 

Although the one spanner in the works was a Hobby Prestige with both fixed bunks and a fixed double!

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8 minutes ago, molokoid said:

I went to the show with the aim of looking at my shortlist, which were all 8ft wide (needing fixed bunks and a dinette for 4)...

Bailey  Pegasus Grande Palermo

Elddis Avante 866

Swift Elegance Grande 655
Swift Sprite Super Quattro DB

plus a Tabbert and an Eriba which weren't there to look at.

 

I didn't really like the Swift's.  Interior build / finish didn't seem as good as the others.  I think toss up between the Elddis and Bailey.  Going to head back on Sat or Sunday for a second look and to purchase one or the other.

 

Although the one spanner in the works was a Hobby Prestige with both fixed bunks and a fixed double!

Strange how we came away with opposite opinions on quality Swift v Elddis!

 

It was the slide out bits on the middle dinette Vs the lift up flaps on the Elddis (among other bits and bobs) that led me to my conclusion. I also thought the bunks were narrower in the Elddis (could be wrong). If we ever do buy another fixed by model it will need wider bunks to make it last!

Meant to ask, did you look at the Silver sided dealer special Elddis?

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Looking forward to seeing the Pegasus Grande in the aluminium, I think the single axle 8’ wide option is a game-changer as most are 1800kg beasts that need a truck to tow them where as these single axle models can be towed by a large car - I’ve had a good look around the Super Sprite and the interior is noticeably bigger with the French bed and proper shower really appealing but it’s unnecessarily big for us.

 

My assumption is that Bailey will introduce more models on the single axle in-time.

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Spent all day on Wednesday ‘working ‘ on the Bailey Stand manning the owners club bit

The 8 ft Pegasus was attracting a large amount of interest.  Very roomy with sensible weights.  The flexibility given to layouts by the extra 6 in is out of all proportion to the actual increase in overall floor area.  

People were very enthusiastic. The ‘Brindisi’ being one of the most popular.  

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

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We are really keen to look at the new brindisi but not sure about the front seating arrangement. Apart from Bailey is there anyone else offering an 8ft wide van around the 1500kg mark?

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sadly, and even tho we also have a moho. we find alot are turning to the motorhomes. And after 40 years in caravans we feel that site owner like camc arew now gearing there sites more for the moho side of it.

Going back to original post,we found that the 8ft wide was far superior and from the towing side did not notice after 2 or 3 trip any difference with the exception of giving a little wider turn to the left.

I think there is a single axle buccy in the 8ft called the cutter?

65 volvo geartronic se nav, 2016 buccaneer cruiser, 2017 buccaneer commadore, 2018 swift kon-tiki 669 auto, 2015 range rover 3. 0 sdv6 autobiography dynamic auto

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I don't think any other UK manufacturers do 8ft on single axle. I think the Buccaneer was discontinued a year or two back and would have been above the 1500kg, I guess.

 

Adria Adora could be worth a look though

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I think the 8’ vans are great. The extra space inside feels out of all proportion to the small increase in width. When we bought our Swift, we really liked the Adria Isonzo, but as a novice caravanner, I thought 8’ might be a bit daunting, plus it was on the heavy side for our then towcar. 3 years on, I kind of wish we’d gone for it. We love our Swift though, it’s a great van, and we have no plans to change it until it’s at least 10 years old.  

 

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22 hours ago, Fireman Iain said:

I think the 8’ vans are great. The extra space inside feels out of all proportion to the small increase in width. When we bought our Swift, we really liked the Adria Isonzo, but as a novice caravanner, I thought 8’ might be a bit daunting, plus it was on the heavy side for our then towcar. 3 years on, I kind of wish we’d gone for it. We love our Swift though, it’s a great van, and we have no plans to change it until it’s at least 10 years old.  

 

 

Totally agree. The extra width is around six inches yet seems much more than this when inside. TARDIS effect I guess :)

 

Russ

Online blog and travels, although sometimes there is a lack of travel due to work!

 

It's an uncharted sea, it's an unopened door but you've got to reach out and you've got to explore.

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I was only wondering a few days ago if we will see Elddis start producing caravans and motorhomes with a US twist now owned by US Thor and have slide outs not just 8ft as we saw a interest in them a few years ago with Eterniti and full order books ?

 

Manufacturers over here are already fitting slide outs in caravans and motorhomes and Lippert are becoming more popular over here in EU

 

Dave

 

Edited by CommanderDave

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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Not according to the chaps in the factory when I was there a couple of weeks back. ...perhaps the Germans might?

 

geoff

Kia Sorento KX-1 CRDI 4WD towing an Elddis Affinity 530

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On 18/10/2018 at 22:09, molokoid said:

I went to the show with the aim of looking at my shortlist, which were all 8ft wide (needing fixed bunks and a dinette for 4)...

