First look: Buc­ca­neer Aruba

Er­win Hymer UK’S lux­ury line-up gets a new model for 2019, one that’s based on a tried’n’tested six-berth from the pop­u­lar Avanté range. Niall Hamp­ton takes a look

Practical Caravan - - Contents -

This lux­ury line-up gets a new model from 2019, and it’s a classy six-berth

THE LUX­URY BRAND pro­duced by Er­win Hymer Group UK goes forward into 2019 with one new model, the six-berth Aruba. But there’s no dif­fer­ence to the size of the line-up, be­cause in a tit-for-tat ac­tion, the six-berth Galera has been dropped. Ge­og­ra­phy ma­jors will know the is­land of Aruba is a Dutch de­pen­dency off the north coast of Venezuela, a South Amer­i­can coun­try per­haps best known for ex­treme left-wing gov­ern­ments. But there’s noth­ing re­motely Marx­ist about the Buc­ca­neer Galera – like its sib­lings, this is a full-fat pitch to ap­peal to bour­geois tastes. Fea­tur­ing a raft of lux­ury equip­ment, ev­ery­thing from a self-lev­el­ling sys­tem to cast iron pan stands, this is a range for buy­ers who refuse to com­pro­mise. In­deed, the gen­e­sis of the Aruba is one of up­ward mo­bil­ity, as keen-eyed car­a­van spot­ters will recog­nise this floor­plan from the mid-mar­ket Eld­dis Avanté 840. NEC show­go­ers pointed out that this lay­out would be a great ad­di­tion to Buc­ca­neer, and the man­age­ment of EHG UK was happy to oblige. Re­view­ing the Aruba also gives us a chance to men­tion var­i­ous Buc­ca­neer spec bumps for 2019, the main ones be­ing new graphics, switches and sock­ets, locker and drawer han­dles, and kitchen splash­back and pull-out stor­age bas­kets, and some up­grades to the wash­room ac­ces­sories.

Pitch and set-up

All Buc­ca­neer tour­ers are 8ft wide and run on Al-ko chas­sis. Like the rest of the range, the Aruba is a twin-axle model. At 8.16m in length, it’s good to know the ATC anti-snaking sys­tem comes as standard. As men­tioned, E&P’S self­lev­el­ling sys­tem is fit­ted and will get you all sorted on pitch in a mat­ter of min­utes. All ser­vices con­nec­tions are made on the off­side. En­ter the van through the sin­gle-piece car­a­van door to find the con­trols for the habi­ta­tion ser­vices on your left, in­clud­ing the touch­screen panel for the Alde cen­tral heat­ing.

Lounge

The 2019 flavour of Buc­ca­neer tour­ers gets ‘Prairie’ soft fur­nish­ings, with an Aqua­clean wipe-clean fab­ric fin­ish and a pet claw re­sis­tant weave. The ‘Cassino Ash’ cab­i­net­work has a rich dark-wood tone, mak­ing a very pleas­ing en­sem­ble. With 8ft of width to play with, the lounge cer­tainly feels spa­cious. Plenty of nat­u­ral light floods in through five win­dows, a front sky­light and a ‘Stargazer’ rooflight that tracks the course of the lounge gang­way. There’s lots of all-led in­te­rior light­ing, too, in­clud­ing both over-locker and di­rec­tional read­ing light va­ri­eties. Com­fort and con­ve­nience are a key Buc­ca­neer sell­ing point, of course, so lit­tle sur­prise that un­der­fooor Alde wet cen­tral heat­ing is fit­ted, which EHG UK is claim­ing as ‘unique’.

Kitchen

For max­i­mum user-friend­li­ness, the Aruba’s gal­ley is ar­ranged in full on the near­side. A dual-fuel cooker to the left of the kitchen unit fea­tures

cast-iron pan stands – a new touch for 2019. Un­der­neath that, you’ll find a sep­a­rate oven and grill, and next to the cooker there’s an ob­long sink. There’s a de­cent amount of work sur­face to the right of the sink, and a trusty tip-up flap if more space is re­quired. In ad­di­tion, the off­side dinette table­top is also avail­able if you should need it. The large fridge to the left of the kitchen unit should have enough room for the needs of six peo­ple on tour. Above it is a mi­crowave oven.

Wash­room

The Aruba’s wash­room is sited in the off­side rear cor­ner, but is ar­ranged like an end wash­room in all but ori­en­ta­tion. En­ter via a do­mes­tic-style door op­po­site the French bed to find a smart sink and van­ity, with a half-length mir­ror be­hind it. A cen­tral rooflight pro­vides il­lu­mi­na­tion for the whole

Full of lux­ury equip­ment, this is a range for buy­ers who refuse to com­pro­mise

space, while the swiv­el­ling cas­sette loo can be an­gled to im­prove the ac­cess to the shower com­part­ment. Ac­cess to this space is via a sin­gle-piece door, and the lin­ing’s tiled ef­fect con­firms this tourer’s lux­ury cre­den­tials. In­side, the fit-out com­prises an Eco­camel shower head, a light and a handy pull-out line for dry­ing clothes.

Beds

In ad­di­tion to the Aruba’s rear French bed, which is 6ft 3in long, there’s a large make-up dou­ble at the front of the van, which mea­sures 6ft 11in by 4ft 8in. This makes up us­ing slats that pull out from the front cen­tre chest, rather than pull-across slat frames. An­other two berths are on hand in the side dinette, in the form of a small dou­ble that mea­sures 6ft 1in by 4ft 2in. Our re­view of the Eld­dis Avanté 840, which shares the same lay­out, won­dered whether a Pull­man bunk would have been a bet­ter so­lu­tion for chil­dren sleep­ing here, but the Aruba also has the dou­ble bed.

Stor­age

You’d ex­pect an 8m-long van to have a wide se­lec­tion of lo­ca­tions for stor­ing kit, and the Aruba cer­tainly de­liv­ers. In ad­di­tion to the huge cav­ity un­der the rear French bed, ac­cessed via gas struts, we counted 14 over­head lock­ers in ad­di­tion to a half-length wardrobe and a se­lec­tion of seat boxes in which to hide 179kg of user pay­load. Two of these, the near­side lounge seat box and the French bed, can be ac­cessed from out­side. Other so­lu­tions in­clude a cup­board and two draw­ers in the kitchen.

Off­side dinette opts for a small dou­ble bed, rather than a Pull­man bunk, which you of­ten see here The Aruba’s well-equipped and spa­cious kitchen is ar­ranged in a line for max­i­mum user-friend­li­ness

Aruba’s spa­cious front lounge pic­tured with the fold­ing-leaf ta­ble in situ for meal­times. Seven win­dows flood it with nat­u­ral il­lu­mi­na­tion

Buc­ca­neer tour­ers use EHG UK’S SOLID bodyshell con­struc­tion, but with alu­minium side­walls, rather than GRP. Graphics are new for 2019

LEFT-RIGHT Well-con­fig­ured side wash­room feels as lux­u­ri­ous as an end wash­room. French bed is 6ft 3in long and sits atop stor­age space

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