Adria caravans have been around for a number of years in Australia and, in the world of imports, that is not a bad claim at all. Since Talvor/Apollo became the official importers, the Adria range has not only been expanded but has also had quite a substantial makeover.
A good example of this is the Altea 402PH model. A while ago, we reviewed the 432PX and while the layout is similar, except for the kitchen being along the nearside wall, there have been quite a few decor changes.
LAYOUT & DESIGN
Included in the front moulding is a conventional boot, which is large enough for two gas cylinders, a spare wheel and space for some of the essential caravanning accessories. At the front offside corner is a bin containing both a 100Ah battery and the power cord connection. The standard European socket has been left in place but the necessary power lead with appropriate plug is supplied with the van.
Around the van, the windows are the familiar double-glazed, acrylic, top-hinged style, and there’s a stable door, a style favoured by British and other European manufacturers. While it does offer the convenience of just having the top half open, it’s not very secure.
This Altea van has a very compact layout inside. It starts with the kitchen bench, which shares the rear wall with the cafe-style dinette in the offside corner. Taking all the rest of the offside wall and much of the front wall area is the double bed. That leaves just enough room in the opposite front corner for a small bathroom. In between that and the entry door is cupboard space, along with the fridge, which is adjacent to the door.
BEDROOM & STORAGE
Taking up all the front of the van are the bed and bathroom. Measuring 1.98x1.47m (6ft 6in x 4ft 7in), the bed is a corner design, with the head wider than the foot of the bed to allow for access. The under-bed storage, part of which is taken up by the Truma Saphir ducted air-conditioner unit, can be accessed by lifting the inner half of the bed base. Above the head of the bed are a couple of lockers and above the foot is a small wardrobe, a clever idea that effectively uses space that otherwise would not be used.
Given the Altea 402PH has an internal width of just 2.17m (7ft 2in) and the cafe-style dinette has a necessary width of 1.05m (3ft 3in), it doesn’t leave much space for a kitchen bench. However, there are some saving graces. Firstly, in the form of a relatively new style of sink and three-burner cooktop, which is designed in an L shape, resulting in the cooktop being set along the rear of the bench, allowing for a moderate amount of benchtop and washing up space.
Additionally, Adria has opted for a couple of large drawers under the benchtop, the top one with a cutlery tray. Together with the overhead lockers and the wire basket pantry on the other side of the doorway next to the fridge, this gives a good, usable amount of storage space. Above the fridge, the microwave oven offers the usual second source of cooking.
At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be a powerpoint for the kitchen bench but it’s actually located in the panel below the rear dinette seat. It’s not the ideal position but it’s better than nothing, given the wall structure.
In a van this size, the designers need to be a little creative with the space. Measuring 1.89x1.05m (6ft 2in x 3ft 3in), the dinette also folds down into a small bed if needed. Both the under-seat areas have water tanks installed, which results in the loss of internal storage space but also means there are no low-hanging tanks under the chassis.
Across the way, the air space between the wire basket pantry and the shelves above is used as a mounting point for the flatscreen TV as well as a power point, TV antenna connection and light switches.
Caravan bathrooms, especially smaller ones, don’t always look particularly stylish. However, this one isn’t too bad. It comes with a bench-style cassette toilet, above which is a fold-out wash basin and shaving cabinet. It’s all done with mirrors (literally), which, along with the window, does much for the perception of space. There is also a variable height, flexible hose shower. Outside the bathroom, the wall is taken up by a shelved cupboard. Narrow at the front and wider to the rear it is another effective use of the available space.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This Adria Altea is a little different to the usual Australian design, but that is not surprising given where it comes from. The 402PH is not a big van and, therefore, does have a few compromises. However, they are well and truly overcome by the assets this van has to offer.
It’s certainly a lightweight towing package and is designed in a way that not only uses space effectively but also makes this a very liveable caravan.
- Small van with plenty of potential
- Internal decor
- Effective use of space
- Lightweight towing prospect
- Plenty of internal cupboard space
I would have liked...
- Window screens that lift up, not down
- Kitchen powerpoint in better location
- Security door fitting
The full test appears in Caravan World #537 May 2015.