Are Coachman caravans going downmarket?

brissle replied on 14/04/2021 09:04

Posted on 14/04/2021 09:04

My wife and i have been Coachman caravan owners for many years and we have usually changed the van at 5 years old.  We have been very happy and hugely proud of our Coachman vans.

Our VIP575 was planned for replacement  this year and we could hardly wait to visit our dealer to see the new model yesterday.

What a disappointment !

The van design has changed so much it was barely recognisable.  It may still be a well-built van, but corners have been cut in the design and spec - presumably to reduce cost.  Locker space is severely reduced and less practical, decor is plain, upholstery options are almost non-existent (and pale unpractical colours).  It looks like an entry level van.

Simple cost saving changes just spoil the look - e.g. the microwave is no longer hidden behind a matching hinged door and now has a mirror door instead (at an impractical height for many people).  The useful corner cupboard in the bedroom area has gone - replaced by an extension of the already useless long narrow shelf above the window (you can't leave anything on that shelf when travelling).  The cupboards above the off-side above the sink  have been reduced from 5 to 3 larger ones - not practical for storing different types of item.  There is no solar panel - now an optional extra.

Sadly we are limited in towing weight by our Volvo XC60 which we cannot afford to change.

We need an island fixed bed, and prefer an end bathroom. 

Can anyone suggest an alternative van of a quality and finish we used to get from Coachman?


JVB66 replied on 14/04/2021 09:35

Posted on 14/04/2021 09:35

I think you will find that many c/van makers are trying to make as many as possible and as light as posible to cater for the upsurge sales,which mostly do not go well together 

we have some friends who have the same as you noted how coachman are "not the same now" but as many are now trying to attract younger owners 

They are now wholly owened by a Swedish company?

as you will have noted some continental LVs although some say are better built? are also heavier than what most UK owners are looking for 

All the latest Gizmos but to tow with the smallest vehicle 

If the one yu have suits your needs stick with it

If you really need a fixed double bed it means a bigger/heavier van 

W have a Bailey Pegasus ad it has all we need with the front seating areas that very easily make a big double or as we now do two over six foot singles


brissle replied on 14/04/2021 10:33

Posted on 14/04/2021 10:33

Yes, I fear you are right about trying to make vans lighter - and that's understandable.

But as we have a car capable of towing 1850Kg (max) we might as well make the most of the allowance we have.

OK we are lucky in being able to change our van every 5 years, but as you suggest, this may be the time to stick with what we have (and love).

There are a few minor things starting to go wrong, but we can live with them rather than go downmarket in style of van.  I guess it's cheaper to pay for repairs than change a van..!!


viatorem replied on 14/04/2021 12:14

Posted on 14/04/2021 12:14

In general all manufacturers are doing "cost down" construction of some sort.

If your 5 year old van is sound in body and chassis you are lucky as my independent service engineer says if you've got a good-un keep it!!

Any minor faults and irritations are relatively cheap and easy to fix.

AnotherDavid replied on 14/04/2021 12:21

Posted on 14/04/2021 12:21


I just had a quick  google look for that model  and it appears to be around £30k. If you are set on changing the one you have now   and have a budget in that region why not  look a bit wider very especially at German offerings. You might not get as many "goodies"  without specifying them as extras but you will be looking at quality from makers like Hobby, Hymer etc

brissle replied on 14/04/2021 12:26

Posted on 14/04/2021 12:26

We had considered European vans - have admired then on sites here and abroad.

But owners have always told me how heavy they are and my Volvo XC60 has an upper towing limit of around 1850Kg I think.

Phishing replied on 16/04/2021 22:55

Posted on 16/04/2021 22:55

The designs have changed, it is the current trend. The minimalist look is in. The differences between the VIP and the base models are now minimal, they add more feature not mood lit wine racks and flouncy decor. Customers are voting for practicality over pretty things. I have a 575 (following two 560s) and went for a dealer special rather than the VIP. Same running gear, floor, chassis, windows, fixtures, etc. and minimal costs to add the features I would miss from the VIP spec. 

