Andy Jenkinson

See other Advice articles filed in ‘Caravans for sale – buying guides’ written by Andy Jenkinson
   
Large and luxurious, the Laser makes a great pre-owned buy, says Andrew Jenkinson

Solid and dependable, that's the Coachman brand in a nutshell. From their launch in 1987, they have sold well and soon earned a reputation for style and build quality.

The company was founded at the end of 1986 by former ABI team Jim Hibbs and George Kemp. Their experience from the then-biggest tourer manufacturer in the UK proved invaluable.

The VIP was the luxury sector of the expanding Coachman range, which also featured twin-axle layouts. By 1999, the VIP twin became the Laser, a luxury twin-axle line-up that would be kept to a select few layouts over the years. For a short time the brand disappeared, but it then returned a few years ago.

On-board water-tanks, full ovens, blown-air heating, alloys and luxury interiors were all part of the offer in the big Lasers, which quickly won market share.

The Laser was a particularly popular choice for those seeking an all-year-round tourer. Built on Al-Ko chassis, the 2014 range we look at here came with Alde heating. Coachman had fought shy of this, using Truma's blown-air system instead, but customer demand eventually saw the switch to Alde.

Model history

The Laser 640 first appeared on the market in 2006 although, then, the washroom was in the corner and was not a full-width design, as it had become by 2014.

The 640 sleeps four, so is a very spacious layout for touring couples. It also has the classic profile launched in 2012.

The 2014 models came with ATC and AKS hitch, smart alloy wheels, and barbecue and mains exterior points.

A large front gas locker offers good storage and the sunroof allows plenty of light into the lounge. This model was also fitted with a mover - very handy in a tourer of this size.

With a full oven, microwave, Alde heating, CD/radio, a well-equipped end washroom and plenty of storage space, the 640 has plenty to offer.

In addition, priced new in 2014 at just short of £26,000, depreciation has fared well.

Alternatives

If you want a lighter, yet still high-spec, fixed-bed tourer the Bailey Unicorn Barcelona from 2015 could make a good buy.

Look to pay around £18,595 from a dealer. Or go for a Lunar Delta RI with midships washroom and transverse bed, from 2015. They won Practical Caravan Tourer of the Year at the time. You can pick one up for around £17,500 from 2016.

Price checker

Checking prices was essential in looking at the Laser 640, because we found a private buy at £15,750 - a real bargain in our books. Dealer prices also varied; we found one at £17,995 (but no mover was fitted), while a dealer special, a Highlander was £18,350 with upgraded interior and spec. But our Laser was like new.

Verdict

The Laser is a really well-kept tourer, in cracking condition and worth the cash asked. With lots of storage and floor space the 640 is a very comfortable model. The build is excellent and this van looked hardly used.

The excellent end washroom is another great feature of the 640, too. Kitchen storage is also pretty much unbeatable, with plenty of drawer space - all it lacked was a separate fridge/freezer unit. In summary, a top quality tourer, but do check the points listed, as some owners have reported small faults.

CHECK FOR

  • Cracking in back panel
  • TV aerial - Avtex stick was poor
  • Damp in rear
  • Furniture edgings coming away in the lounge
  • Damaged interior panels
  • Possible breakage in the concertina partition

TECH SPECS

  • Price £18,995
  • Berths 4
  • MiRO 167kg
  • Payload 159kg
  • MTPLM 1830kg
  • Internal length 6.22m
  • Exterior length 7.87m
  • Width 2.31m
  • Axles 2
  • Features Alde central heating, Al-Ko stabiliser, ATC gas/electric heating, microwave, motor mover, separate shower, tracking system,TV aerial

If you like this - take a look at our collection of Used Buyer Guides to more than 40 touring caravans.

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