Niall HamptonSee other motorhome reviews written by Niall Hampton
Striking looks mark out the new Autograph range of Bailey motorhomes and, with its luxurious layout, is this 79-4 the ultimate option for touring couples?
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).
Bailey’s Alu-Tech construction method is free of external fixing points, and therefore potential pathways for water ingress.
Strength and robustness comes from sandwich panels faced with GRP housed in an interlocking aluminium framework. The downside is that this manner of construction results in habitation areas with a boxy exterior look.
The colour theme continues with the brilliant-white cab and a rear panel that nods towards that of expensive German-built ’vans. With slimline horizontal road lights, it’s quite a departure for Bailey.
On the road
Bailey has opted for a higher power output, of 160bhp, which is definitely noticeable. The previous 2.2-litre 130bhp unit was quite nippy, but its successor is a real step up, especially so on a model with an MTPLM of 3850kg, such as the 79-4.
Cabs are mated to an ultra-low Al-Ko AMC chassis, so the 79-4 handles well, but there is a tendency to feel every bump when covering poor-quality roads.
The B-pillars are quite chunky, so drivers will need to take care when approaching junctions, and the 79-4’s large rear overhang will also require caution on ferry ramps.
Lounging & dining
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Fresh/waste water||93.5L / 93.5L|
|Leisure battery||95 Ah|
|Gas tank size||6kg|
|Number of gas tank compartments||2|
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.
And to see other Bailey motorhomes for sale, click here.
- 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