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THE 540 is a single-axle fixed bed four-berth caravan.
You enter the caravan through the door just forward to the axle on the nearside, the door being a stable type with a fixed window and a built-in waste bin. To the left is the lounge area with a bench seat down either side and a two drawer chest of drawers between them.
Facing the door is the offside kitchen with the wardrobe next to it. To the right of the door is a large dresser and then the fixed bed. The shower/toilet compartment is in the rear offside corner of the caravan.
Technically, the two bench seats in the lounge can become single beds at night but in fact I think this will only happen if children are to sleep here since the length of the seats is only 1.67m (5ft 6in) – nearside – and 1.59m (5ft 3in) – offside.
However as a double bed you’re looking at a size of 1.92m x 1.38m (6ft 4in x 4ft 6in). There are roof lockers and shelves above the seats and above the windows across the front of the van. The two lockers here are separated by a small open compartment which incorporates a very attractive clock and ceiling light unit.
The seats can be lifted to gain access to the storage space below them – the battery compartment, water socket and Ultrastore water heater being sited under the offside seat, and the wet locker under the near side seat.
However there is also a drop down door in the front of each panel as an alternative means of access. It’s also worth noting that the seat panels and the chest of drawers meet at 45 degrees enabling the PIR to be fitted at the offside, and a mains socket on the nearside. Blown air outlets are also sited here.
The biggest drawback as far as the kitchen is concerned is the lack of worktop space on the kitchen unit. However, opposite, on the nearside, is the dresser with a top which more than makes up for this.
As with other caravans in the company’s 2008 ranges, a circular stainless steel sink has been fitted with a separate drainer and cutting board, the latter fitting neatly into the top of the sink. A 107-litre digitally controlled Thetford fridge is fitted in the unit, together with a cutlery drawer and a cupboard alongside it.
Next to the kitchen unit is a Stoves hob and grill with electronic ignition. The hob has three gas rings and one electric hotplate. Below the grill is an oven and there is also an 800watt microwave in a housing above the dresser, opposite.
The wardrobe is sited next to the cooker on the offside of the caravan. It’s a good size with a full height door and in addition to the hanging rail there are two shelves, in one of which the consumer unit has been fitted where it can be easily accessed – again a plus point.
And I also liked the way in which the freestanding table is stored in the wardrobe without you having to fight your way though a rail full of clothes to get at it.
Beyond the wardrobe and the dresser is the fixed bed area which is closed off from the front of the caravan at night by a plastic concertina door. The fixed bed is along the nearside wall with the headboard against the back panel.
In the offside rear corner is the washroom, where to reach the toilet, you have to walk through the shower and then close a plastic translucent glazed door. I’m not enamoured by this arrangement but do accept that caravan design always involves compromise and you don’t live in the compartment.
At the front offside of the fixed bed area, forward of the washroom, is a base unit into which the basin has been built. There’s plenty of room for toiletries below and there are two large mirrors at right-angles to each other on the walls above.
At the same price, the Challenger 530 has a large end washroom and no fixed bed.
Price: £13,995 including VAT
MRO: 1290kg (25.40 cwt)
Total user payload: 210kg (4.20cwt)
MTPLM: 1500kg (29.60cwt)
Internal length: 5.50m (18ft 1in)
Overall length: 7.18m (23ft 7in)
Overall width: 2.29m (7ft 6in)
Overall height: 2.70m (8ft 10in)
Headroom: 1.95m (6ft 5in).
• A full version of this review appeared in the March 2008 issue of Which Caravan, the only magazine all about buying. To order a road test reprint contact Tina Beaumont on 01778 391187. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.
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