Andy JenkinsonSee other Advice articles filed in ‘Caravans for sale – buying guides’ written by Andy Jenkinson
Two-berth caravans come in all shapes and sizes but the end-kitchen, corner-washroom layout is a classic and is neatly embodied in the compact Lunar Ariva. With an MTPLM of less than 1000kg it can be towed by a wide range of cars and makes a terrific tourer for couples just taking up caravanning or who are downsizing. Our example dates from the 2008 model year and, despite its short body, it’s surprisingly spacious inside.
That body comprises moulded front and rear panels, and two-piece, slightly ribbed aluminium sidewalls, riding an Al-Ko chassis with an AKS hitch stabiliser. External kit includes a spare wheel and Status directional TV aerial, but not alloys. The services are all ranged on the offside and the front gas locker is large enough to take most gas-bottle sizes.
Inside there are parallel sofas at the front, which can be transformed into twin singles or a double bed at night, a kitchen at the back and a perfectly usable washroom, with a cassette toilet and shower-tray floor, in the rear corner.
Next to the washroom, in the centre of the van, is the wardrobe with a Truma blown-air heater in its base to warm the space. Opposite that is a dresser housing the fridge, which frees up cupboard space in the kitchen.
The galley is equipped with a three-burner gas hob and a separate oven and grill. A radio/CD player, corner mains lighting, battery charger, water heater and large rooflight are all part of the specification.
Lunar Ariva buyer's checklist
When you go to see used caravans for sale, make sure you turn up armed with a checklist of any known problems to avoid with that particular range of caravans. So, if you're going to view used Lunar Ariva caravans for sale, make sure you check for decal fade and peeling, any cracking on the rear panel, rust on steel rims, and make sure that the tyres have been replaced since the van was new.
Once you get inside the caravan, watch out for any sponginess underfoot, a sign of a delaminating floor – which is most likely to happen in the kitchen area. There may perhaps also be some damp in the rear corners. Check for peeling wallboard trim and ensure that the seat-base slats aren't broken.
Lunar’s USP is for building lightweight, well-equipped tourers and the Ariva was no exception. It was launched in 1995, following in the wake of another cracking lightweight two-berth, the Meteorite, which had been a top seller. In its early years, the Ariva came in GT and GTS formats as well as a four-berth model and proved popular with dealers, who added to its desirability with additional kit in their dealer-special versions.
The Ariva hasn’t altered much over the years, maintaining the same profile. In 2008 the Ariva was refreshed with new graphics and work surfaces, a new handle design for lockers and removable carpets.
What to pay
Our example was in very good general condition and, with an alarm fitted, it was well priced at £7295. Arivas hold their value on the used market, so we weren’t surprised to see them advertised for as much as £7995 and even £8195, although a mover had been fitted for this price.
The Ariva is a niche tourer, but one with a strong following – its excellent kit levels and posh drinks cabinet gave it upmarket appeal. The corner washroom is well fitted-out and surprisingly spacious, and the storage is good for two people’s belongings. It’s ideal for those with small tow cars and will fit on a driveway. The compact Ariva offers easy, comfortable touring.
What you need to know
The 2008 Lunar Ariva shown here has two berths. We viewed it at Campbell’s Caravans, Lostock Hall, Preston, Lancashire. Here are some at-a-glance figures for it.
- Price £7295
- Berths 2
- MiRO 805kg
- Payload 165kg
- MTPLM 970kg
- Internal length 3.63m
- Width 2.03m
The Elddis Xplore 302 has an end kitchen, but an L-shaped front lounge area. The weights are keen but the spec is lower – expect to pay £7250-£7895 for a 2010 van. Or consider a 2009 Adria Altea 360 LT end-kitchen two-berth for £7295 to £7495, and weighing a tad more with a 1050kg MTPLM.