Peter Baber
Reviews Editor

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This fixed-bed four-berth is one of the newest models in Bailey's popular entry-level line-up. Our test team gave it an in-depth trial.

Overview

The Advance 76-2T was one of two new Advance models Bailey launched in the run-up to the NEC Show in October last year, shortly before another of its models, the 66-2 was named Motorhome of the Year by Practical Motorhome.

We thought it was time to look at this medium-length, fixed-single-beds, end-washroom model, a layout that appears in Bailey's newer mid-market Alliance range.

Design

Based on a Peugeot Boxer, the Advance shares the same simple decal design that you see on all Bailey 'vans. Two bold stripes run the length of the side of the vehicle, with the prominent 'B' for Bailey two-thirds of the way down.

The 'van is on an ultra-low-profile Al-Ko chassis, so there's no need for a step, and it is relatively easy to get into, even if the door is a fairly standard width.

The overhang beyond the rear wheels is noticeable, but not as awkward as on some motorhomes.

A large sunroof graces the front, and the hook-up is about half-way down the offside, so the cable won't get in the way, whichever side the hook-up point is on.

At this level, you don't get anything like an outside barbecue point, but on the 76-2T there is one unusual addition. Open the cassette toilet access, sited away on the offside rear corner, and you will find the toilet itself has been set back to make room for a small wet locker.

On the road

The cab is the standard Boxer offering, with two drinks holders, and you get a DAB radio with Bluetooth. You do not, however, have a rear-view camera fitted as standard, and we would try to get one as an option - this is quite a long motorhome, with no line of vision through the 'van and out of the back.

There is a small pelmet shelf above the windscreen, and two open cubbyholes.

On the road, we found plenty of urgency in the 2.0-litre, 130bhp engine, and a smooth gearbox.

The cruise control fitted as standard proved a blessing through those interminable 50mph roadworks zones that seem to be everywhere.

The Bailey-branded captain's chairs with double armrests were comfortable, although one of our testers found the dashboard a little bit close to his legs.

We were, it has to be said, driving through the dregs of a storm, but even so, there seemed to be a little whistling from the sunroof, even when the wind was not that strong.

It's also worth bearing in mind that there are only two travel seats in this 'van. There are no fold-out travel seats and you couldn't retrofit them, because you'd need to relocate the Truma Combi 4E heater that sits under the nearside sofa.

As an alternative, you could go for the 76-4T model, also launched by Bailey last year; it does have two extra travel seats included in the front dinette, with the same layout at the back. It costs just £500 more - but you lose the comfort of having those parallel sofas.

We reckon most buyers will use the 76-2T as a luxury two-berth, hosting the occasional guests.

Lounging & dining

The habitation door doesn't have a window, but it does have a useful large handle on the inside.

From the cab, there is a small step into the lounge, so the swivelled cab chairs are a little high. The sofas are comfortable, however. They could probably seat six and, as the kitchen extension flap goes over the end of the offside bed, no one will have to squeeze up if the cook needs a little more room.

The two scatter cushions and full-width curtains have a pattern of reeds on a blue background, complemented by the oatmeal upholstery and mid-brown furniture.

The sunroof and roof light let in plenty of light. A vent from the heater by the door and at the front end of the nearside sofa keeps things warm but there is no bolster cushion or draught stopper for when the door is open.

Bailey has fitted directional spotlights in the cab, so you can read there during the evening. There are two more spotlights over the nearside sofa, with a USB socket in one - a clever arrangement.

Lighting for the offside sofa is provided by LEDs set in the underside of the overhead lockers, with ambient lighting above.

Bailey has disguised the gas bottle locker to the right of the habitation door as a sideboard. Admittedly it doesn't have any drawers, but on top, you'll find mains and 12V sockets and the TV aerial connection. There is plenty of space to fit a TV and from this position, it can be viewed by pretty much everyone in the lounge, or from the fixed beds.

The foldaway table is big enough to allow four to dine. It is stored under the offside bed which isn't the easiest of positions to access.

We think it would have been better to store the table under the nearside bed, so that with a bit of jiggling, it could have been positioned in such a way to be accessed from the external locker door. But it is at least light.

Kitchen

After the step from the cab, there is another step down from the lounge to the door and the cooking area. This step contains a floor locker that grants access to the leisure battery.

The kitchen worktop is well lit from the window and by lights set under the lockers. It includes a square stainless-steel sink. You only get a three-burner gas hob, but Bailey's design leaves enough space on the far side to accommodate a pan handle, even when the extension is down.

When it is up, there are two mains sockets nearby, so you could have more than just the kettle here.

Food storage, however, is a little more limited. There is a tall, thin cupboard to the right of the Triplex combined oven and grill, which we suspect started off life intended as table storage. In its present arrangement, with only one shelf, it's not very useful and we found the lower shelf difficult to access.

The very capacious pan locker under the oven isn't impeded by anything, and there's a cutlery drawer above it. But you only get a 95-litre three-way fridge.

Here, half of the overhead cupboard is shelved, with a locker above the microwave.

Sleeping

The housing for the kitchen extension does mean the offside bed is slightly shorter than the nearside, but we think Bailey overestimates this difference. It is stated as 6in on its website, making the offside bed only 5ft 9in, but we reckon this bed is more like 5ft 11in.

