Andy JenkinsonSee other Advice articles filed in ‘Caravans for sale – buying guides’ written by Andy Jenkinson
The Compass Corona was a popular base for dealer specials, pretty much from the introduction of the range in 2001. One example was the Rambler line-up from Wandahome in Knottingley, West Yorkshire, which lifted the original specification of these tourers by a few notches.
In this used caravan buyer's guide we'll focus on the Corona-based 2007 Compass Rambler. This version came with a host of upgrades including a Winterhoff hitch stabiliser, an awning warmer, alarm system, exterior mains and gas points, alloy wheels, a wet locker and stainless-steel grabhandles. The Coronas were already built on BPW chassis and fitted with full-height GRP rear panels.
Inside, the range was equipped with radio/ CD players and upgraded upholstery above and beyond the standard Corona kit list provided by the Explorer Group, of which Compass is part.
Compass Rambler buyer's checklist
When you go to see used caravans for sale, either at a caravan dealership or at a private home, make sure you go armed with a checklist of any known problems to look out for with that range of caravans. So, if you're going to see a used Compass Rambler for sale, you'll need to check the rear panel for cracks, repairs and replacements. The end panels are prone to cracking near the grabhandles. Make a note of the condition and age of the caravan tyres, too.
When you step inside a used Compass Rambler, take a good look at the cabinets, checking for peeling veneer and wear and tear on the edging strips, in case they have chunks missing or are detaching themselves. The kitchen worktop edging is the most likely to suffer damage. Press down on the floor around the kitchen to detect any sign of delamination.
The Compass Rambler range, all of which were attractive inside and out, came in five layouts for 2007, from the end-washroom, two-berth Compass Rambler 12/2 to the big six-berth, twin-axle Compass Rambler 20/6, with four-seater dinettes front and rear. The single-axle, six-berth Compass Rambler 18/6 had transverse fixed bunks at the rear and a nearside two-seater dinette.
The Compass marque was introduced in 1979 by Siddle Cook, the founder of another brand to which he’d given a backwards form of his own name: Elddis. He started with two ranges and focused on developing a reputation for high-quality tourers at reasonable prices.
In 1998, Compass was brought under the umbrella of the Explorer Group, which already included Elddis. Four years later, it began to be used for dealer specials.
From the Compass Ramblers’ 2002 debut, they were steadily upgraded. An example of how far they had progressed can be seen in the 2007 Compass Rambler 17/5 featured here; when new, it would have cost £12,300.
Compass remained a strong brand into the first decade of this century, but the last models were for the 2010 model year, built in late 2009. Explorer Group dropped Compass a year after the economic crash of 2008. Thereafter, the Ramblers were based on the Elddis Avanté, though the Compass range was revived for 2014.
What to pay
The five-berth 2007 Compass Rambler 17/5 that we inspected was priced at £7495; it was in excellent condition throughout. Two others we spotted were tagged at £6995, while a third with a mover cost £7295. Asking prices on forecourts start from £6895 for the two-berth Rambler 12/2 and reach up to £9500 for the twin-axle Rambler 20/6.
The Compass Rambler offered an aspirational specification and the prices still reflect this, so don’t expect to land a 2007 model on the cheap. The upgraded soft furnishings offer extra comfort and all the layouts are practical, including the twin-axle Rambler 20/6, which is great for large families but is hard to find. They are solidly built, but make sure you do all the checks you would when considering any other nine-year-old touring caravans for sale.
What you need to know
The 2007 Compass Rambler 17/5 shown here has five berths. We viewed it at Albion Caravans in Leeds Road, Idle, Bradford, West Yorkshire. Here are some quick, at-a-glance figures for it.
- Price £7495
- Berths 5
- MiRO 1188kg
- Payload 192kg
- MTPLM 1380kg
- Internal length 5.23m
- Width 2.18m
Consider a used Swift Charisma 540 as a possible alternative choice. This boasts the same floorplan as our featured Compass Rambler. We saw a 2006 Swift Charisma for sale at £6995; it was not as well-specified as the Rambler, but was still reasonable.