Grand master

It’s not cheap but Coachman’s ‘big’ entry into the world of motorhoming makes quite a statement, says Nick Harding

Now under the control of the Swedish leisure vehicle manufacturer KABE, renowned caravan maker Coachman has branched out into the motorhome sector. A full four-berth, the 565 reviewed here, was one of three initial Travel Master models introduced, all based on a Mercedes Sprinter/Al-Ko chassis combination. Coachman is looking to expand the range during 2023; there’s even a 3,500kg variant in the pipeline. 

Build quality – 94%

Pretty much all the building work is being undertaken in Sweden by KABE, and, in a word, it’s superb. The body features aluminium outer and inner walls and top-quality insulation – all of which should mean fewer cold spots. 

At 2.78m wide (with mirrors extended) and over 8m long and with a maximum weight of 4,500kg, this is a big motorhome. It features a roof-mounted Dometic Freshjet air conditioner as standard as well as a 140W solar panel (with intelligent battery sensor). Other features include flush-fitting side windows and a habitation door (on the UK nearside) with inset step. Moulded steps allow easier access at each cab door, too. 

The intensive testing by KABE at its manufacturing base includes sessions in a cold chamber that will take temperatures down to -40ºC, testing the insulation to its fullest. Airflow within the vehicle is also assessed to ensure cold spots are minimalised and there are no build-ups of moisture.

The garage, accessed via chunky doors with double locks and pneumatic struts, is large enough for bikes, barbecues and more. Facilities here are excellent. There’s a quartet of lockers, one housing the central heating boiler, another home to all the electrical fittings (including the leisure battery, perfectly insulated against extreme cold). You’ll also find some open shelving, a 230V and 12V socket plus a large isolator switch, on/off switch for the solar panel, high- and low-level rails with adjustable lashing points – even a drainage plug for any unwanted water getting in.

A slight anomaly – the fresh water tank (not the largest, at 87 litres) is slightly smaller than the waste one (90 litres).

Driving – 90%

With an MRO of 3,650kg, the Travel Master 565 is one of the heaviest motorhomes I’ve ever reviewed (you’ll need category C1 on your licence to pilot one of these). 

There’s just the one engine offering – 170bhp with a gratifyingly smooth nine-speed transmission. In terms of economy, if you can beat 25mpg you’ll be doing well.

There’s an equally impressive set-up in the cab, with Coachman opting for the MBUX infotainment system upgrade that includes a 10in touchscreen, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay, reversing camera and more. The cab seats are heated, leather upholstered and have plenty of adjustment, while features such as the folding handbrake allow for easier seat swivelling.

There’s also a clever facility for two to travel in the back, with the offside settee base moving through 90˚ to become a forward-facing double seat and a backrest section that slides out – it’s a hefty, reassuring piece of engineering. (Note that the head supports, which you’ll need to add for safer travel, were not available for this test).

Daytime – 88%

The Travel Master’s wider body means there’s some vital extra floor space in the lounge (and indeed elsewhere). The lounge has occasional and free-standing tables, the latter stowing in a dedicated storage spot next to the fridge for travel.

As well as offering great insulation, the breathable fabric-backed aluminium inner walls provide a slightly hushed ambience. They also help suppress any unwanted noise when you’re on the move.

Add the Alde radiator and hot water system with underfloor heating to the mix and you have a cosy motorhome when temperatures start to drop.. 

Night-time – 85%

They’re set fairly high, with permanent steps for access, but you get two 1.96m (6ft 5in) x 0.82m (2ft 8in) single beds with a fixed centre section between them (if you prefer a permanent double, the sister model 545 sports an island bed). There are windows each side with a Heki rooflight overhead. 

It is 1.98m (6ft 6in) long, but the drop-down double is rather narrow, with a width of 1.09m (3ft 7in) tapering to 0.84m (2ft 9in) to allow access at the habitation door.

Kitchen – 75%

The 565’s more than generously equipped kitchen lacks only in worktop space. The Thetford cooker has an electric hotplate, three gas rings, separate grill and oven, while there is a circular, stainless steel sink adjacent. Storage is particularly good: a trio of soft-close drawers (the top one for cutlery, the lowest including two removable plastic waste bins) and a narrow slide-out section with pockets, all featuring travel safety catches. There are also two overhead lockers – both with adjustable shelving. 

Across the corridor is an automatic energy selection Dometic fridge-freezer with a total capacity of 171 litres and dual-hinged doors. Though impressive, many will consider the location of the microwave oven too high. 

Washroom– 78%

Services are split between a spacious, fully lined shower cubicle and a toilet room, with the solid door to the latter also able to act as a shut-off for complete privacy from the kitchen and lounge. The shower cubicle , which sits partly on the wheel arch, includes a showerhead on a riser bar. There’s just the one drainage point, though. Another slight negative is that the toilet room lacks a window.

Details – 80%

The main control panel – developed in conjunction with Dometic – looks after everything, including the operation of the electric bed, the dimmable lights, even the amount of mains electric power you want to draw and pumping out water from the (heated) waste water tank.

A well-thought-out living area includes coat hooks and open shelving – ideal for keys etc – just inside the habitation door. There’s no shortage of direct and ambient interior lighting. Plus, no matter where you are, a 230V socket and/or USB port seems to be within easy reach.

Look out, also, for the proper lockers in the over-cab section and the discreet flatscreen television holder in the lounge. 

The water filler point and fridge vents on the awning side are unlikely to worry folk. There are also external gas and shower points. A full-length, wind-out awning is the only option added here (£1,300), shaving a barely noticeable 30kg from the 850kg payload.

Verdict – 84%

Superbly built with a popular UK floorplan. It was never going to be cheap, but the price does already include most, if not all, of the equipment you’ll need.

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