The nearside bed is 6ft 4in, so there should be ample room for almost anyone on either of these comfortable, wide beds.

Both beds come with their own directional spotlights, containing more of those handy USB sockets. There's also a little shelf above each of the beds, where you could easily store a mobile while it charged, or a glass.

There's another mains socket under the nearside bed, too, although we did find the air vent here could be a bit draughty.

The shortness of the sofa base cushions in the lounge means you do need to use the infill cushion to make up the double front bed; it's stored in the wardrobe. But the bed is easy to make up with sliding platforms.

The double is an irregular width, so there is some space for an early riser to perch here and use the kitchen without necessarily waking the slumberer.

Our only surprise is that the narrower bed end of the bed is where the reading spotlights are - if you decide to sleep in the most obvious direction, you'll have to make do with the lights set into the lockers and these aren't individually switched.

The narrower end of the bed, with the spotlights, is also nearer the door, although it is over the heater and the heating vent.

There's no divider between the front and rear of the 'van for privacy - something to bear in mind if you're thinking of inviting guests who'll sleep in the front bed.

Washroom

Just as you can often find in domestic bathrooms, a pull cord by the door to the rear washroom lets you turn on the light. The wardrobe you immediately notice on the left-hand side is almost full height, even with the useful shelf set above it.

In front of it is a round toilet, with toilet-roll holder and a towel ring screwed to the side of the central basin.

There is also an excellent mirror running across much of the rear here, with a very useful pelmet shelf at its base, giving you plenty of room to display cosmetics.

There's a further enclosed cupboard under the basin, so you also have somewhere to stow cleaning fluids and toilet chemicals.

The shower cubicle on the right, with a concertina door, includes an Ecocamel shower head. The cubicle is lit by its own light and has a second roof vent, in addition to the one over the centre of the washroom.

However, there is no rack for storing shower gels and shampoos, and you only get one drainage hole in the shower, so you might need to take care if the 'van is not parked on the level.

Storage

You only get one external-access locker door on this motorhome - to the nearside underbed area.

This does mean that you could easily store outdoor furniture in here, although you do have a wheel arch to contend with.

Along with its own wheel arch, the offside underseat area has a water tank at one end, and the available space left here also includes a fair amount of ducting. However, both of these areas are easily accessed from the inside, simply by lifting up the bed slats.

The offside underseat area is completely clear. Lifting up the slats with the bed platform might be a bit of a chore, and is much easier if you remove all of the cushions beforehand.

But once the platform is fully raised, you can access every available corner here with no trouble, and it is ideal for storing bulky items, such as bedding.

The nearside underseat area is only partially taken up by the heater - there is space left over besides.

There are six overhead lockers in total in this 'van - four smaller ones over the fixed beds, and two larger ones in the front.

Each of the lockers is half-shelved, so you should have room to store a wide range of smaller items here, as well as clothing.

We did find the locker doors on the heavy side, but that does mean that they are secure, particularly as many of them are fitted with push-stops under the handle.

The little trap-door in the floor of the lounge, giving access to the leisure battery, could also provide a small amount of space, where you might possibly leave any soft shoes or similar items.

Overall, the 76-2T's 558kg payload should allow you to carry lots of kit with you..

Equipment

Possibly the most obvious example of cost-reduction in the 76-2T is to be found in the kitchen, where you get a gas-only hob, and just three burners on it.

The fridge is probably only just adequate for four, and isn't AES. But then you do get a microwave fitted with this kitchen.

The Truma Combi 4E heating system is certainly sufficient, and is very easily controlled via the panels above the door.

We were also impressed with the development of providing USB sockets in spotlights, which even now, only a few other motorhome manufacturers are offering.

The extras of the wet locker at the back and easy access to the leisure battery, with the space in the floor, add a touch of distinction at this price level.

Technical specs

LayoutRear single beds
Sleeps4
Travel seats2
MTPLM3500kg
Payload558kg
Length7.57m24′10″
Width2.5m8′2″
Height2.76m9′1″
Engine (capacity)2000
Fresh/waste water95L / 93.5L
Leisure battery80 Ah
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill, Microwave
Heating
Truma Combi heater
Security
Immobiliser

Verdict

The Advance 76-2T provides a good space for two of you to go travelling, with comfortable fixed beds and the possibility of being able to put up occasional guests - as long as they make their own way to and from wherever you are staying.

We did think the kitchen might be a little sparse for a long-term tour, however, with not particularly generous amounts of food storage space. And the on-the-road experience was not quite as smooth as we had hoped.

Despite this, there's plenty here to appeal to a couple on tour. The 'van is well-specified, given the price tag; the washroom is - as in sister 'van, the 66-2 - spacious; and storage and payload are practical.

Our test team's notes:

Claudia Dowell: "Bailey always makes sure that its motorhomes offer a decent payload, and with 558kg, this model is no exception. There's plenty of room to store bedding and the like. Storage in the kitchen isn't quite so generous, so pack light there."

Sarah Wakely: "I'm a big fan of full-width rear washrooms - as long as there's enough space in them to get dressed - and that in the 76-2T is certainly impressive. There's plenty of room to move about in here, and it's great to see a separate shower cubicle, too."

Conclusion

Pros

  • Great fixed beds
  • Sideboard with TV sockets

Cons

  • Lack of storage for dry foods in the kitchen