Alastair ClementsSee other caravan reviews written by Alastair Clements
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Radical changes announce the arrival of the new VIP range by Coachman Caravans – is this classic two-berth a winner for couples who want a touch of luxury?
It’s been all-change at Coachman Caravans over the past year.
Founder and long-serving boss Jim Hibbs has passed the baton over to new MD (and son) Elliot, and the first fruits of his labours is this, the all-new VIP.
It’s a brave piece of work: the old model’s 2012 redesign became an icon of luxury touring, and its buyers are a traditional bunch who are naturally resistant to radical change.
Look closer and you’ll spot another seismic shift…
Instead of a full-width gas locker, there’s a pair of side-hinged doors – behind one a store for outdoor gear, behind the other a pair of gas bottles.
At least traditionalists will welcome this 460’s classic front-lounge, end-washroom two-berth layout.
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Pitching and setting up
And the lengthy kit list continues with a gas barbecue point (now Whale rather than Truma), a buttonless handbrake, new alloy wheels and heavy-duty corner steadies – all with easy access.
The key services are kept well away from the awning on the offside – even the hook-up, which is concealed inside the battery box where you’ll also find TV and satellite points.
The main controls for the van, plus those for the Alde heating, are just inside the smart glazed one-piece door.
There’s refinement here, too: the pull-out table uses a clever mechanism to pop-up and lie flush with the shelf.
Light floods in via a rooflight, the massive sunroof, plus triple front windows and side glazing, while at night there’s attractive ‘halo’ lighting plus a quartet of touch-sensitive reading lights.
There are two sets of aerial, 12V and 230V sockets: either on the sideboard – which is rather high – or the front shelf, with plush bolsters at each end of the sofas meaning either layout offers TV lounging comfort.
It’s good to see two USB points, too.
The décor looks modern, with graphite highlights and pale, soft fabrics.
The sofas aren’t the longest in class, but this is still a roomy lounge for six, with an easy-to-deploy freestanding table – though it’s a shame it lives at the back of the caravan.
There’s plenty in the kitchen, and more if you drop the glass lids over the sink and hob, plus there’s that huge expanse at the perfect height on the sideboard.
The fridge/freezer and microwave are both on the nearside, too, and the two 230V sockets here make up for there being just the one in the kitchen area.
As you’d expect in a van at this level, there’s a dual-fuel hob and a separate oven and grill – now from Dometic – plus an Omnivent.
There are three lockers overhead with soft-close hinges, plus a trio of good-sized drawers down low alongside the cupboard, which features pull-out wire racking.
That shower is large and fully lined, with a big one-piece door – and inside there’s an EcoCamel showerhead on a smart black riser, and an LED downlighter.
Warmth comes via an Alde radiator, but alongside it there’s another change: a Dometic loo, with an unusually large seat.
The majority of buyers, though, will opt to make up the 6ft 9in x 5ft 8in double – and it’s easy to do.
The pull-out slats feel sturdy and have smooth runners, and the Ozio core helps the sofa cushions turn into a supportive mattress.
Quality pleated blinds and curtains bring a cosy feel.
There’s a slender one beside the shower, with a larger unit alongside the loo that also houses drawers and a small laundry basket.
Just inside the door there’s a heated cupboard – ideal for wet shoes – and the sideboard houses a cabinet.
Above the lounge are four lockers with ‘cranked’ doors and shelves that neatly fold away when not needed, plus a pair of compact corner cupboards.
Outside, one of the front corner units is completely clear, and there’s an access hatch to the nearside bed box.
The Coachman VIP 460 blends a traditional two-berth floorplan with a dose of genuine innovation in several of the details, both inside and out.
The key appeal of the old model remains – this is a handsome, superbly specified and solidly built caravan – but it is now joined by a much-needed dash of modernity.
In the old days, heads would turn when you arrived on site with a Coachman VIP behind – on this evidence, that trend looks set to continue.
- We like its sharp new looks
- It has a great spec
- The interior is exceptionally bright with lots of glazing
- There's plenty of kitchen worktop space
- It has a brilliant end washroom
- For a compact two-berth tourer, it is fairly heavy
- Taller caravanners won't be able to use the sofas as single beds