Island Bed Caravans: Ten of the best transverse models
We pick ten of the best transverse island bed caravans, ranging from £15,499 to £28,095 and from 1335kg to 1706kg MTPLM.
By Val Chapman
The first fixed bed caravans began to emerge in the late 1990s and took caravanning to a new level. Now, though, those first beds, positioned parallel to the caravan side, have been largely pushed aside by a dramatic turn-around (literally) in bedroom layout innovation.
Cue the advent of the transverse island bed caravan. Layouts, of course, go through fashion phases, and right now the transverse island bed is on-trend.
There are 21 single-axle transverse island bed layouts on the mainstream British market for 2017, in a wide variety of price ranges and spec levels. We’ve picked 10 of the best island bed caravans, as a start-point for you if a transverse island bed caravan is going to be your next move.
Which would you choose? That’s down to your needs and taste. There’s a vast range of weights, prices, spec and styles to compare among our selection here.
Transverse Island Bed Caravans
1. Coachman VIP 575 - £24,425
VIP is Coachman’s top-spec single-axle range. Both Coachman’s VIP and Pastiche ranges feature 575 models with island beds, so buyers will likely compare the two. Both have Alde heating. And both have a new feature for 2017, a shower head with a three-position choice of flow rate.
The significant visual difference between the VIP 575 and Pastiche 575 is in body shape (the VIP has a pronounced ”shoulder" form to the side of the roof). There’s a difference in roof and side construction, too. VIPs are fractionally wider because the walls are 3cm thicker. The roof is 7cm thicker. The thicker walls and roof mean slightly enhanced insulation.
The VIP has some spec advantages over the Pastiche, including a door fly screen, a larger skylight over the lounge, an extractor fan and an AL-KO Secure wheel lock.
2. Coachman Vision 575 - £18,895
If you're weight and price conscious, look carefully at this Coachman island bed model. It's the same layout as the VIP and Pastiche 575s. But it is lighter in weight and costs £5530 less. This model has the Truma 6kw Combi blown air heating and hot water system. Vision models for 2017 have attractive tartan-inspired patterns on cushions and headboards, in warm rust shades.
3. Adria Adora Isonzo Platinum - £20,495
The widest and longest model in our pick of 10 island bed caravans, the Isonzo has Alde heating. But there the comparison with any other single-axle, transverse-bed caravan ends. For this caravan's extra width and length puts it into the size bracket of twin axle caravans.
No need for a mechanism to retract the bed for daytime use here; the corridor is wide enough. And the bed is 1.93m long! A caravan, then, for tall people who like plenty of space! It’s also extraordinary value for money for its size.
4. Venus 570/4 - £15,499
The Venus take on the island bed caravans theme is a much smaller option than the mighty Isonzo. Lunar makes Venus caravans. They're lightweight and appealingly bright in style. Heating is the 2kw Truma Combi system. Cooking equipment is a combined oven-grill and a three-burner hob.
Fabric tones for 2017 blend pale grey-fawn with light fawn curtains and cushions featuring a pattern in bright turquoise. It's a strong, appealing scheme – and the 570 has an attractive price and weight, too.
5. Xplore 554 - £15,599
We love this new addition to the Xplore range. It’s comparable with the Venus 570 in price and weight. And, also, the Xplore 554 has a full-width, single-piece front window, which always adds to the bright appeal of a lounge in our opinion. Bolder graphics, plus a stunning fabric combination of yellow, pale grey and charcoal introduced for this year. These furnishings look and feel anything but budget.
And a nice touch of refinement that contributes to the quality look is charcoal grey piping around the edges of all the seating units, armrests, cushions and on the lower edges of the curtain tie backs. All of these touches move Xplore up to a new level for 2017.
6. Lunar Clubman SI - £22,899
The SI has been a seriously good seller in Lunar’s top-spec Clubman range for some years. This Alde-heated model gets a startling new look for 2017 with black front panels and vivid blue side graphics.
Lunar set the trend for long, opening skylights when the limited edition Clubman Saros appeared in 2014; the feature is, of course, here in the 2017 Clubmans. And there’s more. The new Clubmans get sunroofs, meaning that almost the entire length of the lounge has a sky view, making the lounge brighter and more airy in appearance.
7. Compass Camino 554 - £23,400
The unique, startling blue side of the new Camino range are guaranteed to grab attention on caravan parks and 'on the road'; it's a gorgeous look and one that punches a hole in the often-heard criticism that caravans are “all white boxes”!
Caminos, with the highest spec in the Compass portfolio, have Alde heating, extractor fans and 40-litre water tanks. And they have the Alde load monitor system, which switches off the heating when you use an appliance such as a hairdryer, to prevent you from tripping out the electricity supply to your pitch. Altogether a very refined package.
8. Bailey Unicorn Vigo - £22,549
Three features distinguish Unicorns from all other caravans – apart from Bailey’s unique Alu-Tech timberless body construction method, of course. One is the broad windowsill, which augments pull-out snack-table space and gives these caravans a wide-open look at the front.
The second is the shoe cabinet directly alongside the door (brilliant – and simple!). The third is the large kitchen surface, stretching forward of the main kitchen front line, and with an extension to raise when you need even more space.
9. Swift Elegance 580/ Sterling Continental 580 - £28,095
Like the Unicorn Vigo, here are more top-spec range options, and with the choice of two distinctly different décor themes from the same manufacturer, the Swift Group.
Continentals have startling white and dark brown décor; white lockers, surfaces and furniture, and a combination of dark brown and pale cream seating. Elegances have more muted shades, of fawns and creams. Both ranges have big furry cushions to enhance the look.
Continental and Elegance models share both price and weight.
Both are made using Swift’s SMART HT construction method, with a five-layer timberless composite floor and timberless body shell. And both ranges have rear view cameras, which is a new feature for 2017.
10. Sprite Major 4 SB - £16,085
Also made by the Swift Group, Sprite accent colours are zingy yellows and limes this year, mixed with cool greys; it’s a gorgeously modern look.
Sprites now have GRP sides (designed to be more impact-resistant than aluminium). For 2017 Swift has upgraded its timberless SMART construction system to SMART Plus and rolled it out across all ranges including Sprite. The system uses a strong, polyurethane-based product which is impervious to water.
Swift introduced SMART construction initially into their top-echelon ranges. SMART stands for Strong, Modern, Aerodynamic, Resilient and Testing. Swift defines it like this: Strong timberless body frame with Modern looks and an Aerodynamic shape that is highly Resilient to moisture, in a caravan that has undergone comprehensive Testing.” The new-for-2017 Major 4SB is a genuinely smart option in the lightweight island bed caravans arena.