First impressions of Bailey 75-2 - Review

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Just back from our first trip in our new Bailey Autograph 75-2. We researched many, many different models and layouts and the 75-2 was the only one that fulfilled all our requirements. Purchased from Venture Caravans, Hitchin and top marks to them for a faultless service. On collection, given a thorough tour of the MH and guide to how everything works. I did have a list of questions, but didn't need to ask any of them as all points were covered.

On driving home, had the overhead locker door issue where the long ones in the living area pop open over rough roads. Half expected this as I had read this was common, did post a query on MHF and thanks for the replies. Suggestions seem to be pack the door edges or add extra clips. As the action to open is supposed to be one handed, will look at some cork packing if issue reoccurs before looking at more clips. Have just completed a 150 mile round trip and didn't have the issue again, so putting the initial opening problem down to an incredibly poor road surface. I did call Matt at Venture and he immediately ordered some new clips as the problem could be due to the vigorous opening action by prospective buyers before we viewed and the spring action being compromised (have noted a lot of people trying to open the doors as normal, i.e. pull towards them, these doors action is like airline lockers, so you just push them to unlatch and the gas struts do the rest). If the problem reoccurs, will initially fit the new clips, then look at packing.

Another slight issue was the harshness of the drive. The tyres are filled to around 80psi, so on poor surfaces is noticeable, but on the motorway, gave exceptional road holding and handling and was very smooth. As standard, TPMS (tyre pressure monitor system) is fitted to the Peugeot and this is set to the manufacturers spec and cannot be changed, so dropping a few psi to give a softer ride is not possible and cannot be disengaged as it is now an MOT failure if fitted as standard. But as I say, the ride on a decent surface is very good and most of our journeys are long distance across Europe where we find the surfaces are of a much higher quality to here.

Once seats all adjusted up and comfortable, driving is a very pleasant experience; DAB radio reception is excellent, very easy to connect phone and cruise control is a very welcome addition! After our first 150 miles, average consumption is showing as 29.7 mpg, so pleased with that and expect it to improve once new engine bedded in a bit. Running in no longer a thing, I know, but will continue with varied driving for the next few hundred miles to get the best out of it.

Anyway, onto the Bailey living experience. The layout for two is perfect. The amount of space inside is cavernous, with plenty of room to move around without bumping into each other. The finish is very high quality, the trim is luxurious and gives a real sense of style. Cab seats are very comfortable and easy to adjust and the hab seats are supportive and also very comfy. We have the model with the curved back rests which I found better than the newer box bolsters.

The control panels are pretty self intuitive and easy to set up, I was looking for more complicated actions due to our old Elddis 130 and it's array of rocker switches and double dials, but the touch screen for the Alde system is a doddle to set up, as is the main Seattle panel for lights, pump and water filling.

Rear locker is a very decent size and access from outside is very easy, nice to be able to put all the dirty stuff (cables, hoses, chocks etc) outside and not have to stow under seats as per our 130.

Once primed, water system was giving out hot water within minutes and the pressure was impressive and the temperature constant. Lighting is superb, whether on spots, strip or both. The high and low level recessed strip lighting is a very nice touch.

Fixed rear French bed is also very comfortable with plenty of overhead and under bed storage, plus 3-pin and double USB charging points over headboard. Attached the supplied Avtex TV/DVD to the wall with a fixed flat bracket and on initial tuning in an area that said it had very bad TV reception, picked up over 90 channels. TV is light and fitted a rear reinforcement bracket, so can stay fixed without having to worry about stowing it on the move.

All kitchen drawers are very deep and on adding a few strips of non slip matting, not a rattle was heard from crockery, cutlery and assorted utensils. Fridge is TARDIS-like and kept everything nice and cold, even kept a bag of ice in tip top condition when running on 12v during our drive.

We have heard that people have had issues with trim, Heki skylight noise at speed and control panel issues amongst others, but we had already told the dealer about a couple of issues we'd noted (broken locker catch, prob due to an over exuberant pull rather than push) and a sticking bathroom door, but these were both resolved before collection as well as a new skylight seal to prevent the Heki noise/whistle.

All in all, we love the Bailey and it was a pleasure to drive and camp in. Obviously it is early days and we do expect there may be issues we come across, but Venture Caravans have been very good so far, so we'll see what happens if they do occur. Our first impressions are excellent and the trim and equipment levels rival and in many cases exceed other MH's we looked at in this price range and well above.
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