Norm Guthartz

See other caravan reviews written by Norm Guthartz

Practical Caravan asks whether the Coachman Vision 580/5 – with its flexible layout and generous kitchen and washroom – is the ideal family caravan

Overview

The Amara range had been Coachman’s most affordable. Since the line-up’s 1999 launch, it sold well and, because the company was never one to rush into the latest thing, the Amara became a mainstay. However, the brand needed a shot in the arm for the 2014 model year – not just with fresh design but a new name as well. 

Enter the eight models called Vision, featuring a wide variety of layouts, great showroom appeal and Coachman’s usual high standard of build quality. 

Practical Caravan's expert reviewers get inside the Vision 580/5, a fixed-bunk, five-berth van. It is a worthy newcomer to the company’s roll call that is certain to make the shortlists of many families in the market for a new caravan.

In addition to the fixed bunks, Coachman is betting that shoppers will be attracted to its offside corner washroom which, though compact, is well equipped and designed to be practical. 

Pitching and setting up

The reviewers from Practical Caravan approved of the Vision's underpinnings: the Al-Ko galvanised-steel chassis, the smart alloy wheels, an AKS hitch stabiliser, shock absorbers and a steel spare wheel with an underslung carrier.

Its sidewalls are single panels clad in aluminium and dressed up with sporty graphics, while the front and rear boast full-height, moulded ABS panels. The A-frame has a stand-on fairing for easy access when cleaning the van, and integral grabhandles at the front corners.

The Coachman Vision 580/5 has all its service points on the offside, including the mains input socket and battery box. A gas-assisted strut lifts the lid of the front locker right out of the way to ease access to the two gas cylinders and other items that fit in on either side of them.

The corner steadies are not heavy-duty, but they all are easy to find and wind, making setting up and taking down a breeze.

A TV aerial is fitted, but the Status directional model that had been standard in the past has been replaced by an omnidirectional stick-like unit that receives digital TV and analogue radio signals.

Lounge

The front lounge can easily accommodate five family members for relaxing, games or dining, report Practical Caravan's experts. The parallel benches are comfortable as well, boasting supportive seat, scatter and bolster cushions.

The top of the central chest of drawers has an occasional table that can be slid from under the top surface. A free-standing table is provided for full meals.

Twin blown-air outlets are beneath the chest’s two drawers. Overhead lockers, with classy chrome-finish handles, are fitted along the sides, and there is an open shelf above the three front windows. You’ll find the switch for the corner lights here and, puzzlingly, a mains socket – it is not a convenient location.

Coachman has resisted adding a sunroof and relies on a Heki for ventilation and daylight. We reckon that the front panel, which extends to the roof, could have accommodated one.

Artificial illumination is provided by two ceiling-mounted LED units and four corner spotlamps. Further lighting is provided by units integrated in the overhead lockers and in the front shelf. The light wood-effect finish further contributes to the bright ambience of the Coachman Vision 580/5.

The TV stand is on the offside; not only does it have the necessary sockets, but also an open shelf below for a DVD player. A Pioneer radio/CD player and speakers in the front corners are fitted as standard.

The offside dinette is ideal for parents who allow the kids to have the front to themselves.

Kitchen

The Vision’s kitchen is filled to the gunwales with features you’d expect in a tourer costing just shy of £18,000, say Practical Caravan's reviewers. The essential appliances are all here: a separate oven and grill, a dual-fuel hob and a 113-litre fridge-freezer.

A microwave is fitted in one of the overhead lockers, which may be too high for some people. However, the same folk may be pleased that the worktop is slightly lower than those in many other tourers.

The galley is quite generous with worktop, and a handy extra work surface can be pulled out from above the fridge if you need it. The stainless-steel sink has a glass top that can be lowered and a removable plastic drainer.

Sun can pour through the side window on to the worktop, while a mini Heki rooflight allows natural light in and helps with ventilation. Night-time illumination is courtesy of LEDs along the tops of the lockers and 12V lights directly below them.

The 580/5’s storage options are numerous, from the voluminous cutlery drawer to the large cupboard next to the fridge. All in all, a family of five is well-served by the galley.

Washroom

Coachman washrooms have always been well designed – and the 580/5’s is no exception. It’s notably airy and spacious, as well as being fully equipped and practical to use.

The circular shower cubicle will be especially welcome for pitching up on sites with basic facilities, and it is ideal for children as well as adults.

A swivel-seat Thetford cassette toilet with electric flush has ample legroom. A big, rectangular handbasin with a chrome mixer tap sits above a two-door cupboard and below a large mirror.

The washroom has a roof vent and a side window, both useful for daylight and ventilation, especially when showering.

Beds

The front lounge can be made up into a double bed measuring 2.04m x 1.84m, using the aluminium frame that is slid from the nearside seat base. The seats are too short to serve as twin beds for most adults, Practical Caravan's reviewers observe.

For the rest of the family, there are two excellent fixed bunk beds in the nearside corner, each with its own window and reading light. The side dinette can be converted into a single bed measuring 1.83m x 0.72m; the table is used to fill the space between the seats.

Storage

With five family members in the van, finding enough storage space may be a challenge, although the 580/5 does reasonably well, argue Practical Caravan's experts.

It starts with a plethora of roof lockers; the problem is they are not very deep. Moreover, the lack of lockers above the front windows works against the overall provision; the open shelves there will prove to be less useful.

The wardrobe, which faces the fixed bunks, has just about enough space to hang clothing for five and two drawers at its base.

The lounge bed boxes lack front access flaps, forcing you to remove all the cushions before lifting the lid. This makes fetching or storing bedding more troublesome than it should be.

The kitchen offers excellent storage facilities, including a capacious cupboard and two roof lockers, while a cupboard is just below the TV stand. The dining table has dedicated storage at the foot of the bunks.

Aside from seat boxes, the side dinette has three overhead lockers. Overall storage isn’t extensive but it may be just enough.

Technical specs

Berth5
MiRO1400kg
Payload165kg
MTPLM1565kg
Interior length5.75m
Shipping length7.38m
Width2.26m
Height2.6m
Awning size1015cm

Verdict

Families will welcome the space and flexibility that the Coachman Vision 580/5 offers, say the expert reviewers from Practical Caravan. Parents can abandon the lounge to the children when they want a quiet cuppa in the side dinette, or banish them to the fixed bunks – an  instant den for younger kids!

But it’s the kit, build quality and superb washroom that will really win them over. Shortcomings include storage provision that may be barely sufficient for five and the lack of an outdoor gas point. Otherwise, the Vision should prove ideal for caravanning couples with kids.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Unique layout provides plenty of flexibility for families
  • The washroom is well-equipped and its floorplan is practical
  • Generous amounts of work and storage space help make the kitchen great
  • Contemporary design inside and out

Cons

  • Open shelf at front is less useful than a row of lockers would have been
  • The front bed boxes lack front flaps; cushions must come off before lid can be lifted
  • An external gas point would make barbecue nights easier
  • A family of five will find just enough space to store clothes and other belongings
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