Andy Jenkinson

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Stylish touring can be yours for less with this 2013-season VIP from Coachman Caravans – here's a checklist and expert advice to help you buy the best

Coachman Caravans has built an enviable reputation for being a top-notch UK maker, and it celebrates its 30th year in production in 2017.

But when flicking through the used caravans for sale pages, are the company’s tourers still great buys? Let’s find out!

For 2013, the Hull-based brand offered five layouts in its top luxury single-axle VIP range, from an end-washroom two-berth (the 460/2) to the four-berth 565/4 with twin single beds.

In addition, two fixed-double-bed floorplans were available, including the 545/4 with a rear island bed.

Here, we concentrate on the popular 520/4 with a front lounge, a side dinette and a generous end washroom.

Well kitted out

These used caravans are no lightweights, with a solid build and high equipment levels, so the Coachman VIP needs a good-sized tow car.

The kit for 2013 was excellent, although Alde wet central heating wouldn’t be added until a few years later.

Even so, the VIP came with ATC stability control for its Al-Ko chassis, a gas barbecue point, an alarm, a separate oven and grill with dual-fuel hob, a microwave, an Omnivent, a radio/CD player, an awning warmer... the list goes on!

Add in the quality soft furnishings, classic looks and that super-sized sunroof, and Coachman’s VIP is a seriously upmarket range of tourers.

But does it also add up to happy ownership over the years?

Model history

The VIP’s roots lie in one-time manufacturer Lynton Caravans, which launched its own VIP back in 1985. But when the firm ceased trading after 35 years, Coachman Caravans adopted the name for its flagship range.

Launched in 1988, it has remained a firm favourite – and over the past few years in particular, the VIP has become the company’s best-seller.

The 520/4 was launched for the 1994 season. The VIP range began life with just a few models, but was soon expanded with twin-axles until 1998, when the Laser twin-axle line was launched and the VIP became strictly single-axle vans.

These sister ranges have undergone many changes over their lifetimes, the most radical being a full redesign of their classic look in 2012, which endures to this day.

As a result, tweaks for 2013 were restricted to the arrival of the new 113-litre Thetford 3000 Series fridge, and the latest Status 530 TV aerial with finder.

Buyer’s checklist

  • Look out for tarnished/grazed alloy wheels and peeling lacquer
  • Check for signs of previous water ingress around the sunroof
  • Watch for condensation and trapped water in the rear light lenses
  • Check for any signs of damp around the nearside front window area
  • Ensure that there is no damp to be found in the vicinity of the Heki roof vent
      

What to pay?

Prices vary on the forecourts, with dealers charging from £17,495 to £18,200 for Coachman VIP 520/4s – we spotted one private sale for just £16,995!

The affordable 460/2 starts from £16,495 and rises to £16,995, which is the entry level for the 560/4 and 565/4.

The most desirable variant seems to be the 545/4, with the best at around £18,895.

Alternatives

Newer and lighter, a 2015 Lunar Clubman ES has a super end washroom and Alde heating, for £17,495.

Or how about the stylish 2014 Swift Challenger SE 530? It also has a high spec including Alde heating, for £16,495.

Verdict

The VIP range of Coachman Caravans is well worth a look if you’re after a bit of luxury from your used van; they are well made and classy tourers, with excellent end washrooms to boot.

A great spec and stylish, spacious interiors make these a top used buy for couples or families seeking year-round comfort.

There are a few niggles to look out for, but Coachmans from this model year seem to be shaping up well.

Factfile

Some details on the featured 2013 Coachman VIP 520/4:

  • Price: £17,995
  • Berth: 4
  • MiRO: 1433kg
  • Payload: 152kg
  • MTPLM: 1585kg
  • Internal length: 5.54m
  • Width: 2.31m
  • Seen at: Marquis North West, Riversway Leisure Village, Chain Caul Way, Preston, Lancashire, PR2 2PD (call 01772 731 313 or go online)
      
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