Generous interior space and solid, lightweight construction are the hallmarks of Bailey’s new premium model.
The localisation of the UK Bailey range continues with the new Pamplona, a new, locally built van that offers the best of British layout and the solid underpinnings of an Australian chassis and independent suspension giving you the confidence to tour throughout Australia (the Unicorn Pamplona is a black top tourer).
Who it's for: Couples and families who want to tow a light yet strong four-berth van while still having all the luxuries and generous internal space.
What we like: Airy, spacious layout
What we don’t: Could do with more external storage
2019 Bailey Unicorn IV Pamplona
Height: 9’5” (2.9m)
Internal Length: 20’11” (6.4m)
External Length: 25’11” (7.9m)
Internal Height: 6’5” (2.0m)
External Width: 7’6” (2.3m)
Tare Weight: 1851kg
Ball Weight: 125kg (at Tare)
Suitable Tow Vehicles: Anything with a 2300kg (and about 230kg towball download) tow capacity, for example Ford Everest (or superseded Territory or Falcon), Holden Trailblazer, Isuzu MU-X, Toyota Prado, Mazda BT-50, Jeep Grand Cherokee.
One thing that European and British vans do well that Aussie manufacturers rarely consider is a lounge area in the van with large windows. After all, isn’t a big part of being in the great outdoors having a great view for your site? The Unicorn IV Pamplona’s large front bay window and large front-side windows make the most of the view on offer. It is one of the most enticing aspects of this van.
The four-berth layout features a front lounge, then a kitchen followed by the bathroom then rear bedroom with a north-south double bed.
For the first time, the Pamplona features a UK body fitted to an Aussie chassis. The assembly and build all happens at Bailey Australia’s Melbourne factory. As many RV manufacturers head overseas looking for cheap construction, it’s reassuring to have seen a respected overseas brand being set up to build RVs in Australia.
There are several new exterior features to the Pamplona, aside from its Aussie chassis. It has a new single-piece front bumper with integral handles, new step-up A-frame fairing, a new single-piece rear bumper with full-width grab rail, new taillights and new 14-inch alloy wheels (although production models are likely to get 15-inch wheels). The front double-glazed polyplastic, opening vertical skylight and adjacent windows, the dedicated gas locker and Heki clear-canopy roof hatch and revised external graphics are also new for the 2019 Pamplona.
Australian Pamplonas don’t have gas central heating like their British counterparts, instead having the more appropriate (for Aussie conditions) roof-mounted Belaire HB3500 reverse-cycle air-conditioner (they are offering a Dometic gas heater as an option for those who can’t live without it).
The Dometic security door is also an Australian touch, replacing the two-piece door on UK models.
Inside, the Australian Unicorn IV Pamplona has a Euro ambience and, like the outside, the layout is new. There’s the Eucalyptus furniture finish, beige upholstery and ‘Basalt stone’ matte black bench tops, aircraft-style overhead lockers with soft-close metal hinges and new chrome fixtures and fittings.
The airy, open front lounge has a small table at the front with soft-close drawer storage and a slide-out extension. The lounge quickly and easily converts to a double bed. The bed base slides out from the front cupboard unit and the lounge backrest cushions serve as the centre bed base.
Above the lounge are large storage lockers and mounted below the lockers are multi-adjustable LED lights have neat integral USB ports (and there’s no less than eight of them!). The only negative with these is you need to store your device in the lockers above; there is no shelf handy to the charging ports.
Like most Bailey caravans, the dining table is not a permanent fixture; in this case, it’s a folding table in a matching laminate to the bench tops that lives under the bed when not in use. Alternatively for your small snacks the lounge area offers a pull out extension from the front cabinet large enough for a plate and cup.
There’s storage space under the offside lounge seat (and also the nearside, but more easily accessed from the external hatch).
