Rory White

See other caravan reviews written by Rory White

You won't find many luxury four-berth tourers on single axles that also have fixed beds and corner washrooms, but it's a layout that's popular with couples looking for a little extra space. Coachman will be hoping the VIP's upmarket character can create buyers out of those lured in by the firm's reputation and competitive pricing.

Pitching and setting up

The VIP is built on an Al-Ko chassis, but there's no ATC trailer control or 13-pin electrics. Nevertheless, the exterior is perfectly functional, and securing the van is a cinch thanks to the buttonless handbrake. Given its classification as a four-berth, fixed bed van, the VIP is not too heavy or large, so manual manoeuvres shouldn't be too taxing. The four grab handles, one at each corner, feel solid and soundly fitted.

Storage space in the front locker is generous. There's room for two gas bottles plus a good deal more, and the single gas strut holding the lid works well. Satellite and aerial inputs are sited on the offside.

Lounge

Coachman, in touch with its home-grown market, gives over much of the interior to the lounge. And it's a well-lit, comfortable place to spend time. The thickly padded sofas have armrests at each end and there are scatter cushions for extra pampering.

Watching TV is easy in the VIP thanks to mains, aerial and satellite points on the offside sofa base and at the foot of the bed. The central chest has a flip-over table-top extension and there's are plenty of spotlights to bolster the work of the central Heki rooflight. A CD player and radio with MP3 connection is standard.

Kitchen

If you regularly need to prepare meals for up to four people, you can rest assured that you'll be well catered for in the VIP's kitchen, which has a sizeable worktop area over the fridge, always free thanks to the recessed drainer. If you need more space for cutting vegetables, some is available on the drop-down extension over the foot of the bed. There’s also a 240V socket here, so you can keep your kettle out of the way.

It's reassuring to have 107 litres' worth of space in your fridge, as is having a separate oven and grill. There's a four-burner hob with extractor fan, too, but no electric hotplate.

There's plenty of room in the deep cupboard beside the fridge, but that's about it. At head level there’s a locker with wire racks for wine and crockery, and to the left-hand side of this are two shelves that are handy on site. Below these the tea-towel rail is a nice touch, but we would still expect more storage area for provisions in a van of this price. The drawer below the sink is handy but the cutlery tray is too small, so it jiggles around. It does, however, mean you can store larger utensils alongside, even if they don’t fit in the tray itself.

Washroom

If you're pitching your van as a luxury tourer, you need to provide a separate shower in the washroom, and in this respect the Coachman does not disappoint. The single-piece shower door closes magnetically for a perfect fit, but it opens towards you so the washroom door, annoyingly, must be opened first.

We wouldn't describe the washroom as spacious, but neither is it cramped. There's a swivel-bowl, electric-flush toilet, and plenty of shelves for your toiletries.

Beds

First of all, the fixed bed – that crucial indicator of luxury in a tourer. Coachman has turned to Leisure Furnishings for the bed in the VIP, and the result is a very comfortable mattress. It's backed by padded headboards and overlooked by two adjustable spotlights. We're less keen on the compromised fabric divider that sections off the bedroom area.

The VIP’s front dinette converts into a double bed with slats made of soft wood that slide out from the central chest. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it does mean the bed is rather fiddly to make up. We'd have preferred something a little more substantial.

Storage

The bulk of your stuff will be stored in the wardrobe, the overhead lockers and under the dinette seats and fixed bed. And there's plenty of room. One minor drawback; to access the under-sofa space you have to slide the slats towards the wall. Unfortunately, the opening this leaves you is small.

For clothes storage, the Coachman provides a giant wardrobe beside the entrance. It also boasts a few neat ideas, including the elasticated storage pocket on the nearside sofa and the bin built into the main door.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO1398kg
Payload182kg
MTPLM1580kg
Interior length5.49m
Shipping length7.26m
Width2.26m
Height2.66m
Awning size995cm

Verdict

The Coachman is a fine van whose layout fulfils all of its promise. It has a comfortable lounge, great levels of storage and is lighter and more manoeuvrable than many rivals. But the levels of specification aren't that generous, and build quality doesn't always match Coachman's usually-high standards. It is, though, good value for money and would be a rewarding caravan to own.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Airy, comfortable lounge
  • Abundant clothes storage
  • Comparatively low weight.

Cons

  • Ineffective fabric door to bedroom area
  • Softwood slats
  • Low payload limits carrying capacity.
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