2013 Bailey Unicorn Madrid (LOCATION IPSWICH)
Side dinette which converts to bunk beds, Berth 4, Axle Single Axle, Kerb Weight 1329kg, Gross Weight 1484kg, Internal Length 17ft 9, External Length 23ft 3, Width 7ft 6 Gas/Electric Alde Central Heating, Drop In Carpets, Gas/Electric Hot Water, CD/Radio Stereo, AL-KO Trailer Control System, C.R.I.S Security Marked, Flyscreen Blinds, Microwave, Cassette Toilet, Thermostatic Oven, AL-KO Wheel Lock Receiver, Battery Charger, Hitch Stabiliser, Gas/12v/240v Fridge/Freezer, Exterior 240v Socket, BBQ Point, Porch Awning (used once), Shower has never been used.
The shower is circular, with two doors that slide smoothly around a track to meet in the centre; you will notice that change. More importantly, though, is a small feature that’s less obvious: the shower tray has two drain holes, so if your caravan is pitched on a slight slope and you haven’t been able to get it perfectly level, the water is certain to drain away. The shower rose is mounted on a dark grey feature that incorporates a soap tray, a shelf for shampoo bottles and a towel rail. Evidence of the Alde heating system is in the shower room – there’s a heated towel rail alongside the shower. There’s a linen cabinet that’s a deep box with a hinged top lid; inside, a linen bag is suspended on hooks. The wardrobe’s in the shower room, making this a true dressing area; it’s in the front offside corner. Full hanging depth plus two giant shelf spaces make this corner unit a great, well-designed wardrobe. There’s a triangular cabinet in the offside corner of the shower room and a cabinet under the washbasin. There’s ample floor space in here – and that’s a clue to the flexibility of this layout; if you have a young family you’ll need a lot of showering dressing space so that parents and toddlers can carry out the whole showering processes without drying off and dressing in the living area. Spacious though it is, the Madrid’s shower room is actually 24cm shorter than those in previous models. That difference has made a major contribution to a weight saving of a staggering 111kg compared with the previous model. But even the seasoned-caravan observers Caravan Buyer test team didn’t notice the difference!
Family sleeping accommodation comes in the form of the offside, two-seater dining area that converts to bunks. The seating upholstery is in two sections, joined together; at night, when it converts into a mattress, you fold them out, making a mattress half the thickness of the seating depth. The bunk rises from the wall, in the usual pull-up manner. This type of bunk is always a bit of a fiddle to manipulate – but the upside is that you don’t have permanent bunks to intrude on living space. Two curtains track around the bunks to provide night-time privacy. The base of the double bed that makes up in the lounge pulls out from under the offside settee. Importantly, the settees are long enough to make single beds, as an alternative – a key element in the versatility of the Madrid.
In addition to the superb shower room storage, the Madrid has three deep lockers over the dining area plus six more above the lounge. The nearside under-settee locker has a full-width drop-down hatch; the opening on the offside one is shorter to allow space for the vertical supports for the bed base – but access here is nonetheless reasonably easy; pulling a duvet out of here would not be difficult. Sleeping bags and pillows for the bunk occupants would easily go into the lockers under the seats here; access is by lifting up the slatted tops – and, because the upholstery is lightweight here, you can do this without removing the seat bases. The storage subject goes on, into a tall cabinet that forms a division between the dining area and the lounge. The freestanding table is stored in here and there are three deep shelf spaces alongside it.
It’s when you assess dining options that you begin to realise the wide appeal of this caravan. We’ve spoken about families and bunks and big shower rooms – but this is a layout that also has strong couple-appeal. In this mode, you have a permanent dining area on the offside. You’ve also got a four-seater table for the lounge, of course. And the third dining option is new for 2013. The centre-front triple drawer unit would traditionally jut out in the lounge, intruding on floor space. In the Madrid it doesn’t. It’s integral with a deep windowstill. A table – just large enough for snacks and plenty large enough for coffee-time – pulls out from the windowsill, above the drawers. Compared with previous Unicorns, though, we have to say it’s not as practical in use as a table for two, because this table isn’t flush with the windowsill. So the usable area is on two levels.
The windowsill is amply wide enough to accommodate the 18.5-inch Avtex television and DVD player that comes with the caravan; connection points are on the nearside wall close to the sill. A second set of TV points is on the side of the cabinet dividing the lounge from the dining area, alongside two mains sockets. Placing the TV here enables you to view it from either the dining seating or the lounge – another pointer to the flexibility of the Madrid. Those big long settees are superb for feet-up lounging, although some will say the front corner sections are too low for good shoulder support. There’s an option, though; you can put your back against the rear end of the settees (that’s the end of the kitchen on one side and the table cabinet on the other). Four very big, thick scatter cushions provide support for you to get cosy here. The radio-CD unit is mounted on the nearside, forward of the lockers and above one of the wide, deep shelves that curves from the locker line to the top of the side front windows. It’s the skylight that makes the lounge special, though, letting in much more light than a conventional window. There’s a roof light over the lounge, too – and it’s surrounded by four strips of LEDs, set into a fawn, shiny acrylic plinth. Three bright LED clusters are in the ceiling between the skylight and the roof light. So, bright by day and bright by night…
There’s plenty of light in the kitchen, too. Two LED clusters are set into the underside of the top cabinets and four more are in the roof. Bailey has introduced dual fuel hobs for the first time for 2013. There’s a triangular surface to the left of the hob (and oven and grill). A big, square surface is between the hob and the really interesting part of this kitchen. That’s the raised, circular sink unit, with space behind the sink for the plastic clip-on drainer. You can stand directly in front of the sink to wash up, or slightly to the side, which means you won’t obstruct the corridor. The sink cover has a cutaway section; if you place this directly under the tap, you can wash salads, for example, while still keeping the cover in place to act as extra surface space. The sink cover and draining board store away in a compartment below the sink, within the circular cupboard. This cabinet has three shelves; the centre one is fitted for cutlery. On the rear end of the kitchen, a second cabinet gives you three large shelves – and of course there are cabinets above. Add in the triple shelf offering in the table store unit opposite and we think the Madrid’s kitchen storage is more than sufficient for the task of catering for four.
It didn’t take us long to establish that the Madrid’s towing characteristics were up there with the best of single-axle caravans. ATC is present (that’s the electronic stability control that detects and corrects the first signs of a sway developing). Behind our Kia Sorento it handled positively on corners and stably on straights.