Couples looking for an upmarket island bed ’van should definitely consider the Bailey Autograph 79-4.
It really packs a lot in over 7.8m, including a spacious lounge, and is good value for money. The interior vibe is spot on, and Alde heating ticks the ‘comfort’ box.
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The rear master bedroom with its in-line island bed is a super space
You get the comfort of Alde water- and central-heating
An external barbecue point and a roll-out canopy awning are standard
Internally and externally accessed storage options are great
You’ll need C1 entitlement on your driving licence to get behind the wheel
The kitchen sink isn’t the most attractive
But rather than opt for a modest upgrade, Bailey decided to throw the proverbial sink at its new portfolio toppers.
So in come smart new bodyshells and exterior detailing, a new interior and, of course, up-to-the-minute Euro 6-compliant engines.
The 79-4 is one of three 3500kg-plus ’vans in the range, and is the only model with an island bed (previously, the Approach Autograph 730 carried this popular sleeping arrangement – in transverse orientation – but it was 17cm shorter overall).
The rear island bed is the centrepiece of a cosy space that has two large windows on either side
After entering the Bailey Autograph 79-4 through the nearside habitation door, a sense of space greets you. With just under 2.5 metres between the walls, this isn’t surprising, but it’s about more than just the body width.
Tall overhead lockers and pared-back front bulkheads mean that there’s plenty of room higher up and, with the internal height at around two metres, claustrophobia is never going to be a threat.
When the cab seats are rotated, six people can fit in the lounge. Dining space is very practically created by inserting a two-legged table into a receiver in the floor.
The nearside galley, just behind the habitation door, is a well-laid-out space with the cooker and oven on the left, and the sink on the right.
A hinged flap at the end of the kitchen unit extends preparation space. A large fridge with separate freezer compartment sits under the microwave to the left.
Our only issue with the kitchen is the square sink: with the flush-fit screw heads that secure it on display, it’s not the most elegant execution you’ll see.
You enter the offside washroom through a domestic-style door to find the sink and vanity unit to the right, with a separate shower compartment on the left.
With white as the prevailing colour, the space feels bigger than it really is. There’s enough space to use the washroom as a dressing room, and it’ll always be warm thanks to the Alde radiator next to the sink.
The 93.5-litre fresh water tank will be large enough to cope with a couple’s needs.
The rear island bed is the centrepiece of a cosy space that has two large windows on either side, with a rooflight above and a sliding partition door.
Up front, the parallel seating converts into a double bed using Bailey’s Dream Sleep system: multi-layered seat cushions are unfolded and spread across the slide-out slat frames.
The sleeping surface is smoother than traditional foam-filled seats, and we found it very comfortable.
Numerous cupboards, lockers and drawers are ready to swallow the 79-4’s 484kg user payload.
Outside, what Bailey calls the ‘through boot’ allows you to easily fit long items across the width of the ’van (as it’s not tall, it’s a more applicable name than ‘garage’).
And top marks to Bailey for the sturdy compression locks – usually seen on expensive imports.