Practical Caravan's expert offers top tips for buying the best used 2005 Coachman Amara caravan – an affordable way to own this prestigious brand

Coachman is one of the UK’s most highly rated makers, renowned for building solid and well-made caravans, even towards the lower end of its ranges. The Amara was the entry level to the Coachman stable, but was not classed as a budget range because of its impressive standard spec, even though it offered less kit than the Pastiche and VIP ranges. It was replaced for 2014 by the current Vision line-up, which still features the 380/2 layout. 

For 2005 the Amara received new graphics and soft furnishings, with ABS front and rear panels plus alloy wheels as part of the sharp looks for the range. There was an AKS hitch stabiliser for the Al-Ko chassis, and upmarket extras including a gas barbecue point and external 230V socket. The interiors didn’t break any new ground in terms of design, but they were modern with a traditional flavour that added appeal. The wood finish was light with aircraft-style roof lockers, while the spec included a separate oven and grill and a cream Spinflo sink/drainer. 

The end-kitchen Amara 380/2 floorplan featured here was a tried and trusted couple’s design, popular among those seeking a comfortable yet compact tourer.

Model history

The Coachman name was introduced at the February 1987 NEC show, but it wasn’t until 1999 that the Amara range arrived. It was developed from the Mirage, which was launched in 1988 to offer a cheaper, lighter Coachman caravan. The Amara was designed to appeal to buyers who wanted high quality and spec at a competitive price, and proved extremely popular from launch.  

By 2001 the Amara had gained a fixed-bed model, the 530/4, and as the range developed it became increasingly well-equipped. There were countless dealer specials based on the Amara, too, and by 2005 the standard kit included blown-air heating, a Status TV aerial, smart quartz clock and the latest Caprice oven with four-burner hob. 

With all of that kit on board the Amara was no lightweight: even the Amara 380/2 weighed in at 1150kg fully laden. But now, just as when it was new, this is a popular used buy. 

Coachman Amara buyer's checklist

We have some excellent general advice on what to look for when buying used caravans here and general things to expect in each age of caravan interior here. However there are also some specific things to look out for when you view a Coachman Amara made in 2005. 

When you check the exterior you may notice that the decals may have faded. Cracks can occasionally occur in the ABS rear panel, so it's worth examining that area closely to decide if it needs bodywork repairs. The AKS hitch stabiliser was standard and you should check the pads for wear. The wallboard finishing trim is prone to coming away. Another thing to check is the tyre condition – ensure that the tyres have been replaced at some stage in the caravan's life. And while you're looking at the wheels, are the alloy wheels in good condition, or scuffed?

Inside the Amara, do check for floor delamination in the kitchen area. In the washroom, inspect the shower tray for cracks. And finally, check the kitchen sink in the Amara for scuffs and cracks.

What to pay

The example pictured was priced at £6995, but was in superb condition. We saw other Amara 380/2s priced from between £5495 and £6295 from private sellers. Larger Amara caravans start from £6695-£6995, rising to £7495 for the best 580/4s.

Verdict

The Amara is still popular used and these older models offer good overall value for money, but they are not light so check that your tow car will cope. Quality build and an interior that still looks good a decade on mean that the 2005 Amaras prove ideal first-time buys for many. They offer good spec and are tourers that you can use all year round, with few real bugs to be wary of.

What you need to know

The 2005 Coachman Amara shown here has two berths. We viewed it at Sussex Caravan Centre in Ashington, near Pulborough, West Sussex. Here are some useful figures for it.

  • Price £6995
  • Berths 2
  • MiRO 975kg
  • Payload 185kg
  • MTPLM 1160kg
  • Internal length 3.95m 
  • Overall width 2.18m
     

Alternatives

The Elddis Avanté 362 is a cracking compact caravan and easy to find, but isn’t as roomy as the Amara and its spec doesn’t measure up.

The diminutive Lunar Ariva is also a good choice of van for a couple. It is even smaller than the Elddis or the Coachman and its trump card is its very low weight.

Share with friends

Follow us on

Most recent caravan reviews

The Practical Caravan Swift Elegance 530 review – 1 - Its 1661kg MTPLM means the 2017 Swift Elegance 530 isn't light, but it's also heavy on luxury which ups its appeal (© Practical Caravan)
The Practical Caravan Elddis Crusader Zephyr review – 1 - The exterior colour is called 'Champagne', but it is really a heathery brown, differentiating it from the blue of its Compass Camino 660 sister van (© Peter Baber/Practical Caravan)
The Practical Caravan Lunar Lexon 590 review – 1 - Flush-fitting windows, the sunroof, alloy wheels and the cantilever-action gas locker door all add a touch of class to the 590 (© Practical Caravan)
The Practical Caravan Sprite Quattro DD review – 1 - This twin-axle from the 2017 range of Sprite caravans has an MTPLM of 1624kg (© Andy Jenkinson/Practical Caravan)
The Practical Caravan Bailey Pursuit 560-5 review – 1 - The single front window may look budget-style to some, but we like the uncluttered view it provides from inside the van (© Practical Caravan)
The Practical Caravan Compass Capiro 550 review – 1 - The new-for-2017 Compass Capiro 550 has a 1467kg MTPLM (© Practical Caravan)