Claudia Dowell
Features Editor

See other caravan reviews written by Claudia Dowell

Don't miss our Compass Casita 554 review, this caravan the end-washroom/island-bed model from a new-for-2017 range that belies its entry-level status

Overview

The Explorer Group relaunched the Compass brand four years ago, choosing to retail it through different dealerships to those selling its Elddis models. But the Compass marque gets a real shake-up for the 2017 touring season: gone are the Corona and Rallye line-ups, and in their place are three new ranges. The Capiro and Camino have four models in their stable, while the Casita has six, two of which – the 840 and 866 – are 8ft (2.43m) wide.

It’s interesting how layouts rise and fall in popularity: the 840 is the only Compass caravan to sport the once-ubiquitous nearside fixed bed. Twin fixed beds continue to feature, but it’s the island bed that’s current currency for manufacturers. The 554, reviewed here, has a transverse island bed and an end washroom – let's see if it works! And to see other Compass caravans for sale, click here.

Pitching and setting up

As with all ranges of Elddis caravans, the Compass is built using the manufacturer’s SoLiD construction method, which comes with a 10-year body warranty. Casita is the entry point for the Compass brand, but it’s far from budget level: it features a three-piece front window and panoramic sunroof, and rides on an Al-Ko chassis with Al-Ko’s ATC trailer-control system, a 3004 stabiliser, shock absorbers and more. There’s also a spare wheel and an underslung carrier.

The standard-sized steadies are easy to reach, and the chrome grabhandles are nicely sturdy. The gas locker is wide and two gas struts support the door for easy access.

The two-piece glazed entrance door has an awning light above it and a bin on the inside. The door catch on the sidewall is the slightly more awkward-to-release lever rather than the magnet variety. Inside, you get Whale dual-fuel space-saving underslung heating, ducted throughout the caravan and operated via the Whale Intelligent Control system.

There are three rooflights, which open on a ratchet system that allows you more control over the amount of ventilation.

Lounge

The Casita’s interior is understated, with medium-toned cabinetwork and oatmeal upholstery; the furnishing accents are grey and gold.

The parallel sofas are comfortable: the pronounced knee-rolls, square-back cushions and moulded bolsters at the front encourage the user to stretch out and relax. All are upholstered in tweed, with contrasting suede-effect material. The seat bases have front flaps, as well as access from above. The offside base houses the boiler and consumer unit, while the nearside is clutter-free to accommodate much of your essential touring paraphernalia.

The front sunroof doesn’t open, but it does have a blind and a handy shelf below. There’s a main light above the sunroof, plus LED lighting over the lockers and four spotlights for more-focused illumination.

Storage comprises one long roof locker per side, with a speaker in the front corner; the locker on the nearside accommodates the CD/radio player with MP3 connectivity and aerial. There’s just a single mains socket, in the front nearside corner.

Separating the sofas is a centre chest with two drawers, a slide-out occasional table and slats that pull across to make the two seats into a double bed.

Kitchen

The offside kitchen is a good size; what’s more, its sink and hob have been positioned at one end to allow for a decent amount of work space. You’ll have soap suds up to your elbows in the deep, circular sink; its cover is worktop-style rather than glass, and there is a detachable plastic draining board. The Thetford Aspire Mk2 cooker has a dual-fuel hob with a glass cover, and a separate oven and grill. Below that is a pan cupboard.

The graphite-fronted fridge is positioned below the sink; to the left of it are two drawers and a deep cupboard with gas controls in the base. Overhead are three cream-coloured lockers: two are small – one has racking for crockery – and they sit either side of a wider locker. Two mains sockets serve the area.

The microwave is located opposite, at a sensible height, within a good-sized dresser. Above it is a wide cupboard, while behind the worktop – where there is plenty of space for a TV – are two mains sockets and an aerial point. Beneath the worktop is a drawer and a shelved cupboard.

Washroom

A sliding door leads to the end washroom; it has an excellent, fully lined and moulded shower, with a shelf to hold toiletry bottles. The bi-fold door doesn’t take up too much washroom floor space when opened.

There’s no window in here, but there is a rooflight to help increase illumination. The basin stands proud of the vanity unit, which has a small area of worktop and a swan-necked tap, as well as a mirror on the back wall. The only storage available is the shallow but shelved cupboard below. The light switch to the washroom is located in the bedroom area.

Beds

A pleated partition separates the bedroom from the living space, but when the divider is drawn across, the furthest-forward wardrobe remains within the kitchen area. This could be awkward if you have guests using the lounge, but you want to use the handy pull-out shelf beneath the unit for your mobile or spectacles. The rearmost wardrobe is narrower.

The lightweight ‘Ozio’ mattress has been constructed so that it folds up to create a comfortable headrest for daytime use, but there’s also a slimmer headrest behind for when the wooden bed base is fully extended at night. There’s bags of storage space in the base, too, which can also be accessed from outside.

Two wide overhead lockers will swallow folded clothes, and beneath are two spotlights for reading. Above the area is a medium-sized rooflight.

A nice touch is the long mirror on the rear wall, which breaks up a dull expanse of wood. On the bulkhead with the kitchen are mains, 12V and TV sockets, and room for a bracket.

The front bed is made up by pulling out slats from the centre chest and rearranging the cushions. The square seatbacks help to make a firm and comfortable mattress.

Storage

Although technically a four-berth, this is essentially a couple’s van. There’s certainly enough storage for the kit of two people, but it will likely be a squeeze for the belongings of four. Bulky items can easily be stowed under the transverse bed, and there’s space for more beneath the nearside sofa.

The kitchen storage is made better by the presence of that handy dresser, but the cupboard space in the washroom will require its users to be tidy. The foremost wardrobe has plenty of hanging space, and drawers.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO1260kg
Payload153kg
MTPLM1413kg
Interior length5.75m
Shipping length7.37m
Width2.26m
Awning size1025cm

Verdict

There’s something a bit self-conscious about the 2017 Compass Casita 554’s décor. It’s aiming for a classy ambience, but has ended up being perhaps a little too understated.

There are some nice touches, though, such as the mirror on the back wall of the bedroom, the microwave that’s set at a good height in the dresser, and the large shower. We also like that the infill part to the mattress is attached, rather than being a loose piece.

Overall, though, this caravan is competent rather than exciting.

Conclusion

Pros

  • ATC is included in the standard kit list
  • We like the mirror on the back wall of the bedroom
  • The microwave is set at a sensible height and above the worktop
  • You get a large shower with a bi-fold door

Cons

  • The pull-across bedroom partition excludes one wardrobe
  • There's no window and little storage in the washroom
  • We're not sure about the muted décor
Share with friends

Follow us on

Explore the range

Recently added caravans for sale