The entry level Bailey Orion range - quirky or a design classic in the making?
With the prospect of a warm weekend the testing of Bailey’s Orion looked promising, so for our test we decided a trip to the Lakes looked a good idea.
We booked onto Bardsea Leisure’s caravan park, based just outside Ulverston - famous for its Stan Laurel’s birthplace. Bardsea Leisure are a dealership selling used and new Swift and Bailey caravans. There is a superb accessory shop and five star service bays (which are also open at weekends too). The park is next to the sales area, where we booked onto one of the park’s super pitches. Bardsea must also have the best caravan park loos in the UK too! So sun shining, excellent park and friendly staff we set about living in Bailey’s latest offering.
Baileys Orion is the new Bailey Ranger right? Well not quite. It sort of sits between the defunct Bailey Series 6 Ranger and Bailey GT60. It comes with a spec such as CD/radio, microwave, spark ignition combined grill/oven, plus spare wheel and carrier and AKS hitch. A Status 530 aerial is also fitted. Bailey have chosen the Whale floor mounted space heater system which worked well on our test (though we did pick one of the best weekends in April, in recent times). In the Auto-Sleeper previously, we found the Whale did struggle to keep the warmth. In the Bailey Orion, with its more compact size, it should be fine.
So the Orion is Bailey’s entry level range and one which has some distinct features. The front is “locker less” while the rear end has a radius roof that resembles the Avondale Perles caravan (from the mid 1980’s). Its retro and does seem to work. Some on-lookers were a little put off by the Orion’s profile (GRP sides, roof and front and rear ends). The roof is one piece with, of course, Bailey adopting their own construction methods. They have pulled a rabbit out of the hat by using GRP - a material used by Swift Group in the Abbey range. It has turned well, with a very good finish and few blemishes.
The Al-Ko chassis comes with shock-absorbers giving the Bailey Orion a stable tow behind our Skoda Yeti 4x4 petrol test car (a great tug for the Orion). Alloy wheels are standard but Bailey don’t fit a front locker. Maybe new caravanners aren’t going to miss it, but me – well I definitely miss not having one! Gas on the Orion is stored on the nearside (a trick used by A.B.I and Avondale Caravans some years ago).