It takes a lot to get grizzled old caravan journalists excited. So learning at the Coachman Caravans 2016 launch in July that the company was planning a new fixed-bed model didn’t exactly get our pulses racing.

That changed as we stepped aboard the caravan. Coachman, that bastion of British reserve and tradition, has built the most jaw-dropping UK tourer you’re likely to see this year.

The 470 is a new addition to the mid-priced Pastiche range and, on the face of it, it’s hardly worth holding the front page for: two berths, a spacious end washroom with large separate shower, a perfectly serviceable kitchen and a side dinette.

However, at the front, where you’d expect to find the lounge, is a transverse fixed double bed instead. (Across the front? Are they mad?)

More unenlightened onlookers may dismiss the 470 out of hand, but we’re not so sure. The only way to judge it properly is to put it to the test.

Setting aside all other considerations about it for the moment, it’s worth bearing in mind the changes Coachman has instigated on the Pastiche’s exterior for 2016. While there appears to be little difference compared to the 2015 line-up, visually at least, the changes are there and some are significant.

The body itself is unchanged, with new blue-themed graphics the most obvious change (last year’s were red). The switch to a body-coloured A-frame and tail-light surrounds is less obvious, but welcome. The alloy wheels have been changed from ‘Vortex’ anthracite to silver ‘Falcon’ for 2016, and there’s a new Dimatec LED awning light.

More important is the significantly lower weight of all 2016 Coachman caravans. The biggest savings come in the entry-level Vision range, but Pastiche has shed between 30kg and 55kg, thanks in part to Coachman’s ‘ABC’ Advanced Bonded Construction.