Get a popular two-berth, end-washroom layout, loads of kit and a fab new sunroof with the Coachman Vision 450 Plus – we went on tour to see if it works
The popularity of this two-berth’s layout is down to its practicality.
It’s the perfect accommodation for a couple that values social living space and a great washroom over the convenience of a fixed bed.
In its way, the layout is luxurious. You get a large lounge, a kitchen with plenty of worktop and cupboard space, and a rear washroom with a large shower.
The Vision might be the entry into the Coachman portfolio of caravans, but there’s nothing shouting ‘budget status’ here.
The build quality is sound, and uses the company’s ABC (Advanced Bonded Construction) system, with full-height ABS front and rear panels, and aluminium sidewalls.
ABC is designed to minimise the risk of water ingress and the maker’s confidence in its build skills is backed up by a 10-year water-ingress warranty. The system means you get an awning rail on each side.
The red, grey and black graphics of this Coachman caravan are understated.
Adding ‘Plus’ to its name – and £500 to the price-tag – is the panoramic front window, a new option for 2017.
It also adds 11kg to the Mass in Running Order, so comes with a weight-plate upgrade from 1296kg to 1350kg – which also boosts the payload from 123kg to a useful 166kg.
The three-piece front window, sturdy grabhandles, alloy wheels and glazed one-piece entrance door, positioned behind the axle, are not to be sniffed at.
But you won’t find any external access to the storage space under the sofas.
The Vision 450 Plus is fairly compact in shape, but the overall look is one of understated elegance.
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Pitching and setting up
The front gas locker is not particularly large, but is easily accessed, as are the front steady winders, which have guide holes. You’ll need to bend right down to locate those at the rear, though. The steadies are standard-sized.
All the service points, including satellite and aerial connections, are on the offside.
Just one key deals with access to the entrance, the battery box, the gas locker and the toilet cassette hatch.
The awning light position above the entrance door is mirrored on the inside by the mains controls, which are simple rocker switches, so even if your eyesight isn’t tip-top there’s no fumbling for specs needed to get things going.
You may need your glasses, however, for the Truma controller for the space and water heating, which is to the left of the entrance door above the dresser.
What’s it like on the road? On the Devon trip we towed this Coachman caravan behind a Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi with an 85% match figure of 1459kg, so the Vision was well within its capabilities.
The 450 tootled along behind, presenting no problems on hills or along Devon’s winding roads. It was a slightly different matter when we put the Vision on the back of our Škoda Octavia Estate 2.0 TDI 150PS.
Running the van empty, which made it an 87% match, it was noticeably fidgety when towed along A-roads. That could be in part due to the lack of ATC stability control, but, in retrospect, it might have settled down with some weight aboard.
To the right of the entrance is a lit alcove with a long mirror. Below the mirror is a shelf, which is a handy space for keys and bits and bobs that you want to put down while you deal with flicking on the master switches. Below the shelf is a cupboard, which will take shoes, shopping bags, a hairdryer and so on.
To the left of the recess are the light switches for the alcove and the washroom, plus a mains socket, making the area handy for drying hair. We used the shelf and socket for our DAB radio.
To the left of the entrance door is a dresser so, rather than a view obstructed by a wardrobe or fridge, you get a clear, open aspect through to the lounge.
The sofas are chunky and comfortable with a new ‘Pebbles Wrangler/Lewis Natural’ design, which looks like oatmeal tweed, given a lift with silver thread running through it.
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.
The backs of the sofas are a little low, so taller folk may be less comfortable.
Curtains are satin-textured in a pale bronze pattern with tiebacks in the same material as the upholstery. You have several patterns going on, but the tones make a harmonious whole.
Cabinetwork is light-coloured wood with graphite detailing along the top that hides ‘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. The one on the offside houses the TV aerial, and the radio/CD player is located in the offside corner.
There are two lockers on either side and by not having shelving in those closest to the front, you can access the space in the front corners.
Those corners have a quarter-circle panel behind which is LED lighting. In fact, the lighting is one of this caravan’s selling points: you have a variety of options to create the ambience you want.
As well as the LED quarter lights, there is LED lighting above the lockers, two LED lights in the sunroof moulding and four acrylic-rod spotlights, which are touch-operated so you can have two levels of lighting here, too.
The presence of a sunroof means there are no roof lockers at the front, but there is a wide shelf. A continuous pelmet runs the length under the lockers and shelf, hiding the tops of the curtains and creating a neat look.
Two light switches and a plug socket are set in the bottom of the sunroof moulding. It makes a convenient spot for charging mobile devices.
Other comforts include loose-fit carpets, a light switch and a socket set into the window shelf, a two-drawer central chest with a pull-out table plus heating vents in its base, and a plug socket in the seat base.
The freestanding table in this Coachman Vision 450 Plus has a dedicated storage space next to the shower.
The dresser worktop has plenty of room for a TV, with an aerial point and mains socket.
At one end is the Thetford Caprice MkIII cooker, with a glass lid to its dual-fuel hob, and next to that is the large oblong stainless-steel sink with removable drainer, glass lid and domestic-style chrome swan-neck mixer tap.
With utilities together at one end of the kitchen, cooks get a decent amount of worktop at the other end for food preparation and, of course, there’s that expanse of worktop opposite – ideal for plating up. There’s just one mains socket for your kettle or toaster.