Bailey  Pegasus Grande Palermo

Elddis Avante 866

Swift Elegance Grande 655
Swift Sprite Super Quattro DB

plus a Tabbert and an Eriba which weren't there to look at.

 

I didn't really like the Swift's.  Interior build / finish didn't seem as good as the others.  I think toss up between the Elddis and Bailey.  Going to head back on Sat or Sunday for a second look and to purchase one or the other.

 

Although the one spanner in the works was a Hobby Prestige with both fixed bunks and a fixed double!

We have the Elddis Avante 860. It’s a year its a year old now. Not had any bother with it at all. I like the 8 ft width

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53 minutes ago, FrankBullet said:

The first manufacturer that does a single axle with a French bed, proper corner bathroom and a decent lounge gets my cash next time.

4 berth ?

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We had a good look at the brindisi but did not like the new "G" seating arrangement. A large u shaped arrangement might have clinched it.

 

Out of everything we saw the only thing that really took our fancy within budget was a coachmen festival the Glossop caravan dealer special. I was glad we want to the show and was surprised how different caravans of the same layout could feel once inside.

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8 ft wide vans in the UK? Arhhh!! We are back home in Australia with our wonderful wide roads,. We have just returned from a 10 week trip around the UK in a motorhome, and the narrow roads were a bit of a shock to us, especially my wife (mind the mirror, mind the mirror!). It was nerve wracking,  especially when trying to find a park in some towns. We also had a motorhome in Ireland, which was even worse, as most car parks had a bar across the entrance, supposedly to keep out travellers, but it also prevented us from from parking,  so we just continued on.   I wouldn't swap our car/van combo for a motorhome, even here at home, for quids!

 

Diesel Pathfinder 140kw/450nm towing off road Trakmaster 16' Nullarbor caravan.
690 watt solar, 300 amphr Lifep04, 3 x 85 L water tanks. Airbag suspension.

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1 hour ago, ddcman said:

. . . most car parks had a bar across the entrance, supposedly to keep out travellers, but it also prevented us from from parking,  so we just continued on.  

I have to agree that the UK is not the most friendly place towards larger outfits, and parking in most towns is an absolute pain as many local councils are blind to the benefit that tourists can bring, so drive them away by having height barriers and ridiculous time limited parking charges that mean you constantly watching the clock and not able to relax. I have no objection to paying a small parking charge if it is to be used to maintain the car park but I do object to being charged for parking when I visit an attraction that is going to charge me an additional entrance fee, or if I am spending money in a restaurant or the local shops.

Like ddcman, I too will drive on when I do not feel welcomed in an area, so someone else will benefit from my hard earned.

Fourwinds Hurricane 31D Motorhome. Also MGTF135 1. 8i Roadster (fun) & Volvo V70 3.2Ltr LPG (everyday car)
Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan Talk.

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I was pondering this today whilst driving back from the Cotswolds to Cambridgeshire via the various A and B roads - I suppose the first point is I wouldn’t try to park in a town with my relatively small outfit, never mind anything else, and I kept spotting a Mercedes Luton van behind me and figured if he can get through so can an 8’ van, likewise the large vehicles and tractors that get into such areas, you just need to take additional care.

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A width too far in my opinion.

The roads haven't got any wider.

Yes, lorries etc are wide, but they're driven by full time professional drivers (and even they get it wrong sometimes) not part time amateurs.

I see more cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, horses, gate posts etc getting swiped more frequently.

 

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Plenty of amateurs drive large horseboxes at the weekend and you don't see them smashed up down every country lane.

 

If it's 8ft or 7ft6 wide will make no difference where you can park it in a town.

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No denying that the extra width will make it harder.  

 

Everyone has their own definition of when that dis-benefit outweighs the positives of the extra space

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I have owned and towed numerous wide body caravans around the continent and UK and none has caused a problem with access, you just have to be careful on single track roads that often lead to the more interesting campsites but if the towing mirrors fit through a gap, the caravan is sure to follow. Our present American RV is over eight feet wide and nearer to ten feet mirror tip to mirror tip, yet we have visited some really "off the beaten track" sites in Cornwall with it while towing a small car on a trailer. 

There seems to be an unwritten rule that oncoming drivers will try to force their way past a  normal size caravan when there really isn't room but will give way to a larger outfit. The biggest problem for me is when meeting an HGV on some B roads where there is a higher risk of our mirrors hitting than any of the problems there may be on single track roads.

Fourwinds Hurricane 31D Motorhome. Also MGTF135 1. 8i Roadster (fun) & Volvo V70 3.2Ltr LPG (everyday car)
Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan Talk.

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