Best Aussie Vans Finalist 2015 Bailey Rangefinder Astro Test Review
The Bailey Rangefinder Astro is a Brit-Aussie hybrid showcasing the best of both worlds.
Spruiked as a couples’ retreat, the Bailey Rangefinder Astro may be a Brit-Aussie hybrid, but it’s more than just an adopted Aussie. The Astro is a member of the Rangefinder series – an all-new Australian designed and built lightweight caravan range.
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION
Similar to their British counterparts, these new models are lightweight and feature Bailey’s patented Alu-Tech construction system, with a 10-year body shell warranty and exceptional thermal insulation qualities. The components of Bailey’s patented Alu-Tech body shell construction system are manufactured at Bailey of Bristol and then shipped to Australia for building on to a locally designed and manufactured DuraGal steel chassis.
With a Tare weight of 1800kg and a huge 500kg payload, the Astro can be towed by a range of larger Australian family cars and mid-size 4WD vehicles, making it an ideal and economical travelling companion to explore many parts of the country. With fuel prices only set to rise and cars becoming increasingly lighter and smaller, lightweight caravans just make sense. They give you access to a much wider range of tow vehicles, will cost you less to take on your travels, and they are safer to tow.
The Astro we had at BAV was a prototype and, consequently, the interior didn’t set the world on fire. It was modern and contemporary but lacked the superior refinement Bailey has become renowned for. However, we’re assured that will be attended to on future production models. And due to the van’s length, the rear ensuite is a little tight to navigate with quite a small vanity.
On the flip side, the cabinetry has a flush fit and the van is comfortable and inviting. The top-loading washing machine in the ensuite is well concealed and the carbon monoxide alarm is a safety plus.
I thought the Glacier Fusion furniture and ‘Aqua Tangerine’ Warwick upholstery pack looked classy, and the kitchen a very practical layout. The Astro comprises the standard fare in terms of mod cons; it’s not overly laden with features, but the bedroom and lounge are certainly adequate.
The Astro has a smooth and modern exterior, and the large, curved front window looks good. I also liked the plastic protector at the front and rear, which is easy and cheap to replace.
The Astro also carries Bailey’s 10-year water ingress warranty, extending to any structural degradation to the body shell that arises as a result of water ingress through permanently sealed seams or joints.
HITS & MISSES
- Alu-Tech technology
- Curved front window
- One-piece fibreglass floor
- Prototype interior needs refining
- Basic ensuite
- Soft-close locker doors difficult to open
BAILEY RANGEFINDER ASTRO SPECS
Weights and measures
- Overall length 7.7m (25ft 3in)
- External body length 6.15m (20ft 2in)
- External body width 2.49m (8ft 2in)
- Travel height 2.88m (9ft 5in)
- Internal height 1.96m (6ft 5in)
- Tare 1800kg
- ATM 2300kg
- Ball weight 95kg
- Frame Alu-Tech structural interlocking aluminium extrusion
- Cladding Fibreglass
- Chassis Austrail DuraGal steel
- Suspension Seven-leaf roller-rocker
- Brakes 10in electric
- Wheels 15in alloy with 205/70R15 tyres
- Battery 100Ah AGM
- Water 2x105L
- Solar No
- Air-conditioner Dometic FreshJet 3200
- Gas 2x9kg
- Sway control Optional Al-Ko ESC or Dexter SC
- Cooking Four-burner cooktop and grill
- Fridge Thetford 185L three-way fridge-freezer
- Microwave 900W
- Toilet Thetford cassette with ceramic bowl
- Shower Fibreglass
- Lighting 12V LED
- Hot water 23L Atwood gas/electric
Price as shown
- $59,990 (on-road, Vic)
The full test appears in Caravan World #545 January 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!