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

Practical Caravan - - Contents -

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.

Lounge

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.

Kitchen

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.

Wash­room

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.

Beds

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.

Stor­age

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.

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...

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

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...

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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

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