COACHMAN’S TWIN-AXLE Laser range has been through the changes in the past few seasons. First it was merged with the VIP range. Then when that proved unpopular (apparently because those who had forked out so much money wanted to show off the fact) it was unmerged again. And then last season we had the introduction of the eight-foot-wide Laser Xcels.
This season we have another change, with the introduction of the Laser 575 Xcel – the first single axle Laser.
According to Coachman, this is designed to appeal to people who want to move a grade up from the VIP range, and like the extra width, but don’t have the funds to go for a fully-blown Laser Xcel. (At £30,995 OTR, the 575 is almost £5,500 cheaper than the Laser 875 Xcel, which has the same layout.)
Does such an offer work?
Pitch and set up
Some people might be put off a single-axle Laser with the thought that it could have a compromised payload, or be trickier to tow. Neither factor should be a worry here. At 155kg, the payload is only 5kg less than it would be with the 875. And as for towing, the 575, like all Coachman models this year, comes equipped with Al-Ko’s Automatic Adjustment (AAA) Premium Brake. This device, which should give you extra reassurance because it is designed to shorten a caravan’s overall stopping distance, is apparently widely used on the Continent, but little known here. Coachman has it on a 12-month exclusivity contract in the UK for the 2021 season.
Sadly you don’t get the E&P self levelling system that is included as standard on all the other Laser Xcel models. (Here it’s a £3,050 optional extra). Perhaps that is one way the 575 is set apart.
You notice the increased sense of room as you walk into the 575, thanks to its open layout which puts the washroom beyond the transverse island bed.
The large sunroof at the front also helps, as does the ambient lighting behind the lockers and four spotlights.
That said, the front lounge is possibly only just adequate for the four people who might be living in here. If you wanted to organise a party, you might need to make use of the awning. Coachman has redesigned the front chest with a pull-out flap that is easier to use, so if there are just a couple of you having a snack, this would probably be all you need. The main foldaway table is only a short distance away in its own dedicated space on the right of the door, although here, again, it is probably only just large enough for four. There is a mains socket in one of the front corners under the speakers, but the only USB sockets are next to the sockets for the TV, which you are clearly meant to station above the table by the door.
Apart from the extra space, one other thing that helps to brighten up the centre of this van is the shiny mottled Corian worktop Coachman has chosen for the kitchen. With an extension space as well, not to mention two mains sockets, there is a huge area to work on here, especially as the same material is used for a sink cover. I would want to make sure this cover was always firmly fastened down or stowed away when you are on the move, however – I hate to think what damage it might do if it ever came loose en route. There is a four-burner, dual-fuel hob on here as well.
That workspace is large partly because there is a large cupboard under here that holds a couple of good size baskets and a drawer for large bottles. Then in the middle are three large drawers, with a pan locker under the separate oven and grill on the right.
Up above there are two overhead lockers – one with a crockery rack – and then a microwave. You get a Dometic’s Series 10 two-way opening fridge on the other side, although there is only room for a small pan locker under that.
An opaque window on the left as soon as you come into the end washroom stops it feeling too dingy. An Alde towel radiator on the other side of the circular loo adds a touch of cosiness, too. There’s a large salad bowl washbasin with a swan neck tap and a large double cupboard underneath it in the middle, although the cupboard is not shelved, so is perhaps not as useful as it could be. There is a smaller double cupboard overhead, too.
The large shower cubicle is accessed via a single swing door, and has plenty of shelving for gels and with a robe and towel hook nearby. But there is only one rooflight and vent in the whole of this washroom, and it is in the centre, not over the shower. So things could get steamy.
The transverse island bed at the rear is easily retractable to leave a large amount of space you can walk around in the day – and a useful daybed. At the headboard end of the bed there are two spotlights, two USB sockets, and a shelf on each side to leave your glasses.
There’s a second set of TV sockets above a dresser unit in the front nearside corner which has plenty of space for storing cosmetics.
As the front settees are only 1.5m (5 ft) long, they are really only suitable as single beds for children. But with the help of slats (some might have expected platforms at this price range) they turn into a useful sized double bed. Both beds could potentially have easy sight of a TV.
External locker doors give you access to the large clear space under the bed and under the nearside settee. There is no internal access to the latter, except by lifting the base cushions, although there is a useful boot locker right by the door.
The two wardrobes either side of the bed are a good size, and you get three overhead lockers and smaller cupboards beneath these wardrobes.
Those sleeping and getting up in the front might feel more short changed with just one large overhead locker each side and a corner locker, but the front chest is bigger this season and there is also a locker beneath the slats for less essential items.
Producing all the space of this caravan on a single axle seems a wise idea, and on the whole it has been executed beautifully. But this offer might not seem such a saving when you consider the whole outfit. With an MTPLM of 1734kg, you are still going to need a fairly hefty car to tow the 575. It’s certainly a van to consider if you already own such a car. But it possibly wouldn’t be one you could easily move up to.
- There is a great sense of space in here, and the kitchen is wonderful to work in.
- The shower could do with its own vent, and the sink cover needs watching.
Price £30,995 Berths 4 MIRO 1579kg Payload 155kg MTPLM 1374kg Awning size 1024 cm
Spec list: Al-Ko AAA brake, ATC, AKS 3004 stabiliser, secure wheel lock, Vanguard Phantom alarm, Alde heating, Dometic two-way opening fridge, four-burner dual-fuel hob, Omnivent
Interior length 5.80m Shipping length 7.34m Overall width 2.44m Rear double 1.88m x 1.37m Front singles 1.51m x 0.73m or front double 1.88m x 1.37m
The 575, like all Coachman models this year, comes equipped with Al-Ko’s Automatic Adjustment (AAA) Premium Brake. This device is widely used on the Continent, but little known in the UK. Coachman has it on a 12-month exclusivity contract in the UK for the 2021 season.