Alastair Clements
Group Head of Content

See other caravan reviews written by Alastair Clements

Practical Caravan reviews the 2015 Venus 540/4, a four-berth, entry-level model featuring the luxury of a fixed double bed and a full-width end washroom

Overview

The Venus name was introduced to the tourer market early in 2012 to serve as the first rung on the Lunar Caravans ladder. The four-model line-up started as a separate brand and undercut the Quasar line. Two years later, and the entire Venus range has received a facelift for the 2015 season.

There are five new models for 2015, including a twin-axle range-topper, but the most popular is likely to be the Venus 540/4, which features a fixed double bed and full-width end washroom – a layout previously employed in the 490/4. Here is the Practical Caravan Venus 540/4 review.

Pitching and setting up

This 2015 refresh is more than a spit and polish. The Venus 540/4 features revised front and rear panels, plus a new, larger single front window.

It’s still a boxy shape, but an effort has been made to give it more character using ‘dove grey’ for the front gas locker, side skirts, grabhandles and rear light bezels. It’s also picked up by the new graphics, though it’s a shame they don’t extend further down the sidewalls.

The Venus employs Truma’s Combi 2E blown-air heating system. You’ll find the controls just inside, above the two-piece door and alongside the new Venus-branded main control panel.

Our test van was fitted with the £449 Plus Pack that most buyers are expected to specify. It includes 14in alloys, an Al-Ko AKS stabiliser and Secure wheel lock receiver, a spare wheel, a microwave oven and a radio/CD/MP3 player.

Lounge

Practical Caravan's reviewers entered the Venus 540/4 and immediately saw where the real work had been done. A stylish refit, extending the use of ‘dove grey’ to the interior, makes the 2015 Venus feel less like an entry-level van.

The furniture board is called ‘light walnut’ but it’s surprisingly dark, providing a neat contrast with the cream overhead locker doors and their chrome trim, and the grey fabrics and carpets.

It feels modern and more like domestic décor than that of an affordable tourer. The soft furnishings pick out the grey, and add to the success of the makeover.

As well as the pull-out table in the front chest, there’s a freestanding table just behind the offside sofa, and the four rooflights and that huge front window mean that you aren’t left yearning for a sunroof – which isn’t available, even as an option.

Our only complaint is that the headroom, at 6ft 3in, is a little tight; six-footers may need to duck to avoid walking into the light fittings.

Kitchen

The stone-effect worktop of the Venus 540/4's kitchen is plentiful, largely thanks to the triangular three-burner hob and overhang into the lounge, noted Practical Caravan's reviewers. The combined oven/grill allows more cupboard space even though the fridge/freezer is also sited here.

A microwave is opposite at chest height, with a locker above and the sideboard beneath. TV points are located here as well.

Washroom

The space in the Venus 540/4's washroom is used efficiently. There’s a decent-sized shower, which even impressed Practical Caravan's tall reviewer, although it isn’t fully lined, plus there is a domestic-style bowl basin with a swan-neck tap.

You’ll also find shelves in here, along with a cabinet and chrome fittings.

Beds

A fabric screen separates the bedroom of the Venus 540/4 from the living area. Above the headboard of the good-sized fixed double bed there are small shelves and reading lights, while across the corridor there’s a wardrobe and shelving.

The front seats can be converted into another double by using slats that pull out from beneath the front chest and, like the fixed-bed mattress, the cushions are hugely comfortable.

Storage

The lack of a sunroof allows the Venus 540/4 to make the most of the overhead space with bags of lockers and shelving accented by silver strips and handles, say the Practical Caravan reviewers.

There’s good space under the double bed and sofas, but it can’t be accessed from outside. The wardrobe isn’t too pinched by its triangular shape, and beneath it there are drawers plus a locker with a drop-down door.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO1100kg
Payload195kg
MTPLM1295kg
Interior length5.62m
Shipping length7.26m
Width2.16m
Awning size1010cm

Verdict

So, at the end of the Practical Caravan review, what is the verdict on the 2015 Venus 540/4? While other makers focus on innovative construction and costly kit, the team behind the 540/4 has looked at what buyers want from an entry-level van: an upmarket finish that disguises the bargain price-tag. On the whole, the Preston firm has achieved that, with a classy feel to the interior that may steal sales from some more expensive rivals.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Design tweaks add a domestic gloss and a costlier feel to the interior
  • The kitchen's worktop is boosted by the triangular hob and overhang into the lounge
  • Washroom space is used efficiently to include a large shower cubicle
  • Plenty of daylight gets in, despite the lack of a front sunroof

Cons

  • Despite the revamp, the Venus 540/4 does not have the most stylish exterior
  • Headroom is limited for those over six feet
  • There is no external access to internal lockers
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