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Practical Caravan's experts give their verdict on the 2010 Coachman Laser 650/4 four-berth single-axle caravan, with its 6ft long fixed double bed

Overview

Coachman has been making caravans since 1986 and this Hull-based manufacturer has a good reputation for creating stylish tourers. Here's what Practical Caravan's testers thought of the 2010 Coachman Laser 650/4 at launch.

Pitching and setting up

The Laser is built on an Al-Ko chassis, so the AKS stabiliser, buttonless handbrake and 13-pin electrics are all familiar equipment. It also comes with Al-Ko ATC as standard.

Externally the van has a barbecue point, mains socket, awning heater vent and a mains water and drainage connection. The steadies are easy to access and rubber rings around the front guide channels help prevent damage. The waste pipes are at the rear of the van, which can be tricky on a sloping pitch. Access to the front locker is excellent as the large door opens high on a single gas strut.

Inside it’s just as easy to set up as the control panel is above the one-piece entrance door and the heater controls are at the sideboard by the door.

Lounge

It’s here that the new styling makes the most impact. The warm wood is what you would expect from a Coachman caravan, but the more modern fabrics of the sofas, cushions and curtains would not be out of place in your lounge at home. The combination is tasteful and overall there is a comfortable, homey feel.

The lounges have curved bolster cushions at both ends, so it is very easy to get comfortable. The entertainment equipment includes a Sony radio/CD player and speakers, a directional TV aerial and a TV point by the sideboard opposite the kitchen. The area is well lit, too, with a large rooflight for natural light during the day. Four LED spotlights, two corner lights and a ceiling light provide good options for the evening.

Kitchen

The kitchen is equipped with everything you would expect, including an extractor fan and LED strip lighting above both the sink and hob. There is only one power point, but it is in a convenient position near the good strip of worksurface.

It’s a good-looking area as well. The different locker doors make the kitchen feel like a separate part of the van and having a door to hide the microwave helps keep the area neat.

The only drawback is the lack of storage. Above there is just one overhead locker, which is filled with plate and cup racks, and two small shelves. Below are a cutlery drawer and a single cupboard, and part of the cupboard space is lost to the wheel arch. The sideboard opposite has only a second drawer and a cocktail cabinet.

Washroom

In this layout the washroom is split. The nearside houses the toilet and basin. Though it is small, this area feels spacious and has good legroom around the toilet. There is a large mirror above the basin as well as a toothbrush holder and a hand-towel rail.

On the offside is the shower. It is large and spacious and there is plenty of room around it to get dressed. The clear screen faces into the bedroom, which means privacy is minimal. Also, the towel hooks are in the corridor, so it will be easy to knock the towels when walking around the van.

Beds

The fixed island bed is firm and comfortable, but it is only just six foot long, so it won't suit tall caravanners. There are two LED spotlights for reading and small shelves for a glass of water as well. There is also a second TV point at a small cupboard at the foot of the bed. A nice touch is the night light. It is small and placed low at the foot of the bed, which should minimise the disturbance for your other half. There is a switch for this light on each side of the bed.

The front lounge is made into a double bed using slats. The cushions are a firm, comfortable fit.

Storage

All five overhead lockers in the lounge are a usable size. The split wardrobes, though narrow, are deep and tall, so provide good hanging space. There are also two drawers under each wardrobe for smalls. Access to the under-bed storage is good and a safe has been fitted here for valuables. The washroom is equipped with a cupboard below the basin and a locker above it as well as shelves.

The kitchen is a problem, as are badly-compromised under-seat lockers in the lounge. The offside is filled with the water heater, fuse box and on-board water tank, and the nearside is cut in half by the external wet locker, leaving almost no useable space. The only low area to store heavy items is under the fixed bed, but as this space is behind the axles that could affect towing stability.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO1566kg
Payload234kg
MTPLM1800kg
Length6.19m
Ship length6.97m
Width2.26m
Height2.63m

Verdict

The Coachman Laser 650/5 has new interior styling, which has been tastefully done and makes the space feel comfortable and smart. The nearside washroom, housing the toilet and basin, makes the most of the small available space. However, nearly all of the under-seat storage in the lounge has been sacrificed to the water heater, on-board water tank and external wet locker. Be careful how you pack the van – the only place with room to store heavy items is under the bed at the rear of the van, which isn’t ideal for towing stability.

Overall, it's a nicely built, attractive van with a well-balanced layout and excellent equipment.

8/10

Conclusion

Pros

  • New interior styling is tasteful
  • The lounge is a lovely place to relax
  • Space-efficient nearside washroom

Cons

  • Under-seat storage in the lounge is almost full
  • Heavy items can only fit under the rear bed
  • Not much kitchen storage

Claudia Dowell
Chief Sub Editor

See other Caravan reviews written by Claudia Dowell
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