Please note, due to the weight of this Motorhome you will require a category C1 or C1E UK Drivers License.
|Fresh/waste water||100L / 100L|
|Leisure battery||105 Ah|
|Gas tank size||10kg|
|Number of gas tank compartments||2|
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas with electric hot plate, Combined Oven/Grill, Microwave
“The UK’s first drop-down-bed low-profit van”
The Bailey Approach was first launched in the UK motorhome market back in 2011 with the Approach SE coach built. When introduced over 5 years ago the industry was not prepared for well this motorhome would do, it took the market by storm and shook up the status quo of what was expected from a motorhome with its unique price point – this model comes with a price that was better seen in mid/entry level models but the specifications of a higher end motorhome.
The Bailey Approach Autograph came months ahead of the Compacts, they are alike for like replacement for the SEs. The model includes higher equipment levels and includes Alde wet heating, the new chassis and design allows for double floor sections, the new exciting layouts allowed for the Approaches most exciting feature, the UK’s first drop-down-bed low-profile.
The Bailey has changed the Autograph range habitation molding to address the Approach SE’s biggest shortcoming – it’s looks. The new Bailey now comes with with a smoothed out softer corner, bringing this model up to date.
This model now includes a blue-white for the body, moving away from the creamy white on the SE. Graphite has been used to replace the more traditional silver. The bottom line is that the Bailey motorhome has been made more modern, contemporary, more visually appealing.
With the exterior improved, so has the interior. Worktops have been improved with a glossy finish and curvy rather than the sharper-edge in previous models, a splash of cream has been introduced on the locker doors, there is a luxurious new leather-look upholstery option.
The Bailey 765 is 2.79m tall, with more internal head room, up to 2.1m. There has been significant changes to the Al-Ko chassis, a lowering, that has caused this.
On the road
The Bailey 765 introduced a special Al-Ko chassis rather than the standard-issue boxer structure, it allows for an excellent drive on the wide open road for large motorhomes.
The engine is a single choice, Peugeot’s mid-range 128 bhp. It has enough about it to move the Approach Autograph 765 comfortably with laboring the motorhome. It’s important to note that the 765 comes with a 3850kg MTPLM, for driver’s who took their test after 1997 will need to upgrade their licenses. This makes sense, though, when you consider that this is a six-berth with lots of heavy equipment installed.
Lounging & dining
The Bailey Approach Autograph 765 has two separate lounging areas – the U-shaped rear lounge and the dinette just rear of the cab seats. This makes it perfect for a family of six, since parents and kids can lounge in separate areas.
Thanks to the extra-wide habitation body, there’s lots of room in both lounges. The rear lounge is especially palatial, which is important, because it’s the only area in which all six occupants can sit at the same time, making it the default dining spot. It suffers from the same setbacks as any other U-shaped lounge – those seated in the middle will have to annoy everyone else if they want to get up mid-meal, for example – but besides these inevitable compromises, it’s pretty much perfect.
The kitchen on the Bailey 765 is highly rated, with a good amount of space and a well-equipped area. The worktop space maintains the quality of the Autograph SE, a glossier dark grey finish with cream-coloured trim.
This motorhome also has had several equipment upgrades. The sink now comes with a larger, circular unit for use with a chopping board and drain cover. Customers expressed a preference for a circular sink over a rectangular one. A Thetford unit is now installed for a cooker, with a built-in oven and grill, three gas burners and an electric hotplate. A microwave oven comes as standard.
The Bailey launched in the UK with the first drop-down-bed low-profile, there was apprension over this there was an expectation that it would be a transverse double bed suspened over the lounge across the width of the motorhome, it wasn’t. Instead, they have positioned the drop-down bed longitudinally, taking up half of the vehicle width.
This makes the 765 not just a UK first, but a European first: the only transverse drop-down-bed low-profile. The bed is lowered electrically, controlled by a dedicated switch near the control panel. As is usual for electric drop-down beds, there’s a safety cut-off in the form of a cylindrical key, to ensure that the bed never lowers by accident. It’s a spacious and very comfortable bed, equipped with excellent Froli plastic bedsprings. However, it’s only accessible via a ladder, since it lowers about halfway down the height of the interior in order to retain sufficient headroom for the dinette bed underneath it.
