SPACE IS OBVIOUSLY an important factor when trying to find a layout that really works for a large family. We classify large family tourers as six-berths, and there are several different ways of squeezing in six beds when a lot of people, big and small, occupy a caravan.
Twin-axle caravans have always provided the most room inside, but are rarely the lightweight or budget option. Numbers of twin-axle tourers have dwindled in recent years, too, as caravanners have sought ways to move into smaller towcars. That, in turn, has inspired manufacturers to look for different ways of getting the job done.
This year we have caravans weighing in from 1300kg, meaning that a well-loaded one can be towed by a Ford Focus. The large-family section is always a tough category – and 2011 was certainly no different.
Sterling Europa 565
Coachman Amara 640/6
Adria Altea 542 DK
Winner, Best Caravan for Large Families: Lunar Quasar 556
In typical Lunar style, the Quasar 556 offers space for six with an attractive MTPLM. When it was launched last winter, you might have paid scant attention to the 556 and dismissed it as another twin-dinette single axle.
It’s so much more. Lunar has done brilliantly to compress the large lounge of a twin-axle twin-dinette on to a single-axle chassis. The result is excellent – it manages to squeeze four good bunks into the rear end and provides two genuinely excellent lounge spaces in a single-axle tourer. To do this, the door has been moved to the front, leaving a massive rear lounge.
In many ways, the 556 may have consigned the twin-axle twin-dinette to the history books forever. The washroom still offers a separate shower cubicle and the front lounge still makes a comfortable space. In fact, it’s hard to see where the compromises have been made in this masterful piece of repackaging.
Space in the nearside kitchen has been reduced, but it is well-utilised and the equipment level is good, with no obvious omissions. There is plenty of room for food preparation. The latest Mazurka fabric is pleasing, if not desperately exciting or particularly practical if you have tots clambering around.
New for 2011 are a three-burner gas hob plus hotplate, five 230V sockets as standard, removable shelving in the front lockers and an Al-Ko spare-wheel carrier.
The Quasar is not the most celebrated of Lunar’s line-up, but this is so clever that it outshines everything else in its class. Recommended.
Price £15,395 MTPLM 1498kg MiRO 1319kg
Find out more about the Lunar Quasar 556 here