Bailey Unicorn Cartagena Review 2018 model

Bailey Unicorn Cartagena Review

Firstly, let me start by saying, I’m doing a Bailey Unicorn Cartagena review because I own one and use one to go on holiday in. I’m just writing this to be helpful, a lot of reviews I read before purchasing one were based on the range as a whole, rather than a specific model, all done at the time of the launch, you know the sort of thing. I found it very difficult to get the information I needed online. We obviously visited a dealer, but before doing that I like to know about things inside out. Maybe it’s just me but I have a vague distrust of sales people in general, so like to arrive pre armed with the information I need, so that visiting a dealer is just to get a real look at what I’m going to buy and of course try to negotiate a deal.

Previous Iterations of the Unicorn

Belittling Beige

We’ve always liked the layouts of Baileys, but have never owned one, or even looked inside one. Why? One word. Beige. Now, apologies if you own one of these, it’s purely a personal taste thing and also tongue in cheek, so bare with me, humour me through gritted teeth….

Now I know I’m about to be rude about someone’s pride and joy, I don’t want to be mean, but really, that’s a face only a Mother could love, isn’t it? I’m not sure what Bailey were thinking, however, they know more about caravans than me, I think.

This photo is actually a Cartagena which is the same model as we currently have. I guess like cars they all start to look their age after a few years as designs change.

bailey unicorn cartagena review 2018 model

Just to give you a comparison, here’s our Cartagena. However, I’m not comparing different caravans here, these are the same just different years and not that many. I know not everyone can buy, or indeed wants, the latest and greatest, but if no one bought new caravans, there would be no second hand ones for the rest of us to buy!

I personally think Bailey have turned a corner. They realise that a lot of their old clients have, well, how can I put this, umm, stopped caravanning and there’s a new, younger crop getting into caravanning.

To go back any further through Baileys catalogue would be mean, wouldn’t it…?

I’m sure there’s an “Old Bailey” joke somewhere. Still, I must be careful not to alienate people. Pictured here is a “Beigy Senator”. OK, I’ll get my coat. The point I’m trying to make is that caravans have evolved, they’ve come a long way. It’s almost cool to have a caravan. I think this is something most caravaners were dreading hearing. We don’t mind if it’s uncool to caravan, it means there’s more space on site!

I’m 54, I don’t know if that makes me old, but we’ve stayed away from Bailey because their target audience seemed a lot older than us. I’m from a generation that is bemused by beige. “Why it’s great, it never looks dirty”. No, I think it never looks clean, it’s like a pair of white pants you should have thrown away in 1992, no matter how much you wash them, they are never going to be white again. But maybe it’s because I’m getting older and am reaching Bailey’s target audience?! Oh Lord I hope not. I’ll just check my wardrobe for beige trousers with elasticated tops. So far, do good.

Bailey Unicorn Cartagena Review Exterior

Bailey Unicorn IV Cartagena Review side view
Bailey Unicorn Cartagena Review. Gas locker

The first thing you’ll notice is the modern looks, the next thing on this model are its twin axles, which is something we’ve never had before. The windows are tastefully tinted, which gives privacy whilst not making the interior at all dark, it’s quite the opposite in fact.

Bailey Unicorn IV Cartagena Review Solar Panel
Bailey Unicorn Cartagena Review. View from above

Have a quick look at the roof and you’ll see the roof lights as well as the solar panel, which will be gainfully unemployed unless you buy a battery, or indeed, install your old battery into it.

Bailey Unicorn Cartagena Review. Front view

Shipping Length: 7.91m (this is the length from the pointy bit of the A Frame to the rear of the caravan)
Width: 2.28m

The roof lights are smaller than our previous caravan, but the front picture window lets more than enough light in to the caravan.

The front has no locker, so no door to open. What? I hear you scream. I have so much stuff in my front locker, I can’t possibly do without it. What are Bailey thinking, no front locker and the beige has gone, I’m off to Swift…
Let me stop you right there, maybe you need to think outside the box, or in this case outside the locker. What do you have in your front locker? Here’s my list:

No front locker? Where do they go?
  1. Gas bottle
  2. Waste carrier
  3. Ramps
  4. Toilet cleaner etc
  5. Electric hookup cable
  6. TV Aerial cable

Where do I put it all now?