The dinette bed, while comfortable and easy to make up, is probably the least appealing set of berths in this ’van. The lumpy cushions – which are contoured to be more comfortable in travelling-seat mode – and the relative lack of headroom due to the bed above both eat into its appeal. However, taken on its own merits, it’s actually a perfectly good bed, and better than most dinette beds we’ve encountered.
The rear lounge bed is the most spacious in this ’van, and the one most likely to be occupied by grown-ups. It’s comfortable and very easy to put together: just slide out the slatted base extension from between the lounge seats and reposition the cushions. It’s only special in one respect – its size. The extra-wide habitation body has allowed Bailey to make this bed into a massive 2.2m x 1.79m.
Midships washrooms are tough to get right, and they often suffer from a lack of space, as well as a confusing array of swinging panels and flimsy curtains designed to cordon off the shower area from the toilet.
Bailey’s designers have managed to avoid this, while ensuring that the washroom doesn’t take up too much space. They’ve done it by making the washroom taper towards the rear of the ’van, so that the central corridor widens slightly as it approaches the rear lounge.
The wider, front-most portion of the washroom is dedicated to the toilet, while the narrower rear section houses a separate shower cubicle. Intriguingly, the sink is located in the shower cubicle, which is a clever space-saving solution – although it does mean that you’ll often have to get your feet wet to use it.
Six-berths always pose storage challenges, so it’s great to see that Bailey has put a lot of thought into the 765’s cargo space.
The new chassis design allows for double floor sections across certain portions of the ’van, and while these have been used mainly to house facilities, some of it is devoted to storage. The best example of this is the locker that runs under the rear lounge, which is accessible either from inside the ’van, or from outside via a locker door built into the rear panel.
By housing many of the facilities between the floors, Bailey’s designers have freed space for storage within the habitation. This is most noticeable under the dinette and rear lounge seating, both of which offer loads of space, although the space under the dinette seating is obstructed by the seat-belt frame.
The slatted seat bases all lift up on gas struts, which is an excellent touch, although we found that whenever we absent-mindedly grabbed hold of the bases by their slats and not their frames, we ended up wrenching the struts free from their plastic housings.
Bailey has made high kit levels one of its trademark selling points, and in pushing the Autograph range upmarket from the SEs, it has worked to make the specification even better.
As standard, these ’vans now include dual-fuel Alde Hydronic Compact 310 wet heating with programmable timing. While Bailey isn’t the first UK manufacturer to offer Alde heating – Elddis and Swift beat it to the punch by a couple of years – it’s the first one to offer the combination of wet heating, Al-Ko chassis, double-floor sections and wood-free sidewall construction in a single range. Thanks to the Al-Ko chassis and the 3850kg MTPLM, payload is a respectable 630kg.
The new double-floor design has allowed Bailey to improve the configuration of its facilities, particularly the plumbing and electrics. Heat and water are now carried through the vehicle without obstructing storage spaces, and even the leisure battery – now upgraded to a 105Ah unit – gets a special storage cubby under the dinette floor. Thoughtfully, Bailey has built in space for a second battery here (although you only get one battery as standard).
The Approach Autograph 765 is very well equipped, but there is a downside: in order to improve its economies of scale, Bailey doesn’t offer very many options. You can have a matching bedding set and upgraded leather-look upholstery, but that’s about it.
Bailey has taken a good range and made it even better, and the innovative Approach Autograph 765 is a worthy flagship. The competition simply doesn’t offer as much for the price. Comparable models from Swift’s Bolero range and the Elddis Aspire range costs considerably more than £50,000, while the 765 stays comfortably under that mark. And these competing ’vans aren’t even that comparable, since they won’t sleep six.
Bailey hasn’t just made the UK’s first drop-down-bed motorhome, it has made one of the best drop-down-bed motorhomes in Europe.