Below the kitchen worktop is a wide drawer for chopping boards, utensils and tea towels, and under that a double-shelved cupboard, which houses the gas knobs.
The attention to detail is good. The microwave, housed in the dresser opposite, has a dedicated acrylic surround, there is a splashback on the wall behind the sink and the washroom bulkhead has a glass panel protector.
The two overhead cupboards are deeper than the lounge lockers – one has racking for crockery.
On the dresser side, tucked below the worktop, is a slim cutlery drawer set above the Thetford fridge, and next to the fridge is a shelved cupboard.
Lighting comes courtesy of an LED strip above both worktop areas and the eye-level cupboards, and there’s just a small rooflight, a kitchen window and the glazed entrance door.
In front of you, on the back wall, are the oblong, Belfast-style basin with chrome mixer tap, a mirror and shelf above and a shelved cupboard below.
The mirror in this Coachman caravan is in a great position – with the door open you can stand back for pretty much a full-length view, if you need to check your appearance before heading out for dinner or to the pub.
The electric-flush cassette toilet is on the offside with a large frosted window behind it and a shelf above that. On the back wall, above the chrome towel rail, is a shallow cupboard.
Along with the frosted window, there’s just a small rooflight preventing things from getting gloomy.
There’s a large wardrobe in here with ample hanging space and two drawers for your smalls.
A thoughtful addition is the laundry bin, which occupies the space behind the drawers and is accessed from the wardrobe.
On the nearside is the large, fully lined square shower unit with moulded cubbies for shampoos and shower gels, and a chrome Ecocamel Jetstorm Plus showerhead and riser set against a black panel. The glazed door is a single pivoting panel, so you need a bit of space to open it.
Next to the shower is the dedicated storage cupboard for the freestanding table.
As well as the towel rail there are a couple of coathooks, which can be used for coats or towels. It’s another thoughtful addition that gets wet coats away from the entrance door.
The bed sizes are generous: the sofas are long enough (6ft 1in) – and wide enough (2ft 5in) – to be used as singles, or you can make up the 6ft 7in x 4ft 11in double.
Alternatively, you can pull out the aluminium frame just enough to accommodate the seat-back cushion as part of the mattress and have a wide single on the offside, a standard single on the nearside and enough space between to get up without disturbing the other sleeper.
Should you not want to keep your clothes all over the van, the large wardrobe and drawers can accommodate all the clothing and spare towels, leaving the roof lockers up front to house more fun items, such as DVDs, books, games and your tablet or laptop.
The washroom cabinets will deal with toiletries. The cupboard below the mirror at the entrance is surprisingly deep because it extends below the table storage cupboard in the washroom. It’s handy for shoes, wellies and shopping bags.
The dresser has good storage with a deep cupboard next to the fridge for a toaster, kettle and other paraphernalia, and a cupboard next to the microwave for dry goods.
On the kitchen side, the wide drawer below the sink will take a lot of loose bits and bobs, while the cupboard below will accept larger items such as salad bowls, leaving the two overhead cupboards for crockery and more dry goods.
With no fixed bed, bedding must be stored during the day under the sofas. That on the offside is taken up with the consumer unit and water heater, but there is still good stowage space for pillows and a duvet.
The nearside bed box is clear and large enough for an Aquaroll and grey-water container while in transit, and should be able to take a couple of picnic chairs. There is no front access to the seat bases, but they have gas struts to aid lifting.
At eye level, there are two lockers on either side. Just one is shelved, while another houses the TV aerial and, of course, there is the central chest of usefully large drawers for tucking away specs, phones, TV remotes, games and magazines.
This being a Coachman caravan, you can expect build quality to be excellent in this Vision 450 Plus, with dovetail joints and metal runners on the drawers, for example – that’s attention to detail.
Kit levels are good, too: outside you get alloy wheels, an underslung spare wheel and carrier, shock absorbers, an Al-Ko AKS hitch stabiliser, satellite and TV aerial connections, a three-piece front window and the panoramic window.
Inside, the microwave in its dedicated housing looks classy, you get a dual-fuel hob and those chrome-looking fittings in the washroom are actually chrome.
The colour co-ordinated sockets and switches with black surrounds are a nice touch, as are the touch-control reading lights and the laundry bin.
It’s not the cheapest entry-level van on the market, but then it’s far from a budget tourer and compares favourably with rivals’ mid-market offerings.
With a sense of quality that’s hard to beat, it feels like good value.
If you value a social living area over a fixed bed, and enough private space for getting dressed, then you will already love this layout.
Put this 2017-season Coachman Vision 450 Plus among similarly priced mid-market rivals and you have comparable payloads, although this van’s MiRO is generally heavier, which suggests there’s plenty of kit on board and some fine attention to detail in the build, even if it does mean that there’s slightly less flexibility when it comes to choosing a tow car.
The washroom is particularly good, with that enormous shower and huge wardrobe.
Buying a Coachman gives you a certain amount of confidence that your van will be long-lived, and it should also hold its value on the pre-owned market.
- This is a well-specced caravan
- It has a super washroom
- The beds are large, comfy and easy to make-up
- All service points are on the offside – and there are two awning rails
- It's full of thoughtful touches
- Storage space is good
- None of the storage areas are externally accessed
- There's just one mains socket in the kitchen