  1. Gas locker near middle of caravan

    Gas bottle
    The gas bottle now has its own cupboard which sits as close to the centre of the caravan as they can get it. It’s large enough for 2 * 6kg bottles. If you only carry one 6kg bottle you have the rest of the cupboard for storage, as long as you don’t obstruct the vents on the floor, which I stupidly did on our first trip…

  2. Waste Carrier
    For the past few years I’ve carried around a wedge shaped waste hog. Bailey give you a black waste container with red caps, it’s square (rectangular) and makes it easy to store. I put it in the under bed locker, accessed from the outside of the caravan.
  3. Ramps
    I carry these in case I need to level the caravan. I might need to rethink this as I now have a twin axle. Again these go in the under bed locker.
  4. Toilet cleaner etc
    I now store these in the gas locker.
  5. Electric hookup cable
    Gas locker
  6. TV Aerial Cable
    Under bed locker.

In theory this means the caravan will be more stable as you don’t want to put too much in the front. Generally speaking I don’t like the idea of manufactures taking away something I like “for my own good” however, in this instance I’m happy to go along with it. But they don’t always know best, I’m just saying…What it actually does is give you larger front bench seat as they do away with the front bulkhead and the seats can go further forward (or back?)

I assume now we can’t ram everything in the front locker it makes the task of weighing the “nose” redundant? I don’t have anything in the front, so no need to weigh?

Bailey Unicorn Cartagena Review External Storage Lockers

Both external lockers are on the same side as the door. The rear one is also accessible from the lift up bed, the front one is also accessible from the front root seat.

Both front and rear lockers are pictured here.

Both are a good size. The rear one takes the whole space of a double bed. The nearest half to the locker door has a large plastic “tray” fitted, which is good for putting wet things on. The front one can hold 3 collapsable baskets as you can see in the photo.

Three collapsable baskets

Our previous van was a Sterling Eccles Ruby, it was a single axle. I can get all the stuff we normally pack, chairs, tables etc in the lockers. Although there isn’t a front locker, with the gas locker and the larger front locker shown to the right, there’s at least the same amount of space.

Bailey Unicorn Cartagena Review Security

As standard the Bailey Unicorn IV Cartagena comes fitted with all the security you could need, well almost.

There’s a Tracker, with 3 months free subscription, the alarm is part of the Tracker system which is a category 7. I found the following information regarding Tracker subscriptions, which might be out of date when you read this, but gives you an idea, it’s not cheap!

Subscription options:

  • Yearly subscription £169
  • 2 Year £299
  • 3 Year £389
  • 4 Year £479
  • 5 Year £569

The caravan comes with two axle wheel locks. I also fit a hitch lock, which was not supplied by Bailey.

Bailey Unicorn IV Cartagena Review Internal

I’ve now uploaded a video to our YouTube channel giving a warts and all guide to the interior of our Cartagena. There are two (quite lengthy) videos, one covering the front and the other the back, including how the traverse bed works. Now don’t be mean, it’s pretty much the first “talky” video I’ve done, so go easy on me.

Conclusions

Although the Cartagena is not inexpensive (double negative?), I believe it is value for money. There’s a lot of caravan and it really has the feel of a quality product. The Alde heating is great, the blinds are better quality than our previous van, the fridge is huge, we love the traverse bed with daytime setting. The front bench seats are a lot bigger than our previous van. The wash room is smaller though, but it’s useable, we generally only use it one at a time 🙂

With the tracker, axle locks, jack with chassis fitted mount point, solar panel, alde heating it’s a really well thought out package and there’s no need to buy options, well actually I think there’s only one and that’s matching bedding (matches the curtains I think), which is ridiculously expensive, maybe £250? Maybe you can get a different upholstery on the seats as well.

Bailey do different ranges to cover all tastes and budgets. You can get this caravan cheaper from another range, it’s all about personal taste and of course how much you’re willing to spend. I could write a post justifying why we went for the “top of the range”, but that would be boring and unnecessary. You could probably get pretty much the same caravan for maybe £4,000 less without Alde heating, solar panels and minor exterior differences, it’s your choice at the end of the day. We like those “extras” and feel happy paying the extra for them.

It was almost impossible to get any sort of discount, well, none to speak of anyway. It actually put me off originally as with car manufacturers you can obtain 10% discount pretty easily even on prestige cars. However, Bailey were doing a special offer which included a motor mover, so in the end we managed some kind of discount…

The insurance was more expensive than our single axle, but I went for a “new for old” policy, rather than market value, which I think it what added the extra.

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