You will struggle to find a level of decor and finish that has those finishing touches you used to get. The market is driven by build quality and feature content and Coachman are pretty high up the tree in those respects, and certainly at their price points.

I looked at the continental offering and Hobby certainly offer a higher quality finish but cost, weight, and dealer network all steered me away.

Best built van on the market is probably the Adria but minimalist finish was not for me.

Extugger replied on 17/04/2021 07:03

Posted on 17/04/2021 07:03


Best built van on the market is probably the Adria but minimalist finish was not for me.

Totally agree with your sentiments. But do owners want a well built caravan or something which looks pretty and is plagued with faults? 

Having owned an Adria for the last 6 years it proved to be by far the best caravan I have owned in 40 years of caravanning and I've had many UK built vans. I have found that since the introduction of new manufacturuing methods, including Alu-Tech and SoLid, the build quality and problems in UK built vans has risen, whilst the Europeans have not.

Yes, I agree the modern 'boutique hotel' look is not for everyone and seems to be the current trend, but I buy things which function well, are reliable, robust and well engineered. The Adria suited me to a tee and my cost of ownership worked out at 22 pence per day! 

This from C&CC 2020 ownership survey:

So which brands build the most reliable caravans? Among new caravans, it's no surprise that there's a close correlation between the most satisfying caravans to own and those which develop the fewest faults. Adria is our winning new caravan manufacturer, and 48.6% of owners say their caravan has not gone wrong at all. That's streets ahead of the UK-made competition.

And the latest customer satisfaction Gold award? You guessed it.



heddlo replied on 17/04/2021 09:02

Posted on 17/04/2021 09:02

We had a brief look at changing our caravan last year.  We could get neither the spec we had or the look we wanted.  I agree Extugger that build quality should be the first item of importance but, as was said about the Adria, I couldn’t spend time sitting inside a van (which happens more in this country) that I kept thinking looked very basic and feeling uncomfortable about it, which to our mind they do.  We will just stick with ours for a while now and maybe the style will change!?  Brissle, sorry off topic, but did we meet you in Bel Ombrage a few years ago?  

richardandros replied on 17/04/2021 09:18

Posted on 14/04/2021 12:26 by brissle

We had considered European vans - have admired then on sites here and abroad.

But owners have always told me how heavy they are and my Volvo XC60 has an upper towing limit of around 1850Kg I think.

Posted on 17/04/2021 09:18

Our Knaus Starclass 695 actually has a MIRO which is 10kg lighter than our previous Bailey Barcelona. So it doesn’t always follow that European vans are heavier than UK ones. It has all the equipment that the Bailey had - and more - with the exception of a solar panel. Build quality is in a different league.

brissle replied on 17/04/2021 16:35

Posted on 17/04/2021 16:35

OK I'm persuaded - we are going to look at an Adria Adora Isonzo tomorrow...

I take the points made above, but don't agree with all the sentiments.

We are not looking for "mood lit wine racks and flouncy decor" but we do want to feel comfortable -  and minimalist, plain light plastic finishes and impractical coloured upholstery and carpets are not to our taste.  We spend up to 3 months at a time in our van - in Portugal in the winter and elsewhere towing around in Europe in the summer, so it's a second home for us.

Yes we have got used to the convenience of a microwave and Aldi heating and a solar panel (essential to keep the battery topped up for a van in storage 20 miles away and for the occasional venture into a CL or site with no EHU).  We need an island bed (too old to clamber over one another to get out to go to the loo) and a good end bathroom and shower with room to swing a cat (in seven weeks last autumn in the UK we didn't use site facilities once).  We want outside 240v and gas points and plenty of storage.

We have owned several Swift and Elddis caravans and switched to Coachman for reliability and build quality.  Three Coachman vans have not let us down.

We'll see what Adria can offer....

Thanks for all your thoughts - it makes us look at alternatives.