CORNER-BED LAYOUTS seem to come and go. Some seasons they are everywhere, the next they are gone. However, they are clearly back in favour now: Coachman has chosen such a floorpan for the first 8ft-wide caravan in its mid-market VIP range.

The VIP 540 Xtra is one of a number of new models produced by the Hull-based manufacturer this season that carry the ‘Xtra’ moniker. This has been introduced because although they are all eight-footers, so would previously have been called Xcel, they do not carry the same level of spec as the separate Laser Xcel range. Coachman thought (rightly) that calling caravans Xcel when they weren’t Laser Xcel could be confusing.

Pitch and set-up

VIP 540 Xtra comes with Al-Ko ATC trailer control system fitted as standard
VIP 540 Xtra comes with Al-Ko ATC trailer control system fitted as standard

Don’t let that width put you off towing the VIP – they have Al-Ko’s ATC trailer control system fitted as standard, as well as a shock absorber, both of which should help.

The only thing you need to remind yourself is to ensure the dressing table stool in this caravan (yes, there is one) is secured, so that it won’t roll about while you’re en route.

When you arrive on site, heavy-duty corner steadies should also reassure you, while the external access to the large area under the bed should mean you can get out your awning or outdoor furniture quickly. And the external barbecue point and mains socket should help you get the party started!

Lounge

There's room for a TV set on the shelving unit, and plenty of storage capacity in underseat areas
There’s room for a TV set on the shelving unit, and plenty of storage capacity in underseat areas

The L-shaped settee, bathed in daylight from the large windows and long sunroof feels welcoming. The foldaway tables has its own storage slot to the right of the door. You can use all sides of the table, because you have that dressing table stool for a seat if needed.

At night, three spotlights in the corners and an arrangement of LEDs around the sunroof casing keep things bright. A wireless charging pad on the front sill is great if you have the right kind of device – if not, there is a mains socket in the offside front corner.

Coachman has resisted the temptation to assume everyone wants to use the nearside shelving unit to position a huge TV. There are sockets for a TV included inside the shelf, but there is still a window should you prefer to admire the natural view instead.

Kitchen

Sink is not huge, but there's a robust drainer and plenty of storage in drawers and lockers
Sink is not huge, but there’s a robust drainer and plenty of storage in drawers and lockers

The kitchen extension intrudes slightly into the lounge, but it does give you a big work surface, well lit by the window, a strip light and LEDs. You get two mains sockets, and there is room for a kettle and a toaster.

The sink is not huge, but the removable drainer feels sturdy and functional.

A dual-fuel four-burner hob sits above the separate oven and grill. There’s an Omnivent over the aisle, and opposite, you’ll find the microwave and a half-height Dometic series 10 two-way opening fridge.

Washroom

The corner washroom has an opaque window. The shower cubicle comes with a large riser bar and a sturdy shelf, but only one plughole.

The Alde radiator is ideal for towels, there is also a towel ring, and the salad-bowl-style handbasin is deep. A large, lit mirror sits behind it.

Beds

Kitchen is well-equipped and spacious, yet the central area still feels airy and open
Kitchen is well-equipped and spacious, yet the central area still feels airy and open

The immediately noticeable feature is the dressing table. It is amply furnished with a lit mirror, and as it sits just across from the wardrobe, you can easily make the area at the end of the bed a dressing room. Even with the concertina partition pulled across, there is ample space to move around here.

The dressing table is within easy reach of two sockets, so could double up as a desk.

The bed is comfortable, and is fitted with speakers as well as individually switched reading lights. A Heki also keeps this area well lit during the day.

The L-shaped settee could make up two single beds, but pull out the platform and you have a huge and comfortable double, without the need for any infill cushions.

There is just enough room for someone to perch on the side and either tell a bedtime story to little ones, or make a morning cuppa.

Storage

L-shaped lounges with pull-out beds could mean less storage under the seating. At least the underseat areas are clear. There are no fewer than 10 overhead lockers, five of them shelved. Coachman has redesigned the doors so they fit much more flush to the ceiling when you open them. There is also all of that externally accessible space under the fixed bed (although you shouldn’t keep weighty items under here when you’re towing), plus a large wardrobe with two drawers underneath, and a drawer in the dressing table. Kitchen storage is also impressive. You get two large overhead lockers, plus three large drawers and a cupboard with wire racks you can pull out.

Across the aisle there is a shelved cupboard by the fridge and two lockers. Perhaps the washroom is the only place slightly lacking in storage, with just two small cupboards.

Verdict

This caravan’s versatility impressed us the most. At 8ft wide, with an L-shaped lounge and fixed bed, it would make a good seasonal pitch. But it is not that long, so you could tour with it as just the two of you, too. And there is always room for a couple of guests.

  • Thumbs up: Welcoming lounge, bedroom dressing table, good kitchen
  • Thumbs down: Washroom storage could be a bit more generous

TECHNICAL SPECS

  • Price £31,405
  • Berths 4
  • MiRO 1544kg
  • Payload 156kg
  • MTPLM 1700kg
  • Spec list Spare wheel, Truma gas heating, fridge, shower, fly screens and blinds, AKS hitch, alloys, sunroof, Thetford toilet, Al-Ko chassis, oven/grill, battery charger, loose-fit carpets, Status TV aerial, LED awning light, microwave

Measurements

  • Interior length 5.30m
  • Shipping length 7.43m
  • Overall width 2.44m
  • Rear double 1.90 x 1.32m
  • Front double bed 1.98 x 1.40m
  • or singles 1.98 x 0.76m and 1.72 x 0.70m

You’re in Hall 6 Advice Lounge & Events Theatre at Van Live! See what else is happening on stage, visit the Coachman stand in Hall 1, or take me to the Show Guide