Peter Baber
Reviews Editor

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If you usually tour as a couple, but like to invite the occasional guest, this well-designed, comfortable three-berth layout could be just right for you

Overview

Three-berth caravans are something of a rarity these days. With a front lounge that makes up a double and a side dinette that can only be a single bed, they're rarer still.

Coachman features this layout in three of its ranges, but beyond that, you will only find it in the Lunar Clubman ES.

This seems strange, because in many ways, this arrangement is the perfect solution for people who want a caravan that can accommodate the occasional guest but is still relatively short.

Then, when you have no guest, you can leave the bed made up and use the dinette for meals.

With this in mind, we took a look at one of Coachman's mid-level models, the Alde-heated Pastiche 520.

Pitching and setting up

At this price-point, you can expect Al-Ko's ATC system and a stabiliser to be included in the spec, so towing this van ought to be relatively easy.

Your outfit should look good on the road, too, thanks to the sleek front panel and alloys. And once on site, external access to the nearside underseat locker will make setting up outdoor furniture that little bit easier.

Lounge

One of the many things that Coachman does really well is designing the immediate entrance to its caravans, and the 520 is no exception.

By the door is a smart mirror with built-in lights, and a shelf for leaving keys or fobs just where you need them, above a double cupboard.

With a huge sunroof at the front and a large roof light, natural light really floods into the lounge, brightening what some might find a rather drab interior of beiges and browns. This area remains well-lit, too, thanks to four spotlights and much use of ambient lighting, even extending to the side dinette, although you don't get any spotlights there.

The upholstery might be plain, but the seating is comfortable, because it is sprung inside.

You're not too badly served for electrics, here, either. There's a mains socket underneath the offside settee, and the TV points are well-positioned above a small cupboard that separates the two dinettes.

This means you can choose where you sit to view the TV, so that if some prefer to talk or read instead, they still can.

There's a useful cubbyhole under here, where you can keep books and a remote control.

Up front, the Pioneer digital FM radio with USB socket is connected to two large speakers either side of the sunroof.

The only slight let-down in the lounge might be the storage for the fold-away table - it's kept in a slot in the end washroom.

That's a fair distance from the lounge, and getting out the table could mean you disturbing the chef or whoever is in the shower.

Kitchen

The workspace here is a good size and thoughtfully planned - it extends in two directions, forwards over the cutlery drawer and half-height fridge, and to the side over the nearside settee, thanks to a pull-up extension. The mains socket placed near this extension is handy for a kettle. The rectangular brown plastic sink looks a bit cheap, but is a good size.

It sits above another drawer and a cupboard with a half-shelf.

The dual-fuel, four-burner hob is set above a separate oven and grill, and a fairly sizeable pan locker. The hob is right next to the door, however, and there is no windbreak, so you might need to be careful about draughts.

Two overhead lockers and a microwave (Daewoo, not the Russell Hobbs that many other brands have opted for this year) finish things off higher up.

Washroom

An end-washroom is always a bit of a luxury, and Coachman is the only manufacturer providing this layout with the toilet in the far corner. This gives you a huge amount of space for dressing.

Immediately to your left as you walk in through the elegant panelled door is a wardrobe with a hanging rail that is more than enough for three, and two large drawers underneath.

This area is given more light through an opaque window and, thanks to the Alde heating, you get a radiator for towels in the corner, too. There is a shelved cupboard above the radiator, and another below the salad bowl handbasin in the centre.

The large shower cubicle on the nearside is accessed through a single panel door, so you'll need to make sure this is securely fastened when you're travelling, or it could bang about.

The washroom has two racks for shampoos and so on, and an LED light, but no roof vent.

Beds

In the debate between platform beds and slats, Coachman comes down heavily in favour of of the latter, which is what we have in the front lounge here. The double bed created with them is large and - thanks to the springs in the base cushions - very comfortable. Or you can have two singles, if you are both under 6 feet 1 inch.

The side dinette bed is made with the table. Do bear in mind that whoever sleeps here will have no spotlights for reading, and no access to a light switch. Nor is there any partition curtain. This really is an occasional bed.

Storage

Coachman describes its overhead lockers as "cranked style" - they slant out and in again. This clever design means that the doors stay open more or less by their own weight, with no need for catches.

At the front, there are two corner lockers and four overhead lockers, with three more above the side-dinette.

The underseat storage is a bit more of an effort - you access all but one of these areas by lifting up the slats. Those slats stay up, but you'll probably only use this space for larger items. At least the nearside locker is clear.

Technical specs

Berth3
MiRO1295kg
Payload140kg
MTPLM1435kg
Interior length5.3m
Shipping length6.93m
Width2.26m

Verdict

The 520 is a flexible, comfortable solution in non-fixed-bed layouts, if you usually tour as a couple, but want the option of an extra bed. If you prefer Alde heating, take a look at this Pastiche, but if your choice is blown-air heating, you might go for the Vision 520 instead.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Nigh-on perfect end washroom

Cons

  • The table storage is the only thing that stops this being perfect!