Andy Jenkinson

See other Advice articles filed in ‘Caravans for sale – buying guides’ written by Andy Jenkinson
   
Nearly-new and well specced, discover what a three-year old Venus can offer and get a fab, lightweight tourer for less on the used caravans for sale pages

Venus is a range of tourers manufactured by British company Lunar Caravans, intended to represent the first rung on the company’s caravanning ladder.

Although the name isn’t as familiar as Swift’s Sprite brand, over the past few years buyers in this market sector have come to discover what good value Venus vans are.

The range – which originally consisted of four models – was launched at the 2012 Excel Caravan and Motorhome Show in London.

Lunar was no stranger to the lightweight entry-level market, having produced ranges such as the Dino, Micron and Zenith over the years. Since then, Venus has become one of the company’s best sellers.

We’ve been scouring the used caravans for sale pages to see what’s out there and what you should expect to pay, and we’re sharing tips so you know what to check for prior to purchase.

The 2014 Venus caravans model range was limited to three layouts, after the tiny end-kitchen 320/2 was dropped: the 380/2, 490/4 and 500/4. All featured fixed beds, apart from the 380/2.

The 2014 range was light in weight, and the interior finish was of good quality. Standard spec included an oven/grill, 4kW Truma heating – new for that year – plus upgraded upholstery.

The other big news was the change from Al-Ko to BPW, featuring the Swing Vtec chassis.

For £399 buyers could purchase the Plus pack, which brought alloys, a hitch stabiliser, an alarm, a spare wheel/carrier, a door flyscreen and a radio/CD player.

Most new models were ordered with this option, but check for it if you’re looking at a 2014 Venus.

The Venus range is still available for 2017, and seems to prove more popular each season – its 2015 revamp upped the game even further.

Model history

The two-berth, end-washroom 380/2 was launched in 2012; it was carried over to 2013, before being revised for 2014.

The changes were a result of criticism from buyers and journalists: the model received a revised layout that featured a longer pair of front settees that could be converted to two single beds as well as a double. As a result, the central kitchen was smaller than that on the previous model.

The 380/2 was a successful layout for Lunar, but in 2015 it was replaced by the longer 460/2. Its floorplan also featured two berths up front and an end washroom.

Buyer's checklist

  • Look out for tarnished alloys
  • Check for any bowing of the roof
  • Inspect the whole of the caravan’s floor for possible delamination
  • Look for any furniture edging that has started to come away
  • Ensure that the electrics work
  • Examine the upholstery for any sagging of the cushions
  • Check for damp in the rear washroom
  • Look for water ingress around the rear panel and the sidewalls
      

What to pay?

The cheapest 380/2 that we found privately was £8995, rising to £9595 for a model with the Plus pack fitted.

A 490/4 will cost from £11,995 to £12,495, with the 500/4 just short of £12,000.

Alternatives

Look out for an Avondale Dart 470/2: in dealer-special form, such as the Arrow, they come with a great spec for £5895.

Or, there’s the 2009 Xplore 452, another lightweight entry-level tourer with a large washroom, for £7795.

Verdict

If you are looking in the used caravans for sale pages for a great lightweight tourer, Venus models from 2014 are definitely worth considering, although you’ll be restricted to a choice of three layouts.

Those wanting a more family-friendly caravan should look at 2015 models, but the line-up from the previous year offers the ideal opportunity for couples with an older, heavier tourer to upgrade, while retaining a decent spec.

Factfile

Some details on the featured 2014 Venus 380/2:

  • Price: £9495
  • Berths: 2
  • MiRO: 852kg
  • Payload: 143kg
  • MTPLM: 995kg
  • Internal length: 3.96m
  • Width: 2.12m
  • Seen at: Preston Caravans and Motorhomes, Blackpool Road, Near Clifton, Preston, Lancashire, PR4 0XL (call 01772 685 949 or go online)
      
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