Mike Le Caplain

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Check out the two new models from Coachman Caravans as the British brand dares to be different and loses weight for 2016 – Mike Le Caplain has the story

Lower weights – and a couple of big surprises – are the headline stories from the team at Coachman Caravans for the 2016 season.

On the face of it, it is very much a case of evolution, not revolution at Coachman. The line-up remains the same as per 2015, kicking off with Vision and progressing through Pastiche and VIP all the way up to the super-opulent Laser. Only one model – the six-berth Vision 640 – has been dropped for the new season.

Visually, the biggest differences concern the switch from red to blue graphics and, on Vision and Pastiche, the adoption of body-coloured rear light surrounds.

Dig a little deeper, however, and it turns out that Coachman has quite a lot to shout about. For one thing, the company has added two new models to the line-up (more on which shortly). And for another, Coachman has adopted a new construction method (dubbed ‘ABC’) which has seen weights slashed relative to their 2015 counterparts – by up to 50kg on VIP and Laser, and as much as 70kg in the case of the Vision 575. The upshot of this is that no 2016 Vision weighs more than 1500kg all in, while all Pastiches now duck beneath the 1535kg MTPLM barrier, despite now having Alde heating fitted as standard.

‘ABC’, incidentally (which stands for ‘Advanced Bonded Construction) is Coachman’s version of the Swift Group’s SMART HT or The Explorer Group’s SoLiD, and while it doesn’t entirely banish wood from the caravan’s construction, it does reduce it significantly.

And so to those two new models. The first is an addition to the Vision range. The new 570 sits between the twin single bed 565 and transverse island bed 575 and is, Coachman says, a concerted effort to attract new and younger family buyers into its showrooms. Its layout certainly reflects this, sporting as it does a pair of large parallel dinettes (one front, one rear), the rear of which comes with a nearside cantilever folding bunk as standard and the option of a second directly opposite.

In standard guise, then, the new 570 can sleep five, with the option of a sixth berth if required. Better still, the washroom – which is often something of a compromised all-in-one affair with this sort of layout – has a proper separate shower.

If there’s a downside to this caravan, it’s that the prominent central rear wardrobe does rather hinder access to the rearmost seats (though the nifty slide-out table is a clever touch). And it does seem a shame that the rear settees can only be used as single beds, with no option of a double.

The headline story to emerge from Coachman Caravans for 2016, however, has to be the amazing new Pastiche 470, which certainly raised a lot of eyebrows during the launch, and is likely to be a big visitor draw at the coming shows. Like all of its model siblings, it comes with Alde central heating, but unlike any other UK caravan on the market that we know of, it sports a fixed transverse forward double bed.

This is quite a familiar layout on the continental market, but with the possible exception of the short-lived ABI Eivissa, way back in the day, we reckon this is the first time a UK manufacturer has dabbled with such a daring layout.

There are clear drawbacks to this layout, not least of which is the complete absence of any lounge settees – there’s just a side dinette – but this is unlikely to be seen as a volume seller. In fact, we think it will find particular favour among the lucky souls who spend their winters sunning themselves in Spain or Portugal for months on end. Fit a decent-sized awning, and the lack of settees is simply not an issue. But there’s still somewhere to have breakfast, the kitchen is a good size and the end washroom is positively palatial.

Factor in the whizz-bang new heating, and an MTPLM of just 1295kg, and suddenly the luxury of a long-term fixed-bed caravan is within the financial and tow car reach of a whole new swathe of caravanners.

The 2016 Coachman range at a glance

2016 Coachman Vision range

Coachman's entry-level line-up is strong (and pricey) enough to be considered 'mid-market'. Lighter for 2016, the Vision range includes the new family-friendly five-berth Vision 570.

  • Coachman Vision 380 2 berths, front lounge, rear offside corner washroom, rear kitchen, MTPLM 1180kg, £15,995.
  • Coachman Vision 450 2 berths, front lounge, offside central kitchen, full width end washroom, MTPLM 1285kg, £16,995.
  • Coachman Vision 520 4 berths, front lounge, nearside central kitchen, full width end washroom, MTPLM 1430kg, £18,145.
  • Coachman Vision 560 4 berths, front lounge, offside central kitchen, fixed double bed, full width end washroom, MTPLM 1475kg, £18,695.
  • Coachman Vision 565 4 berths, front lounge, offside central kitchen, fixed twin single beds, full width end washroom, MTPLM 1485kg, £18,795.
  • Coachman Vision 570 5 berths, front and rear lounges, offside central washroom and nearside central kitchen, MTPLM 1525kg, £18,895.
  • Coachman Vision 575 4 berths, front lounge, transverse island double bed, full end washroom, MTPLM 1470kg, £18,895.
  • Coachman Vision 580 5 berths, front lounge, nearside central kitchen, offside rear corner washroom, nearside rear fixed bunk beds, MTPLM 1510kg, £18,795.

2016 Coachman Pastiche range

The enduring Coachman Pastiche range has also been on a weight-loss plan, and the range has been added to with the innovative front-fixed-bed 2016 Coachman Pastiche 470.

  • Coachman Pastiche 460 2 berths, front lounge, offside central kitchen, full width end washroom, MTPLM 1325kg, £19,895.
  • Coachman Pastiche 470 2 berths, front transverse fixed double bed, nearside central kitchen, full width end washroom, MTPLM 1295kg, £19,895.
  • Coachman Pastiche 520 4 berths, front lounge, nearside central kitchen, full width end washroom, MTPLM 1465kg, £21,295.
  • Coachman Pastiche 560 4 berths, 4 berths, front lounge, offside central kitchen, fixed double bed, full width end washroom, MTPLM 1520kg, £21,545.
  • Coachman Pastiche 565 4 berths, 4 berths, front lounge, offside central kitchen, fixed twin single beds, full width end washroom, MTPLM 1535kg, £21,645.
  • Coachman Pastiche 575 4 berths, front lounge, transverse island double bed, full end washroom, MTPLM 1510kg, £21,745.


2016 Coachman VIP range

No new layouts for the 2016 Coachman VIP range, but lower weights make them easier to tow and gold-themed accents add to the luxury feel inside.

  • Coachman VIP 460 2 berths, front lounge, offside central kitchen, full width end washroom, MTPLM 1415kg, £22,495.
  • Coachman VIP 520 4 berths, front lounge, nearside central kitchen, full width end washroom, MTPLM 1550kg, £23,995.
  • Coachman VIP 545 4 berths, front lounge, offside central kitchen, rear fixed island bed, MTPLM 1635kg, £24,325.
  • Coachman VIP 560 4 berths, front lounge, offside central kitchen, full width end washroom, MTPLM 1600kg, £24,325.
  • Coachman VIP 565 4 berths, front lounge, offside central kitchen, fixed twin single beds, full width end washroom, MTPLM 1630kg, £24,325.
  • Coachman VIP 575 4 berths, front lounge, offside central kitchen, fixed transverse double island bed, full width end washroom, MTPLM 1615kg, £24,425.

2016 Coachman Laser range

For 2016 the new Coachman Laser 650, with longitudinal island rear bed, features a nifty walk-through centre washroom; the Coachman Laser 620 offers vast interior space.

  • Coachman Laser 620 Twin-axle 4 berths, front lounge, nearside central kitchen, full-width end washroom, MTPLM 1830kg, £27,325.
  • Coachman Laser 640 Twin-axle 4 berths, front lounge, offside central kitchen, full width end washroom, MTPLM 1800kg, £26,995.
  • Coachman Laser 650 Twin-axle 4 berths, front lounge, offside central kitchen, rear fixed island bed, MTPLM 1810, £26,995. 
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