First look: Buccaneer Barracuda
Looking for a caravan that’s perfect for couples who prefer to holiday at the luxury end of the market? Then the Barracuda could be just right, says Alastair Clements
MANY MANUFACTURERS are chasing newcomers to the market with funky compact vans, but the likes of Lunar and Erwin Hymer Group UK have had plenty of success in upselling established caravanners to larger, more luxurious tourers.
Buccaneer has had the top of the British market to itself, but the arrival of Lunar’s Alaria has added some competition in the booming super-luxury sector, and EHGUK has responded with a few tweaks for 2018.
It’s still a five-model range, but the old fixed-nearside-bed Schooner has been dropped and in comes this Barracuda, with a fixed in-line double bed on the rear wall and central washroom split across the width of the van.
Pitch and set-up
There are new alloys and graphics to mark out the 2018 update, but the biggest change is under the Solid-constructed skin – until now, Buccaneer has been the only Elddis product to cling to the BPW chassis, but this year, it joins its Consettbuilt stablemates in switching to Al-ko underpinnings.
That means a full complement of accessories, too, including an AKS hitch stabiliser, ATC antisnaking device, shock absorbers and Secure wheel locks.
Other luxuries include a gas barbecue point and a 230V socket inside the nearside external locker hatch, Alde underfloor central heating and an E&P self-levelling system. We’d expect most buyers to specify a mover, too, because this is a very large twin-axle, with a 1990kg MTPLM.
Once sited, you can take advantage of a neat cloakroom just inside the door – ideal for wet coats and walking boots. It’s just a shame it’s not heated.
The Barracuda follows the Alaria with an L-shaped lounge, where the sofa is ideally sited to take advantage of the standard 32in television on the offside wall.
This does mean that if you’ve more than two people on board, some will get uncomfortably close to the TV, but this really is a caravan aimed at couples, despite its four-berth spec.
Those with short legs might find the seat squabs a touch deep, but it’s otherwise hugely comfortable, and on our test van featured the optional (£1350)
leather upholstery. Seat backs are high and the scatter cushions large and plush, while the deep front shelf and kitchen counter are nearby for cups of tea.
There’s additional shelving beneath the TV as part of an ‘entertainment station’ with classy illumination, plus USB and 230V sockets – making it the ideal place for a DVD player or games console.
Despite the lack of an offside window, there’s plenty of light, mainly from the front sunroof and full-length rooflight.
There are few complaints to be made about this kitchen area, even for keen cooks.
From the Omnivent overhead to the well-sited microwave above the huge fridge/freezer, it’s superbly specified. And shifting those main appliances to the nearside leaves a spacious, uncluttered galley.
A peninsula unit gives a sense of separation between the lounge and kitchen, and means there’s more than enough worktop to make a pop-up extension flap redundant.
If you do need a bit more, however, there’s a sturdy cover for the sink – and the sink itself is new for the 2018 season, with a huge stainless-steel unit taking the place of last year’s rather dated granite-effect item.
An illuminated splashback gives a classy look, and there’s plenty of task lighting, along with a pair of 230V sockets. The cooker unit is hard up against the bulkhead, but it’s a top-spec model with dual-fuel hob and a separate oven and grill.
The Barracuda’s multifunctional bathroom is the familiar Elddis split design, which means it can serve as a family washroom, a separate shower and WC, or a traditional en suite, depending how you deploy the domesticstyle door to the lounge and the sliding door to the bedroom.
The nearside shower cubicle has a bi-fold door and a classy tiled-effect liner, along with an Ecocamel Orbit showerhead. There is some wheel arch intrusion, but not so much that it doesn’t feel spacious, and desirable details include a Dometic pull-out drying rack.
The toilet is on the offside and boasts a concealed cistern, while alongside you’ll find a domesticstyle towel rail and a bowl sink atop one of the two cabinets. There’s no window, but there are a couple of rooflights and the LED lighting is effective.
As always with a layout focused on the main bedroom, sleeping arrangements for visitors are a touch compromised. That said, there’s the option of using the front sofa as a large single, or pulling out the base for a slightly uneven 4ft 7in by 6ft 5in double, using infill cushions.
Separated from the living area by that washroom, the rear bedroom feels private and, thanks to the van’s 8ft width,
uncommonly spacious. There’s a useful vanity unit with cabinet and mirror in the nearside front corner. On the other side, there are sockets for a TV.
The 6ft 3in by 4ft 5in fixed double can be retracted to give more dressing space. There’s a reading light, shelf and window for each occupant, and a thickly padded headboard.
For such a large caravan, the 159kg payload seems slender – and uprating the MTPLM to 2000kg will only add another 10kg. But finding enough space to use up that payload shouldn’t be a problem. Externally, there’s a huge front gas locker and as well as that front access hatch to the bed box, handy upright storage makes use of an area of dead space behind the kitchen on the offside.
There is plenty of storage beneath the sofas and the fixed double bed, although the latter is slightly compromised by the siting of the on-board water tank and there is no external access.
The kitchen boasts three big drawers and a large cupboard, where you’ll also find the lounge table, plus three overhead lockers and a cocktail cabinet.
There are four overhead lockers in the lounge, plus two in the rear bedroom, and the twin wardrobes on either side of the bed are a proper size, too.
Sofas are comfortable, but those with short legs might find the seat squabs a touch deep In the lounge, the seat backs are high and the scatter cushions are large, plush and stylish The optional leather upholstery adds to the elegant interior in the living area The front sofa can be made up into a slightly uneven double bed by using infill cushions There’s plenty of light from the front sunroof, full-length rooflight and corner spotlights
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT The Barracuda’s clean lines and smart finish provide a feeling of interior space, while the floorplan offers a high degree of privacy. New alloys and graphics mark out the 2018 update. This is a very large twin-axle, so buyers might want to specify a mover
Shelving below the standard 32in TV makes this area an ideal ‘entertainment station’
The sizeable peninsula unit in the kitchen neatly separates the galley from the lounge
Thanks to the caravan’s 8ft width, the rear bedroom feels uncommonly spacious
LEFT-RIGHT The well-appointed bathroom can serve as a family washroom, a separate shower and WC, or a traditional en suite, depending on how you deploy the doors. Despite some wheel arch intrusion, the shower cubicle feels spacious