Laser Pointers

Provided you have a sturdy towcar to match, this solid-feeling four-berth scores in all departments

If you have a sufficiently hefty tow vehicle and want as much refinement and living space as possible, you might want to put the Coachman Laser Xcel 855 on your wishlist. An eye-catching L-shape lounge and a transverse island bedroom make the new-for-2023, 8ft-wide, twin-axle four-berth an attractive option for those seeking luxury touring.

Build quality – 94%

Corner steadies that look as though they’d support a block of flats, sturdy locker catches and precise joinery give the impression this caravan is in it for the long haul. Inside and out, everything on our test vehicle looked and felt reassuringly solid.

Towing – 88%

Weighing in at almost 1.8 tonnes before you even start loading it up means your shopping list will have to include a muscular towcar, if you don’t already own one. 

The other factor to take into consideration is the 8ft width, meaning careful route planning will be required.

ATC trailer control and four wheels on the ground makes for reassuringly stable progress. And cool stuff happens when you reach your pitch – tap the control panel inside the door, and an automatic self-levelling system lowers the corner steadies and fine-tunes everything until the caravan is snooker table-flat.

Daytime – 90%

Two things grab your attention on making that first entrance: the spaciousness of the L-shape lounge, and the Avtex television attached to a bracket on the nearside wall. The standard-fit telly is affixed permanently so you can leave it in place while towing, while there’s an identical wall bracket in the bedroom, so you can either unbolt the set and relocate it or, if you’re feeling indulgent, just buy another TV.

The lounge has lots of foot space and really comfy seats. Invest in a footstool if two of you want to put your feet up while watching the box, though, as the sofa along the offside wall isn’t long enough. The Pioneer stereo features DAB radio and Bluetooth: it sounds great, helped by ideally situated forward-firing speakers. There are two more speakers above the headboard in the bedroom.

A roof-mounted solar panel and an exterior cold water shower are welcome additions to the standard equipment list, although the Truma air conditioning unit is a £1,950 option.

There’s heaps of storage space. The under-bed area is the largest, accessed by lifting the bedbase or via an exterior hatch on the far wall. Note the two front exterior lockers – one is the gas locker, the other is an empty ‘shed’. The predominantly grey décor is inoffensive but it’s maybe just a wee bit… well, grey.

Night-time – 94%

Up front, a double bed is quickly made up, thanks to a base that you slide out from under the seating.

Star billing goes to the bedroom at the back, of course. With the transverse island bed pushed all the way back into day mode, there’s an amazing amount of floorspace, making it feel a bit like a ‘proper’ bedroom. Pull the bed out a little bit more and there’s still lots of space to walk around. Tug on the handle to pull it all the way out, and there’s your 6ft 2in-long, night-time accommodation.

You’ve got everything you need – both occupants have a bedside table, a handy pouch on the wall for phone and specs, a USB slot in the reading light and a switch for the floor-level night light. The sunroof lets in daylight when you feel ready for it and the corner unit with illuminated mirror is a nice finishing touch.

Kitchen – 95%

Well, what do we have here – a kitchen on the nearside? Not something you see every day. You also don’t often see a kitchen as thoroughly agreeable as this. Its slightly L-shape design, gleaming locker doors, seamlessly fitted microwave, built-in tower fridge and pleasant lighting combine to make it highly attractive, while the dual-fuel hob, overhead extractor and plethora of storage options make it eminently practical too. 

The lift-up extension that sits flush against the side when not needed is bigger than many such panels and there’s a big chunk of shelf top on the offside if you need to call on serving-space reinforcements.

The wraparound feel that the L-shape counter provides, allied to the extra workspace, fridge and microwave all behind you, make you feel like you’re in a sort of culinary command centre.

Washroom – 85%

Merely by sleight of door, this becomes part of an en-suite bedroom or a facility accessible to all guests. The solid door either closes off the washroom proper on the offside of the walkway (the shower compartment is opposite) or separates the lounge/kitchen area from the rear of the caravan. Either way, a sliding door shuts off the bedroom to guarantee privacy.

The washroom feels a little bit pinched but it’s very smart, featuring a ladder-style radiator and stylish basin that gives the impression of being freestanding.

Lighting – 94%

The 855 very possibly sets a new record in terms of the lighting permutations available. Just the ceiling-level ambient lighting? Fine. Or you could have just the under-locker stuff. Or both. Or maybe just the backlit wall panel. Or that, and the illuminated drawers in the kitchen… I won’t go on, but that’s not the half of it.

Other highlights: the three corners in the lounge each have a reading light, the wardrobes either side of the bed are lit upon opening and there’s an exterior light on the offside wall as well as the usual awning light.

Verdict – 91%

Beautifully finished with masses of presence and equipment – and a kitchen and bedroom that are both stand-outs. It’s a terrific caravan – but at more than £47k, you would expect as much.

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