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?

 

richardandros replied on 05/05/2021 11:01

Posted on 05/05/2021 11:01

"It will also be nice to have a toilet which you can wheel to the emptyng point, as it is, we have to carry it, as it is just too flimsy. That's of course, providing we can remove it in the first place".

And the wheels are too small to be of any use other than on tarmac and once you get it to the emptying point, you need three hands to hold the cassette and press the 'anti-splash' button at the same time.  

I would love to meet the idiot that designed this piece of kit - clearly he/she wasn't a caravaner!

InaD replied on 05/05/2021 18:29

Posted on 05/05/2021 11:01 by richardandros

"It will also be nice to have a toilet which you can wheel to the emptyng point, as it is, we have to carry it, as it is just too flimsy. That's of course, providing we can remove it in the first place".

And the wheels are too small to be of any use other than on tarmac and once you get it to the emptying point, you need three hands to hold the cassette and press the 'anti-splash' button at the same time.  

I would love to meet the idiot that designed this piece of kit - clearly he/she wasn't a caravaner!

Posted on 05/05/2021 18:29

It's unbelievable that it ever got as far as being fitted in LVs in the first place.  OH has spoken to Mike at ALV today, he asked for a few photos to be e-mailed to him, which we have done.  Now waiting for him to get back to us.  It was actually quite refreshing to talk to someone at a dealership who didn't deny there were problems!  Our local dealer, even after breaking the toilet trying to get it out, flatly denied of knowing about any problems, when we told them what we'd read on various forums.  Obviously didn't want to admit to anything.

Wherenext replied on 05/05/2021 19:00

Posted on 05/05/2021 19:00

 I've just read through the last couple of days postings as I have a 460 VIP 2017 model yet my toilet is a Thetford 260c Swivel. Strange. Everything else would point to it being the original as flush tank etc all standard.

We did have a small bit of trouble when we came to empty it first time as it wouldn't budge ( sound familiar?). However I realise that the handle must be firmly recessed into the little space left for it otherwise it throws a hissy fit.

We quite like the caravan. We bought it as a stop gap after our Lunar fell to pieces but might decide to keep it for a bit longer than we thought.

Good luck you lot with toilet issues and those with Dometics.smile

InaD replied on 05/05/2021 19:43

Posted on 05/05/2021 19:43

I've just read through the last couple of days postings as I have a 460 VIP 2017 model yet my toilet is a Thetford 260c Swivel. Strange.

WN, not strange, as Coachman changed to Dometic toilets from 2018 models, so you're lucky smile As you may have also read, from 2020 models they've changed back to Thetford.

Hoping to get ours swapped over, as you've probably also read wink so thanks for the good wishes laughing

richardandros replied on 06/05/2021 08:17

Posted on 06/05/2021 08:17

"It was actually quite refreshing to talk to someone at a dealership who didn't deny there were problems!"

Mike didn't hesitate when I asked him about changing ours - they had already done loads and I think he hates that toilet with a vengeance!

Although it means a 300 mile round trip for us to go back to ALV, they are a very good dealership and their technical skills, in my opinion, are second to none.  I am sure you will be more than happy with their work.

InaD replied on 06/05/2021 09:30

Posted on 06/05/2021 08:17 by richardandros

"It was actually quite refreshing to talk to someone at a dealership who didn't deny there were problems!"

Mike didn't hesitate when I asked him about changing ours - they had already done loads and I think he hates that toilet with a vengeance!

Although it means a 300 mile round trip for us to go back to ALV, they are a very good dealership and their technical skills, in my opinion, are second to none.  I am sure you will be more than happy with their work.

Posted on 06/05/2021 09:30

Yes, the way he referred to Dometic was far from complimentary, to say the least!

Didn't hear back yesterday, but only sent the photos early afternoon. 

Thanks for the reassuring  words about ALV; for us it'll be a 120 mile round trip, mostly on the M6, but would have travelled further if necessary. It's cheaper than changing the caravan laughing

InaD replied on 10/05/2021 12:00

Posted on 10/05/2021 12:00

To Richard and Paul

Just an update that Mike rang this morning (he is quite hard to get hold of, popular man!) and the caravan is booked in for the last week of September.

Thanks to both of you again, although it's a while off, at least we'll have a toilet we can rely on smile

DaveT replied on 15/05/2021 14:51

Posted on 15/05/2021 14:51

I have a Coachman with the Dometic toilet. During PDI and handover, the cassette jammed but was then released and fettled with a file and some silicone grease. To date, we have not had any problems (touching wood) and prefer some of the practical aspects. As mentioned, the clearance between the wheels and the cassette body is hopeless for anything but smooth roads and paths. 

It would be interesting to understand the percentage of failures versus those fitted. Unfortunately, as a group we are starved of objective data that helps us make informed decisions. Although Coachman don't fit Dometic toilets anymore, was this decision down to reliability, quality or cost - or perhaps a combination? I doubt we will ever know.