Packed with excellent storage provision, with a wonderfully spacious and capacious kitchen, a superbly large lounge – and a proper dressing table, the 540 is a caravan for connoisseurs who aspire to a layout that’s as practical as it is boutique luxury.
Price: £31,405 + £595 delivery Berths: 4 Length – Body: 5.80m; Overall: 7.43m Width: 2.44m Headroom: 1.95m Heating system: Alde Weight – MIRO: 1,544kg; MTPLM: 1,700kg
Words: Val Chapman Photography: Richard Chapman
On the face of it, a new addition to the VIP range, with its great tradition of single-axle, classic-luxury couple-appeal, might have you thinking this would be just another variant on that theme. This new model, though, breaks the traditional VIP mould, with a layout never before seen in a British-made caravan – and it’s the first VIP to have eight-foot width. A very special, trendsetter tourer, it most definitely is.
The 540 is the only VIP to have a French bed, on the nearside, with the shower room alongside it. That area of the layout is made possible by the 2.44m width (compared to 2.31m for the other VIPs). It’s the only VIP to have an L-shaped lounge configuration. And it’s the only VIP that has a dressing table. We believe it’s set to fast become one of Britain’s most popular layouts.
The caravan is effectively divided into two sectors. The dressing table and the wardrobe mark the start of the bedroom and en suite area. And what a luxurious place! The dressing table area, just forward of the bed, underlines the luxury appeal of this newcomer. This is much more than a cabinet and a mirror. It’s a proper dressing table, complete with a cylindrical, upholstered stool for comfort.
The lounge is, as you’d expect in a caravan of 2.44m width, super spacious. And it’s a delightful environment. Your television would sit on the cabinet that runs along the nearside wall, and has a desk-style circular aperture through which to feed connection cables, to sockets in the cabinet below.
You can place the dining table either the usual way around, parallel to the side sofa or, in this layout, across the caravan according to where you are sitting. And, when you want it out of the way, it goes into a slot in the dresser cabinet. And there’s a really important second use for the dressing table stool; you can bring it into the ‘dining room’, to completely get around the often-heard criticism of L- shaped lounges in dining mode, that two people can’t sit opposite one another; with the stool in place, you can!
The 540 caters well for media charging; there’s a built-in wireless phone charger pad on the windowsill. One of the 540's seven sockets is here and there are two USB sockets on the dresser.
Six cushions, in differing textures, from tactile velvety fabric to super-smooth, in delightful hues of fawns and greys, are here to ensure you can create comfort anywhere in the lovely big, L-shaped lounge. And substantial armrests are at each end.
L-shape is a feature of the kitchen, too, with a cabinet jutting forward of the three drawers in the centre of the kitchen. The shape gives you 41cm by 90cm of surface to the left of the sink, and more when you raise the extension that creates an additional 59cm by 30cm of space. A high-quality sink cover is provided; it’s ridged and has a lip to direct water into the sink. Two sockets are in the perfect position for a kettle or other appliance, just to the left of the sink.
Kitchen storage is, like the amount of surface area, generous. To the left, a triple drawer unit pulls out from the cabinet. Each shelf is 65cm by 23cm. Three drawers, 51cm wide, are beneath the sink. The two upper cabinets are 73cm wide. The dresser opposite gives more accommodation, in the form of a 30cm-wide cupboard, plus a 33cm-wide, 40cm-deep locker above the microwave. A cutlery drawer is almost hidden above the fridge and a subtle rim of light, running under the work surface, softly illuminates the chrome handle; like everything about the VIP 540, it’s very refined.
It’s not just storage that will impress you about the dresser. It’s style. The Russell Hobbs microwave, at a height ideal for most statures, has a tinted mirrored front and is flush-fitted within its glossy cream frame. Microwaves are not generally works of art; however, this one, in this position, is actually quite spectacular.
And there’s more. The fridge door can be opened from either the left or the right. Coachman was the first caravan manufacturer to bring double-opening fridges to Britain; now they are in several high-end caravans.
So, style and storage in the dresser is great – and it also gives you a one-metre by 71cm work surface. The more we examined the 540’s kitchen, the more we were sure that this caravan has been designed specifically for cooking enthusiasts. Well done, Coachman!
When you turn the 540 into two rooms for night mode, one of its smallest, neatest, most well disguised niceties is revealed. The concertina divider completely disappears into its slot alongside the wardrobe and is self-securing, without the need for a press-stud strap. You simply push a small bar set into the metal edge of the divider and it secures in place. So refined – and so Coachman!
The bedroom and the en suite shower room alongside it are in the top luxury category. A tall white towel warmer (a component of the Alde heating system) sits alongside the oval washbasin. The splashback is fawn stone effect; very domestic in styling. A towel loop and hook are alongside the shower. Inside the cubicle is a neat little folding hook for more towels, plus two shelves for shampoos.
And then there’s the bedroom’s pièce de résistance: the dressing table, complete with a stool. A mains socket is here for your hair dryer, plus a second one, and TV connections, should you want to fit a bracket here. Above the bed are five top lockers and two drawers are beneath the wardrobe that provides a 53cm hanging width. A light comes on automatically when you open the wardrobe door, too.
All the equipment you’d expect at this price are here, including an alarm system, an extractor fan, the ATC stability control system, an Al-Ko Secure wheel lock and heavy-duty corner steadies.
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