Run­ning re­ports

Practical Caravan - - Contents -

The lat­est up­dates on our long-term Bai­ley Phoenix 640 and Volvo V90 D4 AWD Cross Coun­try

Tested by Nigel Hut­son Price £18,499 Berths 4 MIRO 1227kg Pay­load 155kg MTPLM 1382kg

IN A NUT­SHELL The Phoenix 640 is an ab­so­lute cracker of a car­a­van

WHEN BAI­LEY LAUNCHED the Phoenix range in July, my first thoughts were that they had a hit on their hands. It had the same face, back and sides as its more up­mar­ket sib­lings, Pe­ga­sus and Uni­corn. I re­cently took a Phoenix 640 to north­ern France. So has my opin­ion changed? Not one bit. The lay­out in this model is the cur­rently fash­ion­able rear is­land bed, cen­tre wash­room and front lounge. I towed it with our long-term Volvo V90 Cross Coun­try (right), about a 74% match (the van was lightly loaded), and a new Hyundai Santa Fe, and it never caused a mo­ment’s con­cern. Once it was set up, I found the lounge very com­fort­able. I had no need to use the free­stand­ing ta­ble (stored un­der the fixed bed), but sim­ply slid out the oc­ca­sional ta­ble at meal­times. Dur­ing the day, light flooded in through the huge cen­tre front win­dow and, at night, there was lots of LED light­ing. I was im­pressed to see the USB sock­ets in the read­ing lights – so they’re not re­served for the Uni­corn. Well done, Bai­ley! The kitchen had ev­ery­thing the car­a­van chef could need, with a four-burner gas hob, oven and sep­a­rate grill, and a mi­crowave. The fridge was op­po­site, which freed up space in the kitchen unit for stor­age. There was an area of work­top above the fridge, al­though this would be where a TV could be sited. Speak­ing of work sur­face, the Phoenix has also in­her­ited Bai­ley’s fold-down hob cover, so there’s no short­age. In the wash­room, the toi­let and basin are on the off­side, with a fully lined shower on the near­side. Al­though the shower is over the wheel arch, en­croach­ment isn’t a prob­lem. My only slight gripe was that the door from the kitchen opened into the wash­room, which meant step­ping into the bed­room to close it. So the bed­room might not be quite as pri­vate as you thought. But sav­ing the best to last, I can hon­estly say that I’ve never slept on such a com­fort­able bed. It was su­perb! I like all of the bells and whis­tles in a car­a­van, so I do tend to look at more ex­pen­sive mod­els. But af­ter spend­ing a week in the Phoenix, I was might­ily im­pressed. What a re­ally crack­ing car­a­van!

ABOVE Phoenix sports those up­mar­ket Bai­ley looks on the out­side RIGHT Nigel found the slide-out oc­ca­sional ta­ble per­fectly ad­e­quate at meal­times

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