Claudia Dowell
Features Editor

See other caravan reviews written by Claudia Dowell

Twin test, April 2010

Pitching and setting up

This is a well-equipped caravan. The Al-Ko hitch-head stabiliser, ATC stability control system and Secure wheel lock are all included as standard, while an inboard water tank, framed aluminium windows and insulated pipe runs help retain heat in cold conditions, making this a great year-round tourer. The 514 also has an alarm and Tracker system.

The construction method used to build it minimises opportunities for water ingress. The roof and front panel are made of a single sandwich panel and the sidewalls are a single sheet of aluminium. Where possible, external fixtures are bonded into place to minimise holes in the bodywork that can allow in damp. The body panels are bonded into the aluminium frame.

The side-accessed wet lockers are good but gas bottles are tricky to access owing to the low opening height of the lid and limited access from either side of the A-frame.

Lounge

The centre chest is an optional extra but, uniquely, it can be moved to the side of the dinette in long-lounge models like the 514. The standard wrap-around seating makes a comfy lounge and seat support is excellent. The wide front shelf goes some way to making up for the lack of centre chest, but it’s easy to snag a teacup on the backrest when passing it across. The pull-out seat bases work well, providing the most comfortable tourer seats we’ve seen.

Lighting is just about adequate, but hardly generous. The side lounge seating is bolt upright and fine for short periods but the table is awkward to move and care must be taken to avoid the leg dropping out. The main dining table is large but is heavy and awkward to handle.

Kitchen

The kitchen has some thoughtful touches. The large sink is excellent and the drop-in chopping board and bowl are a usable size. Work space is good and so is the storage, although the large locker over the kitchen is compromised by the racks for mugs and plates. Keen cooks will love the Thetford hob with front-facing controls and mix of small and large burners.

Washroom

No shortage of space in here, but there are a few things that are not well thought out. The shower is large but the shower curtain looks a pretty crude affair next to the cutting-edge cubicle. The electric-flush Thetford C250 toilet is always a welcome sight and while legroom is fine, space across the shoulders is quite tight at around 56cm.

The wardrobe is huge, though, and shelves in the nearside corner are great and have a locker door to access them from the front. There is so much wasted space though. The full-height hanging space is unlikely to get used and the area under those shelves will be tricky to get to once there are things hanging. The storage under the vanity unit is useful but for a top-end tourer, the basin area feels sparse. Lighting is a bit limited, but an opaque window and rooflight allow in natural light by day.

Beds

Making up the front bed is made simple by the pull-out bases and with no standard centre chest, the bed is huge. The side bunks are made up in the normal way, but the painted steel ladder is poor and the hooked top will eventually damage the edge it lips over.

Storage

Exterior storage is pretty good, courtesy of the wet lockers on either side of the gas locker but you won’t squeeze in a Wastemaster. Inside, the underseat areas are easy to access. The whole seat base and front face lift on gas struts.

However, standing above the lifting lockers, your vision is obscured by the front face as it lifts. The roof lockers have shelves to make the space usable, and the space under the side dinette lockers is clear and easily accessed.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO1250kg
Payload216kg
MTPLM1466kg
Interior length5.61m
Shipping length6.48m
Width2.28m
Height2.63m
Awning size1042cm

Verdict

Stellar specification, cracking value and clever, but lacks a little showroom appeal – 8/10

Conclusion

Pros

  • Superb list of standard equipment and the body construction is cutting edge
  • The body warranty is unrivalled in the market and for such a well-equipped tourer, the weight is eye-catchingly low, too.

Cons

  • Some fit and finish issues, no centre chest as standard, stark interior and understated exterior
  • Washroom design doesn’t use the available space very well and gas locker is difficult to access.
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