Nigel HutsonSee other caravan reviews written by Nigel Hutson
Read our 2016 Coachman VIP 565 review to see if this upmarket four-berth with fixed twin singles and an end washroom could be the caravan for you
Coachman’s 2016 VIP range looks visually very similar to previous years, and that’s no bad thing, as it’s always stood out from the crowd with its bold lines. However, what is different is the construction. These caravans are now built using Coachman’s ABC (Advanced Bonded Construction) methods, where the body is glued rather than being screwed together. Any timber has also been replaced with polyurethane (PU) materials, which is both lighter and impervious to water.
Despite the very slight weight reduction, the VIP 565 is still one hefty van, and you’ll need a tow car approaching 2000kg to get an 85% ratio, although we suspect that it’s more likely to be bought by experienced tow car drivers.
The 565 layout has the now very popular fixed twin beds with an end washroom. Let’s have a closer inspection. And to see other Coachman caravans for sale, click here.
Pitching and setting up
As befitting a top-end caravan, the VIP runs on an Al-Ko chassis fitted with an AKS3004 stabiliser, ATC stability control and easily accessible heavy duty corner steadies.
On the nearside you’ll find an external gas barbecue point and a mains socket towards the front, as well as an access hatch to the nearside underbed space further back.
Moving to the offside, you'll find the services connections (including that for the satellite TV in the battery/mains locker) and, usefully, a light to save you from having to use a torch or fumble about in the dark.
All the electrical controls are sensibly placed around the entrance door.
However, a feeling of space is created in the VIP 565 by Coachman’s use of light coloured fabrics and windows (including a massive sunroof at the front and a Heki rooflight). Four could lounge and dine in comfort, and it’s good to see that the main table is stored next to the lounge – in other words, right where it’s needed. And when it’s dark outside, there’s plenty of artificial lighting provided, so things will never be gloomy.
We really like the fact that Coachman has built the radio’s speakers into moulded panels in the front corners which directs the sound inwards, so you shouldn’t need to turn the volume up so high as to disturb your on-site neighbours.
The TV is mounted on a feature panel on the side of the wardrobe, just inside the door.
Nestling between the cooker and the fridge are three good-sized, deep drawers, and there’s a pan cupboard beneath the cooker. Two large overhead lockers complete the kitchen storage.
The deep sink, with its removable drainer and contemporary mixer tap, is sited at the right-hand side of the worktop, which has allowed for an excellent amount of work surface space measuring 0.53m x 0.71m in size. There’s also a pair of mains sockets here too.
An Omnivent and opening window take care of ventilation. In addition, as elsewhere in the caravan, there are loads of LED lights.
The fully lined shower cubicle with its single door is to the right as you enter, with the washbasin mounted above a cupboard unit directly in front of you. This has a smart looking marble-effect splashback, and there’s a good-sized backlit mirror above.
The electric flush Thetford toilet is on the left, with an opaque window above. On the rear wall, to the side of the toilet, there’s an Alde heated towel rail and a cupboard/shelving unit above.
The three overhead spotlights, together with another in the shower, are all operated by a single cord-pull.
As is usual with Coachman, a nice feature has been made of the washroom, rather than it just being a purely functional space.
Each fixed bed has a neat headboard and a reading light, plus a radio speaker, which shows the thought that Coachman has put into designing this caravan. There are open shelves above the bed heads at overhead locker height for books, glasses and so on. At the foot of the nearside bed, you’ll find a mirror and a TV point.
The lounge seats aren’t really suitable for making into single beds for adults to use, but they do make up into a double, using Coachman’s excellent pull-out bed base. Once again, the front double bed isn’t the widest, but we can’t see it being used other than very occasionally. However, if you do have visitors stopping over and sleeping here, they’ll each get a reading light.
The rear fixed single beds measure 1.80m x 0.68m (nearside) and 1.86m x 0.68m (offside), while the front make-up double is 2.10m x 1.15m.
Starting in the lounge area, there are four overhead lockers (two of which are shelved, and a third houses the radio/CD player) plus two small front corner cubbies. The nearside sofa is completely empty underneath, but the offside one has the electrics and water/heating systems. There are a couple of drawers in the front chest, too.
We’ve covered the kitchen storage elsewhere, so we’ll move into the bed area next. Here there's a good-sized wardrobe opposite the kitchen, which has a hanging depth of 1.36m – beneath it are two decent drawers.
The nearside bed base is empty, and also has external as well as frontal access. In the main, the offside one is empty too, although it only has frontal access. However, it also has a pull-out drawer, and a hidden shelf inside – access is only gained by lifting the bed base.
Above the fixed beds there are three overhead lockers on each side, with one of them (on each side) being shelved, in addition to a couple of shelves above each bed head.
As we’ve mentioned before, you’ll need a heavy tug to tow it, but the Coachman VIP 565 is no heavier than some of its rivals.
Despite the limitations of this layout and the caravan’s overall dimensions, Coachman has done an excellent job, with great attention to detail. For instance, rather than just being faced with a solid wall of wood on the right as you enter (the side of the wardrobe), there’s a light coloured panel where the TV point is, with a downlighter above it.
If you’re looking for an upmarket, single-axle caravan of this layout, with distinctive looks and a reputation for solid build, then the Coachman VIP 565 should be on your shortlist. Others you might like to consider are the Swift Conqueror 565, the Compass Rallye 574 and the Bailey Unicorn Cadiz.
- The front double is easy to make up
- Kit levels are high
- There's great attention to detail throughout
- You'll need a pretty hefty tow car
- None of the beds are the widest we've seen
- The microwave's location is not ideal
- None of the overhead lockers have positive catches