Most UK caravans carry their lounge nestled beneath the tourer’s raked front panel, but it doesn’t have to be that way. What about central lounges? Not some pokey exaggerated side dinette, but one that dominates both sides of the caravan’s middle.
In celebration of lounge diversity we’ve assembled three of Europe’s finest loafing lounges: French, German and Slovenian manufacturers with lounges at the front, middle or back.
Representing the budget sector is the Caravelair Ambiance Style 450. Big it ain’t, but for a caravan with two large fixed single beds the rear lounge is surprisingly large. It’ll cost you £12,185 on-the-road.
From Germany there’s the Hobby Prestige 540 WLU. It’s a layout with the UK’s favourite front lounge arrangement and to get one you’ll need to part with £15,675.
The Adria Adiva 552PH is £15,794. It puts the lounge in the middle. The Caravelair and Hobby have two fixed single beds whilst the Adria has a fixed double. They can’t go directly
head-to-head in comparative terms but their paths do cross.
Click here to download test: Which Caravan, March 2009
|The Caravelair’s biggest boon is the amount of open space, and it’s unexpected with space-sapping fixed beds around. Its biggest enemy is the amount of spec turning up on so-called ‘budget’ UK tourers; if trends continue, the Caravelair will start to seem pretty basic. If you like the idea of a rear lounge this one’s good for comfort and practicality.
The Adria’s central lounge worked better in practice than I’d imagined. Fears of tripping over several sets of feet in the lounge when moving around the caravan came to nothing and, even if it had, I could probably forgive this plush interior anything.
The kitchen, although brilliant, still deserves a microwave and Adria will have to watch it competitors’ lists of goodies if it wants to sell the Adiva for the same price whilst omitting some tempting standard sweeteners.
If you want a central lounge, make it a dual-sided one. The offside-only 552LT version just doesn’t cut it as a full-on lounging space. It’s deliciously different; the thinking person’s alternative to mainstream rivals.
The Hobby’s build is impressive, and this Prestige model’s interior glamour and flamboyancy mean it’s no shrinking violet. The front lounge layout is common to most UK models. The Hobby version is built to a standard, both visually and practically, that makes many home-grown examples look half-hearted. But value is key. At the moment it’s holding its own and sits at a reasonably competitive level in terms of price; any more and the Hobby’s got a battle. Either way these are seriously underrated caravans with quality as standard and a level of engineering only the best at home can hope to match.