Claudia DowellSee other caravan reviews written by Claudia Dowell
Introducing 2017's most sought-after layout to the range, be sure to check out the central-washroom, rear-island-bed Vision 545 from Coachman Caravans
One is the five-berth 630 which has a large end washroom, a vast kitchen, bunks and a side dinette. The other is this, the 545, with its central-transverse-washroom layout, plus a rear island bed.
Gone are the two-berth 380, with its end kitchen and corner washroom, and the 560, with its nearside fixed bed – a floorplan that is disappearing as the island-bed format increases in popularity.
Also gaining a firm foothold in the 2017 season’s ranges is the central washroom. It’s a practical solution when you have two people sleeping at the front of the van and two at the back, because each pair can access the washroom without disturbing the other.
The layout divides the caravan into distinct rooms, which can be very appealing for those who don’t want to look at the bed during the day. Solid doors also help to retain heat in one area.
The 545’s layout has the island bed on the back wall, with two exits from the bedroom to the washroom and one into the living space.
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Pitching and setting up
This is backed up by a 10-year water-ingress warranty. The system gives you an awning rail on each side.
Graphics are understated in red, grey and black. Lifting it above rivals’ entry-level ranges are a three-piece front window, good sturdy grabhandles and a glazed one-piece entrance door.
Standard kit includes an Al-Ko AKS 3004 stabiliser, shock absorbers, alloy wheels, and an underslung spare wheel and carrier. What you won't find is any exterior locker access to the storage spaces under the sofas and bed.
The front gas locker is easily accessed, as are the front steady winders, which have guide holes. You’ll need to bend down to locate those at the rear, though. The steadies are of a standard size.
All the service points, including the satellite and aerial connections, are on the offside.
New for the range is one-key locking, and you’ll be able to find those locks at night with the help of the awning light.
The mains controls are located above the entrance door and are simple rocker switches, so you won’t have to fumble for your glasses to get things going.
The sofas are chunky and comfortable. They have a new ‘Pebbles Wrangler/Lewis Natural’ design, which looks like oatmeal tweed, and is given a lift thanks to silver thread running through.
Bolster cushions at the front end provide good lounging support for reading or watching TV with your feet up, and there are scatter cushions in pale-chocolate chenille, and a vanilla fudge-coloured tartan with chocolate and red. They look smart, but might not be to everyone’s taste.
Cabinetwork is pale, with graphite detailing across the tops of lockers hiding ‘Halo’ LED lighting, and a cream strip with chrome detailing. Speakers are set in the graphite corners.
The roof lockers have an unusual, angled crick at the top. One on the offside houses the TV aerial, and the CD/radio player is located in the offside corner.
There are two lockers on either side, and you can access the space in the front corners because there are no shelves here.
Other comforts include loose-fit carpets, four acrylic-rod spotlights to read by, a handy light switch and a mains socket set into the window shelf, a two-drawer central chest with pull-out table and heating vents, and a plug socket in the seat base.
There are no lockers on the front wall, so for an extra £500 you can go for a panoramic sunroof.
The freestanding table has a dedicated storage space in the dresser opposite the kitchen. The worktop here offers space for a TV, with an aerial point and mains socket. The Truma heating control is also located here.
At one end is the Thetford Caprice MkIII cooker, with a glass lid to the dual-fuel hob. Next to that is the large oblong stainless-steel sink with removable drainer, glass lid and domestic-style chrome swan-neck mixer tap.
This gives cooks a decent amount of workspace for food preparation. There is one mains socket for your kettle or slow cooker.
The attention to detail in the Coachman Vision 545 is good. The microwave has a dedicated acrylic surround, there is a splashback on the wall, and the washroom bulkhead has a glass panel protector.
The two overhead cupboards are deeper than the lounge lockers and one has racking for crockery. Tucked below the worktop is a slim cutlery drawer set above the Thetford fridge, and between the fridge and oven is a small drawer and cupboard, which houses the gas knobs.
Lighting is courtesy of an LED strip-light above the worktop and just a small rooflight.
Ahead you’ll find the oblong basin with chrome mixer tap, a mirror and shelf above, and a shelved cupboard below. The mirror is in a great position: with the door open you can stand back for pretty much a full-length view.
The electric-flush cassette toilet is on the offside, with a large frosted window behind it, and a shallow cupboard and shelves above that. Along with the frosted window, there’s a small rooflight to prevent things from getting gloomy.
On the nearside is the fully lined semi-circular shower unit, with cubbies for toiletries, and a chrome showerhead and riser. The wheelarch intrudes, but there’s still plenty of space.
Again, there is lots of attention to detail here with an impressive number of hooks, rails and rings for towels and clothing.
Sliding doors on either side of the basin give access to the bedroom.
Best of all, you can climb into bed without the need for one partner to clamber over the other. And you just about have enough room on either side for dressing.
Each side of the bed has a full-height wardrobe, with the offside wardrobe wider than the nearside. The cupboard below protrudes slightly, creating a small shelf with room for your books and specs. Above the bed are three lockers.
Thoughtful touches include a socket on the bed base, reading lights, a heating vent and a narrow shelf over the windows where you could prop photos.
This is a bright, airy space with a large rooflight over the bed and a large window on either side. At 1.81m x 1.37m, the bed isn’t the longest we’ve seen in this layout, but it’s comfortable thanks to the Ozio mattress.
At the front of the van, the double bed is made up by pulling out the base from the offside and rearranging cushions. The resulting bed measures 2.01m x 1.18m, so it isn't particularly wide, but you do get spotlights for reading.
The sofas create single beds measuring 1.54m x 0.73m, so will only accommodate little ones.
The nearside sofa offers the next largest space, while that on the offside houses the water heater and the consumer unit.
Kitchen storage is good if you bring the dresser opposite into play, which has a good-sized locker and a tall, deep cupboard below.
To leave space for the sunroof option, there are just two lockers on either side of the lounge area, plus three above the bed.
For an entry-level model, the 2017-season Coachman Vision 545 is fabulous. There are plenty of small touches that would put it mid-portfolio in other manufacturers’ line-ups.
Our only real quibble is the colour of the soft furnishings, but that is really down to personal taste. We would also have appreciated a couple of USB points for charging gadgets.
The 545 is not particularly light, but it’s a sensible match for most compact SUVs. It impressed us, and we’d probably choose it over the pricier Pastiche.
- Attention to detail means it doesn't feel like an entry-level model
- The layout is very user-friendly
- The lockers don't have external access
- USB points would be helpful
- The upholstery might not be to everyone's taste
- The island bed isn't awfully long