The kitchen on the offside wall has a fold-up piece to extend the bench and the result is a large food prep space for a caravan — it’s almost 1.5 metres long when you close both the glass stove top and its flush-mount bench top lid. There’s ample storage when you consider not only the cupboards above and below the kitchen bench but also on the opposite wall surrounding the fridge.
The kitchen is well specified with a four- burner hob, a grill, over, 700watt microwave and 190-litre three-way fridge.
Central bathrooms layouts can seem like too much of a compromise for some, but it makes sense of a couple of levels. Firstly, the heavy plumbing and fixtures are towards the centre of the van for better towing balance and secondly, it provides a better buffer between the main sleeping quarters and (depending on how it is used) the secondary sleeping quarters or living area. So if your children or friends are sleeping up the front and need the bathroom in the night they won’t disturb you (and vice-versa) or if it’s just you and your partner, if one of you want to retire earlier or get up earlier, again you have more of a buffer between the two areas to accommodate such needs.
The bathroom itself is an ample size with the toilet and sink on the offside and the large shower enclosure on the nearside. The shower door is one of the neatest I’ve seen: it has a bi-fold aluminium-frame and opaque acrylic panels. Another clever touch is the linen basket, retained in a bottom-hinged cupboard while the pedestal ceramic washbasin adds an elegant touch.
The bedroom has large windows and a large ceiling hatch affording the room with plenty of light and ventilation. There’s also ample storage in the bedroom with hanging wardrobe space on each side of the bed, two lockers above it and lifting the bed on hydraulic struts reveals a large space for larger items.
The Sphere 2.5kg top-loader washing machine is fitted into a cupboard on the nearside of the bedroom. While the bedroom might seem an odd place for a washing machine it actually makes sense. Its proximity to the centre of the caravan is good for weight balance and the bathroom would have been too compromised for space if it was fitted there. In contrast, there’s plenty of space in the bedroom.
The 12v electrical system is supported by a 100A/h AGM battery and lighting is of course all LED. There’s a CBE control panel for pump, power, battery voltage and lights and an RV Electronics water and battery voltage gauge. The options list offers upgrades to battery capacity plus inverter and solar options.
While Bailey is not the only caravan manufacturer to eschew ‘stick and tin’ (timber and corrugated aluminium) of conventional caravans, not all composite caravans are equal. Bailey’s Alu-Tech monocoque construction is one of the most advanced composite body structures on the market.
To start with, there’s a structural interlocking aluminium extrusion framework with no external fixing points. The awning channels (on each side of the van) are even concealed.
Unlike some other composite caravans, there is no timber used in the upper body panels at all; it has a composite plastic internal skeleton, a high-density polystyrene and a fibreglass GRP inner wall lining while upper body panels are covered in a single sheet impact resistant fibreglass GRP outer skin. Bailey provides a 10-year water-ingress warranty.
There’s only one external storage locker on the Pamplona, accessed on the nearside front. With its lipped ABS plastic tray, this is a great wet-storage facility but the Pamplona would be even better if there were more external storage options.
Bailey has taken a unique approach to gas-bottle storage; the 9kg and 4.5kg bottles are mounted in a lockable compartment on the offside, just ahead of the wheelset. This is a very good position for weight balance and security.
Even though it’s harder to get to, the steel spare wheel mounted under the rear of the van is better for weight balance than if it were swinging around in the breeze bolted to the rear bar like most vans.
While the Pamplona is much lighter than most vans of its size and specification, it still has a solid 150mmx50mm galvanised Australia RV steel chassis.
While this is not an off-road van, it has the convenience of an AL-KO off-road hitch to more easily reach those hard-to-get-to campsites.
Where can I view the Unicorn 4 Pamplona?
Go to Bailey Australia on Outdoria where you’ll find the contact details for each of the six dealers nationwide.
The Unicorn IV Pamplona has the internal space and features of a 21-foot luxury caravan but - despite its solid chassis and rigid composite body -the weight of one measuring just 17-18 feet long. While $70K is not cheap in anyone’s language, this van is good value when considering its quality construction and extensive standard inclusions list.