Nigel DonnellySee other Blog articles filed in ‘Our man in the industry’ written by Nigel Donnelly
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF the new Venus budget, lightweight four-model range, debuting at the Motorhome, Caravan and Camping Show in London, are good.
Venus is an entry-level offering from the makers of Lunar caravans
Typical of parent company Lunar's work, weights are low. I estimate they have an advantage of between 50kg and 100kg on a spec-for-spec basis against the established competition in the sector. Prices are claimed to be the most affordable but, again spec-for-spec, I think that is hard to prove conclusively.
The exterior has a plain but pleasing new shape, quite different to the mainstream Lunars. I would only take issue with the moulded rear light panel; a more minimal one could have saved weight and looked more elegant. Body width, at 2.09m overall, is narrow by today’s standards – Bailey’s Orions are 2.19m and Swift Group’s Sprites 2.23m. That’s 4 inches and 5½inches in old money, but it’s not immediately noticeable inside, perhaps due to the light shade of woodgrain and cushion fabric.
Front end treatments are very different from other Lunar products
Significantly, Lunar have chosen the compact Whale heating system, pioneered by Elddis in their Xplore range. This does not have the power of the established Truma system but is lighter and gives designers more freedom with interior layouts. Lunar have used this to particular advantage in the Venus 490/4 where the wardrobe and fridge unit are combined to create space around the fixed bed in the narrower body shell.
We were surprised to see no family layouts in a range of this type, but Lunar Sales Director, Martin Henderson, explained, “Most of our current customers are couples in the 55-plus age group. We feel confident about that market sector and know which layouts work, so we have created compact versions for the Venus launch and may consider family models later.”
The test for the Venus range will be whether it can attract two-berth buyers away from higher specification new and used models. If light weights are as important as the industry believes, Venus could be a winner.